Foot in Mouth Disease


Not a lot of people know about our situation (read: almost no one except our immediate family), so there aren’t a lot of chances that people will ask us why we don’t just adopt. In fact I’ve actually never been asked, until now; and it was especially sucky because it was my mom who asked. My mom has a way of saying things that are sort of rude, without necessarily realising it, or putting her foot in her mouth without meaning to (I inherited this unbecoming trait from her, unfortunately).

She called me Saturday to confirm our plans for Mother’s day, and we got chatting about other things, such as my friend’s bridal shower/stagette. The maid of honor for said friend just recently got a boob job and my mom remarked how good she looked in a picture on Facebook, of her and her little 6 month old daughter. I agreed, and told my mom that she gets dirty looks all of the time because she has a slammin’ body and a young baby.

Now, I have to give you a little back story on the maid of honor for this all to make sense. The baby is adopted and this woman went through all forms of IF treatment, and hell, over several years before turning to adoption. She went to Mexico and did IVF, had OHSS but got a shitload of eggs, one successful embryo implanted but ended up as an ectopic. She had to have emergency surgery back home when they realised it was implanted in her tube (didn’t lose her tube but at that point she didn’t care), then proceeded to go back to Mexico for a hail mary where she put in all the rest of her frozen embabies (I don’t remember how many there were but looking back it was way more than is safe). None of them took. They then applied for adoption, and from the time they applied to the time they got their baby (brand new, as in they were at the hospital when she was born) was 14 months. A blink of an eye in adoption time frames.

I don’t think my mom knows the full detail of this back story, but the gist of it at least. She does know the baby is adopted (and the reason they chose adoption) and how seemingly quickly and easily it happened for them. When I told my mom about the jealous looks maid of honor gets, my mom replied with “Oh yeah, I always forget their baby is adopted”. The next thing she said was where things got dicey;

Mom: They got a nice white baby. Would you guys do that [adoption]?

Me (rather sharply): No! (In my head WTF! My mom is not racist, per se but I think in her mind if we were to adopt we would want a baby that looks like us. Also I’m not against adoption, but want to exhaust other options first).

Mom: Well, are you guys still trying?

Me: Yes. Well, not at the moment.

Mom: Oh, ok but no giving up?

Me: Um, no.

She then proceeded to tell me that people ask her all the time when we are having kids and she just tells them oh, I don’t know. My grandma apparently also asks a lot, which breaks my heart because I want her to meet our future baby(ies). She has early onset dementia and she is already very forgetful and repetitive, it is hard to watch happen. The way my mom was talking, it was almost like she felt bad for herself that she had to answer to my lack of children and it pissed me off. She is always very sneaky too, in the way that she tries to ask about our TTC situation, just casually slipping it into conversation because she knows I don’t want to talk about it. Cue awkward segue into next topic…

After this encounter I was upset, but at the same time it made me want to explain to her what is going on, and what she should and shouldn’t be saying to me. It’s partially my fault because I keep her in the dark. My mom and I are practically polar opposites so it is hard for me to talk to her. Then I started thinking maybe I should send her an email, putting it all out there, that way I can gather my thoughts, say exactly what I want to say without getting emotional or interrupted. In my head that seems really callous, to do it by email but I am seriously thinking it might be the best way.

But then today I’ve been thinking, I still don’t really want to tell her anything. I don’t want to tell her (or anyone else for that matter) when we are having IVF just because then there is that expectation afterwards of…so did it work? I fear J may have already told his parents when we are planning for IVF, and then we are sort of forced to tell them because they would be waiting with bated breath. I’d rather just speak to everyone in vague terms, so no one can get up in my business about the actual goings on of our process. Again, it’s all very complicated.

This got me thinking, if I drafted a “letter” to my mom, that I might be brave enough to send a private message to my Facebook friends (those whom I care to tell). Again, it seems impersonal using social media, but that way I can tell a lot of people at once, say exactly what I want to say, provide them with information, and resources of how to help (and what not to do). Then I’d just be done with it. I would still probably keep it pretty vague on the treatment side of things, but just to have it out there would feel like a burden lifted (I would hope, more than it would create more issues).

I know I can’t count on everyone to be understanding, empathetic or even to get it, but I’m getting closer to the point where I am thinking about sharing. Anyone out there have any insight for me; how did you “come out” to your friends and family? At what point in your struggle did you tell them (if not right from the beginning when you first started TTC)? Do you regret it, or feel relieved by it? I know overall it is a personal choice, different for everyone but I need outside input!

30 thoughts on “Foot in Mouth Disease

  1. Do it! I started slowly telling people and then I stared blog and made it public speaking vaguely. Now I tend to just say it all matter of fact because I feel free doing so.

  2. I have had ZERO luck with my own mother. My mother in law is OK but I know she relays way too much to her friends. My mom was supportive at first, but she thinks we will miraculously conceive without medical intervention. Now that we are considering IVF she has stopped all support. It sucks. I just keep reminding myself that my husband is my ultimate support. As for friends, I am open on Facebook in the sense that I will post infertility-related articles every now and again. People know we are doing treatments, but that’s about it.

    • Yeah I 100% would not have wanted to tell my mother in law, not now, not ever, but unfortunately my husband is quite open with his mom and I didn’t really feel right asking him not to tell her. But I wish he hadn’t. I know my mom will try to be understanding and supportive, but she couldn’t possibly understand, plus there’s the whole foot in mouth problem that she’ll probably say something to offend me. I have put a few vague things on Facebook, not outright IF related, but stuff about not asking people when they’re having kids, ect. If someone where to read between the lines, it would be fairly apparent we are struggling. But none of our friends know about our treatment.

  3. As I fellow only child, I know the sole pressure of being the one to produce a grandchild! It really sucks. I haven’t told my parents any of our TTC intentions as I want to be able to surprise them if it ever happens. I feel that IF has taken so much from me, that’s the last straw I’m grasping. I just also know they’d get way too hopefu. My mom would knit an entire wardrobe of sweaters hats and blankets and my dad would have a tree fort built by the time we called to report another failed transfer. I feel that I can’t subject anyone else to this horrible emotional roller coaster. NB my mother is completely tactless, when my friend practically conceived on her honeymoon my mother asked if she had to “do anything” (I.e. Fertility treatments) to get pregnant, and she would totally include the comment about adopting a white baby

    • Ack, the only child pressure is so much! I also really don’t want my mom to worry about me (which she will whether I fill her in or not). I wish she didn’t know anything at all, but it accidentally got out to her when we had been TTC for about 9 months, and when she asked, I admitted to it. I think my mom will be unsure how to behave if I give her the full scoop, but I’m sure some inappropriateness will ensue. Plus, I think my mom would be similar to your parents in thinking that if we do IVF it will just work, because why wouldn’t it. I am bad at explaining technical things, and I don’t usually have the patience to try, so it may just be a lost cause…Sometimes my husband doesn’t even understand what exactly the process is, and he is in the thick of it. How will my mother?

  4. Oh my friend, I know this part of the struggle all too well. I kept everything to myself until very recently. I sort of “came out” on facebook during National Infertility Awareness Week. (end of April or so) I received several “likes” and “shares” but ZERO comments. I think many of my friends and family are afraid to ask, maybe afraid to say the “wrong thing”. I say sort of because none of my posts were personal. They were all generic stats on IF or memes about hormones, I think I added some humor in there too. My advice is take is slow. (I will refrain from saying “baby steps” here…) Just a little info at a time. I think not making it personal was very helpful. I also post about the RESOLVE website and when I become a support group leader, I will share info about that. The most important part is to speak up!! Do not be afraid to tell your loved ones how you feel. if they say something that hurts, tell them! You are the only one that knows how you feel! Good luck, virtual hugs and good thoughts out to you!

    • Yeah, if I’m going to say something, I am going to do it slightly more privately than on my Facebook wall because I don’t feel everyone I have on Facebook deserves to know, but it is a good medium to share information. I think it is a slipperly slope, once I tell someone, or give a little bit of information it will be a leak that turns into a flood. Which might be ok, when I am ready for it.

  5. I say go for it! But no matter what, you will still have those people who say the wrong things or maybe even right things at the wrong time. Just try to give them grace. I also seem to have the inherit problem of sticking my foot in my mouth to other people about other topics and I know they MUST be giving me grace because they still cordially speak to me. LOL! The thing that has helped me is my blog and sharing it on my facebook page. I am extremely transparent so I don’t think they have a chance to wonder what I am thinking in order to avoid what to say or not say. Good luck girlie!! If anything, a burden will be lifted off your shoulders 🙂

  6. I didn’t tell anyone until we started IVF. I felt at that point like I really needed support and love from those close to me. I shared my blog address with those closest to me, and as I trust more people in my life, I pass the website onto them as well. It’s tough to share something so personal, but I’m so happy I did. The love and support I’ve received is unimaginable.

    • And that’s totally where I am at. Facing down IVF, and wondering how I am going to keep that from my friends and family without having a mental breakdown, question is will they be a help or a hindrance?

      • It was tough to know who to tell, but looking back, I’m soooo happy I was open with those who know me best and see me on a daily basis. Their support was awesome, and since they knew everything, I never had to fake how I was feeling. Tough decision though.

  7. I’ve told a few people, both close friends and a few distant friends, that we’ve had miscarriages and are having trouble. Only a couple of them pointedly ask me about it (pretty much just the couple that I’ve allowed read my blog). I’m glad nobody asks because I don’t want to share my struggles or our feelings–yet. XO

  8. I’m very open about our journey. I might be a little too open about it,actually, but I do find that kindred spirits come out of the woodwork when they find out about my issues. It’s great to have that support.

    • Yes, I could see that being a benefit. I did meet someone locally through my blog. Out of the millions of people out on the interwebs and we managed to find eachother, so I know there are more people out there and probably more easily accessible to me. Case and point, the maid of honor in my story. When she was telling me what she went through, I so badly wanted to tell her I am going through the same thing, but just couldn’t do it.

  9. We waited years before telling anyone that we were struggling with IF, and then when we started doing treatment about six months ago we told our immediate family (parents and siblings). I don’t regret telling my family most days because it’s a weight lifted off my shoulders that I’m not keeping something from them. But I also kind of hate having people knowing when we’ve done a procedure and anxiously awaiting the results. Once I started my blog and found this whole wonderful IF community something strange happened and I’ve come out of the closet in a big way (not facebook official or anything though) but now if it comes up in conversation with close friends I’ll sometimes mention it. With only a few exceptions I have had nothing but positive responses and support from those I’ve shared with. I don’t regret it at all. BUT it’s a tough decision, and especially when things don’t go as planned it can be wearisome to have to share bad news with the family.

  10. Operation baby

    I told my family very slowly as we didn’t want anyone to know we were even trying. I am very lucky in that my family is very supportive, my husbands not so much, but we get by. I find that being honest is the best way forward otherwise I just get hurt. If I don’t want them to ask, I say so and tell them that I will tell them when I am ready. If and when I am ready to tell them what stage we are at with treatment and results of blood tests and that I usually do it by facebook message just because it is easier for me to type it then to say it, they are yet to complain about my methods. It’s a really hard situation to be in, for many reasons, but you just need to do what is right for you, whatever that may be. Good luck, hope you have some good news to tell them soon 🙂 D xx

    • Yeah, if no one even knew we were trying, then I wouldn’t say a word but unfortunately they do. I would have liked it to stay under wraps, but at least the fact that our immediate family knows we are struggling with infertility they don’t hassle us about having kids anymore. That thought alone, that I wish they didn’t know anything at all, makes me think I should probably just keep the rest of it to myself. Only problem is my husband shares when I don’t want him to…Thanks for your thoughts!

  11. I totally understand your hesitance to tell people and especially not on a Facebook wall. I also totally get your desire not to feel forced to report results of treatment. We (or I) made the HUGE mistake of telling our friends and family that we had started trying early on. So then when we hit infertility and started treatment it felt like we were the couple that everyone was talking about and pitying behind our back. Mothers are really tough because they don’t get it no matter what you say. It’s more exhausting trying to explain that you don’t find out on the day of the procedure if it worked. It’s not that I don’t think having support is important because that as been a lifeline at times but it still has it’s pros and cons. We shared our struggles slowly like many here with a wider circle with each month’s failure. Now my business is so public that my entire staff knows we are going through infertility hell. A woman from the office next door brought in some leftover injectables and progesterone suppositories for me. There are some perks to everyone knowing your business. But I thought I cannot believe I have vaginal suppositories just stacked on my desk at work and no one is remotely moved. I digress but to answer your question…I regret the majority of how we handled it. I’m relieved that more people know because the annoying anecdotals have certainly decreased as more months go by. But it is also lonely, we don’t get invited to things because people fear that I’m going to cry about their perfect life. I think you will know what’s right for you and DH. I was so clueless and thought we would get pregnant right away, if only I had known what we were getting ourselves into. Good luck and thank you for sharing your story.

    • Yeah, me being a very private person in the first place I didn’ tell a soul when we started TTC (except my best friend). I think some people have lost interest in asking me when I am having kids, like a lot of my extended family, because I’ve been married for 4 years now, so they obviously see I am in no rush (or so they think, I guess). I do sometimes wish I had more support, but I don’t think my mom would provide the best support. I am glad to have this blog, I have met someone in my city that goes to the same clinic so we’ve kept in touch, and I am going to see a therapist next month. I prefer to create my own network with a few strong supports, than let everyone in, I guess. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  12. I was going through almost exactly the same thing! No one has known about our TTC or our infertility. I wanted to tell my parents, but I was afraid of their reaction (due to their religion) and didn’t want anyone else to get excited about our treatments or bug me about whether or not they worked (it’s hard enough, ya know?). I was struggling with writing them an email to tell them and sat down a couple of times to write a draft, but it just didn’t feel right. Then, my mom happened to call right after I got the news that IVF was our only option and thinking it was my husband on the phone I answered it. She could tell I was upset so I just spilled the beans. I was surprised by how supportive she was and while she said a few insensitive things here and there, I am so glad I told her everything because now I can actually address the insensitive stuff! Good luck in making your decision about whether or not you will spill the beans too and btw, I don’t think an email is too impersonal or anything – it’s a personal matter with a lot of details involved and that may be the best way for you to do it.

    • Funny enough, I just finished reading your post where you talked about telling your mom! I think if I do it, it is going to have to be by email so I don’t get over emotional, or annoyed and I can give her information and time to absorb it all. Right now I have sort of backed off the idea of telling but we’ll see. I waffle about it a lot.

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