On Anonymity and Infertility

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Categories Fertility, Infertility, Infertility Theme Week, Parenting, Theme Week

(This post was submitted anonymously.)

Over the course of this week, several writers will be posting anonymously. I am one of them.

In some ways, I feel guilty about staying behind the curtain.

I hate that infertility can seem like such a taboo subject…a subject that nobody talks about, and when they do, it’s often in whispers. My keeping quiet is doing nothing to promote the cause that speaks to my core.

I am so thankful to those who speak on behalf of this cause, but I can’t be one of them.  Not right now.
Anonymity and infertility. The taboo is hard to break.

I am so very proud of our twin daughters, ultimately conceived via IVF, after many rounds of fertility treatments. I am proud of our journey. And I am so thankful for our team of doctors and the medical advances that made possible our family of four. In many ways, I want to shout from the rooftops, “Look what we did!!!

But I choose to keep these details private. Only a handful of close friends know, and a couple of family members.

See, I grew up in a pretty conservative area. One conversation sticks out in my mind, having heard it spoken of a family in my hometown who underwent fertility treatment when I was growing up. She was pregnant with triplets, and lost them when she was five or so months along. “If the Lord wanted her to be a mother, He’d have given her the chance. Some things are just meant to be. We’re not meant to mess with fate.”

That cuts deep. It’s something, even more than 20 years removed from, that I can’t shake.

I didn’t want to open myself up to the judgment.

And even now, having long ago moved from that very conservative area, I’ve still heard people utter phrases like “test tube baby”. I’ve had a handful of people remark to me in the grocery store, “Are they natural? You know everyone is having twins these days because of the things those doctors do.”

I can’t risk having that said of my girls.

One day, I will tell my girls the story of our journey. They need to know, in case there are genetic links to the problems I encountered. And I want them to know how very deeply their daddy and I wanted them…how, when I tell them now, “You were always in Mommy’s heart,” it was that resolve that kept me focused on the prize. I never lost faith that I would hold my children in my arms.

But I want to be the one to determine when the time is right for that conversation. I don’t want them to be scurrying around the playground while some Nosy Nelly whispers to her girlfriend, “Those girls aren’t natural.” I don’t want the next-door neighbor’s kid to have overheard our story and tease the girls, “You’re a test tube baby.” I hope these are far-fetched scenarios…that people have moved beyond such judgments…but I can’t be certain.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to respond to the random, “Are they natural?” questions…the continued inquiries from my uncle, “I just can’t believe it! Twins just don’t run in our family!

My standard line? “Yes, we got lucky. Very, very lucky.” Because we did.

Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

One thought on “On Anonymity and Infertility”

  1. I think there’s strength in talking about the reason that people stay quiet about infertility treatment. Because the reasons are real, and get brushed under the mat. I know my comment fails to ease your guilt about your choice, the feeling of being torn between your girls and the larger infertility community. But guilt is such a heavy burden to carry!

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