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Stepping out

08/10/2012

Belle

Two amazing and unrelated things happened in the last 24 hours:

1. I came out on our neglected Adventures in Marriage blog. And then I posted a link on Facebook. It felt good to be honest with the world. It felt even better to have people email saying that they, too, were dealing with infertility and PCOS.

2. A Scrambled Eggs reader sent me an amazing email that I received at just the right time. This reader is not a blogger but she reads regularly and admitted to finding strength and reassurance in my words and thanked me for putting my journey out there. This email was sent Wednesday, a full day before I “came out.” I got her message this morning after a fitful nights sleep worrying about what the world would think of me now that I’m officially infertile for all of Facebook and our other readers to see. Her words assured me that stepping out is the right thing for me to do.

Our Adventures in Marriage will never become an infertility blog, nor will I ever bitch and moan about injections, vagina goo and failed IVFs on Facebook. That said, I do hope that letting the world know about our struggle will bring a smidgen more education to the fertile world. It  might encourage my young Facebook followers with irregular cycles to get checked out. It might make the woman with 5 kids a tiny bit more sensitive in the way she asks her childless friend when she will have babies. It might give hope to another woman who is silently struggling. And it will let people who care about me know so, God forbid, the next time my world comes crashing down in miscarriage I may have a few more in real life hugs.

I’m curious, how many of you are open about your infertility journey. At what point did you decide to step out. If you are still in the closet, why?

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21 Comments

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  1. August 10, 2012

    Congratulations! I’m glad you took the step.

    We ‘came out’ when we let people know about this pregnancy, but I’m not sure it was the right decision to wait so long. We had several friends respond with their own struggles…enough that I wonder if that 1 out of every 8 couples statistic is really true. The only negative response I received was from my mom who didn’t think I sounded excited enough about the pregnancy. Once I explained to her that I knew we were sending the email to friends who were struggling either with fertility, a desire not to have children while their friends and family move on to a different part of their lives, or some who want kids but don’t have a partner, she understood. I think.

    I hope you share some of the responses you receive! Happy weekend Belle.

  2. August 10, 2012

    Congratulations on outing yourself! This is HUGE!!! And definitely took a lot of courage. I’m glad to hear that there has been nothing but positive feedback from this move. And to get such an amazing email!

    I no longer have a Facebook account, but almost everyone in real life knows about our infertility. Got to a point where it was impossible to hide. The reviews have been mixed. Some people have been supportive and even shared their stories with us. Other’s try, but then say things that are far from helpful (last woman who offered me her children was horrified when I responded with “deal. when can we pick them up?”). And then there’s the (thankful rare) idiots who are just plain cruel. Despite it all, I don’t regret being open. Too often, people assume infertility is something that only happens to mythical people. Putting it front and center hasn’t been easy, but it’s been far easier on me than not doing so.

  3. August 10, 2012

    Oh my goodness I’m proud of you! This is amazing! When you come out to people, it is amazing the connections you can make. For the most part, we have been extremely open with people around us about our struggles – the PCOS, infertility, IVF trifecta. I found it freeing and helpful to be honest when people would ask us about our plans to have children. However, the one place I was more secretive was at work. I just felt the need to protect myself from some of the gossip that goes on there. I did tell my boss and a few close friends at work, but not everyone. I will say that MANY times, when someone heard what we were going through, they ended up “coming out” to me about their own struggles, asking for advice, etc. I love it when that happens. Having someone benefit from my experience is the biggest gift infertility can give. Seriously, you were so brave and should feel so good about this.

  4. August 10, 2012

    I have a lot of respect and admiration for you in coming out to your family and friends. It’s certainly not an easy thing to do.

    My immediate family, close friends and my boss know about my infertility. I’ve kind of half-assedly come out about it on Facebook by putting up the NIAW banner earlier this year. And I’ll occasionally post an article that pertains to infertility. I’m sure a lot of people have guessed by now, but I haven’t actually come out and said, “I’m infertile.” I think at some point I will say it. I’m just not ready right now.

  5. Jen #
    August 10, 2012

    Good for you! I’m glad you’ve gotten such a positive response. I haven’t come out on facebook or to my “acquaintance” friends, but I think about it sometimes. I wish there was a secret handshake or something that we could do so I could out myself only to other infertiles. I’m always nervous that fertiles will feel sorry for me. And a little bit that my ex-boyfriends I’m friends with on facebook will think “phew! Dodged a bullet there!” It’s pretty dumb, but I think I’m just not ready yet.

  6. August 10, 2012

    That’s awesome – good for you!! It’s scary and freeing at the same time! Our first miscarraige I told a few good friends, but the second time I decided to tell the world. I did that because even though I told a few people the first time, keeping quiet made me feel like I should be ashamed of it. I got so many sweet messages and comments when I facebooked our second miscarriage taking a picture of flowers we were sent. I think it’s a lot better in the long wrong. I had several “oh my god what did i do” moments, but I’m still glad I did it. Now a lot of people know we are going through treatments which has ups and downs. I like that people care enough to ask, but I don’t like the pressure that sometimes comes with it. I’ve learned to say “thanks so much for asking, right now we don’t know and i’m not telling when exactly we’ll find out b/c it puts pressure on me” and people seem to understand. Sadly a lot of people still say the stupid shit – yesterday I was told “just keep having sex and it’ll happen!” So ignorant! I know that I will mention infertility whenever we have a pregnancy annoucement to make and I won’t be posting bump updates and complaints like so many of my “friends” 🙂 Good luck and don’t sugar coat your situation to anyone – people need the hard facts to understand how awful it is! love your blog and good luck!!

  7. August 10, 2012

    I’m glad you feel good about doing this, and I hope you receive nothing but positive feedback!

    I ‘came out’ on Facebook for NIAW 2011. Spring last year was when I really started looking into online infertility support, and it just seemed right. We were doing somewhat better by then, and I’d been seeing an RE for almost a year. I’d been learning so much about so many different things and I wanted to share that. Almost all of my fb posts now are about IF, from personal comments to RESOLVE articles to jjiraffe’s Faces of ALI. Oh yes, there has been the backlash, but we have a pretty unique situation. I know that none of my friends will ever go through exactly what we are, so I keep on. If I can stop one hurtful comment, I’ve done a good deed.

  8. August 10, 2012

    Oh, wow…I’m so proud of you for coming out of the infertility closet! That’s an amazingly brave thing to do…a step I have not been able to take myself. A few close friends/family know what I’m going through, but mostly I keep it hidden. I think it’s a mix of fear and shame. And I have found that my very fertile friends (and sister!) just don’t get it. Like, literally. They look at me like I’m talking a different language, or maybe like I have two heads. It’s too exhausting to me having to explain my feelings to them and it’s so private too — too much raw and embarrassing pain and anger that I don’t want everyone to see. But good for you for your openness…I truly, truly admire your courage!

  9. August 10, 2012

    That’s wonderful. That takes so much courage. I think the more people talk about it, the less everyone feels so alone, and it can bring some great connections.

  10. August 10, 2012

    Bravo! It took us over 4 years to come out to anyone. At that point we came out to close friends and family. This is the same time I started a blog. The blog was my way to let people know about our issues without having to talk to them about it. Nothing on FB.

  11. August 10, 2012

    Not out yet…mostly for me because I don’t want to talk about it. But I do, obviously, because I blog about it! I don’t know! I definitely admire your courage, one day I hope to be there, just not yet 🙂

  12. August 10, 2012

    I am “out” somewhat. We have my IF issues plus MFI. My husband is not as comfortable sharing everything as I am. I have a group on Facebook that are designated to see my blog. Some people are excluded. If my husband were more ok with it, I’d come out to everyone. People need to know about IF and I never want to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Sometimes it makes me anxious because now that so many people know I wonder what they are thinking, wait for them to comment or ask how we are doing, etc and i wish I didn’t do that. But I’d rather deal with that so that I can teach people about IF.

  13. August 11, 2012

    Belle, I am so proud of you for taking this step! I go back and forth on the Facebook thing because of how many casual “friends” I have on my feed. After seeing some of the horrifying “advice” a friend of mine gets from other fertiles after shes outted herself on fb I just dont think I’m ready to handle the comments from people I dont fully trust. That being said. I am now open to just about everyone in real life. All of my family knows and close friends know, but i am also making a conscious effort to tell anyone who decides it’s cool to ask when I’m planning on kids. I say something to the effect of “well, we’ve been trying and we’re going through infertility. ” This has led to some really awkard conversations and some really amazing conversations with people who i normally would have just lied to (my hair dresser and a supermarket employee, for example!) People I never thought would understand share their similar stories and unfortunately others I thought would completly understand respond with “yikes–be careful with taking hormones like that….that can really lead to some serious health problems….” to which I was able to tell her very directly how hurtful comments like that are to women who have no other options if they want a baby. The great thing about facebook is how many people you can reach all at once…I just dont know if i can handle the comments on my page without being able to have a face to face with the commenters.

  14. millionbabysteps #
    August 11, 2012

    Congratulations belle! I imagine that must feel like a huge weight off your shoulders, and I’m sure many more will reach out. I’m embarrassed to say that I have not and will likely never come out. It is definitely my own issue, but I cannot bring myself to share. I find myself coming out more and more with close friends, but to this day my mother doesn’t even know. I doubt I’ll ever tell her. It takes a lot of courage and you are so strong!

  15. August 11, 2012

    Awesome! I never fully came out, but did mention how long it took us to get pregnant and sure enough, I got a Facebook message from someone that was struggling the same day. It’s so important for people to know they are not alone! : )

  16. August 11, 2012

    I came out on FB two and a half years into our TTC journey. It was a simple message, but I received replies from a couple of women that surprised me.

    Close friends have known about our struggles for most of the journey. Not so close people I started telling around the same time as FB people. But face to face people I would tell more details (when asked). In fact, I recently have been able to help guide two friends towards IF treatments.

  17. August 11, 2012

    I am slightly sad to say I only came out AFTER we got pregnant … I wish I had been brave enough to come out before. You are so brave and I hope your friends and family turn out to be wonderful and supportive (and not the “just relax” armchair fertility doctor type). 🙂 But now that I am out I have no problem saying to people that our babies are a “miracle of science” haha!

  18. Mo #
    August 12, 2012

    Congrats! I hope outing yourself will give you some extra support. I know it did for me. Then again, I’m TMI about everything. I’m thinking of having a t-shirt printed up that says “Please ask me about my uterus.”

  19. August 12, 2012

    Awesome! As you know I never was ‘in’ about IF bec. I wrote about it from the very beginning. I’ve always felt such gratitude over the connections I’ve made from both of my bloggy worlds (IF and BLM). Wishing you all the best!!!

  20. August 12, 2012

    I’m in awe of you,I really am. Just when I think you have done more than I could imagine,you do something that just amazes me even more. I have NO idea where you get your strength from!Congratulations and well done.
    While I haven’t come out on facebook and really don’t think I could just yet,most of our friends know that we are having problems conceiving,though maybe not really grasping the extent of our troubles. I answer if asked but never volunteer the info and even though there is another in our group of friends having problems (9 years TTC and nothing),we don’t discuss it.(Her choice,I have made it clear I’m available for her if she wants).

  21. August 13, 2012

    My entire family knows we are having difficult conceiving, but only a select few know details. It felt good when everyone knew. I hope your coming out brings you noting but support and love. It would be amazing if you could help others through it too.

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