Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Elephant In the Room...

During this 2 year long journey from TTC to infertility I have told a couple people here and there about our quest. Only a couple very close friends know, most recently I grudgingly told my co-worker who is the Benefits Administrator in my department since I needed her to help out with my IF coverage. It isn't that I'm hiding it, or ashamed of it, I just have never felt the need to share this very private issue with the world...

Hmm...I kind of do share it with the world don't I? Let me rephrase that. I have never felt the need to share this with real live people I see and talk to every day in my world. People I mostly likely will never meet on the internet do not count! Yes, I see the irony in this statement. I can share this with hundereds of complete strangers but not my own mother. Crazy, yes. I know, but you don't know my mother.

Two years of TTC and a year of IF treatments and I've haven't even given her a hint about what is going on. Really, I probably should have told her in the very beginning, or when the first inkling of a problem began to form in my mind. Now that we've hit the two year mark I feel like we've gone too far. Like it is too late to tell her. Too big of a secret. I usually tell my mom everything, but in the beginning this was just for Rob and I. As time progressed I didn't share because she had enough on her plate and I didn't want to stress her with my fears about not being able to get pregnant. Now, I'm afraid she will feel like I've been hiding this huge thing from her, it is the elephant in the room.

I go over to dinner to her house almost every Tuesday when Rob is wrestling. For the past couple Tuesdays I have sat on the bar stool in the kitchen that I grew up in while she cooks dinner,

"Mom, there is something I need to tell you."

That is all it would take. Just those words. They are literally on the tip of my tongue. I just cannot seem to coax them out of my mouth. What if she is upset? We've gone through drugs, treatments, procedures, doctors visits...all without confiding in her. What if she is disapproving of our treatment? Not that it is her decision, but my mother is an extremely opinionated person who is very quick to judge on medical issues.

"It took me 20 years to get pregnant"
"It will happen when the time is right"
"What is your rush?"
"You don't have the money for this"
"You need a second opinion"
"You should not be taking fertility drugs"
"How do you know what this is doing to your body"
"The US health system is so corrupt, they're just trying to get all your money"
"Maybe your body is trying to tell you this isn't the right time"

I want to tell her. I do. But I also don't need any of those reactions right now, even with the chance she would be completely supportive and accepting of our choices. I just can't take the risk, for my sanity. So there I sit, every week, biting my tongue and talking about weather, work, and whatever else, trying to act like everything is normal and everything is fine while the elephant stands in the corner...waiting to be introduced.

"If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. "
-Kahil Gibran


Marcy said...

Is your mom the type of person who would be able to withhold those judgments if you preceded your confession with "Mom, I need to tell you something and I need you not to respond (unless it's positively?). It's just something I'm wanting to share with you right now."?

liina said...

I live with my mother and I haven't told her anything...

Anonymous said...

I totally get how you feel. I haven't been trying and keeping secrets for as long as you have, but I hadn't told my mom and I usually tell her EVERYTHING. I wanted to announce a pregnancy, not that we decided to try, not that it's not happening quickly, not that I might have to persue IF treatments, etc. Well, after 8 unsuccessful cycles, I decided to have that big talk with Mom that you've been dreading. She said things exactly like what you don't want to hear from your mom. The first thing she said was, "Don't worry, I can wait for you to get pregnant." I think she thought I was apologizing to her for not giving her a grandchild yet moreso than me telling her how scared I am that I won't be able to get pregnant at all, EVER. It hurt. I really wanted her support, but instead she seemed very nonchalant and unconcerned. Since then she has announced 2 pregnancies to me. She could tell those announcements got to me and told me to "be nice about it & be happy for them. Your time will come." Yeah... thanks. Anyhow... if you're scared that your mom might react like that and you don't want to deal with it, I'd say leave the elephant in the corner and introduce him some other time... JMO after what I've been through.

Who Needs Patience? said...

WOW, I feel like I could have written this post. I feel the exact same way. It has been on the tip of my tongue so many times, and then I chicken out.

Most of the time my mom doesn't really think before she speaks. She means well, but I think I am terrified of what she might say.

I feel your pain! Good luck if you do decide to break the silence!

Tracey said...

Bev, I was in your exact situation. I went through IF treatment for almost three years without telling friends or my family. My mom would have had SO much to say and I just didn't want to have to deal with family stress on top of all my other stress. You do what is best for you and Rob. You will tell your mom when you're ready--just follow your heart and your gut!

Ams8099 said...

I understand how you feel! I have told my mom about our issues and it helped (me)a little. But yet at the same time I wish I hadn't.

It is so much easier to write things than to say things. I think that is why we are able to tell internet strangers about our IF issues.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to get pregnant for a year and have kept everything to myself. I have opened up to a few close friends but like you couldn't tell my mother. I told myself if I had to go see a RE specialist I would call her. Well I made the call last week and I am so glad I did. I have a good relationship with my mom but my main reason for not telling her is that I didn't want to burden her w/ my problems.. I knew she would worry. We have been married almost 2 years and I know she has been dying to ask me when we're having children. I thought I could keep it together but when I called I immediately broke down in tears.. When I told her she was so supportive and wanted to know why I didn't come to her sooner. I have to tell you it was just what I needed and it made my whole stress level come down. I am really happy with my decision to tell her. I don't know your relationship w/ your mom but I think you would feel alot better if you told her. It makes a huge difference. Just my opinion. :-)

Bev said...

My mom has never been the type to withhold anything she was thinking. I love her but she is opinionated as they get. I know she would support us but I also know she would constantly giver he .2 cents on it and may get offended if we don't see eye to eye. :: sigh :: I want to tell her I realy do. I'm just on the fence...

ck2m said...

I sort know what you are feeling. I haven't told my mom about my miscarriage. At first it was because I didn't want her to worry, then it didn't seem right with my sister having a baby so soon and now it just seems to late. I think when the time is right you will tell her what you have been through, even if it isn't for a couple years.

Adriana said...

I, too, feel like I could have written your post (or at least certain parts of it). Just last night, I visited my parents (without my husband), and I was sitting on the stool talking to my mom as she cooked dinner. And I so wanted to tell her, but couldn't. In my case, I am not worried about judgment on my mom's part, or about any harsh comments she might make that could hurt me. I think I don't tell her because I feel that I am preventing her from pain. I know she and my dad are SO ready and eager to become grandparents. They are not the type to keep asking me and my DH about it, but I know deep down they are wondering what is going on (why no grandbabies yet). My mom is undergoing treatment for an illness right now, and I had alluded many months ago to the idea that I would probably be pregnant while she is undergoing this treatment. So she knew that I had intentions of getting pregnant. I feel like I might have given her hope, and now (11 months later), there is nothing to show for it still. So yes, it is awkward, and I think she probably feels it too, but is too polite to ask me anything because she doesn't want to intrude.
I think I am also afraid of what might happen on my end if I do tell my mom - I think I've been very stoic about this whole journey (it's my defense mechanism for preventing myself from acknowledging the fear and pain), and I fear that the moment I tell my mother, I will just break down. And I'm afraid to be that vulnerable, and to face the reality of what is going on.
So I can totally relate to "the elephant in the room" whenever I hang out around my mom lately. Maybe I'll let down my guard and be able to introduce her to my mom soon.
Anyway, thanks for your posts - it's been helpful to have someone to relate to on this journey. :)

Queenie. . . said...

I haven't told my mother, either. I just need this to be, well, MINE. My mother will also have thoughts and opinions about this. But whether we end up successfully having our own children or have to pursue some other route, I need this journey to be what I need it to be, and I need to process it my own way. I don't want to be saddled with anyone else's expectations or limitations on this topic, since people vary so wildly about what they consider "right" when it comes to having kids.

I think that's why we can talk about it here, but not with "real" people--all you get here is support, and it's easy to blow off the people that aren't supportive, because you don't know them and probably don't care about their opinions much (unlike contrary opinions of family).

Oddly for me, my husband chose to tell HIS mother. He's told her that I don't want to talk about it, yet she keeps alluding to it with me. I keep pretending I don't know what she is talking about and changing the subject. My MIL is so strongly opinionated and so devoted to her family that she has a way of invading in the name of "help", and I need to know I'm listening to my own heart on this. Plus, it was much easier for me to deal with the m/c by not having to talk about it, so I was very glad no one knew.

But in the end, you have to listen to your own heart. Whether you tell your own mom comes down to what you need more: to have your mom as a sounding board regardless of what her thoughts may be, or to go through this privately and unburdened by the opinions of others.

Lynna said...

This is great info to know.

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