Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SHOW & TELL: WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN THEY ASK "HOW"?

For this week's Show & Tell, I'll do the showing, but you're going to do the telling. Read on, and after you leave a comment, mosey on over to Mel's place to see who else is showing off cool stuff this week.
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There are a lot of people in my life who know that I've been battling infertility for a long time. Some of these people are family, close friends, and coworkers. By now, just about everyone in my life knows that I'm pregnant, and they're all very happy for us. However, not all of these people know that Kev and I conceived through IVF. It's not something that we choose to broadcast for many reasons.

One reason we don't share our IVF experience with just anybody is because some people have very strong opinions, mostly based on religion, about why IVF should not be an option. I'm not saying they're wrong; I'm just saying that Kev and I obviously don't feel the same way. If you would have asked my opinion on the subject about ten years ago, I might have had a very different answer from what I have now. But fighting infertility and the heartache it has imposed for six years has made me see things differently. Now, I believe that God gave me the mental and physical fortitude as well as the monetary means to be able to pursue IVF after all our other options failed. No one can say we didn't exhaust other options. And I don't know that I could handle hearing someone telling me that my child was conceived through sin. On the contrary, our child was conceived through many years of hard work, commitment, and faith. Yes, faith.

Another reason we don't tell people we conceived through IVF is because... well, it's OUR business. Why should it matter to people who are not intimately involved in our lives how our child was conceived? What really matters is that we are finally going to bring a child into the world, right?

I know people don't mean to be insensitive, but some of the things they say really cut me. It feels like I'm being judged. It feels like my unborn child is being judged. The comments that are hardest to deal with are, "I thought you couldn't have kids" and "How did you do it? I thought you couldn't conceive naturally."

So my question is this: When people who vaguely know about my struggles with infertility ask me how I conceived, what should I tell them?

And now for your viewing pleasure, our peanut's first picture, taken about ten weeks ago. I should get another one next week!
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Now, I've shown you my treasure; it's your turn to tell me how I should handle questions like these.

17 comments:

Quiet Dreams said...

First of all, congratulations! I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly and uneventfully.

Second--what a rude question! I'm not sure what I would say. One option might be, "Why would you ask me that?" That might get SOME people to think about what they've just said. Some would probably still be pretty dense, though.

I am interested to read others' suggestions.

Delenn said...

Congratulations! Frankly, I think if people are rude enough to ask the question, then they don't necessarily deserve an answer. Maybe just ignoring it and saying something about "we are just glad we are here".

Annie said...

Congratulations! Perhaps a good answer to the prying questions would be "It's a miracle! Isn't it wonderful!". It's not a lie, and it answers the question. IVF is your miracle, but they don't need to know that part of it.

Erin said...

Congratulations! I stopped by from Show and Tell. What a lovely picture to see!

As far as the question, it depends on what you're comfortable saying. I would probably say "We had some help," and leave it at that. When they persist (and people who are nosy enough to ask about how your child was conceived will always persist), I would say "My, that's a personal question! What makes you ask?" Turn it back on them.

We do the same thing with adoption frequently. If people ask if my younger son is adopted, I say yes. The follow-up is usually some variation of "Couldn't you have more kids of your own?" I've started responding that "Both my kids are my own. We chose to adopt and couldn't have imagined a more wonderful son."

It takes practice and you'll feel really uncomfortable the first few times, but soon it will be routine. I tend to think it's a better choice: you can always share more later if you choose, but you can never unshare. Good luck!

Baby On Mind said...

Congrats!! I feel the same way about sharing about our infertility too. Only a handful of people know about our struggles, and it is mostly NOT family members. We are meeting with our RE again in January after almost 2 years of missing in action from the clinic. We do not intend to tell too many people either. I hope you are enjoying your pregnancy!

Kristin said...

Huge congrats on your pregnancy. If someone asks and you and you don't feel like telling them when they ask how you conceived, I would simply tell them you conceived through the grace of God. It isn't a lie. I truly believe that even if ART is involved, it is God's grace that brings us our children.

Parenthood For Me said...

Less is more. I would say something like we were finally blessed. They don't need any details. and Congratulations!

cowgirltn said...

Has someone actually asked how your child was concieved? That's a new one to me I guess I would say "in love" or "I had a banging good night with my husband."

Eileen said...

I would tell them the truth, that "this child was conceived by a whole lot of trying and the love shared by me and my husband." Congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope my current IVF cycle will be as fruitful as yours was.

Lin said...

Congratulations! You're story gives me so much hope as we're about to embark on IVF #1 next month!

I think that if you're not comfortable sharing with everyone, than it's ultimately your business. "Isn't it a miracle!" does sound like an excellent idea...however, be prepared, then, to get the "see, all it took was less stress" comments, too. I'm not sure that there's any answer other than the truth that will alleviate the questions. But, the bottom line is that it's none of their business, and if you don't want them to know, so be it!

On the flip side, we have chose to tell people and have been absolutely amazed at the support we've received. Sometimes people surprise you!

Best of luck and happy and healthy 9 months!!

Courtney said...

Congrats to you and Kev!!! Thank you for commenting on my blog!! I wish you nothing but good baby vibes!!

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

I think I'd say something like, "Science and perseverance" then put the ball back in their court.

Or my silly answer: "When a man and a woman love each other very much, the man agrees to stick a long needle in the woman's butt every night. But first, the woman sticks a needle in her tummy many times, then a different man sticks a very long needle through the woman's vagina..."

Congratulations!!

pandabox33 said...

You tell them your baby was conceived with love and patience and strength and courage. They do not have to know.

It's your choice if you tell or not. I personally know of no one who would say it's a sin but I can imagine how it would be difficult to tell people about IVF if that is their reaction.

Karen said...

Yeah, I agree that people should be polite enough not to ask that question unless they know you well enough that they already know the answer! I would respond "why do you ask?" and give them a chance to re-think asking in the first place. It gives them an opportunity to say "never mind" and if they persist you can say "I'd rather not go into it."

Melissa S said...

Some people are just trying to show interest and may not even mean to be rude. I would say "I guess it was finally our time" or this is our very own miracle which is an appropriate comment. Or even God answers prayers...

Anonymous said...

Well Gina-I can't think why ones religion would not approve of IVF. After reading all you went through physically, emotionally and financially this child is a true miracle from God! I am so happy for you! I hope to see you Christmas Eve and give you and Kevin big hugs of congratulations! This is a Blessed child-let nobody tell you otherwise! Oh I probably would have been one to ask-just because I am interested in that and didn't know how it was done. Not to be judgemental at all! I'm just a curious sort and had problems conceiving also.

Love you cuz! Rose Welch

Amy said...

I guess I am late in responding to this...but we have struggled with coming up with an appropriate response. We have not shared our IF journey with everyone. We have chosen to tell people that our babies are the miracles we have prayed for. For those that continue to pry, I just have to change the subject. Enjoy your pregnancy. Amazing, isn't it!

 
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