Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Stepping further out the closet

This weekend the husband makes the long trip up north on the train, no doubt slipping into a kilt and cracking open a can of special brew as he crosses the boarder. He's off to visit his parents. I can't join him, so for the first time in about 10 years he is going to have the pleasure of hanging out with them without me loitering in the corner.

Naturally they are gutted (I am a fantastic daughter-in-law) but, as a second best, their eldest son will just about fill the Liz-type hole.

Who I am kidding? There is only one person they would rather see than the husband - but unfortunately their grandchild has yet to be conceived. Unless his younger brother has news ...

The Husband's family are the last significant group who don't know about our efforts to conceive. And over on Fertility Authority you can read all about how I want to talk to them but just can't find the words. (Or if nothing else go and have a look at the picture of the supposed in-laws they've chosen, couldn't be further from the truth!)

I wanted to tell them about our infertility but have finally come to the conclusion that I can't. So hopefully without me fretting the husband will be able to tell them in a calm, unemotional way exactly what is going on.

And then, no doubt, I'll be assailed by crystals, auspicious conception dates and the phone numbers of healers.

Fuck it. If nothing else it should make this blog a bit more interesting!

So tell me, over there or here; have you told your parents and in-laws? Do you regret it, or is it good to be out in the open?


  1. At risk of not making any sense, you will (I did) regret it, but you will (I did) find it great to be out in the open.

    It will bring it's own irritations, but you will feel a weight off.

  2. My parents know but my husband's parents don't. Like you, I've never been able to find a way to tell them (and neither has my husband). They have three other children, all with children of their own, and so the pressure is off us somewhat. I left it up to my husband. I told him that I don't mind them knowing but that he should be the one to break it to them. His response: "I'd rather wait until we have happy news to tell them." Hmmmmm. They're waiting a long, long time.

    Good luck with it. Bet your ears will burn all weekend long:)

  3. I told my parents, and he told his. I felt relieved, it was great to have it out in the open, but it's hard to say whether it's been a good or bad thing. I got pregnant 1 month after telling them then miscarried I don't know if it's a good thing or not. it's just all effed up.

    Best of luck.

  4. My whole entire family knows, even distant relatives, because the people we told told the people we didn't tell because they have big mouths. (I love them, I do!) In that respect, I regret that everyone knew our IF business, but mostly I don't. It was really nice to have their full support during all the ups and downs. They were there for us through thick and thin, and it was more good than not-so-good.

    I don't advocate sharing your blog, though. That's one thing I regret across the board (I don't feel comfortable talking about several things family members just don't need to know). It's especially true because it's been passed along through the family (see big mouths explained above).

    You'll know when it's right.

  5. My family knew from the start (2 years ago) because they kept making crass comments about "when are you going to have kids?" - I found the fact that they knew less painful and easier to handle than those careless comments.

    We told his parents a couple of weeks ago, when we were in the middle of our first ICSI round - I haven't yet had the guts to tell them it didn't work. That's the problem - you then have to keep them in the loop and that's as difficult as telling them the first time all over again.

    So generally I think it's easier to tell them than having to put up with the crass comments, but keeping them in the loop is just as emotionally challenging.

  6. We did not tell anyone in our family basically because of my mother. She is incapable of keeping her mouth shut about anything, and I really didn't want the whole world knowing about it. Then, because I know she would be incredibly hurt if she found out somehow from someone else, we couldn't really tell anyone. (at least in the family).

    I'm since very glad that we did that, because my brother and his wife are currently having troubles, and she will not shut up about it. If I were the one she was talking about, I would seriously be considering an estrangement.

    I really think that it depends on the family members involved. If things were different, we probably would have told, because neither of my husband or I are incredibly secretive people.

  7. I told my parents when we had been trying for about six months, and they both managed to say well-meaning but extremely hurtful things. So since then it's been don't ask, don't tell, as we like to do in the US of A. I left the telling of my in-laws up to my husband and so far he's opted not to. I guess I'm still hoping we'll get pregnant and they won't need to know how. I'm hoping your in-laws will be relived and eager to be supportive. And not just with crystals. Hope it goes well!

  8. Very few people know. As far as family, only my immediate family, mom & dad, sis & BIL and my brother know.** We never told anyone in DH's family.
    Having said that, we did a round of IVF when we went home to my home country, and even though I specifically asked my mom not to tell anyone, she told 2 of my aunts! Of course the IVF didn't work, so now I have no idea who else knows!
    We are doing IVF again, but this time, only my sis and BIL knows. It's too stressful not knowing who of my other nosey relatives know!

  9. Funny you should ask. I just blogged about my experience telling the in-laws about our IF treatments.


    I haven't told my parents yet due to the combination that I don't know how and they are on vacation, and I'm still holding on to hope that our IUI worked.

    I hope that it goes well with your in-laws!

  10. My in-laws are from a culture that expects you to have babies RIGHT AWAY. And these are not shy people. I had complete strangers asking me about my pregnancy plans at our engagement party, for heaven's sake. So we told the in-laws. I'm never asked, "When are you going to try for a baby?" anymore, and when the topic does come up, it's only mentioned in a way that provides encouragement. And my intuition turned out to be wonderfully wrong in one regard - no mention of auspicious dates or herbal treatments, or at least not in English!

  11. I told my parents, I've never regretted telling them. My Mom is a huge support but I talk to her every day so she knew after the first few months.

    I told my MIL and regret it 100%. She's a dirty $%*#$.

    I told my step-MIL and FIL and have never regretted them knowing. But we don't talk to them much and I don't get much support from them, but I don't mind them knowing either.

    Lots of luck!!!

  12. Oh God - sorry I laughed so loud I nearly got coffee up my nose (I blame you for that by the way). R
    eally - I'm not being insensitive though, but I think your inlaws went to the same school of thought as my inlaws: mention any health related issue and the home-made remedies and special healing stones would be brought forth (and thankfully the only thing they didn't mention to me when we were ttc #1 was seeing a chiropractor ... the thing that actually "fixed" me 'cause if they'd suggest that I'm sure I'd still be hearing about it).
    As it was, they were determined that I should sleep outside in the moonlight for a few months.
    To give my inlaws credit though - they Never Once Asked why we didn't have kids yet (their daugthers did though, repeatedly). Despite the phone numbers for naturopaths and other guff, they were really quite sweet about the whole thing.
    So I hope your inlaws manage to be supportive too.

  13. We have told the parents and the in-laws. Parents had to know because I work with my Mom so she sees me pretty much day-in and day-out, kinda hard to keep that secret...especially with all the doctor visits.

    We told the in-laws a while back (well, I told my MIL and I'm sure she told my FIL, I'm not privy to what hubby and FIL discuss). It was a God-send. They actually defend us against the grandparents and all their "when are you gonna make me a great-grandma?!" that is less than tactful. And now, my MIL asks me things that let me know she is researching. The other day she asked me if I drank soy milk. I said no and she said, "good, because I read that can hamper infertility." So for us, it was a great decision.

  14. Our family knew about our first miscarriage, so they also knew we were trying again. It took about a year and a half to get pregnant again. Everyone knew about that miscarriage too. For a while it was nice to have the support, but I started to hate all the questions when things were taking a long time. After a while they stopped asking. Then I wasn't sure which was worse. I don't really regret telling the family. The co-workers on the other hand... I definately agree with babyattheend about not sharing your blog with them. That has been hard and I had to go private on some posts just to keep, well, a little bit of privacy! I think sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. Best of luck to your husband.

  15. My parents as well as my in-laws knows about our IF problems. In fact,I dint want to tell my in-laws, but as we are in joint family (staying with in-laws), there is no other go.Every month my MIL asks whats happening and its really annoying. Two months back I took some courage and told her that I am not comfortable in discussing these things with her. I have not shared my blog even with my friends. So its better not to share. And leave it your husband if he wants to share.

  16. I have told my mum, who (i'm sure) has told my dad, that we are having tests/ medications etc. At least it stopped the "you're not getting any younger you know" comments. (Yes she actually said that!)

    Since I had a fairly traumatic ruptured ectopic, I suppose it was quite expected that we would have some problems. But when I started discussing it with family I was amazed to find how supportive my siblings and siblings-in-law were (and how many of them had also had issues- including miscarriages-that they never discussed before).

    On the down side it did increase the "just relax" and "do you know what worked for Zoe Ball?" type comments. But I guess the dirty looks they got must have worked because they definately tailed off!

    Good luck with whatever you decide :)

  17. Hrmm, tried to comment on the Fertility Authority, but it spat my pearls of wisdom out.

    Just wanted to say, sounds like you are doing the right thing, since your in-laws are lovely. Sure, there may be some crystals coming through the post, but they can't hurt. Some patience and education may be required, too, but you know, they may surprise you.

  18. My parents know but I now regret that they know so much. The in-laws don't know (as far as I am aware) and I don' want them to know. My MIL has, in the past, shared her views on IVF - she doesn't agree with it so I think it is best that she doesn't know.

  19. I guess going in the National newspaper forced your hand somewhat, Xbox

    I wanted to wait until good news too, Adele, but it is just taking too long.

    Sounds like there isn’t an answer, Al

    No, certainly won’t be letting them know about the blog, Baby at the end, some things are sacred / too embarrassing.

    Yes Shelia, the wider circle of people we have to tell bad news to, the harder it gets. Still hopefully the husband can handle those phone calls.

    Sounds like you had a lucky escape there, Nixy.

    Bunny, I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know that there is a reason for us not having kids yet, I’m also sure there will be an element of the well-meaning but hurtful!

    Of course she did, Baby on Mind, because aunts don’t count as ‘other people’, do they?

    Ahh yes, Pregnant Yuppy, good post – tough response. Fingers corssed the IUI worked out, your nearly at the end of the two week wait.

    Yeah, finch, what are they saying behind your back?! But good that they confounded your expectations.

    Sounds like you win some, you loose some, JC

    You got to love crazy in-laws, Corymbia, bless them.

    Sounds all good Nikus

    No, Lea, definately won’t share my blog with the in-laws.

    After you told your Mother in law to stop asking =, did it help? Journey of My Life.

    Oh Ru, Don’t get me started on Zoe Ball and her “we just stopped drinking” cure

    Cheers Twangy, I am quite intrigued about what will be coming in the post over the next few weeks!

    Yeah, sounds like you shouldn’t go there Secret D

  20. I told my parents and my DH told his after it had been more than a year and we were scheduling surgery for me. My mother has been really supportive and good about not asking questions unless I tell her information.

    DH basically told his dad by saying that we might be having a surgery coming up in the next year that we may need help with. His dad said "is it to help with pregnancy?...oh, I shouldn't ask that." So, we realized that they already had figured it out. Mostly, my DH's sister has fielded all the comments from them, so that's been good.

    I'm glad they know at this point. I wouldn't have wanted to tell them earlier. We're very lucky that they're all supportive and not intrusive, but I am just really a private person.

  21. Just about everyone knows about our fertility issues. Some days I'm happy about that and others, I'm not. Telling our families means we don't get the "when are you having babies" questions, but having them know means they know pretty intimate details of whats going on in our relationship and thats hard too.

    I always need some time to myself (and with my husband) when we get bad news, whether it be a bfn, or worse, news from the dr. that a miscarriage is inevitable. I feel smothered by family and friends that know whats going on in times like these but appreciate that they don't throw the "just relax and you'll get pregnant" or "stress can cause miscarriages, you know, so take it easy" comments around. Also, my mom (while a great woman...) always says the wrong things to comfort me.

    Anyways, this is just a long way of saying there's no good medium on this one for me. There are pros and cons to both sides.

    Good luck with your in-laws ... hoping they are understanding and supportive of what you guys are going through.

  22. We have not yet come out of the closet so to speak. We just aren't ready.

  23. I have no idea what to say as I wouldn't know what I was talking about. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised by people's response.

  24. We did tell DH's family, but I will say it would have been MUCH more successful if we had ALSO told them what we did & didn't want. For example, we don't want them calling and saying "How ARE you..." with concerned tones. We don't want them sharing random stories about so-and-so who got pregnant by visualizing horses every night. Things went much more smoothly once we sent them a few resources to do their own research. Good luck!

  25. My mom and sister knows some, but not all of the struggle. I'll be damed before telling the MIL. She already says hurtful and not-so-well-intended things. Honestly, the biggest fear for me is that she'd make us a part of her weekly prayer request to the mega church. Not that I mind strangers knowing, but I like to be in control of the discussion of our naughty bits.

  26. Sounds like the perfect solution Rebecca, and as you say if they have already guessed it is probably easier for them with it out in the open.

    How intrusive do they get LT? I’m envisaging them shoving you towards the bedroom, tapping their calendar and telling you to go have sex …

    And I think that is an important point April, I feel ready (I think), but each to their own.

    When has that ever stopped you before Mick? ☺ (See you make me do emoticons).

    That is a great point Gracie, I’ve told the husband to tell his parents that I don’t like talking about it (not ture as this blog illustrates, but otherwise they’d be calling every day).

    Yeah, Misfits, I think being the subject of a mass pray-off, whilst comforting to some, would be my worst nightmare.

  27. We came out to some family once we knew we would likely be facing into treatments, actually.

  28. We were more than open about it... well we were more than open about the female factor side of it. My parents knew because I was only 19 when my doctor told me (wrongly, I found out after a few more tests) that I'd never have kids and mum was the first person I went to. We told the in-laws after we got engaged, we didn't know we also had male factor back then so it felt just lovely to be telling them that the grandkids they desperately wanted wouldn't be coming for years, if at all.

    Mum, bless her, fielded all the family questions about us having kids after we got married by telling them that I was (this is a direct quote according to my sister) "a bit busted inside" and that kids might not be forthcoming.

    We were pretty lucky though, most or our family were supportive and apart from a slightly weird offer from my alcholic smoker aunt to be our surrogate if ever needed, most people let us know they were there if we needed them and let us come to them with more info etc.

    It was actually worse when we had an actual plan for IVF and could tell the mums that we were on the waiting list and expected to start round one by x date... my mum started talking about needing exact dates so she could book flights to see the baby 9 months after and hubbys mum started stockpiling baby clothes... so not fun.

    I am glad we were open and I'm glad that generally I chose not to share too many details about our doctors visits, treatments etc, it's hard enough being dissapointed in a result wihtout having to dissapoint others as well.

  29. I wrote about my experience as my last FA blog post last year and nothing has changed since then. It is such a personal choice and I know that for me (based on past personal experience) that my family would not be able to support me in the way that I need them to (or maybe not at all). You just have to trust your gut.


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