Wow. I’ve certainly had a lot to say since starting this blog in April 2008. 500 posts? Seriously?
In honor of this momentous post (which may very well be my longest post ever), I decided I wanted to do something big. I think I’m finally ready to start tip-toeing out of the IF closet. I’ve been pretty anonymous online, just like I’ve been in real life, but I feel like I’ve been hiding from something that I can’t hide from anymore. Or I just don’t want to hide from anymore. This IF journey has shaped who I am today and I’m ready to open up. I’ve been holding this crap in for over two and a half years. That’s a long time, people. Too long.
To help you get to know me a bit better, I’d like to share a little more about who I am:
- You wouldn’t guess it by my sense of humor and Sienna can totally confirm this for you, but I’m a complete and total girly girl. When I was little I refused to wear pants. Dresses all the time. To top it off, I had to match. My undies matched my under shirt, which matched my dress, which matched my socks, which matched my barrette, ribbons or bow. I still wear dresses most of the time. Come winter I like warmth over fashion so these days when it’s chilly, you’ll still see me in dresses and tights but I bust out the occasional pair of jeans too.
- I work in marketing and my name is unique so I’m pretty searchable which is why I don’t think I’ll ever share my real name on this blog. Not because I don’t want you to know who I am, but because I don’t want my clients to know the nitty gritty details about my reproductive system. I am willing to come out of the IF closet, but I still want to keep my work life and personal life separate. I will say that my name begins with R. You can call me R. Or baby baker. Or venting vagina.
- Before we got married, the church made us take the Myers-Briggs personality test. My husband and I are exact opposites. I’m an ESFJ and he’s an INTP. Couldn’t be more opposite, but for whatever reason it really works for us. This line sums up me and TTC perfectly: “All ESFJs have a natural tendency to want to control their environment.” Sound familiar? I’m a total extrovert and my husband is a total introvert, but I think his I is totally rubbing off on my E. But I must say, we’ve been balancing each other out quite nicely after all these years.
- In 2003/2004 I worked with a girl who was my age who had to go through IVF to get pregnant. Once I found out, I started freaking out about getting pregnant and I tried to get my hubby to start letting us try. Of course he maintained he senses and made a good case for why we should wait. I find it kind of ironic that I pre-worried about something that ended up being true. Usually I pre-worry and it’s all for naught!
- My husband and I have had four pretty big losses since April of this year. We had a miscarriage which happened right as my husband lost one of his grandfathers. Then a month and a half later, he lost his other grandfather. Then a month and a half later, I lost one of my grandfathers. Uh yeah, we definitely deserve a break. It’s been a tough year, which is such a bummer because we were so looking forward to 2010. Here’s to hoping 2011 will bring enough joy to help us forget our sadness from 2010.
And now this. This is me. On my wedding day, nearly seven years ago. Hi! I’m R. It’s nice to meet you! I look pretty much the same except my hair is darker and much longer (it was pulled back on my wedding day), and I’m maybe seven pounds heavier. I was too skinny then anyway! And hey: a pound for every year! Let’s just hope the pounds stop here. 🙂 I can honestly say that I’m still as happily married as I look in that photo.
Up until now hardly anyone knows about our IF struggles. If I’m going to start from somewhere, I should start by recapping who knows what. Let’s see…who knows the whole story besides you gals?
- My acupuncturist
- My pregnant BFF (If you’re reading this: I miss you! Call me. Xo.)
These people know tiny bits of the story:
- A girlfriend of mine who got pregnant accidentally (out of wedlock) the month after I started TTC (she only knows about our IUIs)
- DH’s mom (she only knows that we’ve had some tests done and that we’re actively trying)
- My pregnant SIL (she only knows about our IUIs and our miscarriage)
Wow, I’m realizing that we’ve really managed to keep all of this pretty tight-lipped all this time. That’s a lot of weight to bear on a couple who just really want to be parents, especially when you consider how much stress we’ve been bottling up with our losses on top of our failures. When we first decided to go down the IUI and then IVF paths, we decided to keep it to ourselves. We didn’t want to be judged by those people who are opposed to ART. You know what I’m talking about. We didn’t want to hear these kinds of ignorant things: “Oh, just relax and it will happen.” or “It must be God’s plan for you to adopt.” or “Test tube babies aren’t natural.” (I hate that term!) or “Procreation should only happen when two people have intercourse.”. You get the picture.
What we’re dealing with is nobody’s business but our own. But now that so much time has gone on, and we’ve been through so many ART cycles, I’m ready for people to know. I’m ready to share what we’ve been through — what we’re still going through. I’m ready to get it off my chest. I’m ready to accept that anyone who loves me will understand and won’t judge (at least outwardly). Although my MIL is very religious and her religion is against IVF, I believe in my heart that as a mother and woman herself that she would support her son and his wife in getting pregnant by which ever means work for us.
I’m ready to stop pushing friendships away. Next time a friend suggests a glass of wine, I’m going to accept and if she asks why I’m not drinking, I’m going to spill the beans. I’m ready to be there for people around me who may be going through something similar. I’m ready to stop hiding this. I’m not even sure why I was hiding it to begin with. Was I ashamed? No, I just wanted to be private I suppose. But I’m not hiding anything any more. I’m coming out of the IF closet. Slowly, but surely.
It’s kinda like I have this deep, dark secret that I’ve been holding in all these years. After a while it starts to eat at you and then you realize that the only way to get rid of the nagging feeling is to get it off your chest. Case in point: last year, after not speaking to my biological father in over 15 years, I called him out of the blue on his birthday. I wanted to forgive and forget that he left my brother and I behind. I was done being angry. We had a nice chat — as nice as two strangers can have — and I opened the door for him to step back into my life. Unfortunately he decided against stepping through that door, but I felt so much better after I got rid of that nagging feeling. It felt good. After I got it off my chest. After I played the adult. I know IF isn’t exactly like this, but it kinda is. Something’s eating at me and I can’t hold it in any more. I think it’s causing me more harm than good at this point. I hate covering up a big part of who I am today.
I guess what I struggle with most is what do people do with this information once I get it off my chest? Sure, I’ll feel better as soon as I share my story, but how will it make them feel? I felt so great after I brought my BFF up to speed over several teary glasses of vino, but I don’t think she knew what to do with that kind of information, especially when she already has what I want. I feel a little guilty for unloading on her like that even though it felt like such a relief to me. But I am ever so thankful that she listened and she cared. (So sorry BFF if I put too much on your shoulders. I love you and P. and S. and the lil one on the way.)
Our parents are visiting next month and we’d like to open up to them while they’re here. Not to mention, opening up to lots of other people in our lives – when the time is right. But how do you share what you need to share without overwhelming them?
Have you come out to your families and friends? If you have, I’m curious how you handled it. Please share your advice!