Saturday, March 07, 2015

Your TTC (trying-to-conceive) story- to share or not to share?

This is a guest post from an expert patient about a topic every infertile couple agonises over !

It is difficult to know whom to talk to about your fertility issues when you embark on this journey, because you never know how long it it’s going to take to get to your destination.  After all, everyone hopes that they’ll be one of the lucky ones, and hit the jackpot in the first cycle ! But suppose it takes 5 years ?  So who should you take on this crazy, emotional journey with you?

Initially being in the US, I was very open about sharing what I was going through and drew strength from others who shared their experiences or that of someone they knew- the knowledge that one in every four couples suffers from sub-fertility , and that it is a common and solvable problem gave me a lot of courage .

However, it soon became obvious that the more the number of people who knew about my IVF treatment, the more concerned they became. Everyone and their aunt wanted to know what was going on- and each failure needed to ‘be reported’! This made me very cautious and wary. Soon I realized that I only wanted my immediate family and close group of friends to know what I was going through because I realized that the road ahead had the potential of being long and rocky and I did not like receiving too much advice or sympathy.

As I moved my TTC journey to India, this struggle became even more apparent as people are loathe to mind their business and enjoy gossip for lack of purposeful activity. There is more of a tendency here of every nose wanting to be in your business and if you are anything like me, you hate gossip and even more so , pointless gossip about yourself. And you hate advice- especially from that aunty who got pregnant at 19 before she even knew what cervical mucus or fallopian tube meant (and she still probably has no clue, lucky woman!)

So, if I had to do it again- this is what I would do- choose my comrades carefully and share selectively. First is the set of people who ‘have’ to know- like immediate family. Then is the group of people who can offer encouragement, who are intelligent enough to actually know something about conception and have enough sense to not discuss my private travails with others. These are typically friends who won’t ask me the results of my last cycle , but will wait for me to open up when I am ready to do so. They are happy to support, not advise. And finally, I am okay with sharing with others  who can be helped by my story-  which can even be anonymous.

As time passes, there will be those who speculate and those who bluntly ask “So, you’ve been married 7 years, when are you going to start a family?”And here I oscillate based on my myriad moods- if jovial, I jest about how life is a work-in-progress and how all I need is their prayers (aashirwaad). If I am feeling rude, I just tell them it’s none of their business. If cordial- I tell them when the bun is in the oven, you will be among the first to know! You can keep your list of handy responses and if you play them right, after a while people stop asking…

Moral of my story- share but make sure you know with whom and why.

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