How to deal with gossips?

(14 Posts)
AngelicaSchuyler Mon 14-Mar-16 16:45:30

Hi all,

I wondered if anyone else gets irrationally angry when they find out that people have been gossiping about their infertility? We've been ttc 3.5 years, 4 failed rounds of IVF and currently saving for a 5th. During that time, around 15 of our friends and family have conceived and had babies, and we're now being lapped as people have their second (but that's another thread). Out of necessity due to repeated treatment cycles and not drinking, etc, we've 'come out' to most of our close friends, parents and siblings over the last year, and on the whole everyone has been supportive.

However. I can't get over how many people seem to think our infertility is fair game for discussion with mutual friends, neighbours, distant family members and any other random person they meet who has also had fertility issues (this makes it ok, apparentlyhmm).

We've made it clear to those we have told, that we would really rather they don't take it upon themselves to discuss it with other mutual friends or family members. I know we should probably resign ourselves to the fact that infertility is one of those juicy things people will gossip about, but I have an irrational terror of being talked about or pitied, or just being a topic of conversation in general. It also feels like the one tiny thing we can control.

My MIL can't seem to get her head around this, and has evidently told most of DH's side of the family and people at her church, despite me repeatedly asking her not to. She has been fantastically supportive throughout this whole ordeal, but can't seem to get her head around this one thing. I have even said to her that if she must discuss it with people then I'd rather not know, but she still insists on saying things like "well, so-and-so guessed something was wrong and asked me" or "you've been married for four years, people will draw their own conclusions" - yes but they don't need you to help them along and give them all the gory details.

Now it seems DH's best friend has told his parents all about it, which I found out when MIL called me last night to say DH's friend's mum had mentioned our 'situation' when she popped over yesterday (they live over the road from each other). This is particularly upsetting as DH's friend and his wife have just told us they are expecting their second child, and evidently told his parents about our infertility in a kind of 'oh we're so worried about telling our barren friends our wonderful news', etc. We see his parents regularly at get-togethers, and I know I'm going to get a patronising arm squueze and 'how aaaare you?' head tilt next time we see them.

Aaaaand breathe. Well done if you're still here! I'm aware this is largely self-centred drivel but it feels better to have let it out.

I just feel so sad at the moment. Infertility has turned me into an obsessive, paranoid, bitter old hag sad

waitingimpatient Mon 14-Mar-16 18:10:04

It's just horrible isn't it. I can really sympathise. My DM and dsis think they have a right to know every last detail of our treatment and it's so intrusive

I once shouted at them that they wouldn't expect to know every time dh and I had sex so they don't need to know every time we have an appt at our clinic (I was v hormonal at the time). They keep trying to guess when we are doing a cycle and it's infuriating we just want some privacy so I can completely sympathise. Unfortunately people are nosy sad

closephine85 Mon 14-Mar-16 18:14:35

Hi Angelica

Completely understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately I think unless you have experienced infertility you just don't 'get' it and I think people just don't understand how utterly rubbish it can be. I am very lucky in that I have only come to experience infertility second time around and I know that before going through this I would probably have discussed other people's situations without understanding the impact or feelings it may provoke in them.

Towards the end of last year I plucked up the courage to tell my mother what I was going through (2.5 years ttc number 2) - it felt like a huge deal to me to finally tell her and at the time she reacted as though it was news to her. However a couple of moths ago I found out that when I told her she already knew! She had been told by my brother who had been told by my best friend!! I felt incredibly betrayed. My whole family knew long before I was ready for them to. In the end I decided not to say anything, I couldn't see the point and I genuinely don't think they did it to hurt me or gossip about it, I think they just had/have no idea of what I'm going through. About a month ago my best friend had a miscarriage and it was almost as though a light went on in her head, she suddenly seemed to understand. It's utterly rubbish, but it takes going through a similar experience to get it I think.

I'm not sure if this will help you... I'm not sure there is an answer because people like drama, they like to be the one with the gossip. I've just learnt the hard way that it's easier to say nothing at all and surround yourself with the people who do understand.

I'm so sorry to hear about your struggle and your failed rounds of Ivf. I really hope the future has better times ahead for you.

AnnaMarlowe Mon 14-Mar-16 18:24:05

I'm so sorry Angelica, I would have hated that. This is one of the reasons we didn't tell anyone (including our parents) about our issues which meant nearly 6 years of everyone assuming I was a career obsessive who was denying my DH fatherhood.

Either that or sideways comments about body clocks everytime someone else had a baby.

It was also pretty difficult going through two rounds of IVF without anyone knowing or noticing.

You can't win either I don't think.

stealthbanana Mon 14-Mar-16 18:27:51

Yep, people love to gossip. One of the reasons I have told v v few people and have been leaning for MN for support instead Where I haven't been able to avoid saying something due to not drinking, taking time off work etc I have told people I have ovarian cysts that require removal (my mum had ovarian cancer so this is not a stretch for me plus conveniently deals with roughly the same area). I'm sure there are some people that think it's a cover for infertility, or that we can't have kids as a result of my cysts but it makes me feel better that they don't KNOW IYSWIM.

I have some not-very-close friends who I know gory details of where they are in their infertility journey courtesy of mutual friends to whom I'm much closer, and it makes me uncomfortable - I'd happily talk to the barrens but I think it's wrong that they're not being given the choice to disclose what is a very intimate topic.

I guess at the end of the day people love to gossip about ANYTHING and this is no different. Doesn't make it any easier though, so I sympathise.

stealthbanana Mon 14-Mar-16 18:29:51

And YES to annamarlowe - we haven't told my MIL as she is sniffy enough as it is about me being a "career woman" and this would tip her over the edge and I get a lot of pointed comments about how I "can't keep it [my career] up forever" etc. Just have to grin and bear it!

AngelicaSchuyler Mon 14-Mar-16 20:37:52

Thanks so much for your responses, everyone - glad it's not just me!

Waiting yes the nosiness is really unpleasant. Thats awful that your mum and DSis are trying to guess where you're at - why is it so hard for people to just be supportive and not stick their oar in?

Closephine85 that's awful, I'm so sorry that happened to you - 'betrayed' just about sums it up. If someone told me something like that and I already knew, I wouldn't let on! I also had this, but not as bad; I told a 'friend' about our troubles because I wanted to be honest about why I couldn't come to her baby shower, and she shot straight back with 'oh I know, xyz told me' - turned out she'd fished for info from one of our mutual friends and made out she already knew to get her to confirm her suspicions!

stealthbanana YES I've had this too - people seem to think it's appropriate to tell me the ins and outs of their various friends'/relatives ivf cycles. One friend really upset me by going on and on about her poor sister who'd had an unsuccessful first round and is now on antidepressants and counselling - this was over lunch with about 10 of our friends! I'd be mortified if I thought any of my friends or relatives were discussing my treatment in so much detail 😡

Annamarlowe Ah, the old 'career obsessed' stereotype - it's never the men's 'fault', is it?!

Honeybee79 Mon 14-Mar-16 21:46:03

Angelica sorry to hear you're feeling like this. It it totally understandable and you're not alone.

We have been really careful about who we've told and not told MIL as she has previously said that she thinks IVF is only for people who can't accept "nature's message" that they're not "meant" to be parents. Wtf?! Yet this is the same woman who asks my why I "refuse" to give my DS a sibling. Ffs.

Sometimes I want to tell her the lot in v graphic detail just to shut her up.

It is such a fraught, isolated process. Good luck to all smile.

tillyann2013 Mon 14-Mar-16 22:50:17

Gosh, sone of these experiences are truly awful. Now I'm even more pleased that I stuck to my guns and we haven't told anyone at all bar my bestie. I'm sure people have their suspicions but as long as they don't talk to me about it that's fine.
I met with a friend a while ago and she brought it up that another friend had told her of our troubles, seemingly on a drubken night out hmm. Said friend was really lovely about it but I just cannot get over the betrayal of the other 'friend' especially as she'd had her own problems conceiving. I thought that she just got it. Clearly not.

Milzilla Mon 21-Mar-16 12:25:18

I have a different take on this. I don't think it's something you can control if you tell people. They will talk, no doubts.

We are open about our struggles - into third year ttc, three miscarriages. I honestly don't care if lots of people are gossiping about my situ. DH and I just focus on us and our journey - stuff anyone else.

It do get it. I've just found not caring about gossip quite liberating. I think doubled with the fact that aside from immediate family, most people aren't that concerned, it's just gossip in amongst other gossip. Meh.

Sorry you're having a rough time ttc though OP. It's totally shit.

BettyBi0 Mon 21-Mar-16 15:16:55

It's just awful. People seem to love talking about other people's misfortune, even when they are supportive to your face. It's like they want to show other people how supportive and sympathetic they are or something. Ugh!

Just try not to let it feel like pressure when you are next cycling. I got to a stage where it felt like everyone was watching us and waiting for news - I'm sure they weren't but that's what it felt like. In the end I told a few white lies along the lines of "we've decided to have a break from treatment for a while" which shut people up. ( except for all the annoying people who said "yes, that's exactly what worked for so and so, as soon as they stopped trying they just fell instantly pregnant aaaaaaargh! )

icy121 Tue 22-Mar-16 19:21:47

I made the mistake of telling one group of close friends when we started trying. Then, when inevitably it didn't fucking happen, I made the mistake of getting upset about it in front of them more than once. Apparently sympathy only works once, thereafter what you get is effectively 'buck yourself up'.

'Children are a gift, not a given' according to one. That still smarts now, probably about a year later.

I'm sure they talk about it to each other, but now I don't tell that group anything. They don't ask because they think I'm deranged, and frankly, now, I'd just lie if they did ask anything.

I've sort of learned my lesson. I've recently reconnected with some girls from school who I hadn't seen for six years, with the exception of one, who I've kept in close touch with. The one told the other about everything because I was meeting up with them for brunch 2 days after my laparoscopy and I couldn't really walk. Since then I give them a very high level, but realistic, overview of where we are ("IVF this month; the success rate for my age is 40% so it probably won't work, but I'm hopeful") but don't give any indication at all of my feelings/emotions. I think because I'm very matter of fact, they probably don't talk about it much between themselves.

It's a learning curve, I suppose. And whilst I'm not any less desperate for it to work, I'm more resigned to it not working. 2.5 years of this shit does that I suppose. I'm lucky that none of my friends are quite there at the baby bombing stage, but it's only a matter of time. Were all 28/29 and 2 of them are married. I'll just get new friends. Or no friends!

That was a self-indulgent rant too! I think if anyone deserves to type and rant and rant and type, it's barren hags. We have nothing better to do anyway!

bananafish81 Tue 22-Mar-16 20:45:32

I have been very very open about treatment and I have to say, just to maybe add a little bit of a ray of hope to the conversation, not intended as an 'I'm alright jack' comment - I have been overwhelmed by the positive support

What's also been the biggest surprise has been how many people I know revealed their own fertility struggles. That I had absolutely no idea about. I'd seen their family photos on FB and thought they were just smug fertiles who had some sex and got a baby

Now some are! But many weren't

One girl with two kids has been through : 5 years of infertility, 7 IUIs, a few miscarriages, one failed fresh IVF cycle, one successful fresh IVF cycle, one FET leading to MMC and one FET leading to her son.

Not a clue

Another friend had three miscarriages in the space of 11 months

Other friends turned out to by cycling at the same time as me. So I had real life cycle buddies

And my fertile friends have all been keen to be educated about IVF. Most had no idea what was involved. And they've been supportive in their own way. Mostly by not enquiring how it's going but generally being there in the background.

I told people about the cycles, and I told people about our MMC last week. I cannot imagine carrying this silent grief with me and keeping this awful secret while I'm inwardly a broken shell of a person

I am extraordinarily lucky and I realise this has no useful advice about how to deal with idiot gossips. So this post may make me come across as a smug arsehole

But just to say that it gives me hope that not everyone is a total twat

stealthbanana Tue 22-Mar-16 22:43:41

Children are a gift, not a given? I hope you gave that asshat a swift kick to the baby maker, icy. What a terrible excuse for a human being.

banana am glad you have had a positive experience at least. I definitely agree about talking about miscarriage; I don't think we (women) are nearly open enough about it and it is so frighteningly common. For some reason, though, I feel more reticent about fertility treatment. I guess because in a way there's nothing to talk about, but of corse there's everything to talk about. Really what you want help with is processing emotions around it we now have MN and Dr Google for pre empting treatment plans and second guessing our doctors and lots of friends are, sadly, just not up to the job. C'est la vie.

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