Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Fear of Coming Out

Thanks to all of you who gave me advice about when to tell people that I'm pregnant. It was helpful to know that I wouldn't be totally crazy if I told people before 12 weeks. Like many of you, my big hesitation with telling too many people is that work will find out before I want them to. I'm not afraid that I'll experience any subconscious discrimination, but it would be pretty awful if my boss found out from someone other than me, which would be very possible since he knows many of my friends. But I'm still feeling very indecisive about when exactly to make the news public. Part of me doesn't want to wait until 12 weeks. We have several events right around 11 weeks that would be perfect for making such announcements. But I have my next appointment at 12w2d, and it would be nice to hear that heartbeat one more time. How awful would it be to tell everyone and then not have a heartbeat just a few days later?

We did decide, however, that anyone who knew we were trying to get pregnant also deserved to know we are pregnant. And the people who knew about the infertility are definitely the people we'd want to know if something happened. The main group of friends that has been supporting us through the journey is our community group from church. I don't know what I would have done without their prayers and, well, sympathy over the past year. So after we saw the heartbeat, we decided we should announce to the group when we saw them the next day.

I was actually pretty nervous about announcing it and told Pete he was going to have to bring it up. I realized that part of my fear had to do with how difficult these announcements have been for me for the past few years. And here I am, making one myself. While I know where most couples in our group are in terms of having kids, there is one new couple and one couple who doesn't have kids but is in their mid-30s and been married over 5 years... But I figured they would have shared their own struggles with infertility if they had any after we had so openly shared ours.

And then, when we arrived, we discovered that a friend of someone in our group, who was visiting from Australia, would also be joining us for our Bible study that evening. Which we were quite happy for but, of course, made announcing a pregnancy a little awkward. But Pete decided to plunge in anyway, figuring it might be a while before we got another chance where everyone was together.

I experienced momentary fear as I looked at the new couple and thought I saw a flash of pain on the husband's face...but it was probably just my imagination. Then it was great. Everyone seemed genuinely thrilled for us. The ladies immediately surrounded me and started asking all the right questions. Two of the women (the ones who have had babies themselves) even asked to see the ultrasound picture--not that I had it with me (I'm not that pathetic). And then I gently changed the topic of conversation for the other women involved who are not yet mothers.

The visitor from Australia excused herself and went to bed, complaining of terrible jetlag.

Yesterday, I was riding in the car with one of my closest friends (and her one-year-old), who is also friends with the Aussie girl. She's known about our struggles from the beginning, so I was telling her how nerve-wracking it was for me when we made the announcement to our group. And then she told me that her friend from Australia has actually been trying to get pregnant for two years, but has endometriosis. She just had surgery a few months ago to get fibroids removed.

Crap. That's exactly what I was afraid of. She probably went to bed that night wondering why on earth she happened to come to the one meeting that involved a pregnancy announcement. Maybe even had a cry before going to sleep. Experiencing all those conflicted feelings that we know so well.

When we made the announcement, we did explain for the newbies how we had been trying for a while, and how scary the first few weeks of the pregnancy were. Maybe this made her feel a little better. But maybe it made her feel worse, since we weren't trying for as long as she has been.

I'm hoping all of our future announcements will be made to individuals in person, rather than to large groups. But I know it's pretty unavoidable that my pregnancy will cause some infertiles out there a degree of pain. And there's really nothing I can do about that. But I wish I could just know who they are and at least give them a long, sympathetic hug, and tell them I know how they're feeling.


Kakunaa said...

It is so hard to be on the other side of the fence, knowing that your announcement may cause someone else pain. I think because of what we go through, and knowing that we will be there again if we try again. It's almost a feeling of guilt, right? Hang in there sweetie...it is normal, and it's okay to be happy and still be cautious. HUGS.

Josey said...

You didn't do anything wrong by gently announcing your pregnancy to those who have supported you through this journey. It's definitely scary to think you can cause others pain that you've felt yourself, but at least you're sensitive to it and concerned about it. Most non-IFs definitely aren't.

Hang in there - I'm glad you're getting to the point where you're feeling better about telling people!!

Amanda said...

I can tell you have such compassion for those who were in your position, so I'm sure that couple felt is as well. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to break the news to people suffering from IF, but I can only hope they were encouraged by your story. You did nothing wrong...you've waited for this and deserve to feel happy when telling others, not guilt.

Still so happy for you, and can't wait to hear more about how you're doing!

Crossed Fingers said...

It's hard being on the other side now and feeling like you have to have a disclaimer when you announce your pregnancy. Now that my bump is showing more I feel like I'm giving some women pain just by walking by and reminding them. I want to explain to everyone I meet that it wasn't easy but that's just crazy. I just say my prayers that soon others will have this blessing as well.

suchagoodegg said...

I do worry and think about this too, because I have been that woman in your group so so so so many times and it absolutely sucks and the pain is really heartbreaking. I know I will go to great lengths to protect those who might be hurt by our news. It's so hard, because I don't even feel confident in this pregnancy myself and it's such an anxious, fragile time, and yet I feel so protective of your IF sisters.

All of that said, please take comfort in the this: You are so incredibly kind, compassionate and sensitive, I have no doubt those amazing qualities shined brightly as you shared your news. And that it brought some solace to your new Aussie friend.

suchagoodegg said...

Oops, I meant "my" IF sisters!

Leslie said...

I worried about this, but then it didn't help to preface the announcement with what I'd gone through. I posted about it... anyways, the person I told I think was jealous anyways, and then thought I was being patronizing by telling her I'd been there too. She didn't want her pain acknowledged by a knocked up chick. I get it. I'm sorry for the Aussie lady in your group, though. Rough.

Hannah said...

I've been away from the blogs for too long - CONGRATS on your pregnancy! And I think we may always want to hear the heartbeat just one more time. At least that's how it's been with me.

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

Oh my gosh Ceejay! I had no idea-so glad I have caught up now :)
Congratulations!! Wonderful news!!