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Going Public

12/27/2012

Belle

The Professor and I have been going back and forth about who to tell about this pregnancy and when. He argues for telling, saying that if something were to go wrong we would want the support of others. I argue that if something were to go wrong I don’t want the “Poor Belle” song & dance and the judgement.

I also still choke on the words “I’m pregnant.” This is hard to explain: I’m not necessarily afraid of jinxing things so much as this still does not feel real. You know? It took a while for me to become comfortable telling people that we are infertile. It took an even longer time to be able to talk with the grocery cashier about it. Eventually, however, the words started to come naturally and I became secure in my “infertile” identity. Being “pregnant” is an entirely new identity to work with.

I also have this fear that I’ll tell someone I’m pregnant who is silently struggling. I was preggo bombed by many well-meaning women and every time it left me feeling like someone had sucker punched my soul. It left me reeling and struggling for the proper words of support. You can’t break down and tears and scream “NOT FAIR” when your neighbor casually mentions she is pregnant again, you know? I don’t want to do that to someone with my news.

On the flip side, I realize that I have been gifted a voice that not everyone has; I’m comfortable sharing my journey via the written word. Infertility has taught me that it is so important to speak up about our disease to spread awareness and build the support we so desperately want and deserve. We, the “lucky ones” who make it to the other side, should not feel shame over our success but instead view it as the perfect opportunity to open up and let all the baggage we have carried for months start to go and if heaven forbid something dreadful happens, take solace in knowing that the vast majority of people will offer love and support*.

After lots of tearful discussions we reached a compromised – we would share our news at 12 weeks via a sensitive blog post on our Adventures in Marriage blog, which we promote via our Facebook feeds. I reminded the Professor that I never want to plaster Facebook with ultrasound and belly photos and that I will not tolerate either of us complaining about pregnancy. We noted that at least one of the women we follow on Facebook has very recently lost a pregnancy (late in the second trimester at that) and more than a handful have come forth and confided that they are also struggling with infertility. I never, ever want to sound boastful or harsh to those who might be hurting.

And so I wrote, deleted, wrote, deleted, wrote, edited, edited and edited. It took three weeks to put together a post I was comfortable sharing. Last Friday at 13 weeks I hit publish. A few minutes later I shared the post on Facebook. During the following days every time I logged into Facebook or my WordPress account I had heart meltingly kind comments and some very personal, very warm emails.

I have to say that the support and recognition of our struggle has brought more peace then I would have expected. It feels good to share this with the world. It feels even better to know that people read our story and understand the path we took to get to this point.

How and when did you “go public” about your pregnancy? Have you gone public about your struggles with infertility? Do you think that by being bold and stepping forward about our fight that we might, in time, see a shift in perspective and maybe eventually see a change in insurance policy?

 

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22 Comments

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  1. December 27, 2012

    Awesome, Belle!!!! This is exactly what I plan to do if I ever have a pregnancy that lasts that long. 🙂

    But I do have one thought for you: it’s ABSOLUTELY ok to complain about pregnancy. It is a *hard *thing your emotions and body go through for almost 10 months!!! I understand the desire to be sensitive, but just keep in mind that a “complaint” here or there is ok and *real*.

    I’m so proud of you for “coming out.” :)))

    • December 27, 2012

      Steph, not “if” but “when.” I know positive thoughts don’t do shit as far as making us more fertile, but they sure as hell can make a crappy ride a bit less crappy. I still remind myself nearly daily what my therapist said, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” Ok, lecture done 🙂

      And yeah, I’ll complain *gently* here. I will not on Facebook though. For example – I’m constipated and it sucks. Not posting on Facebook but might regale you all with tales of poo tomorrow… only if you are lucky though! Looking forward to our hike!

      • December 28, 2012

        hahahaha dammit you’re right. maybe the fresh air next week will help the optional suffering. 😉 yes, please indulge us with bathroom stories. and the rest of your “complaints.” when i get sick of it, i’ll stop reading til im not anymore!! 😉 😉

  2. December 27, 2012

    I’m very happy to see this post. I know sharing comes with so many fears: fears of junxing oneself, fears of hurting someone unintentionally, even fears of the fact that this becomes real. Still, I think it’s so important for ALIers to share their stories. Without hear, the myths about infertility and RPL will continue to exist. And that’s such a shame because no member of this community should ever feel ashamed about their journey.

  3. Life is Hard #
    December 27, 2012

    good for you that you shared your wonderful news!!

  4. Romy #
    December 27, 2012

    Good for you for being open about your infertility to that big an audience. We told close friends and family and our bosses and a few colleagues so I think we’ve still been pretty open about it. But having said that, I did not want my pregnancy to be any different than anyone else’s pregnancy, at least not in the way others perceive it. So we did post our 12 week ultrasound photo on Facebook – and it actually REALLY annoyed me when my cousin’s girlfriend commented something along the lines of “great news, you guys had to wait such a long time for this”. I don’t think the entire Facebook community needs to know that.
    This is something I’ve actually thought about a lot: I don’t really understand why so many people who’ve struggled with infertility actually label themselves “an infertile”. I’ve seen it on many blogs and I’m going to assume I’m the odd one out here so definitely not saying there is something wrong with it. It’s just that for me, first of all the label is wrong because you – and these other bloggers – ARE pregnant so you are not infertile, and secondly, I don’t want infertility to be my identity.
    When I talk to people in real life, I have no problem telling them I got pregnant through IVF, but I still want to be able to decide who and when I tell about our very personal struggles.

  5. Juno #
    December 27, 2012

    It’s hard for all sorts of reasons, to embrace and write about a pregnancy that comes after infertility or loss. To be totally honest, my mood wavers but I am grateful for success stories mostly. Not gonna lie that sometimes it hurts no matter what. It’s not you or whoever is has reached success that is hurting me though and I can still see the difference. Bottom line, this is your blog, your journey through hell and I am so very happy for you. You exercise extreme caution when posting even though you don’t “have” to. I know you’re super sensitive about all this and I think that goes to show how wonderful you are. Now, as for the insurance thing. There has to be more we can do right? For the record… My ins denied rpl testing in July 2011 but approved in this month. I like to hope that means “some” change is already happening. Xo

  6. December 27, 2012

    Such a tasteful post, well done! I finally “announced” on Facebook at 20 weeks with a picture and caption. I can’t remember the exact words but I didn’t come out and say we struggled with infertility I just eluded to it saying how its been a tough journey and we were so grateful to be able to become parents in this way. It was terrifying but I started to find some confidence in the pregnancy around 18 weeks when he began kicking. I hope the same happens for you. Xoxo

  7. Nonsequiturchica #
    December 27, 2012

    That was a great “coming out” post. Very well done and thoughtful.

  8. December 27, 2012

    So good that you are able to be open and are willing to share your story with everyone!

    We went public because my mom posted a picture of pregnant me on facebook when we were at a wedding in July. I’ve also since then publicized a blog about our family that explains our fertility history to anyone interested. And I talk about it freely with people, especially the people who inevitably ask “do twins run in your family” (some people find this to be a nosy question, but it doesn’t bother me). Some people are interested, some people are like oh okay. Most people I know also know other people who have gone through treatments, struggled with infertility, or whatever. It is so common, and I think just being open about it is so important.

  9. Cammy #
    December 27, 2012

    It has taken me 10 long years, two infertile husbands, and 30K (IVF) to finally become pregnant. Over the past 10 years, I have not openly shared the journey. Now that I am pregnant, I find myself telling people how I got pregant and honestly feel very good about telling others. I went officially public about 16 weeks… I have found others who are infertile comforted by my journey, even if at this point the journey is over for them and it did not result in a successful pregnancy. It gives other couples hope. I hope that others, like us, continue to share thier stories in hopes that in the future insurance will help pay. It would have been a lot easier emotionally! I could talk all day about this topic, but won’t! 🙂

  10. Mary Ann #
    December 27, 2012

    Congrats for taking the leap and going public! It’s a difficult leap. We told family at around 14 weeks. I didn’t post on Facebook until almost 24 weeks. My husband only told his boss. His co-workers found out when we delivered. The only thing I posted about our infertility was that it was a long journey to get pregnant. My husband is very private and I had to respect his desire to keep this private. But I will and do discuss our troubles with anyone that asks or inquires.
    As far as your question on insurance, I hate to say it but until more women are represented in our law makers and in the insurance companies I don’t see things changing. I don’t know about your insurance. But mine would have covered artifical insemination- basically, if the issue is male infertility they covered it. But since I’m the issue, not covered. Think about it… as we fight to get birth control covered, insurance covers meds like viagra. I don’t mean to turn this into a debate on gender issues. It’s just something that I’ve noticed in my journey through infertiity.

  11. Shelley #
    December 28, 2012

    Pretty much ditto on all your feelings here. We are 16 weeks tomorrow (so surreal) and still haven’t gone “public.” We’re telling people one on one, on the phone, in person, in email, but in terms of a mass announcement (i.e. a FB announcement), I decided long ago to wait until viability or sometime after that. And I’ve decided I will acknowledge our struggle when we announce (I do think that helps anyone else struggling out there to know we struggled too), and I will NOT announce via ultrasound photo or belly photo. Those things will never see the light of day on our FB profiles!

  12. whatrhymeswithinfertile #
    December 28, 2012

    “We, the “lucky ones” who make it to the other side, should not feel shame over our success but instead view it as the perfect opportunity to open up and let all the baggage we have carried for months start to go…”

    Hear, hear! Let yourself go and embrace this pregnancy. Enjoy it while you can, cause in a few short months it will be over and you will have your baby in your arms and miss being pregnant!

  13. heather #
    December 28, 2012

    Belle, we went public on Facebook after our MaterniT21 results and nuchal translucency appointment. It was starting to get a bit pointless to wait since at almost 13 weeks pregnant w/ twins, there was definitely a visible belly showing and on the last day of the semester my undergrad students actually ASKED. Eeeks. All that said, I felt very sure that “telling” would result in great floods of bleeding or some other disaster but, thankfully, nothing like that over the past week. Just wanted to post and say it IS scary, but in taking the risk to go public, we take a small step toward the world of pregnancy that lots of others enjoy … Congrats on going public this week.

  14. December 29, 2012

    I agree with storkchaser, complaints are ok, life isn’t always easy and we aren’t expected to always be 100% happy about everything. Even when we have totally wanted a pregnancy (or other item/event) for so long. It has taken me quite some time to not feel so quilty at the times when I was so exhausted during pregnancy or even now when my little guy just won’t go to sleep. I love him more than anything in this world, but sometimes…….

    A year before getting pregnant, I had posted a little something on FB about how we had been trying for 2,5 years already and how it was a difficult and long journey. That was my way of coming out about IF online. After that I didn’t say any more. Once pregnant, I told all my co-workers (some knew very early) mid-12 weeks and then a week later on FB. Again, I wrote a little blurb about how it took us 3,5 year to get pregnant and posted a picture that I had drawn: ObVuEnN (big letter and little letters spell two words: bun in the oven) Silly, I know but I thought of that a bit before I wanted to announce and couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

    Face to Face, whenever some one would say something about my pregnancy or some “fertile” like comment, I’d let them know that the pregnancy was the easy part (truly it was for me) and getting pregnant was the hard part and that this baby was totally more than wanted (yes, I know I won’t be sleeping much once it is born and my life will never be mine again, blah blah). I would use every chance I could to gently let people know that getting pregnant wasn’t easy. And if anyone asked, I did explain a bit more in detail. I think we need to educate people for it to not be so taboo or touchy a subject. But then not everyone is comfortable doing that. Do what you feel you can.

  15. December 29, 2012

    Omg that was the perfect announcement! If we ever succeed in getting pregnant, I’m totally plagiarizing you… we’ve just decided to officially “go public” about our infertility — like, no holds barred — and I’m hoping this will mean a greater support network, both if anything goes wrong and if anything goes right. Congrats on making a bold step forward; I’m so happy you’re feeling good about it after hitting “publish” 🙂

  16. December 31, 2012

    I was blessed with almost instant fertility (the first time, with my first husband) and due to my health issues, we found out very early (4 weeks). I had one family member (when I was 8 weeks) say “well don’t go telling anyone because it doesn’t count yet”. I still remember that. My daughter is now six, happy, healthy, vibrant. But I still remember that one person saying that one hurtful thing. If I am ever lucky enough to get pregnant again, I will be keeping it to myself “until it counts”. I am glad that you are getting love and support. And feel free to complain, you are manufacturing another human being, it is very very hard on the body. Good luck!

  17. December 31, 2012

    “going public” is always tricky. I have a short list of “people in the know” ( a couple friends even know which day I’ll be peeing on a stick!), “sensitive about the subject” ( people who cannot be “preggo bombed”), and the rest I leak out gradually. The first time my husband wanted to tell EVERYONE right away. After some consideration , we came to the same conclusion as you…if something goes wrong, we want the support.
    You should be allowed to be excited (even though you’re probably terrified ) and you’re obviously sensitive enough to understand that not everyone will be jumping for joy. Shout it from the hilltops!

  18. January 2, 2013

    That is so great Belle! When we told our friends and family about our pregnancy we also told everyone who didn’t already know the struggle we went through. Since then I have been asked by a bunch of family and friends if they could mention my story to their friends who are going through similar things. I told them it was fine and I would be happy to talk to anyone who wants to talk. They were given my info and if they ever reach out to me I hope I can give them what this community has given me. I think the more it gets out there the better. Even if it’s just one person at a time.

  19. January 2, 2013

    Oh Belle, there’s so much similar threads going on in our heads. May you guys continue to be bold and courageous in your journey. I wish you nothing but the best in 2013. xo

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