Tuesday, May 15, 2012

To Tell or Not to Tell...

I know that many IP's struggle with this question.  Should we tell anyone?  Who should we tell?  How will they react?  Mike is much more reserved than me, but I am so excited by the prospect of finally becoming a mother that I want to tell everyone.  I want to scream it from the rooftops or tattoo it on my forehead.  It is so hard for me to keep this quiet.  Mike and I agreed that we wouldn't tell people until after the first trimester.  There is this HUGE thing going on in our lives and we aren't telling anyone for months.  I'm worried that some members of our family will be hurt that we did not share this with them from the beginning.  For our own sanity in these early stages, we need to keep as many people out of the loop as we can.

There are some people who won't understand why we would go to such great lengths to have a baby.  We have heard comments over the years about not taking extraordinary measures to have a baby.  Some people say that if they are not able to get pregnant on their own, they would not pursue alternative ways of having a child.  I think they feel we are foolish to spend so much time and money on becoming a family.  I understand that many people do not have the same desire for children as I have.  But those comments, spoken so flippantly by people who have not really tried to conceive and probably could without a problem, hurt.  Why is it so hard for people to see things from the other side? 

It feels like many people, whether parents or not, find it very easy to dismiss an infertile couple's desire for parenthood and the heartbreak that goes along with infertility.  But I wonder if they ever take the time to think about how they would feel if they tried for years and never had a child, or if their children never existed because of a quirk of biology.  Infertility is not at all like choosing to live life without children.  Infertility is a deep sadness that no one ever seems to discuss.  It's so deep, it's often not even an elephant in the room.  It makes people uncomfortable and the cliches people say, things like "think of what you can do with all the money you'll save" or "it just wasn't meant to be," they invalidate and belittle the the enormous empty sadness.  An infertile couple grieves.  They grieve not only the loss of children not born, but the loss of themselves as they had hoped to be, and the loss of the life they had hoped to lead.

So telling people means opening ourselves up to questions and judgements and unwanted advice.  Why do people feel like they have a right to tell us how to build our family?  Why do people ask if we have thought about some other alternative?  Why do people feel the need to tell us all about the horrible thing they heard somewhere about someone else in our situation?  Why do people seem to think we walked into this decision with no knowledge of the process and having done no research?  We fully understand all of the risks involved in what we are doing...but we are doing it anyway.  Because there is hope that at the end of this road, we'll be a family.


  1. Hi Maggie, I feel so much of what you wrote in this blog, I'm only just starting out but i think about friends and families reactions, it can be so disheartening but I'm resigned to say stuff the people that can't be pleased for us ! The positive is you guys have each another and soon u will have more, you will have a family, wishing you the very best x

  2. Maggie...you're living and breathing my infertile life! I feel everything you are saying. We don't talk to family and most friends about our 10 year infertility struggles which have led us to India as they simply can not grasp the gravity of our situation and how it has almost destroyed us for so long. Most of our relationships have broken down due to us being different. I have felt so alone and different for so long and initially waited for some magical cure which never came.
    After the pain and devastation of our surrogates miscarriage in March I decided I will not keep quite and have all those in the fertile world live their lives pretending that all is ok and we just need time to accept our childless fate. On Mothers Day this silent bystander (along with hubby of course)announced to both families that we are pregnant with twins due to arrive via surrogate in India in December. I'm not sure if they were all shocked and thinking omg they're finally going to have a baby or omg she speaks! We had many questions which some were answered to the questioners satisfaction and some weren't but you know what this is our life and it's been so quiet and lifeless for so long. This is the best thing to happen to us in a decade and this is our path we are laying for ourselves on our journey with what we have to work with. My answer to those with negative opinions is 'that's OK you feel that way I don't expect you to understand!' Just remember that you are stronger than you think you are and together you and Mike can and will conquer this curse called infertility because you know what the power of love and hope can bring!!! Goodluck

  3. If you tattoo it on your forehead will you please post a photo? :)
    This is such a personal issue and you should be 100% selfish in your decisions. It's your life!
    We were surprised to find every single person supportive - including some deeply religious folks we assumed would think it was wrong for two guys to start a family. It has really opened my eyes.
    Good luck to you-

  4. As a single person engaging the use of a surrogate overseas, I too really didn't know what to do about telling people. I road-tested the idea on two straight-talking mothers to gauge reactions before deciding whether to proceed with surrogacy and was genuinely surprised at their unreserved 'go for it' responses. Once everything was under way, I held off telling family and a few very close friends until the end of the first trimester. I laugh now at the trepidation and fear of telling people (and telling them at that stage) because the responses have always been at least warm but usually thrilled and always shocked. With the third trimester fast approaching I'm telling a few more people. Reactions remain positive yet my silly trepidation is still there each time. Common advice being received is to name the child after the person I've just told! There is also interest/fascination in the process.

    You've got some great news to share with those you love and know. They'll understand about the timing when they get over the initial excitement. (They might even appreciate the timing and not having to share the worry of first trimester uncertainties.) Enjoy! :)