Whether you have been struggling with infertility for a short or long time, it is so hard to know whether to tell people, or keep it to yourself. Disclosure is such a double-edged sword.
In some ways, telling people about your situation can restrain those from continuing to question, “So when are you two going to have a baby?” However, it can cause some to gossip, ask frequently how all of your “trying” is going, relay stories about how their sister’s, friend’s, sister-in-law’s, brother’s infertility resulted in a birth child that happened naturally, only after they adopted. And lastly, you might be told to “just adopt”… making adoption sound a little too simple, like a McDonald’s drive thru, where you place an order and then acquire a child at the window.
Truly, most people’s intentions are good, but many may forget the beautiful art of simply listening, which is what you need at this emotional time. Supporting someone through the journey of infertility may just mean being truly present, listening and not providing a lot of advice.
If you are thinking of telling someone or a group of people, how do you decide who to tell?
Well, I think what one decides to disclose is different for every individual and couple. For my husband and I, this part of our life was an open book. Doing so though, often gave the open door for too much inquiry, too much advice BUT also a lot of love and support.
It’s important to think about who can truly provide you with the support that you need. You do not want to constantly spend your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy setting boundaries with people. That becomes too distracting and emotionally draining and clearly doesn’t do anything for your emotional wellbeing. As the caretaker of your wellbeing, you need to ensure that you do not let yourself become consumed with the peripheral nonsense. So think about who can:
- Truly handle this sensitive information.
- Understand boundaries when you don’t feel like talking about it.
- Support you in continuing to live your life, not letting infertility become your life.
- Encourage you as a couple to continue nurturing your relationship.
- Remind you that this situation, infertility, doesn’t define you as a person, or a couple.
- Provide the love, care and compassion that are so necessary on this journey.
So take some extra time to think about your relationships and what you need. This goes back to what I talk about throughout my website, blog and sessions – self-care! Implementing self-care, a circle of loving, caring and supportive individuals, as well as a healthy set of boundaries, will help you to maneuver through this challenging period in your life.