Monday, May 30, 2005

Coming out

Last week, I got a call from one of my college friends. We have an interesting relationship. It’s generally been a bit unequal - she tends to need more support, and I give it. That’s how our friendship started, and the pattern stuck. Now that we no longer live in the same city, we have sporadic but long phone conversations. Sometimes she calls because she needs support - she’s panicking about her relationship with her boyfriend or some such. It’s how the friendship has been for a long time, and it doesn’t generally go the other way. I don’t know if it’s because I find it hard to talk to her or if it’s just the nature of things, but in keeping with our usual patterns, I hadn’t told her we were trying, let alone that we were having problems.

The other day, she just called to talk (and to tell me about her weekend and meeting her boyfriend’s parents and all, but still, no crisis.). It was HCG night, so the topic was fresh on my mind, and so I opened the conversation. (Something about being sad looking at pictures of a friend’s baby...) It went better than expected, but we’ll see how things change now.

Then, the other day, I told another of my research advisors. After our official meeting, he asked how things were going, since he had noticed that I’d been, um, distracted for a while now. So I gave him the vague version - we’re trying, it’s taking some medical intervention, kinda stressful, don’t ask how it’s going, when I have news I’ll tell you. Much less detailed than the info my advisor has (she likes to hear the details - but that’s another story).

I think all of this coming out is related to my attempts at postitve thinking. I realized that it takes a lot of energy to keep this all private - this has been an intense and draining journey, and while I don’t have any desire to broadcast the information to everyone I meet, I’m finding ways to let people in just a little bit.

The next challenge is to find a way to broach the subject with the pregnant friend we’re going to see at the wedding next weekend. I’m thinking about sending her an email in advance, so I can say exactly what I need to say without interruption (by her or by my likely sobbing breakdown). At least, this was the plan a couple of weeks ago. But now that I’m in this moderately hopeful place, I’m not sure if I need to do it. I know I just said it takes too much out of me to keep this private sometimes, but I don’t know if it will take more out of me to have to talk about it.

I’m working on finding the middle ground. I’m thinking about sending her a note explaining, briefly, what’s been going on and asking that she be sensitive about pregnancy talk (or asking about our pregnancy plans - PLANS! - how quaint!) What do you think - will that do more harm than good or is it worthwhile? What would you say?


  1. I've actually found that telling has taken a lot of the stress off and almost everyone has been wonderfully supportive and helpful. Of course, YMMV but I'd go ahead and tell your friend however it's easiest for you.

  2. Wow, you are doing great and so very brave.

    I have a bad habit of avoiding situations that would make me uncomfortable so I have nothing clever to say about your friend at the wedding. I probably would avoid her like the plague and that is not very nice.

    Thinking of you and hope you are well.

  3. At some point, not so very long ago, I started telling. Not so much because it was a considered decision but because I felt like my head was going to blow up. On the whole I'm glad I've started telling because now people don't think I'm just nutso. And it's really cut down on the whole so when are you going to have a baby type conversations that were driving me batshit. About your friend--I would say tell if you feel like you need to, otherwise just see how it goes when you get there.

  4. I've had mixed experiences telling people but think that this might have been because I have yet to refine my telling technique. I think that your vague approach, moderated for the person whom you're telling is definately the way to go.

  5. I agree, gauge what you tell by the person you are telling. Keep yourself well and hopeful, and protect yourself as much as possible from asshats.

  6. I have found it is a relief to tell people - not everyone, just those who would be affected by my absences or who truly know and care about me. So, I've ended up telling most of my co-workers, close friends and family. I feel better - particularly at work - because I'm not sneaking around.

    As far as the details of a specific cycle, unless I would tell that person if I miscarried, then I won't let them know where we are in a particular cycle. I say something vague like "we're always in progress and hoping for the best."

    Good luck to you!

  7. That's a tough call. If it were me, I'd probably just avoid her altogether. If you do send a note, be careful about what you expect from her reaction. Pregnant women are crazy (at least that's what I tell myself when I'm feeling more charitable). I finally confronted my friend (of "evil pregnant former best friend fame") about the fact that her complaints about her pregnancy were really difficult for me. I had really expected to feel some sense of relief after getting that off my chest, but instead she turned herself into the victim and called all our mutual friends to complain about how horrible I was being.

    Maybe be careful about asking her not to talk about her pregnancy because that's more likely to get her back up.

    Maybe you could just explain your situation a little and tell her that you wanted her to understand that seeing her pregnant will be hard for you so that she doesn't just think you're mad at her or something. That you wish you could celebrate with her, but right now that's just too painful for you because you so desparately want what she has.

    Then again, maybe your friends are nicer than mine!

    You're so brave to go to the wedding at all. Then again, I really have a good feeling about this cycle for you, so maybe you'll have a little secret of your own by then...