Are You Ashamed of Your Infertility?

I was very open about my struggle to conceive, especially after The Baby Year. The Baby Year, that is, for everyone but us. I gave up the shelter of silence after literally every social event that entire holiday season involved fighting back tears as yet another person joyfully shared the news that they were pregnant, and not only that, but it happened the first month they tried, can you believe it! Meanwhile, after over a year of trying, we were becoming aware that our course was not going to be smooth.

I told family and friends in the course of normal conversation, but it really "came out" in an essay I wrote for our local parenting magazine (ironically enough). I thought no one I knew would see it, but a (very pregnant) friend approached me at a party and said she'd read it and had no idea what I'd been going through. Her kindness pretty much opened the floodgates.


But as Maureen Gill Higgins writes in this Fertility Focus post, some people are scandalized that someone would share something so private, or consider it somehow shameful to have trouble conceiving. And I know there were people who felt we were being Debbie Downer by bringing it up, or thought it skirted dangerously close to oversharing about our sex life.

But like Higgins, I think that attitude is, well, total BS. If you're a private person, fine, but I always felt like maybe I could help someone else by being very open about what we were going through and that it sucked. Sure enough, I've had people tell me they appreciated it and have even made a friend or two because of it.

By being open about what we faced, calmly (well, as calmly as possible) trying to dispel some myths, and educating people about my condition (I have PCOS), I hoped that not only might I help someone right there, but it would maybe help the listener be a little kinder to the next person they encountered.

I'm not ashamed because it's no more a shameful thing than being short or having brown hair, two other things that make me Me. If anything, I think the only regret I have is that I forget to mention it now that I am the mom of two beautiful kids. I'm sure my little crew crosses paths with people who are struggling, and maybe seeing a happy ending might give them some hope.

If you went through infertility, how much did you share and with whom?

Image via altemark/Flickr

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