Thursday, July 27, 2006

Breaking the News to Family

When I found out that H and I weren’t going to be able to conceive without some serious assistance, I told my parents almost immediately, even though I knew H didn’t want me to. My telling them was a little selfish. I felt that if they knew, then it would take some pressure off of me, because surely they were wondering why we didn’t have any “news” by now. They hadn’t been pressuring us, but I was feeling the pressure just the same every time my mom gushed over my brother-in-law’s new niece at family parties.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how my parents handled the news. My mom was extremely positive and supportive, which is absolutely not like her when it comes to stuff like this. Usually health problems scare my mom, and her way of dealing is to push the person away and even get a little mean. Her initial reaction of, “Thank goodness, that’s all that’s wrong? I was afraid you were going to say you had cancer,” maybe wasn’t the most sensitive thing to say, but it was still so much better than I had expected. My dad was simply quiet and listened, also uncharacteristic of him. I could tell he was just trying to digest it. I told them both that this was something that they COULD NOT discuss with H (he’d kill me), and that I wasn’t thrilled to talk about it either, but I would keep them updated when there was something to say, pretty much letting them know I don’t want them to ask me about it unless I initiate the conversation. At this point, I had no idea how they felt morally about IVF, and since this wasn’t a given yet, I really didn’t bring it up. I just told them we had “lots of options.”

H’s parent’s, opposite of mine, have been pressuring us for kids like crazy. They have older kids than us who are single, and I guess they see us as their only hope for grandkids. Boy did they back the wrong horse, huh? H does not want to tell them what’s going on, though I feel it would shut them up at least. It’s been painful every time they have bugged us about it, even before we knew for sure that we had a problem. They are very tacky and crude in the way they ask us about our “intentions to procreate.” I’m pretty sure they are looking at me as the problem, so it would be somewhat gratifying for me to be able to tell them that it’s partly their side of the gene pool that is experiencing some technical difficulties in this matter. That’s not fair to H though, and I can see how he would be mortified in telling them his diagnosis. Given their crude remarks about everything else, I can only imagine what they would say. One would hope they would be supportive, but there is no guarantee. H is so upset about this whole thing that having his parents upset him at the same time would only make it worse, especially since he is so conflicted about treatment.

About six months ago, H’s parent’s made one of their typical remarks when they were spending the weekend with us that maybe we should go upstairs and get busy so they could have some grandkids. H took them aside later and explained to them that we had been trying and that we would appreciate them not pressuring us about it and saying stuff like that. So, their response now is to loudly tell other people at family parties that they want grandkids but they are not allowed to talk about it to us. They also said that they started a college fund for our unborn child. I wonder how they’ll react if I ask them if we can use that money to help fund the child’s conception instead? They just won’t stop being pushy.


Jessica said...

Just found your blog...I will be keeping you in my prayers!!

Heather said...

Absolutely! If they want grandkids so bad let that college fund pay for the conception!

I can't imagine how that must make H feel. I hope they will come around.

Hopeful Mother said...

Hi, I just found your blog and wanted to say hello.

I can relate to your issues on telling family... we just finished our first (unsuccessful) IVF cycle and just told my in-laws, which went fine. We are planning to tell my parents this weekend, which I am not looking forward to.

It sucks to have to worry about "blame" in infertility - it shouldn't matter who is at "fault" since we didn't do anything to cause it anyway... but I am sensitive to my husband's feelings on it since male fertility is often (mis)associated with manhood.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi. I hope your journey is a short one.

Hope548 said...

Oh Emmie,
I have so many things I'd like to say to you! Let me just say... I know! I've read each of your posts now and I can totally relate with you in so many ways, including the moody husband! Parents can be very difficult during this too, and if telling them made you feel better, then you did the right thing! It took a long time for my husband to agree to let me tell my family and it felt so much better once I did!

I'm also 30 and my husband and I have been married 9 years and trying for 4. I have done 3 IUIs, no IVF, but I'm also small and did have the FSH injections. My goal was different though - to make 3 or 4 follicles, not as many as possible, so my dosage was lower. I didn't have any side effects at all, but it may be different for you. I think everyone reacts differently. Just try to band together and remember the goal during your treatment. Try to ignore the inlaws!
About the book, if I get motivated and actually try to get it together, I'm going to ask everyone I've connected with to submit stories if they want to, and we would certainly need an editor, it's so nice of you to offer that. I'm not a great writer.
It's nice to "meet" you. I wish you luck, and I'll keep checking out your blog!

deanna said...

You know, we didn't plan to tell any of our family members, but my husband's family forced us to it. There was one day I just couldn't take anymore of the "you do know what goes where, dontcha?" comments. We were just sitting at the table and I blurted out in response, "Well, actually, we've made an appointment at a fertility clinic." (insert big imposing silence all around.)

I kind of wish we had been able to sit down calmly and discuss it with them, instead of having it go down the way it did, but I just sort of broke. As awful as it might be to tell your husband's family about it, maybe they would handle it better if you set the stage by calling ahead of time to tell them you want to have a serious conversation with them.

Just an idea....although with some families, even the old anvil falling out of the sky trick wouldn't even get your point across....

Emmie said...

Hopeful Mother: Thanks for checking in and saying hi. Yes, the whole "blame" thing is silly. I think my husband and I take some comfort in the fact that we are equal contributors to the problem. There is a real team spirit between us of beating this thing, no matter what the outcome is. Good luck with telling your parents this weekend. I think you'll find that the worst part is anticipating telling them. I hope they give you the support you will need.

hope548: I had the same feeling when I started reading your entries--we have a lot in common. Your last post about acceptance was so wonderful--you really are a great writer! I'll be checking in to see how things are going.