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infertility...who did you tell?

(21 Posts)
ohbigdaddio Fri 21-Apr-17 18:46:48

Hi all,

Been TTC for 14 months, age 38 and panicking! Just been privately for tests today and get the results in a few weeks. Also have NHS appointment coming up to discuss our next options.

The worry and strain and sadness of TTC have got worse with each passing month and, while a few friends know what is happening, my lovely MIL has no idea what me and my DH are going through. Now that we've got to the fertility tests/hospital consultations stage I am seriously wondering whether to tell her (obviously would discuss this with DH first!)

So as not to drip feed, we have a good relationship, live in same city and she's been like a DM to me (estranged from my own mother sadly.) DH and I see her weekly and it is getting hard to pretend everything is happy and fine in our world each time we see her. When we see her, we don't have much to say for ourselves and I'm often a bit low. Also feel like we're 'lying' or at least we have a massive secret (which we do, I guess!) which is proving hard to contain.

DH and I have been together 15 years so MIL definitely thinks we don't want children and will be absolutely over the moon if she knows we want a child. She already has one grandchild but sadly doesn't see her often due to BIL splitting with the child's mother.

I do worry a bit that this would add to our pressure; as we are sad and stressed MIL being really excited may not help BUT at the same time we are starting to avoid seeing her/family events when we feel low as we can't keep up the charade.

It's a tough one, I know. Sometimes I wish she knew, sometimes I'm glad she doesn't. Any thoughts welcome!

Monkeypuzzle32 Fri 21-Apr-17 20:45:56

Just tell her-she may surprise you by saying she guessed or has experience or understands,its hard to lie which is what it is isn't it, if you cant be honest with her. We have been through the same and mainly don't tell people-made worse/harder as we are older and at that stage where many of my friends are seeing their kids leave home and they just don't understand that timing isnt always as you planned it to be.

I hate the lying but I hate having to explain myself even more but we have told a few people, just no details really.

SayenRose Fri 21-Apr-17 21:14:20

At first we kept it ourselves, but then once we started opening up to our families - they stopped asking when we were going to get pregnant and have become massively supportive. It's actually quite nice to have someone else other than each other as a sounding board for worries etc. And as it turns out, the journey wasn't always as easy as we thought for our own parents!

Some colleagues at my work know, none of his do, that was simply so my time off for appointments is easier and goes unquestioned.

UppityHumpty Fri 21-Apr-17 21:16:17

Told my mum and regretted it tbh. She told everyone she knew hmm

Scottishgirl85 Fri 21-Apr-17 21:28:20

I'm open with everyone who has the cheek to ask. Don't expect people to understand in the slightest what it is like even once you tell them (we get a lot of 'oh ivf! How incredibly exciting! You'll probably get twins!! Lucky you!'). I would definitely tell your MIL xx

Scottishgirl85 Fri 21-Apr-17 21:32:19

Ah apologies just re read and realised you're not at ivf stage. I'd still tell her. I've given a lot of people a lesson in 'sometimes having children is not very easy and quick', and I've panicked a few into starting earlier than planned and of course they fall first month...
Wishing you all the best xx

Poppyx7 Sat 22-Apr-17 00:41:32

I've been ttc for 3 1/2 years now and never told any family until our first ivf cycle (at age 38.5) failed recently. We are "unexplained". I feel like I've spent those years pretty much continually lying to family and pretending everything was ok when it clearly wasn't, when I wasn't, so I completely understand where you're coming from. The minute the ivf failed I couldn't wait to tell them because it was then that I needed support and for the people closest to me to understand why it appeared that I had spent years pretending I didn't want kids when all the time the fact that it wasn't happening was killing me. I've done the avoiding of being alone with my DM, sitting quietly at family functions avoiding any meaningful conversation with everyone for fear of awkward questions and always responding with the stock reply of "kids?! I have 2 dogs, that's more than enough for me" with that pretend laugh you develop to cover the fact you want to bawl your eyes out.

I did have the support of a couple of very close friends and part of me was glad that no one really knew about our struggle or the ivf so I didn't have to put up with constant questions about how it was going but I have to say I'm so glad it's now out in the open. DP however would be more than happy than no one knew anything. We made the decision to tell both sets of parents and my brother and sister in law. DP told me he'd rather his brother and sister and their OH's didn't know and I was happy enough with that given my somewhat strained relationship with them.

Really only you can decide whether you want to tell your MIL or not. In all honesty if I had the chance to do it all again I still think I'd keep it between just DP and myself (and my few close friends) even though everyone has been great since we told them. Since the initial conversation it hasn't really been mentioned again but I know now that it's something I can talk to them all about and that even though it's not mentioned they are there supporting me.

Daisrais Sat 22-Apr-17 01:03:08

Sorry jumping on this thread. So confused about what to do with regards to telling people... been TTC for 2 yrs. have mentioned to my mum who said oh thought it was because of your career etc she was relived that we do want kids. Now thinking do I tell MIL too? Would love to know if people with the same issues felt better when they shared? We are being referred for IVF which I am only just coming to terms with myself let alone telling anyone else. Makes me feel a bit of a failure in a way. Hope I'm not alone in feeling that. OP I understand how you feel it's hard to even bring it up x

geeup Sat 22-Apr-17 09:32:38

Everyone is different because their relationships are different. We have been trying 2 years and have done a failed ivf cycle that no one knows about apart from one friends who has also done ivf who I speak to about it. Both sets of parents and our close friends know we're "trying" but "it's not happening". Telling them it's not happening has been helpful. They have stopped asking/are more sensitive about it.
In my personal experience I'm very glad we didn't tell anyone about the ivf because it didn't work and it would have been awful having to tell everyone individually at each point i.e. We got x eggs, then only x fertilised then x got transferred then yes it worked or no it didn't. I told my friends that we were considering ivf and left it at that - i don't want them knowing when or if we actually do it as i find it difficult that they're all uber fertile that they've managed to easily have children and announced it 3 or 4 months into the pregnancy with a fanfare and if I'd had ivf they'd basically know as soon as we knew and we wouldn't have any private time with our news.
So for what it's worth, I'd say tell family/friends you're trying but is not happening. You're having/have had tests which show nothing's wrong (assuming that's true) and that you'll just keep trying for a while longer. Should keep them off your back but you don't have to pretend you don't want kids/be cheerful all the time.

ohbigdaddio Sat 22-Apr-17 09:42:45

Thanks so much for your replies.

UppityHumpty I'm sorry your DM told MIL is trustworthy, she didn't tell a soul about her 1st grandchild being due until BIL was ready to tell people, so I'm sure I wouldn't have to worry about that.

Scottishgirl85 that sounds so frustrating. I'm not at the IVF stage yet but could well be in a month or so depending on what my test results reveal. That sort of response would have me flying off the handle I reckon!

Poppyx7 I really feel for you and can totally relate. I avoid being with MIL alone (we used to spend more time together, go for days out etc) Now I don't want to as I feel I'm living a lie. Your standard response about your 2 dogs I can really relate to that too, I have practiced my response for those awkward questions and it's so hard not to cry and just look normal. I once had lunch with MIL and her younger friend (same age as me) who was expecting twins. I spent the whole lunch totally on edge in case this friend asked me when I was going to have children. She never asked but I was so relieved when the lunch was over! As and aside, my MIL has never asked me or my DH in the entire 15 years we've been together which is remarkable!

Daisrais the reason I mention telling my MIL is that I'm really close to her (location wise and relationship wise) and estranged from my own mum. If things were different with my own mum then I wouldn't even be considering telling my MIL. I think for you it just depends on what sort of relationship the two of you have and will it help or hinder you if she also knows? I can so relate to feeling like a failure.

lots of love going out to you all xx

ohbigdaddio Sat 22-Apr-17 10:44:44

Thanks geeup I'm sorry your IVF failed. I totally understand your reasoning, you make some good points about not revealing everything and keeping it slightly more vague.

Wishing you and everyone here lots of luck and the BFP we all deserve. xxx

meadowlark3 Sat 22-Apr-17 13:28:15

I have told a few people, mostly friends who don't have kids or have had fertility struggles of their own. DH told my MIL that we were going to do IVF next month which surprised me as he didn't want to tell her we are TTC (16 months) or had a miscarriage. We will see her tomorrow for the first time since this disclosure and I feel quite nervous, but imagine we will tell her more of the story now. I am estranged also from my own mother and adore MIL but can't help but feel she'll think it's my fault that we are infertile so far as her other kids are uber fertiles. At this point though, we are MFI but I don't think DH told MIL about that. Not sure that I want to mention it either as I feel we're in this together, although when we celebrated my 35th birthday she did raise her eyebrows a bit...

From this perspective, I think MIL was a bit surprised to hear we were doing IVF both because of the uberfertility of her other children and also because she didn't know that we were TTC...I think she suspected, but never asked us, bless her. So from my view, perhaps better to tell her before you get to TTC? Your MIL sounds lovely and maybe she would like to know and be able to offer more support? I almost feel that MIL was a bit hurt not to know.

Wishing you and all of the ladies here well.

otters2017 Sat 22-Apr-17 15:58:39

Hi ohbigdaddio I'm 38.5 TTC #1 for about 16 months now. Ivf will be the next step. Can completely relate to how you and everyone else is feeling. We told my parents in the end as they are so desperate for grandchildren and were wondering why nothing was happening. It has been helpful as they have been supportive. Sadly no MIL as she died when DH was young. Told a few friends who have been very supportive. TTC is like an undiagnosed condition you don't realize how common it is until you start talking about it. I know now a few other friends in the same boat and it's nice to compare notes and support each other. A few at my work know which has helped as I needed time off for appointments and scans and didn't want them to think I was just skiving off!
It's such an emotional rollercoaster and I've been trying to keep positive but it's getting harder and I'm feeling more desperate.
Good luck everyone!

LucieLucie Sat 22-Apr-17 16:15:14

Be careful who you tell, as I discovered that telling our parents was a kick in the teeth.

My MIL said, "How would you cope?" (We were married and both working full time in good jobs with 1 ds) hmm she then spouted shite at every opportunity to our dd saying things like you wouldn't want a brother or sister anyway it would mean x y z (negative) while we were undergoing fertility treatment angry

My mother said "SIL had an abortion". No hugs or support, just took pleasure in spilling someone else's secret termination at s time when I told her I was having fertility treatment after ttc for the last 3 years.

F all support.

I hope things turn out well for you flowers

ohbigdaddio Sat 22-Apr-17 19:22:47

Sorry to hear that LucieLucie, horrible reactions from both sets of parents and very hurtful I'm sure. Hope you have good support from friends and DH.

Meadowlark3 good luck for tomorrow, hope it goes well. Report back if you want! I'm sure your MIL will be supportive and won't be thinking like that. I got a bit lost as wasn't sure what MFI stood for?
The bit about your MIL feeling hurt is a point I'd not considered either. It's very difficult as it's such a personal thing, especially when you're just starting TTC – if you tell family then it's just like saying "we're having loads of sex" which is a bit weird.

otters2017 your situation sounds very similar to mine, though I'm not sure yet if IVF is the next step for me. That pressure from parents is awful isn't it? You would think people would consider that not everyone can get pregnant at the drop of a pair of knickers hat. I'm very lucky that we've never had that pressure from MIL or my side of the family. Totally relate to the emotional rollercoaster thing, I'm up and down often from one day to the next, sometimes from one hour to the next and often dependent on how many pregnant women/women with babies I've seen in the street that day!

Keeping everything crossed for everyone, good to feel we're not alone with these worries. xx

DaddysGirl36 Sat 22-Apr-17 23:20:29

ohbigdaddio - Regarding parents, I stupidly told my parents about TTC which was silly as my mam told everyone as if it was a news article. So embarrassing. I immediately felt pressured. So when I fell pregnant, we told in-laws first at 5 weeks and kept it from my parents until 9 weeks. Even then my mam was bursting to tell people, she even wrote the date of our scan on her calendar as the date she could announce! Sadly I lost the pregnancy and found out at my 12 week scan. Telling the family was awful and my parents were much more supportive but I think that was because my in-laws were shocked at the pregnancy in the first place as it came out of the blue (and we are not married, which they probs expected first).

Fast forward to 15 months later and we are undergoing fertility treatment with the likelihood of IVF. My mam knew all along and my OH didn't really want to tell his but I felt like I was lying to them. I decided to tell his mother and she has been incredibly supportive and messages me most weeks to ask how I am doing, knowing how low I feel and how I always put on a brave face at family events. I think telling her will be good for you both, especially if you do proceed down the IVF route. Good luck and I hope you make the right decision.

With regards to others, I've kept it as secret as I can because I don't want the sympathy and awkwardness from people. I certainly don't broadcast my MC and some of my closest family and friends still don't know. I am hoping to keep IVF a secret too, pretending any time off work is holiday as I know how it works and like geeup says, I don't want the pregnancy being known to everyone from day one, it's stressful enough and I want to be able to go through that scary first trimester without the world knowing and I also want that fanfare moment I deserve (and missed out on with my first, I had the plan all made sad. It's actually a year today that I got that BFP. Tried to keep busy to stop the tears

geeup Sun 23-Apr-17 09:25:43

Really sorry about your MC daddysgirl. I hope you have a sticky bean very soon.

PetalMettle Sun 23-Apr-17 09:29:28

flowers to all who need. We didn't tell either set of family as I didn't want more pressure and also I wasn't sure they'd keep it to themselves. I weirdly found that it was easier to talk to blokes about than women so told some male friends

delilahbucket Sun 23-Apr-17 11:50:41

My immediate family know (we're a reasonably close knit bunch). Dp told his mum because every time we saw her she started hinting about babies and I couldn't take it anymore. He hasn't told his dad but they're not very close. Beyond that, my closest friend, but only because she is going through something similar.

pebblesugar Sun 23-Apr-17 11:58:41

We didn't tell anyone at all as we both thought it would just add to the pressure. And we rarely discuss health issues anyway (I've had other health issues involving hospital appointments and don't tell other people) so it didn't feel like we were keeping a secret. Neither set of parents ever hint about having babies but neither DH nor I are very cooey around them so I expect they just assume we didn't want them (which we didn't, for the first few years of marriage). DH is my best friend and he's the only one I feel any need to discuss it with.

ohbigdaddio Mon 24-Apr-17 11:09:14

Thanks so much for all your thoughts on this. DH and I have chatted and he'd like to wait for my test results which I get a week on Friday and then talk to MIL. I'm still thinking of telling her sooner as we have a big family do the next day and if we get bad news I really won't be able to face going. MIL will find this very strange/upsetting as it's an important do, so I'm still mulling over telling her sooner in case I have to cancel.

DaddysGirl36 your MIL sounds incredibly supportive which is lovely to hear. I'm so sorry for your loss. x

Really appreciate all your thoughts, sending lots of love to you all. This is a tough journey but I hope we all get there in the end xx

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