Before moving on to happier posts, I feel the need to get something off my chest and in doing so provide those who don’t know how to handle infertility some ground rules about what is and what is not ok to discuss, ask or refer to with regard to our infertility or children born via IVF / surrogacy.
As we have only been home for less than a month, not many people have seen us and our boys yet, so as you can imagine we have been the talking point of our neighbourhood. Simple walks have turned into photo sessions and a stack of questions from random people, some even stopping their cars to jump out and touch my boys’ toes! I now see why I was never awarded any kind of fame, because me and the paparazzi would not have been good mates! While it is very flattering that other people think our babies are as adorable as we think they are, it would be really nice for people to enjoy seeing them without interviewing me about every detail of their origin.
Yes, I have always been very open about our infertility experience. Yes, I have shared relatively personal details of our journey to parenthood on a public blog. Yes, I will answer your naturally curious questions (not a condescending inquest) about how we finally got our miracle babies if you take me aside and ask whether it is an appropriate moment. However, to meet me at a Christmas party as I arrive into the common area (having never even met before), to immediately and loudly ask me intimate and probing questions about my fertility, the quality of my eggs, my husband’s sperm count, whether we picked up our surrogate from the street and many more questions that totally enraged me at that moment, is more invasive than 4 years of instruments stuck up my hoo ha in front of a room full of doctors. I purposefully tried to deflect the questions, answer vaguely and dismiss the conversation – I was trying to enjoy a Christmas party! But this person ignored my cues and kept pressing and pushing and probing and getting even more personal. Lady, did you honestly not see the uncomfortable look on my face? Are you not capable of reading body language – mine was trying to block you? Are you generally inconsiderate of other people’s privacy and feelings or was it a momentary lapse of politeness, empathy and respect? And I have some questions for you (lovingly compiled by fellow Fertility Challenged mommies)…
How were your children conceived?
Were you on top or bottom?
Was it a kama sutra position?
How often do you have sex?
Was it a mistake?
Did the condom break?
Did they cut open your vagina when giving birth?
How is sex now after squeezing out your baby?
How does that feel?! Not very nice when others particularly strangers get into your intimate spaces, is it?
Now, to help you and everyone else who doesn’t know how to engage with someone who has fertility challenges or a mother with children after IVF treatments or surrogacy – here are some points to consider:
- There is a time and place for these discussions – a party is NOT the time or place
- Never initiate conversation about how my children were conceived – I will tell you if I want to
- It is completely up to me to decide whether I would like to speak about personal issues with you or not. Just because I spoke about these things with someone else does not mean I am eager to speak about them to you
- Always ask me first if I don’t mind answering a few personal questions before you take me by surprise
- This sort of conversation is NOT for a public setting or in front of a group of people!
- At least first pretend that you are interested in getting to know me first before instantly firing off your questions within seconds of meeting me
- Never ask how much I paid for our procedures – accept that it’s expensive
- Don’t ask me if I planned to have twins – make your own deduction
- Don’t ask if my children were conceived with my own eggs and my husband’s sperm – I cannot even believe people (and by people I mean strangers) have the audacity to ask this question!
- Don’t ask me where I “picked up” my surrogate from and if everything about her is healthy or ok – again, how effing rude!
- While, I have nothing at all against adoption, surrogacy is not the same thing – so best to get your facts in order before asking about my “adopted” babies.
- Please do not tell me stories about your aunt’s cousin’s sister’s friend who had fertility issues and then suddenly had a surprise baby – not relevant to me.
What should you say?
Anything along the lines of…CONGRATULATIONS, WHAT A BLESSING!
Hopefully that will make a good start. I could carry on making a longer list, but I have two gorgeous little boys who need their mommy’s attention :).
Thank you for listening to me vent! Now that I have emotionally offloaded, hopefully I can move on to simply enjoying being with my beautiful family and celebrate being back home in Tampa with our friends, living and loving this blessed life!
Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays – Blessings for the New Year
Lots of love,
B (V, A & M)
Have you explored my IVF guide book?
It is available on Amazon in eBook, Paperback and Audio! Click here for my book on your country’s Amazon page http://relinks.me/1520131569
A compilation of beneficial information on trying to conceive with fertility treatments, specifically invitro fertilisation and will guide you step-by-step on a journey through:
The things to consider and the tests to do before deciding that you need fertility treatments,
What you could expect at your initial fertility consultation,
Tips on how to choose the clinic that’s right for you,
The stages of a standard IVF, frozen and natural cycle,
Suggested activities during your 2-week-wait,
Additional genetic tests to consider after repeated implantation failures or miscarriages,
Finding an IVF support group where you will feel comfortable as well as explanations of the many abbreviations used within them,
Notes on alternative treatments to support IVF, such as acupuncture and fertility massage,
Advice on how to keep it together when the hormonal medication is trying to drag you down,
Fertility friendly recipes and a collection of 125 valuable tips on everything from administering shots, to maintaining your relationship, nutrition and much more – both lovingly put together by another IVF veteran, Rachel Campbell of Sprout & Co. And much more!