My partner and I have been open about trying for a baby and are now going through IVF. I find when we talk about it to other people we lie about the details, downplay it or even try not talk about it. It’s as though we are ashamed and I don’t know why. I always thought making a baby no matter how was a positive experience, but I’m conflicted as to why we both feel the need to hide our IVF struggles?
Many couples go through IVF and many of those couples feel the need to hide it too. It’s very normal to feel this way, but I hope you start to challenge as to why you do. Even though it’s 2017, as humans we are still judged on ability to procreate. Often men and woman will feel less for struggling and needing to access something such as IVF. It’s as though if you are masculine enough your sperm would just be working or if you were womanly enough you would be able to get pregnant when your partner looked at you. Many of the attributes still today we hold as being attractive for a woman are signs of fertility. But that’s not the case and our masculinity or femininity should have nothing to do with our ability to procreate. That’s not what makes us men and woman and it is a myth we really need to work harder to bust. The more open we are about struggles such as these, the more people will realise that if they are in this position, they are not alone and if they are not, how common it is for people to be.
I froze my eggs a while ago, and I couldn’t believe amongst the fertility clinic community where we were all going through a version of the same treatment, that no one wanted to look anyone else in the eye and there was still this feeling of secrecy and shame. It was different for me because I was only taking out eggs, this wasn’t my last hope. But for many who were there for that, it was as though it was shameful to be struggling. Even amongst others who were struggling with the same thing.
This can also be a very emotional and stressful process so a lot of the feelings you are having could be motivated by that. When someone gets pregnant without medical assistance, it’s a very positive and happy time but when there is a struggle, the journey to baby can be quite different.
Talk to your partner about why you both feel the need to hide this? Is there any shame? It might also be useful to ask others who have been through this process to not only gain further understanding of how you are feeling but also see that others have been where you are and felt the way you feel too.
As much as it’s important to have more information out there about the struggles with IVF, the journey to creating life is a very personal and sometimes private one. If you don’t want to discuss it for any other reason than you don’t want to, don’t feel ashamed for that. It’s your life and it’s your choice. You can let people know you don’t want to discuss it right now but thank them for any well wishes, support or concern.
Give yourself and your partner some time to breathe and some time to not be always be ok through this process. You need to support each other but also address any issues that arise together so you are both on the same page.