Before our most recent miscarriage, only a handful of people in our life knew about our fertility problems including a few close immediate family members, my best friend and a couple of co-workers I gave some limited information to when I needed people to cover for me at work so I could go to appointments that were never easy to predict. Back in August, after reading this article published in Self magazine, we drafted an e-mail we considered sending to family and friends. At that time, we were approaching our tenth anniversary and seemed to be fielding lots of questions about if and when we were planning to have kids. Also, I had sent a letter to the editor of Self to tell them that I was happy to see that they addressed this important issue, but was disappointed that the article wasn't highlighted, or even mentioned, on the cover (especially since the whole point of it was to break the silence of infertility). I was asked to provide my full name and place of residence because Self was considering my comments for publication. I have an uncommon last name and, if my comments would have been published, I was concerned that people in our lives would learn about our fertility problems in a very impersonal way if they somehow happened to see my name in the magazine. As it turns out, Self never published my comments. If they would have, we were going to send the e-mail we drafted to a wider circle of relatives and close friends as soon as we saw my name and comments in black and white. But we returned from a wonderful vacation to celebrate our anniversary and found out I was pregnant shortly thereafter. With this new pregnancy, we decided to hold off on sending the e-mail and keeping our struggles private a little longer.
After we lost this second pregnancy, we decided to switch clinics. We continued to keep our struggles private while we attempted three more IUIs with the new clinic. IUI#5 (the second one with the new clinic) resulted in another pregnancy and our most recent loss. After this loss, my husband and I decided it was time to share our problems and losses with others. It is just getting too hard to keep it a secret anymore. I'm tired of dodging the questions about kids and starting a family. So I pulled out the e-mail we wrote in August, revised it a bit to include more updated information and hit the send button about 48 hours after our last miscarriage.
I'm so glad that we sent it. Sending the e-mail felt liberating. It felt like the right time to finally "out" ourselves. I felt like I got rid of a huge weight I had been carrying around. We sent the e-mail to about 30 people and have been overwhelmed by the responses we received. No one has made any insensitive comments even though I actually expected to receive some. We've received amazing responses from handwritten cards to two completely unexpected and generous offers from friends who said they would be willing to explore the option of surrogacy with us if that is the path we decide choose. I don't know why, but I have been stunned by the love and support we have received. I really shouldn't have expected anything less. After all, these are all people who love and care about us. We are truly blessed to have such an amazing support system and I am glad that we will be able to confide in, and rely on, these relatives and friends from this point forward if and when necessary.
I wasn't quite brave enough to post something on Facebook yet, but with National Infertility Awareness Week approaching, I think I will muster up enough courage to "go public" with some type of message.
While I don't want to post the e-mail we sent in its entirety here, I am more than happy to share it with anyone who is contemplating coming out to family and friends and would like to see how we finally did it. Just e-mail me or leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I will forward the message to you.