Home > Musings > Telling


Sorry for yet another rambling post, but my mind has been swimming lately thinking through the issues related to telling.  It’s hard to know when or how to tell people about your IVF struggles or about a loss.

When we first started doing IVF, we didn’t say anything  mainly because we didn’t want people excited for us when a cycle might not work.  We told a few friends, and I’m glad we didn’t tell more because when cycle after cycle just kept failing it became really awkward for everyone.  I think two wonderful friendships went by the wayside because of it; they’re both wonderful, caring women and I think it just became too much for them to ask and hope when I had no good news.

Telling work is another interesting problem.  In theory I have  plenty of sick leave and don’t need to say what I’m ‘sick’ with to my employer, but when it’s appointment after appointment for scans and saying I’ll be out of the office for a ‘minor medical procedure’ every couple months it gets odd.  I wound up telling my last manager in a fit of hormone-induced tears and freaking out.  There was a reason why at the time I told him (other than just hormones), like I couldn’t go away for work or something, but all I remember from it was the crying.  Come to think of it, it may have been when my last dog died suddenly of kidney cancer, I’d just had a failed cycle, and he’d spent thousands of dollars to get a consultant down to work with me on some technical issues we were having on a project I was in charge of.

I didn’t really have to tell my present manager; he saw the name on the medical certificate and knew.  Because he and his wife went through 4 cycles before his wife said IVF was just too hard and she would rather be childless.  (And then they had 4 children naturally, the bastards.)  He even told me of their loss when Blobby died.  But at that time I didn’t tell other people in the office, even the people who are quite close friends.

When we finally had a positive blood test last year (in fact tomorrow is the anniversary of it – dreading, dreading), my husband wanted to tell the entire world immediately.  I wouldn’t let him, even though my father was visiting us for a week and a half from overseas.  Our early pregnancy scan was the day after my father left, and at the scan my RE told us we shouldn’t wait and we should start telling people because everything was perfect and I definitely wouldn’t miscarry.  The arrogance.  We waited a day for my father’s various flights to get him home, then my husband emailed my family and phoned his.  The next week I had to tell work so they wouldn’t hear things second-hand; my husband was literally telling everyone, including random people in the street and people in shops.

I have no idea how people found out about our miscarriage.  I did post this on our blog at the time, but I don’t remember doing it.  Ironically the post before it was a pregnancy update; hubris.  And I don’t know how other people found out.

Since Blobby’s death I’ve been quite open about doing IVF.   I talk about it to people whose faces I know and even tweeted and fbed through my last OPU.  Unfortunately I’ve felt like I can’t admit to my 2 close friends at work how long I’ve been lying to them, but I’ve told them what I’m going through now.  At the time I just didn’t want it to ruin our friendship like it had done with 2 other friends in the past.  Them knowing hasn’t done that, and I think it’s been because I’ve been so open with them about what’s going on.  They don’t have to ask about how cycles are going and feel awkward when they hear about another BFN; they already know.  The work group next to mine has INSANELY noisy morning teas every day, so we go out and get a coffee (well, hot chocolate for me) or run an errand together or something during it.  So I tell them what’s up, where I’m at, what my hormones are doing, etc.  They’re great.  They listen to all my shit and even sometimes laugh at me to make me feel better.

When I started thinking about donor eggs, they were the first people I told.  I did it when I could see their faces and see what they thought before they could mask their thoughts.  One told me she thought it was a good idea and asked me intelligent questions.  The other told me her father wasn’t genetically her father but she never thought of it and doesn’t think it matters.  I was both relieved with how they reacted, but then thought maybe they’re being so cool about it because, well, they’re the sort of people I choose to be my friends.

Recently there’s a new guy in the office who’s really nice.  He comes with us too now, but I’ve felt awkward talking about things.  Not because I thought he’d think I’m a freak to do IVF, but I felt strange dumping him in the middle of all this ‘stuff’.  But in the end I wrote him an email – just a quick summary.  So he’d know, and so I could feel free to talk in front of him.  And make stupid phone calls from my desk to the clinic.  The next day he kept smiling at me and being extra nice; I knew he wanted to say something but didn’t know how.  That night he sent me the loveliest email.  In it he said he can’t imagine what I’m going through, but that his parents could because they were infertile and he and his sister are adopted.  He told me he’s never been curious about his genetic parents as he can’t imagine himself anyone else’s son.  It was really lovely.

I have two friends I feel especially close to on twitter; they’re my gals I visited in South Australia spontaneously a couple months ago.  I’ve been thinking of telling them about this blog so that, if they’re interested, they know a bit more about what’s going on in my head.  I’m still not sure.

I’ve been obsessing over telling a child conceived through a donor about his or her origins.  A lot.  We would definitely tell our child, but I’ve been looking through info on the Aussie Egg Donors site about telling and thinking it through.  I sometimes think I forget I’d have to do other things with the child – like teach them how to tie their shoe or toilet training.  I forget that although this is one thing I know now about this person who might not exist, it won’t be the only thing.

Telling.  Sometimes it’s hard; sometimes it’s easy.  And it’s not one decision but a different decision constantly.

Categories: Musings
  1. a
    11/10/2010 at 2:54 pm

    Under the best of circumstances, it’s hard to let people in for fear that they will use any information to hurt you. With something that’s already an emotional time bomb, it’s even more difficult. But, I think the rewards are definitely worth the risk. You can get the support you need at a time when you really need it. Good for you!

  2. thecrazycatwoman
    11/10/2010 at 5:26 pm

    It sounds like you have some really lovely people in your office. We started off not telling anyone but I’m 100% out of the closet now. I think it’s the best thing for us. I’ve just today told one real life friend about my blog, but other than her I think I’ll keep it between me and my online IVF friends.

    And telling a future child… that is a big one. I’m not surprised you’re mulling over it.

    I always love your posts even when they’re rambling, so no apologies please!


  3. Jen
    11/10/2010 at 7:22 pm

    Wow, I’m so glad you have people like that in your life. I don’t know how I would have ever made it through without the support of my friends and family. You need people to laugh with you when everything is out of whack.

    Telling your future child is a huge decision. Some people are extremely for and others against. I joined a group called PVED (Parents Via Egg Donation) that helped me make my decision to tell baby E about his origins. First I realized that lots of people knew about how he was conceived, so I could never risk letting him find out accidently. Secondly, if it is not a surprise found out later in life then it is not traumatic but rather simply part of his or her life story much like if you are adopted. There are even children’s books that address this….:)

  4. 11/10/2010 at 7:32 pm


    It is such a hard decision: deciding who to tell, who not to tell and what to tell. It helps if you live like me, Scotty No Friends – then there’s no one to tell! Then there’s the online world. That can be bit of a minefield too. The donor egg situation has it’s own set of issues in regards to the ‘telling’ (the blogosphere, friends, family, the postman….) part.

    What is it about IVF and ttc that makes us want to confess all to the universe? I am not exactly sure – but wonder if if has something to do with the need to share difficult situations and perhaps gain a little understanding and support.

    Best wishes for all of your decision making!

    LS x

  5. cw
    11/10/2010 at 7:43 pm

    It is so hard the decision to tell. I told everyone after the first fresh cycle and then the pain of reliving it every time when you had to say it didn’t work sucked royal arse so after that I only told my immediate family. I am hoping so hard that you wont need those donor eggs and your eggs will do just nicely. It is amazing sometimes when you open up and bam – they can empathise with you. Looks like you have found a nice new friend.

  6. 11/10/2010 at 9:21 pm

    The telling is hard, I’ve been open about it only with people who I think will really understand. Harder still for me is breaking any pregnancy news-I hate thinking it but always go “there’s another person I might have to give bad news to in a few weeks.” Yes, it’s true there will be lots of other life lessons to share with your little one before you get around to sharing your donor news. I will be thinking of you heaps tomorrow-I’m so sorry for the loss of Blobby and that you are reliving it all. Love you

  7. 12/10/2010 at 12:10 am

    It is great to hear that you ahve a great support network at work. We are coming out about our IF and IVF on national TV tonight and the bit that owrrie sme the most is the reaction from work people.

    As for telling your child, HopelesslyTTC and I agreedd back when we were considering sperm donors that we would tell not just the child but everyone in our lives. We wanted people to have a chance top just get used to the idea of our child being form a donor and so that by the time the child was old enough to understand there wouldn;t be anything strange in it at least with the people alreasdy in our lives.

    It is a hard decision, but you are right, there are going to be soooo many hard things to teach our children, right from wrong, love, sharing, kindness, where they come frm is just another item on the list. It sometimes seems so all encompassing to us, but there is more than this.

    I can;t wait to be reading of your decisions as a mother, not just a mother-to-be

  8. 12/10/2010 at 2:17 pm

    It sounds like you have some truly wonderful colleagues!

    I think you’re right; that telling is a constant negotiation. It’s not like telling someone you have another disease … maybe because IF is so close to our sexuality, which is also taboo? But I also think that the more we talk about it, the more it becomes a reality, the easier time those who come after us will have. You’re doing a wonderful thing!

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