Monday, 28 January 2013
Staying in the Closet
The greatest challenge about going home to visit my parents will be how to navigate any conversation that addresses the issue of procreation. My parents are under the impression that we (namely me) are not interested in having children. That we're too career driven, too engaged to the freedoms of a child free life and resistant to the sweet charms of a young one. When we started TTC, and when I thought fertility was mine to command, I wanted to keep them in the dark so that we can unveil one of the biggest surprises in their lives. Admittedly, it is a bit petulant on my part, but as almost nothing in this procreative pursuit has gone according to my intended plans, I want to hold on to this aspect. Perhaps it is the only detail in my control. There are a lot of other pragmatic reasons for keeping my parents out of the loop; My mother doesn't always display the most tact and I can envision her blurting out something like, 'Well, you shouldn't have waited so long!'. More importantly, I don't want to endure her asking any inappropriate questions. Myrtle was practically still smoking the post coital cigarette from her honeymoon when she announced her pregnancy, and yet my mother asked "Did Myrtle have to do anything to get pregnant?" Yes, she had S-E-X, I explained to her, referencing the birds-and-the-bees conversation we never had when I was younger. My own infertility panic hadn't set in at that time, but I did take note to her line of thinking; woman at the age of 36 is pregnant -must have had help. I know my parents have been dealing with their own feelings of jealousy following the arrival of little Myrtle, and I don't want to coat those feelings with added disappointment from an infertility diagnosis. I'd rather let my parents believe that their future grandchild is being denied by my stubborn attitude rather than our biological limitations. Most importantly, I don't want to invite any additional pressure on ourselves. I don't want my parents to wonder if we are delivering news any time we phone. I don't want them to follow the disappointment of failed cycles. I know they would likely offer financial assistance, which would be very generous of them, and not to seem ungrateful (especially if we need to accept their hypothetical offer someday) but it would add another layer of awkwardness. Maybe there will be a day when I share this experience with them, but for now, I need to keep this fascet of our life to ourselves. I think we were offered a pass with a comment from a family friend. Earlier this year, she was recounting that her newly married 38 year old younger sister announced to their mother that she and her husband were trying to conceive. "Idiot!" the friend expressed, "You don't tell the parents that you're trying for a baby -that's asking to have problems!" Husband and I just looked at each other, acknowledging that you don't need to disclose your intentions to have problems, but we were relieved for my parents to hear that it can be customary not to inform the parents.