Coming Clean

I had an email from a friend today about general stuff and they mentioned that they hoped I was okay, they’d seen some stuff on facebook. Taking it to mean the whole hospital stay, I found myself having to explain by email, to a guy, about my fertility issues.

I think there have only been two other males that I had to tell – both at work. One I mumbled something about “Because I want to know why I can’t have children” which isn’t fully accurate, the word can’t should perhaps include at the moment. He did actually say the sin of: You can have mine, I smiled and continued working because he didn’t mean it like that. He had no idea what to say and, unless he’s ever spoken to someone with medical problems in that area, he’s not going to know how silly it was of him to say what he did.

I’m quite an odd person and truly wanted to email my friend: I had surgery to determine if my girlie bits/baby making bits are okay.

I didn’t because I wasn’t sure how that would sound in an email. I’ve said those words out loud to certain people but have always made a little laugh or changed subject afterwards. It’s kind of enough that people know there’s a problem (or we have concerns) and I don’t neccesarily need to talk about it with everyone. I don’t need to go into detail with everyone that every single pregnancy announcement I hear hurts. Most of my female friends would possibly assume that, but would my male friends? Especially as the friend in question is quite a few years younger than me so really should never have experienced anyone having infertility around him.

I have to say, though, that it does feel really good Coming Clean. It was how I described it in the email and it’s true. It’s like I was hiding this terrible secret, that there was something so shameful about me that I had to hide it from everyone. Is that how other people dealing (or not dealing) with infertility feel? Is it because it’s about womanly bits? Is it because most people know what’s associated with cancers, with diabetes, with eczema, but not many know what comes with infertility?

But it shouldn’t be something that people feel wrong, bad or ashamed to talk about. Despite all that I try to do to within my lifestyle to increase my fertility (diet, drinking, etc), I have not done anything to be infertile. Some people have to make up the smaller percentage that take the 3, the 4, the 5 or the more years to conceive. Just because the majority of people fall into the first three years, somebody has to take longer. So if I did nothing wrong, why keep it a secret, why feel ashamed?

Because, quite simply, it’s failing. My body, somehow, is failing me. Or my husband’s is failing his, but it doesn’t really matter: Our bodies are failing us. And aren’t most people geared to keeping their failures a secret? To being ashamed because they failed? Except infertility isn’t a test where revision can help you pass. Sure, there are things that I can do to help me succeed, but I think I’m pretty much doing them.

And unless people start discussing it without being ashamed of their dirty little secret, other people will never know about it. If most people conceive within two years of trying and however many of them never question their ability to conceive before that point, what would they know about infertility?

So, that morning I was rudely awoken in the hospital after my laparoscopy (because I hadn’t been to the toilet, when I had), I decided to stop hiding, to stop keeping secrets and being ashamed. If it makes people feel awkward when they ask me “Where were you last week?” “Having surgery to see if my baby making bits are okay”, then I’m sorry, but I’m not hiding my dreadful secret from everyone anymore.

My body’s still failing, but it’s not a secret anymore.

~ Persephone M

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  1. February 19th, 2013

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