After sharing with my sister-in-law’s brother at Thanksgiving dinner, we are on a streak to open up about our journey.
A week ago, Bob and I attended the holiday party of his men’s bible study group. We didn’t go last year because at the time I couldn’t handle babies and pregnancy news. This year we are still not expecting and don’t have a baby, but somehow I didn’t resist going to the party even knowing that in attendance there would be our friends who are expecting their second baby any day now. The wife is a friend of mine who was in my bible study group a few years ago. She was at the time expecting her first baby after being successful at her second frozen embryo transfer. At the time, I prayed weekly for her first baby until he was born. Later on Bob became a member of her husband’s bible study group, and our two husbands became friends. All four of us and the baby would hang out frequently. The last time we all got together, Bob and I knew that they were going to do a transfer for number two. Time has flown and the baby is due any time now. Bob asked me ahead of time if I was going to be okay seeing them. I would be lying if I said I didn’t hesitate. But I examined my heart for two seconds and thought that we could handle it. And we did. Despite seeing her bump, hanging out with her and her toddler was a lot of fun. I am glad we decided to go.
At the party, the men were asked to stand up and tell the changes they had in their life last year, and what they would like prayers for in the coming year. Our friend, the expectant dad, was put on the spot first. He thanked everyone for their prayers in the past and asked for prayers for his growing family and an easy birth. After he spoke, he looked at Bob who was standing next to him and motioned for Bob to speak next. Bob was across the room from me. I knew that he was wondering if he should mention about our infertility. He is interesting. He talks about it freely at work but he has shied away from bringing it up in his bible study group. He and I locked eyes, and I nodded in approval to let him know that it was okay to talk about it. So with my silent encouragement, he opened up to a group of his bible study friends and their wives and children about our struggles in the past year and how we would like to be prayed for. It was a great moment to open up. I was very proud of him for speaking openly and clearly about it.
Last Friday was my office’s holiday party. Last year we didn’t go because again, I couldn’t handle those new moms and one expectant mom who would be there. I just didn’t feel like celebrating. But this year, we are all about having fun. Bob was nice enough to come and be my designated driver so I could enjoy my drinks with my coworkers. It was on the second floor of a brewhouse that was super loud. Our other coworkers were all participating in the white elephant gift exchange. I was just enjoying my cocktail with Bob by my side when my CEO walked over to me. He said, “I know you guys are not trying but when or if you do, you will make some very gorgeous and tall kids.” Maybe it was my alcohol that was talking or feeling. Maybe I felt brave that night. Instead of brushing off his comment, I said, “Yeah we are trying and we have been doing it for almost five years.” I know I took him by surprise. He apologized profusely and said that he didn’t know. But you know what? I think there was nothing to be ashamed of. I think we are at a point where we would share with anyone who approaches us about the subject. It’s just that work people have learned not to ask about it. So no one really knows except for my two closest friends at work. So back to my CEO. I have known him for all these years I’ve worked at this place ever since before he became our CEO. He is a friend. And he himself went through infertility with his wife for a few years and had one miscarriage before they adopted their beautiful daughter. I knew that he would at least understand part of what we are going through. I even shared with him that we have tried “everything” and now are waiting to do another transfer with our gestational carrier after the last failed transfer. Again, he had such a genuine look on his face telling us how much he would like for us to become parents. The three of us had a great chat about his journey and how he would not trade his daughter for anything in the world. It was great to be genuine face-to-face with someone who had walked a similar journey.
I think this is going to be our approach from now on. We won’t take the initiative to share it with the world, but when the opportunity comes, we’ll open up to people who genuinely want to know. It is quite freeing to not feel the need to hide or to be cryptic about our journey even though we haven’t found our success yet. It takes courage, but being more and more open about our struggles will do our soul some good.