Bob and I usually go to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Chinese people don’t like white meat, so each year we do prime rib rather than turkey. This year was no different. My brother has really perfected his skills of his prime rib making. No complaints there.
I usually see my sister-in-law’s side of the family on my niece’s and nephew’s birthdays and Thanksgiving night. She has two older siblings and one younger brother. They all knew that I had a surgery five years ago on my uterus but no one has ever explicitly asked me about baby making. I know that my SIL’s sister-in-law was curious about it but she never asked out right.
This year’s dinner was as lovely as usual. Cozy atmosphere. Delicious food. Great company.
When dinner was over, some people remained at the dining room table. Some were watching TV in the living room. I was sitting at the kitchen counter just looking at my phone. My sister-in-law’s oldest brother came by and asked me how I was doing. I have known him since I was a teenager so I am familiar with him, but I wouldn’t say that I’d usually share about my life with him. We chatted about my work, my parents, and my in-laws’ visit. Nothing too crazy.
Out of the blue, he asked, “So when are you guys going to have babies?”
Like I said, no one in my sister-in-law’s family knew about our fertility journey. I never shared. No one ever asked.
I was taken by surprise. But I was not feeling negative about it. Maybe it was his way of asking. I felt that he wasn’t being nosy. I sensed a genuine concern or care, unlike the interrogation by my uncle in Hong Kong. There is a difference there.
With only two seconds of hesitation, I told him that we had been trying for almost five years but had not been successful. He asked if we had tried treatment. I told him that we had done a whole lot of that.
I even shared that we are actually hiring a surrogate but failed our first transfer. We would attempt our second transfer in December. This time we will try two embryos.
I love his reaction. Whatever I told him didn’t faze him. He said sincerely, “I can’t wait to meet your babies.”
We weren’t talking super loudly, but the kitchen counter was within a few feet of the dining table so those relatives who were sitting there could have heard us if they tried. But, I shared with him anyways.
I think a couple of years ago I would not have said anything. Even last year I probably wouldn’t have shared. I would have been super annoyed or offended that someone dared to ask that question, that it was none of their business.
Maybe it was the way he asked. Maybe there is a change in me. I am different.
And I like that change in me.
I still don’t have a baby, and I don’t know when/if I will have that baby. I sure hope that Dr. E, my RE’s wishes would come true, as she wrote in an email, “Hoping and praying that next thanksgiving is totally different than this one!!!!”
But as of today, I am happy that I am opening up to friends and family that don’t know but would ask.
It is a process, isn’t it?