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Please Don’t Ask

I was talking to this person who didn’t know me very well, and he started to tell me about fertility treatments.  Not his own experience, but we were talking about medical issues and the Affordable Care Act, and the topic came up.  He started telling me about fertility treatments even though I gave him the scrunched-up-nose-yeah-I-sort-of-already-know-this interruption a few times, nodding my head and trying to interject that those robot kids you see behind me are actually products of the process that you’re currently trying to tell me about.

I didn’t feel as if I needed him to know that I did fertility treatments; this was information for his sake and not mine.  But as he bulldozed over the fact that I was trying to let him know that I’m very familiar with the concept of superovulation, I stopped doing the head nodding and just listened as if the fact that women inject themselves with hormones, can you believe that, into their stomach shocked me into silence.

It was only going to get awkward if I encountered this man down the road, and somehow the topic came up again, this time giving me the space to clearly say, in song and dance, that I did fertility treatments to conceive my kids.  And even then, it would only be awkward if he remembered this conversation and asked pointedly why I didn’t do a better job of interrupting him.  Because, you know, it would have saved us at least five minutes of unnecessary explanation if I had just screamed out, “I did it!  I did it!  In the bedroom, with the syringe!”

Given him a Clue.


The Smartness recently had a post about her box of sad.  I have a box of sad like that, and it’s currently in the Wolvog’s closet mostly because I don’t want to clutter my own.  It contains, amongst other things, the filled sharps box that I never turned in.  I didn’t turn it in at first because it seemed like hubris to act as if we were actually going to have these children and not end up back in the clinic.  Then the twins were here and it seemed ridiculous to schlep two children and a sharps box across town to get to the clinic and turn it in.  Then I got emotionally attached to the box.  Then it felt like it wasn’t doing any harm existing in the Wolvog’s closet, I mean, until he starts poking around in his own closet and I hear him say a long, panicked, “Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, why are there a bunch of dirty used needles in my closet.”

What?  Whoa!  How did those get in there?  We must have a very neat and organized drug addict burglar visiting our house… constantly.

I figure I have many years before he’s tall enough to reach that top shelf and wonder what is in that cardboard box.

Two years ago, I wrote about the time when someone needed a picture of hCG and syringe, and I was able to come to the rescue and snap one for them.  The most interesting thing was the person did not ask why I had a used bottle of hCG and a syringe in my house in the first place.  They didn’t know me well; we’re simply on a listserv together.  They mentioned they needed this picture.  I wrote them and said that I could take said picture because I have a sharps box that contains used syringes at home.  And the person said, “thank you so much!  That would be great.”

It didn’t strike me as odd at the time, in fact, I felt relieved that no questions were asked and I didn’t need to give my long or short version of my fertility history to this stranger.  But now that I reflect on it, it’s sort of odd (oddly polite?) that the person didn’t question it at all.


For all the times that I’m frustrated when someone doesn’t ask or makes an assumption or doesn’t want to hear me talk about my uterus, there are equally times when I’m relieved that I’ve gotten through a conversation where the twins are just any two kids (and the person isn’t coyly asking, “oh, do twins run in your family?”) and my ovaries are the last thing on the person’s mind.  Sometimes it makes me feel like a spy in the land of the fertile, but other times, I’m just happy to be a regular woman with what others assume to be two regularly functioning ovaries and a regular uterus.

As the kids age, I blend more and more, with only the occasional new person encountered asking if the twins are natural (uh, didn’t you just hear me refer to them as robot children?  They’re as natural as Cheetos).  I don’t feel badly when I don’t reveal how they were conceived or the state of my reproductive organs; at least not when it comes to people passing through my life.

There are times when I want to use my mess as my message, as people sometimes says, and other times when I don’t really feel like talking about my mess at all.  It only gets awkward when it comes up later and people have to think back to everything they’ve said to me, wondering if they’ve slipped up and truthfully admitted how they really feel about those people who play G-d and use fertility treatments.  That?  That’s aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawkward.  But it was sort of funny too, the one time that happened.

I know there are people who never talk about their infertility at all, but for those who do, do you feel a responsibility to speak about it openly with everyone you encounter?


I promise that I really didn’t choose the title solely for the way it shows up on the Twitter/Facebook RSS feed.  But once Jen told me how my titles show up with the “More Thoughts on Quitting” post, I couldn’t help but smile when I thought through, “Please Don’t Ask Stirrup Queens.”


1 Pepper { 03.11.13 at 8:13 am }

I don’t necessarily talk about it with people I don’t know, but with people I do know well, if it comes up in anyway, I usually mention it, if only to end a conversation like you mentioned above. Yes, I do know women give themselves shots in the stomach. This woman did it.

We are moving in 5 days and I have been on a no-mercy tour of my house for the past month – if we are not currently using it or don’t love it (except for all of D’s baby stuff), it is out. I have donated, sold, and thrown away an insane amount of stuff and I feel awesome. However, I still have the 2 sharps containers from my daughter’s IVF in my linen closet. For a while they were out on a kitchen counter as I planned where I would take them for disposal. But after learning the hospital where I disposed of my first 2 containers (the sad cycle) has closed, they moved back to the closet. I never got rid of them in the first place for similar reasons as you – how arrogant to think this time it would happen, now I have a baby and I’m not taking her to a hospital just to get rid of these, etc, etc. So now I guess they are my box of sad, and the one thing that will go with us to the new place that we don’t need. Maybe they need to be my box of hope, though, because miracles do happen?

2 Tiara { 03.11.13 at 8:28 am }

Everyone I encounter? No, but I do feel compelled to mention my miscarriage in conversations with other women (& sometimes men) when talking about kids, pregnancy, etc…so often I get this relieved reaction from them & the hushed admittance that they too have miscarried & felt so alone thru it & are relieved to be able to talk about it.

3 Chickenpig { 03.11.13 at 8:52 am }

I have many boxes of sad. Or maybe they are really just boxes of IF past, because there is a lot of happy there too. I have a giant folder that charts every cycle I’ve ever done, along with the embryos transferred. I have a drawer in my secretary that has the US pictures of the bean and all the ‘congratulations! you’ve graduated to your OB!’ crap. I have a box of needles in my bathroom closet from the last cycle that was never finished, along with all the not-needed meds, but all of the other needles and etc were trashed in the BIG move 2 years ago.

I don’t ever seem to find a reason to talk about infertility. When my twins were little I got a lot of the “are they natural?” questions from random strangers, but I never felt obligated to answer them. Now no one asks, and I have no reason to bring it up.

4 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 03.11.13 at 9:07 am }

AAAAAAAAAAAAH! I’m not crazy!!! I love reading your posts, mostly because I frequently come away feeling like I’m not as crazy as I sometimes think I am. You think about many of the same things I do, and I love the perspective it allows me to read you “talking out loud” about these things that roll in my head.

See, I have a pretty-much-full sharps box in my closet. And it’s been sitting there long enough that I feel… weird (? Is that really the name for this emotion? I don’t know. Sort of jinxy, or anti-sentimental. I don’t have a name for this feeling.). I don’t know what to do with it. I find myself noting places that have sharps container collection, but yet, I never find myself thinking about actually taking that well-earned full container and actually leaving it somewhere, letting someone else touch it. Just weird.

Anyhow, as to the whole telling people about infertility and treatments, I often don’t feel any qualms about telling people about it, but usually only people that I feel have the potential to be in my life regularly. If a stranger directly asked, I might share. But generally, unless treatments are brought up, I just shrug and say how lucky I am to have twins when the “do twins run in your family?” question comes up. My pat answer is generally, “Well, they do NOW!” That generally deflects with humor, which is my usual modus operandus… Sigh. Some people need to be educated, but I don’t always feel up to it.

5 B { 03.11.13 at 9:10 am }

I don’t feel a responsibility at all in telling anyone about my personal life. If I think what I have been through can help someone, then I generally want to share to let them know they are not alone. I try to do it in a way that it does not become about me. Because all of our fertility treatments failed it seems that sharing to help someone doesn’t occur very often. Hearing about a bunch of failed IVFs doesn’t bring anyone much hope or comfort.

We chose to adopt and I also don’t tend to tell people that we are an adoptive family unless it is relevant to the conversation. I am not ashamed that this is how our family was built, but rather very protective of our child’s story. Not every stranger who comments on similarities or differences in our attributes or features needs to know personal details of our lives when a simple “thank you” or other kind platitude will do. One day I will let my daughter decide how we should answer people, but for now I only share when it might help someone, but not harm our family in the long run.

6 Katherine A { 03.11.13 at 9:31 am }

As far as telling people, I’m open that I struggle with infertility, but don’t typically give details as far as exactly what treatments we’re doing or on my cycles. I’ll explain what PCOS is and why it creates problems, but I’m a little reluctant generally (except in a few very select cases) to give specifics on my treatment regimen.

That being said, I did once get pretty irritated and did the reveal to stop the conversation with someone I barely knew. The other individual asked if I had kids. I said no and tried to change the subject. Then this person asked me if I wanted kids. I smiled and gave a vague response and again tried to change the subject. Person would not let it go, so this time I smiled at her and said “actually, I have fertility problems and I don’t ovulate, so we are seeing a specialist.” Funny enough, the subject of children was dropped very quickly at that point.

I’d like to say I did it in the name of education, but while I don’t mind discussing infertility in general or mine in particular if I think it will help someone or educate people about the subject, that time honestly all I could think was “really, if you push this subject/ask these questions, you are asking for a response you probably don’t want to hear.”

7 Catwoman73 { 03.11.13 at 9:40 am }

My box of sad contains mounds and mounds of clothing worn by my daughter that will never been worn by another child (at least not one of mine), and two full boxes of heparin syringes- unused, in my case. My fourth and final loss only happened three weeks ago, but I can already see that it won’t be easy to part with these items. I wonder if it will every happen.

As for sharing my story- I certainly don’t feel obligated to do so with everyone I encounter. But people can be incredibly judgmental, and if I am conversing with someone who clearly has strongly negative opinions about assisted reproductive technology, I will speak up. Not because I expect to change his or her opinion, but simply because I feel hurt by the negativity, and I can’t bear to hear it. My daughter wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Gonal-F and IUI, and I won’t allow anyone to make me feel embarrassed or ashamed of the fact that we needed help to conceive her. Not to mention- it does feel just a tiny bit good to see that smug and righteous look wiped off their faces. Wow… that makes me sound really awful… but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling that way…

8 Kitten { 03.11.13 at 10:03 am }

I don’t feel a responsibility to share with everyone I encounter. It really depends on the context and my mood. I’m open about my miscarriage and infertility, but sometimes I don’t even want to talk to my family about it, let alone a stranger. I do appreciate it when people are open about infertility, and I wish more were (especially celebrities), but I don’t like the idea that it’s anyone’s responsibility to share the details of her private life.

9 Jendeis { 03.11.13 at 10:42 am }

IF – yes, I’m pretty open about it. If it comes up in conversation, I just try to treat it pretty matter-of-factly (is that a thing?) DI – no.

10 Kymberli aka The Smartness { 03.11.13 at 10:56 am }

Most of the time, I don’t really feel a responsibility to speak up and inform everyone of my past battles with infertility. The only time I feel something akin to responsibility is when an infertility-related matter comes up and the person clearly has a misconception about ART, related legislation, or people who need it. If I spend so much time griping about how uneducated people are about ART, then I feel somewhat obligated to stop people in their tracks and offer information that will correct their assumption or at least let them know where *I* stand on the issue so that they won’t try to continue pushing their anti-ART agenda on me.

Now that I’m past my infertility struggle (both personally and as a surrogate), I can look back and see how my attitude about sharing has changed. When I was in the thick of things, I was less likely to talk openly about it. It felt too personal, too close, and too private an issue to discuss with a random person. Now that I’ve come to a point at which I can use my history as an example and discuss my emotions in the past tense vs. the present, it’s a lot easier for me to be open about how it was that my four kids came to be.

11 idioticinfertility { 03.11.13 at 11:25 am }

Given that I’m still in media res, I don’t really have a stance on this yet. But I do find myself getting hot under the collar (and irrationally so, I admit) when I’m around people who go on and on about how scared they are of needles. A few months ago at work, somebody had surgery on his Achilles tendon and everybody was talking with such horror about how he would have to give himself injections in the stomach of a blood thinner for like a whole week (gasp). I didn’t “come out” at that point – it was at work, and not the right time – but I wanted to shake people and yell at them to grow up. I suppose it’s all internal on my part… because someday I would like a little credit for being so tough and brave, and I know I’m never going to get that from the fertile world. Sigh.

12 Blanche { 03.11.13 at 11:42 am }

Gah. That sharps box of used syringes. Mine is currently on a high shelf in LO’s playroom, in a paper shopping bag along with many ziplocks holding the dozens (hundreds?) of extra needles and syringes and quick-caps.

I didn’t want to take it, then I forgot to take it, and then I didn’t want to deal with taking it and LO, and … now it just is. I’m actually finding it harder to donate/dispose of the rest of the items in the bag since they fall into that grey area of not being true medical waste but also not something many places can accept.

As for being open about the infertility, I’m much more open about LO being a preemie than how she came to be, though I try to pay attention to clues from other women so that if there a connection there or a need to be open, I will be. But I’m not out there making it a focal point of my life.

13 Geo chick { 03.11.13 at 11:57 am }

I talk about it a fair amount. Usually as a preemptive strike when talking to someone about pregnancy. Its easier to cut them off at the pass. However, there are times when I just introduce Baby X as my son and leave it. He looks enough like me at first glance that strangers don’t seem to be putting 2 & 2 together.

14 Geo chick { 03.11.13 at 11:59 am }

I don’t know how you got through that conversation. Good job on nodding and not rolling your eyes out of your head!

15 Kimberly { 03.11.13 at 12:00 pm }

Everyone I encounter? No. But I do feel the need to correct people who likes to point out incorrect facts. And I’m not afraid to correct them, regardless of where we are. We are out about our struggles so if I don’t speak up about it, friends will tell the person that maybe they should talk to me before they make assumption about infertility, fertility clinics/treatments or legislation regarding infertility. I’m fine with that because honestly, its more important to me that people have the right info vs. keeping private about it all the time. Sometimes it’s worth talking about.

But I will say that, as of late, I talk less about our own struggles and more about the facts. It’s only when people ask me what makes me so informed on the topic that I will actually tell them about our struggle. I correct people just like I would want someone to correct me about something I have misinformation on.

16 Daisy { 03.11.13 at 12:16 pm }

Just got rid of my “box of sad” today which included 4 sharps containers (my kids are 5 and 1 so they’ve been around awhile). So funny to then read your blog. I don’t know why it was so hard to get rid of all this stuff even knowing I would never do another round of IVF. But I’m happy to have reclaimed my closet space and my 1 year old is into everything so I’m glad to be rid of the sharps.

17 suzanne { 03.11.13 at 1:10 pm }

Here is a question: My daughter is almost 2 and was conceived with IVF. I do not hide my story and am very public about my infertility, although it is a mixed bag with complete strangers depending on the situation. I am concerned about my daughter possibly being ridiculed or teased by other kids or even some adult saying something about that her parent’s ‘played G*d’ or ‘she shouldn’t be here’. Have you ever run across this? I am not sure if this is something that I should be worred about, but I am.

18 a { 03.11.13 at 1:31 pm }

I did get rid of my sharps box, but I just have to take it to work with me and toss it in the biohazard box, so it’s easy. I still have some leftover stuff, though.

I will talk about my issues with anyone if it comes up…but like commenters above, it’s mostly when people are getting things drastically wrong that I feel a need to speak out. It’s my nature – semantics and nit-picking. 🙂

19 Mel { 03.11.13 at 1:47 pm }


I haven’t run into the kids teasing them or other adults saying anything strange in front of them. They hear a lot of weird twin questions, and we’ve usually just explained it as sometimes people who are curious also happen to be clueless, or they think they know something but the information they have is plain wrong. And that these things say more about the speaker than they do about the listener. But that most people — even the ones who ask rude questions — are coming from a place of thinking what they’re saying is okay. So be gentle and then walk away and internally shake your head.

20 Katie { 03.11.13 at 1:49 pm }

My sharps box is gone. I got rid of it when I tossed out my visions of getting pregnant – long before we started the adoption process.

As for talking about infertility, I don’t bring it up unless I have a reason to. (That is, when I’m meeting new people, I don’t launch into, “By the way, did you know my ovaries don’t work? Let me tell you about that . . .) But I will insert my knowledge and/or opinions when it’s timely. For instance, people at work were discussing the $10,000 abortion/surrogacy story last week, and I felt compelled to interject when things were taking a drastic turn toward “completely incorrect.” I can’t help myself.

21 Shelby { 03.11.13 at 2:08 pm }

Since I had my son, I feel charged to spread the word and attempt to ‘normalize’ infertility and alternative methods to family building. In fact, in some ways, I feel like it is one of my callings, so I never miss an opportunity to make IF a topic of conversation if it naturally appears (which it often does with strangers when they ask me about my plans for a second).

I often notice that people are uncomfortable and perhaps I am too comfortable. While I never share the gory details (ie: “so, this one time, my husband used 80’s porn to conceive my son…”), I do wonder whether I should sometimes cool it on the advocacy front. Perhaps my overenthusiastic ‘in-your-face with infertility’ might sometimes have the opposite effect? And like you, it’s fun to pretend I’m ‘normal’ once in awhile. 🙂 Still, I think that most of the time, my approach might save someone the heartache of dealing with ignorance in the future.

(on another note-I can’t wait for the day when someone bad mouths fertility treatment not knowing I went through it. I am going to revel in their awkwardness when I make sure they know they just insulted me personally)

22 Another Dreamer { 03.11.13 at 2:14 pm }

I still have two full laundry detergent bottles full of used needles from our journey through infertility and V’s pregnancy. I duct taped them shut, labeled them, got them ready to go… then they never left the house. I’ll get to it. Some day.

I am pretty open about what we went through. I don’t feel obligated to mention it at every passing, but there are times when I do. It doesn’t come up a lot in our lives a lot though, maybe because it’s just him. With twins, I imagine there is a lot more inquisitiveness and comments. For us though, unless they know us or are familiar with all the years we were together before children, it really isn’t asked.

Now if people are discussing things that they really don’t understand regarding infertility, or straight up bashing fertility treatments (I’m always surprised how much this happens, gah) I do tend to go off the deep end and start spouting off.

23 Anne { 03.11.13 at 4:05 pm }

I definitely speak up about infertility. But, that said, I’m about to embark on a donor egg cycle and I’m not sure how I’m going to handle that if we get lucky enough to have a child. My first child is like a unicorn, we had been told we had a 5% chance of getting pg on our own because I had diminished ovarian reserve and then 7 months later I got pregnant. And I do freely talk about it because I always want to be sure that people get accurate information. That women know that it is possible at age 31 to have very few eggs left and not to delay if they are ready.
Not sure if I will be so free with the donor egg info because I want to be sensitive to the privacy of my (potential) child.
But I’ve never encountered anyone bashing IF treatments. I think I would be fairly out spoken and condemning if I heard something like that.

24 GeekChic { 03.11.13 at 5:01 pm }

I have to say that I find all the various questions about twins / multiples (particularly the “are they natural?” varieties) to be frankly bizarre and deeply intrusive. Just another thing I will never understand…

I have my own box of sad – but for entirely different reasons (cancer multiple times).

25 Amy { 03.11.13 at 5:44 pm }

I’ve really only been open about it either when someone else mentions their IF difficulties, or, somewhat evily, when I’ve flung it out at someone who has said things about this current baby being my first child (no, I’m infertile, I’ve lost twins, and this current little guy isn’t here safe yet), or that I’m young with plenty of time (I’ll be 39 in 2.5 weeks + las parenthetical statement), etc. To knock off comedian Ron White: “Honesty…that’ll shut ’em up.”

26 persnickety { 03.11.13 at 6:01 pm }

I do talk about it, or did when I was going through treatments. But I think it is mostly on my blog. My mum once started asking me about how it was going in front of a distant cousin from the UK, and I was uncomfortable, so not always so open I guess- very “case by case”. Depends how the conversation is going, how I think the person is likely to react and the potential result.

I am careful- I had to tell both my dentist and accupuncturist very early on that I was pregnant, and then retract it, and that is not fun.
That said, when I had my first miscarriage (way back when it was “easy” to get pregnant) I was at my first soccer game after I got back, and when we were all in the changing room, a player I wasn’t great freinds with asked me where I had been (2 plus months off). I was less than impressed by the question and responded that I had had a miscarriage. It was the conversational equivalent of a nuclear bomb. But people did come up to me afterwards with their own stories/information, so there was positive out of that.

27 magpie { 03.11.13 at 6:42 pm }

i tend to tell people if it comes up in conversation. which it does. sometimes, i just shrug it off with “miracles of modern technology”, sometimes, i’ll go into more detail. i’m inclined to think that the more people that know, the better…

28 Mali { 03.11.13 at 7:15 pm }

Do I feel a responsibility to discuss my IF (and rather obvious childlessness) with everyone I encounter? Absolutely not. Because the information is mine to share, not theirs to expect, and so I will share when it feels right to me, and not share when I don’t want to, don’t have time, don’t feel strong enough etc. Which is not to say I hide it – I just think there is a time and place for me to discuss it. For example, I’ve been on the Board of Directors of a company with another director for 10 years. I know he has children (two of his daughters are very prominent politicians/academics), and he knows that I don’t. But we’ve never discussed any details, despite the fact I went through my ectopics and IVF and the final verdict all while I was going to board meetings with him. Yet like some of the others, I will talk about my ectopics around other women – I occasionally throw in the fact that I wish I was back to my pregnancy weight for shock value. It really has to be right for me. If people pry, I’m less likely to open up than if they are relaxed about the fact I have no kids. Because prying starts to feel like they have an agenda, and usually that agenda isn’t one that is helpful to me.

29 V { 03.11.13 at 7:30 pm }

I talk about IF all the time, in fact when someone asks me about my daughter I told them it took a lot of hard work to get her. I do it because damn it, IF should not be spoken about in the same way people used to talk about cancer, in hushed tones. We go through a lot and whatever the outcome we should be able to say with pride that yes this was my struggle and I came out the other side.

30 Pepper { 03.11.13 at 9:13 pm }

So after reading this post this morning and seeing all the commenters who also still have sharps containers in their closets – first of all, phew! Do I feel a lot less weird now – yes, I do! It never occurred to me that others did this too. I was also inspired to finally get rid of the damn things and yet, I learned today, that is nearly impossible. NO ONE will take these blasted used sharps. I wasted most of precious daughter’s nap time calling anyone and everyone. Oh well, off to the new house they go. Although the idea of that no longer makes me sad since now I know I’m a member of the IF Sorority of the Sharps, all of you out there also holding onto these useless little objects as well. Thanks for making me feel like I belong. 🙂

31 Lollipop Goldstein { 03.11.13 at 9:15 pm }

Pepper, I love that so hardcore! The Sorority of the Sharps.

32 Queenie { 03.11.13 at 9:53 pm }

Um, aren’t the twins like 8? My 8 year old self would have probably already scaled the shelf. If not 8, then definitely by 9 or 10. I lived getting into a good secret. I blame all those Nancy Drew and Trixie Nelsen books. But you’re kids see likely better behaved.

I feel compelled to educate on infertility, even thoughor problems were low-level and solved by clouds. I feel like I owe it to the people who struggled way more than me, like it does the world a service to fight the infertility ignorance.

I loved Kym’s box of sad. I thought I was the only one with used pee sticks hanging around.

33 Queenie { 03.11.13 at 9:56 pm }

Damn Spellcheck on my phone. While I wish clouds could fight infertility, alas it should have said Clomid. And that is Trixie Belden, dear dictionary…

34 Sara { 03.11.13 at 10:07 pm }

I don’t feel a responsibility to tell everyone, but I do tell some people. It all depends on my mood, the context, etc.

35 Siochana { 03.12.13 at 12:00 am }

I’m not sure what to tell anyone yet because I still don’t know exactly what we are dealing with / are going to deal with, except that it has a scary side. I wrote a blog post about wondering how to approach the “what are you planning to do next year” questionnaire at work: http://torthuiljourney.blogspot.ca/2013/03/next-year-will-not-be-good-year-to.html

36 Kim { 03.12.13 at 12:51 am }

I don’t feel a responsibility, but I don’t really consider it anything other than fact at this point. I’ve finally come around to seeing it as nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s almost something I’m proud of. We fought hard for this little guy, and here.he.is.

37 Rachel { 03.12.13 at 1:07 am }

Danny’s grandma was a Holocaust survivor. 11 camps. Hard stuff. She never ever spoke about it. And I think if she had, she would of been better liked. That woman had huge giant issues.

That’s how I feel about my infertility. I don’t share it with everyone, but I do talk about it with people if it explains more about who I am, so that I’m not misunderstood. Or disliked. I too have huge giant issues.

38 Kristin { 03.12.13 at 9:18 am }

I don’t feel the need to talk about it to everyone but I also don’t hesitate if the opportunity presents itself.

39 AJ { 03.12.13 at 11:46 am }

Your post just reminded me that I still have a sharps container in my closet. I was the same way…I didn’t want to jinx anything by bringing it in to the hospital to dispose of it when I was pregnant. My husband calls it baseball thinking. Now, I don’t really have an excuse and since I work at a hospital I should just bring it in early someday. As for infertility, I only really talk about it with people I know or I will occasionally bring it up to offer to support to people I meet when I hear about infertility or miscarriage. I got so many…Do twins run in your family questions, it was kinda crazy.

40 nonsequiturchica { 03.12.13 at 4:50 pm }

I think that the fact that someone asked for a picture of HCG and a syringe is weirder than actually having it on hand. Did you ever find out why they needed that picture??

I can’t imagine that I will keep the syringes and medicine in my Sharps container for too long (hopefully just until next month when my town allows us to dispose of them)…although it was amazing to show my mom just how much medicine I stuck into my body these last few weeks….

41 missohkay { 03.12.13 at 5:46 pm }

I love the phrase “spy in the land of the fertile.” As a transracial adoptive parent, that’s something I never get to be. Most of the time I don’t really care, but on occasion, it would be nice for strangers to not instantly know (or think they know) my reproductive history when I’m just walking by them in the grocery store.

42 jen { 03.13.13 at 2:04 am }

90% of the time I will share (or educate :)) However, the other 10% of the time I’m either too tired or too busy to bother. As he gets older I find myself sharing less.

43 Ellen { 03.13.13 at 8:39 am }

One thing I like about having the girls in preschool is that although they are the only twins in the class — I think — there are quite a few sibling pairs in a classroom of 3 to 5 year olds. Nearly all the time now, in and out of school, they are assumed to be back-to-back siblings (totally different looks, plus one is an inch or so taller). I will mention that they are twins, but IF just doesn’t come up unless someone asks if we are having more. And curiously, even in a Catholic preK room where any classroom party will include several pregnant moms or newborns, even the “do you want more” question doesn’t come up often at all. I think a lot of people assume that we’re done because of twin parent exhaustion, which is pretty much the truth, but I usually allude to infertility. Only with my friends or relatives do I refer specifically to our IVF cycle. I feel that I stand up well enough for infertility, but 4 years into parenting, with 4 years of daily BCP-popping, I don’t feel like an infertile woman. It’s a state of mind as well as of body, IMO. The #1 proof of no longer feeling infertile is that I am wildly happy whenever a friend announces her pregnancy.

44 loribeth { 03.13.13 at 1:56 pm }

Definitely not everyone I encounter. I have always been pretty close-mouthed about our lack of children & why. Recently, though, I’ve been “liking” various infertility sites on Facebook, willynilly. I didn’t for a long time, because I figured people would see my “likes” and it wasn’t any of their business. Then I realized what the heck, if they don’t KNOW for sure, no doubt they suspect, and they might even click over & learn something. Passive-aggressive proslytizing, that’s me, lol. So long as it doesn’t directly connect people to my blog (which I would like to keep private from my IRL family & friends), I am fine with it.

Re: Box of Sad: No sharps containers, left those at the RE’s office long ago after our last cycle. And I never kept any peesticks — wish I kept the one that turned positive, or at least taken a picture. It didn’t even occur to me at the time that people did such things.

But I still have a Rubbermaid container full of infertility & pregnancy books, my infertility treatment journals & other related stuff. I thought I had gotten rid of a lot of it (all my temp charts, etc.), but the last time I went through it, I still found tons of stuff to throw out/shred.

45 lifeintheshwa { 03.16.13 at 12:54 pm }

Coming at this as a loudmouth sort of person generally not afraid to speak my mind, and someone who has secondary IF and RPL I tend to be pretty open – both because I think it helps me to have understanding people around me, but also because there are lots of people out there suffering in silence, and to me, if I can be a public voice of infertility and RPL when they might not be strong enough, it might help them knowing they aren’t alone. I’ve had lots of people both publicly and privately tell me that they too have been through a miscarriage or know someone who has infertility and that they had no idea how hard it was until they heard it from me, and I figure I’d like the next person who tells someone they’re struggling TTC to be met with a better reaction from someone because they knew me and what we went through.

Thanks also to everyone for not making me feel alone with the leftover meds and sharps containers. I’m annoyed (but grateful!) to be one of the cliches that got pregnant waiting for IVF after 3.5 years of IF and RPL but as much as I hated resorting to meds and injections I haven’t given them up (it doesn’t help that I’m 26 weeks pregnant and still pretty worried about whether June will bring a baby or a whole new level of grief). I still have hCG in my fridge and a half used Gonal-F pen, along with a bag of unused needles and injection pen tops. Most pharmacies or Dr’s offices should take any sharps, though, if anyone feels brave enough to toss theirs away.

46 kateanon { 03.17.13 at 7:29 pm }

I’m very open, but I’m finding as time goes on that I volunteer less and less. I often want to ask other people, but it doesn’t feel like it’s my place. I don’t have stuff like sharps (I’ve moved too much since then) but I took photos of the meds for memory’s sake. I have a bit of a journal or I can re-read old blog posts if I want to wallow.

47 Becky Burress { 03.18.13 at 9:10 pm }

Wow! How relieved I am to finally have found intelligent commentary when it comes to reading about infertility on the Internet. Pretty ironic that I say this after reading about 46 other people who have needles in their closets. Unfortunately mine aren’t still there because I don’t want to interrupt nap time. Even after a year in this infertility game, I think I’m still embarrassed and somewhere in my twisted brain I think that it will only add to the shame that I felt as I called around to pharmacies to ask if they had Ovidrel. I feel like finding a sharps container might make me feel as low as I do every time I have to answer the insurance companies questions about what is this drug, what is it for, only for them to reject any coverage and I shell the money out once again. I picture myself slinking around the pharmacy with my bag of needles like some sort of conscientious heroine addict. So I get tired, and they go on the shelf in my bathroom with the rest. I’m glad I’m not the only one…

Pretty sure you can guess how often I bring up my infertility with people judging by my embarrassment with needle disposal. Actually, I’ve become much more open about my treatments and subsequent depression. I kind of had to after trying to hide it from everyone and then bursting into tears when a friend announced her pregnancy. It has helped to share with my friends rather than hide myself away from them, which only just put my friendships in jeopardy. In terms of other people, I’ve realized it is easier just to tell the truth about why I don’t have children rather than trying to make excuses and look uncomfortable. This has actually lead to surprising sources of support.

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