Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Truth and Lies

The week of Thanksgiving, at 13 weeks, I finally started telling extended family members, friends, and colleagues about my pregnancy. Partially, I felt that 13 weeks was at least "safer," and mostly I had to tell people because I was starting to visibly show. After being out of town for a whole week and a half after Thanksgiving, I'm glad I told, because I have put on 5 more pounds since then (for a total of 10) and I no longer fit into any of my non-maternity clothes. I have a suprisingly round belly that sticks out pretty far, though not yet quite as far as my utterly annoying monster boobs.

Anyhow, in getting to this point of telling, H and I had to decide what we were going to answer when the fertility treatment question was inevitably asked. H felt we should just flat out lie and say we did no treatments. To everyone. Even to friends who had an incling we were headed in the IVF direction. At first this made me uncomfortable. I didn't want to lie. My approach was this:

Q: So, did you do fertility treatments?
A: Twins run in my family.

To me, this was not answering the question, but not lying either. H said this was just as good as admitting we had a problem and that I needed to say the word no. Well, since H's opinions have taken a back seat to mine during this whole process, I decided not to argue with him on this one. We would lie. And I'd ask God's forgiveness (Catholic guilt). The good thing about lying is that it closes the subject of infertility from further discussion. There are no follow up questions. If you say you did treatments, that leads to a conversation you might not have wanted to have, and one that the person asking might not have realized they didn't want to have.

I didn't think lying would work in every case though, because I had 2 friends that I already told outright that we were doing IVF. There was no " we might do it"-- I just admitted to it. There would be no way to "untell" these friends. Right?

Well, turns out these two friends don't really listen to much of what I say, or at least they don't retain it. When I told them (individually) about our pregnancy, they both asked immediately whether we had ended up doing IVF or not. I was a little stunned. I mean, I had told them the date of my first shot. I told them the whole process. Granted, I did not talk to either of them from the week before treatment started until now, so they weren't getting updates along the way, but still. How could they not know/remember the answer to that question already?

So I lied and said no. I said we were ready for treatments but everything worked out in the end. Boy did I feel guilty. But hey, if they are that careless in remembering this huge detail about my life, then I guess it really didn't matter whether they knew the truth or not. What was the point of them knowing anyway? Both said how happy they were to hear I didn't do IVF because they were worried about the side effects it would have on me. Whatever. I told them I saw nothing wrong with the procedure and you do what you have to do when you're in that situation. Aren't I one big contradiction? I don't want to come out to people, but I'm not ashamed of doing IVF. So I guess my main reason for not telling people is that they tend to ask stupid, intrusive questions that inadvertently hurt my feelings, and my answers really don't mean anything to them anyway. So why should I open myself and H up to that? Given H's parent's handling of the information, it just goes to show that you can't trust people to respect or consider your feelings.

So lying has gotten easier. For the most part, the only people who have immediately asked if the twins "are natural" are people I find mildly annoying already. Why would I want to tell them the truth? I hate the whole "are they natural" question, implying seeking help makes a baby "un-natural." It's just rude, and I'd find it annoying no matter how I got pregnant.

So now there is only one friend, a current co-worker, who knows the whole truth. And I believe I can trust her to keep quiet. She has seen me through several breakdowns during this whole thing, so I think she knows just how emotionally draining it has been for me.

I did, however, tell the truth to one other person yesterday. But I have to save that story for later...


Suzanne said...

I really can't believe that people ask that question. Before I even started IVF I thought if someone had not mentioned that they were doing IVF and announced they were expecting twins then clearly it was none of my business and I never asked. Now as an IVF vet, I'm even more empathetic to NOT asking. It's obviously a personal thing and if people want to share they will if not, it's really rude to ask. After all - why does it matter to anyone else? Why do people never ask when someone is pregnant with a singleton if they did IVF? Shouldn't there be equal opportunity rudeness???

GLouise said...

Yes- people who ask if your twins are "natural" or not, don't really deserve to hear the full story.

As my mom always says, "Just because someone asks, doesn't mean you have to tell."

I think this falls into the category of when people ask how much you paid for your home or how much money you're paid every year. :-)

Hopeful Mother said...

Right on! You don't need to tell anyone anything you don't want to. But I hear you on the feeling contradictory about it all...

Anonymous said...

Hi Emmie - It's Lisa. Sadly I think the general public feels this entitlement to knowing these types of details, analogous to coming right up to a pregnant woman a person doesn't even know and rubbing her belly! It's obviously your choice whether to tell and to what degree. I hope someday the trend of women in their 30s and older having children combined with the advances in fertility treatments lend more acceptance of such a thing. Why have a stigma attached? A baby is a baby is a baby, regardless of how he/she/they were conceived. And most importantly, I hope more women soon realize how fortunate we are to have these advances, thus allowing couples to have their own vs. potentially going without. Kudos to you for sticking to your guns and making the choice that suits your soul. I giggled at your comments about the Catholic guilt and lying. I can relate...Maybe look at it as lying vs. selective reporting. There is a difference!
So happy to read your pregnancy is progressing well and you now have a tummy. I bet you look adorable. Today is 12 weeks for me. I have a tiny pooch (vs. a normal flat stomach) but have only gained about 2.5 lbs (in my chest and mini-tummy I guess). Something tells me though one of these days I'm going to wake up with extra belly (and pounds)!. Take care and warmest wishes to you and H.