Thursday, June 17, 2010

Telling your Parents!

I was on the phone a few nights ago with my mother, she was already planning 
Christmas vacation (she LOVES Christmas)!! She wanted to know when I would 
be flying back home and how many days I will have off of work. I let her know 
that this year we may not be able to go home for Christmas for "financial" reasons. 
She kept pushing at this, saying there should be no reason we can't get home
we both work and have no children. (I hate that statement coming form ANYONE, 
to hear it from my mom was very stingy. "JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T

Anyway, I ended up spilling the beans by saying, "look mom, we may not be able 
to come home because we may have to pay for IVF to have a baby. To show you
how well this news went over, here is a list of comments heard over the next few 
minutes of this conversation:

- Why do you have to do that, there is nothing wrong with you!

- Well who's fault is it?

- Why don't you adopt from Africa

- Maybe it's not meant to be

- There is no way this is your fault

- There is no way this it both your fault, it has to be just one of you

Needless to say I was quite upset by this conversation, but after talking to a friend/
cousin in law of mine, she reminded me how shocking my news may have been. 
Perhaps my Mom may have needed a little more time to digest it the fact that there 
is something "wrong" with her daughter and that she may not have the abundance of grandchildren around the Christmas tree that she may have hoped for. 

So, here is my question to you. When/How did you tell your parents? How did 
they react? Was it the reaction you expected, or were you upset by the lack of 
support? Surprised by the amount of support? Did this change over time?

Look forward to hearing from you!!!


  1. I'm so sorry about your experience. Mine was similar, my mom starting saying similar things. She suggested I get a surrogate?! Really mom, why?! Arggh. I just think we are dealing with a different generation that doesn't know what to say really doesnt understand IF and ART.

    My mom has learned to say nothing- she just listens now. She actually has access to my blog, so hopefully she reads it, she must be because she doesnt ask questions.

    My dad knows but doesnt ask any questions or bring it up ever. So it's a double edged sword because you want them to care and say something yet you don't for this very reason.


  2. Since I can't remember how I told my mother (& father by association), it must not have been terribly traumatic for me. Granted, she had had trouble herself (but pre-IVF availability), didn't come as a total shock since she'd been there, done that and evidently the thought had crossed her mind that it might be the same for me.

    I think we told the in-laws when we were together for a holiday, either Christmas or Thanksgiving, and they were supportive; I only remember that since it felt like a bigger deal to share something so personal with them. (Of course now that my MIL was in the room for the FET and saw my internal girlybits on the ultrasound monitor, it doesn't seem like that big a deal.)

    Overall, I think we've had a pretty good experience with family respecting our boundaries post-disclosure. Every so often they'd ask how things were going, but mostly waited for us to bring it up; it never seemed like they didn't care, just didn't want to push.

    I'm sorry that (1) your mother forced the disclosure and (2) that her reaction was so upsetting.

  3. That must have been AWFUL. I'm so sorry she didn't handle it better. Is there any chance she's one of those fix-it types who just didn't know what to say when confronted with something she couldn't fix?

    I can't remember exactly how/when we disclosed our TTC and related difficulties to family. I do remember that work was easy. I wanted to get "clearance" from my neurologist before we could TTC, because of a medication I was on. This necessitated a bunch of absences from work for tests, so I told my boss and grandboss.

    I think I told my parents after I told work, but it was probably under the same guise -- explaining that/why I had a bunch of doctor appointments. They were great about it, but they're very much "no opinion offered unless asked" types with me and my sister. To our faces anyway. :-)

  4. Phew. That was a doozy of a conversation. Each of those statements are hard enough by themselves, but together. UGH.

    That said, I'm sure your mom was in shock and not quite sure how to respond, so she did so without thinking. I bet you'll probably find her more supportive after she's had some time to digest the information. When I told my mom I think she was also shocked (after all we'd been married for 13 years by then), but was very supportive. On the other hand we never told my in-laws because I could NOT deal with comments like that from them. Some people are just better off not knowing, KWIM?

    Hang in there.

  5. Ouch. Those are quite a few zingers in one conversation!
    I never had to come out and say it in such a black and white way with my mom (or DH's parents, while they were alive), because my whole family knew about my endo and they knew that the infertility came along with it. I can't imagine having to hear those kind of comments would be rough :(.

  6. You know how my parents reaction (supportive but at the same time not understanding, although my mom is now much more understanding) & you know my in-laws reaction (not supportive or understanding at all and still they're still not). Did I ever tell you about my work's reaction?

    At that point at work I had 2 bosses. My younger boss "P" couldn't look at me for weeks without tearing up. He was so upset that I couldn't have childern,HOWEVER that didn't stop him from making stupid comments about me not having a "family". His nosie wife keep calling me EVERYDAY with new ways for me to have a family. Now that was annoying.

    My Older boss "F" had no idea. I didn't tell him about doing IF treatments, so I was in every other day late for my IF appts and he had no idea why. I had explained everything to "P" who told me not to worry about "F" he'd talk to him. Well he only told him that I had appts for the next little while and Part-time ladies would be working for me every other day in the morning. Long storey short he thought I was quitting and was coming in late b/c I was going to interviews! He made my life a living hell for the next month of testing to the point were I quit. "P" freaked out at "F" and told him everything I was going through and the real reason I was coming in late. "P" convinced me to come back (with tons of nice perks to might I add) and "F" for the next few week wouldn't look me in the eye.

    Everyone has a different reaction. I truly believe your mom was in shock. I think once she had time to really process what you told her, she'll be much more supportive and understanding.

  7. I haven't told my parent and have no intention of ever doing so. They were extremely unsupportive of my miscarriage, which caused me a huge amount ojf additional pain. So I decided to leave them out of all of this.

    A few years back I ended up having to have very serious emergency neck surgery to accommodate a congenital defect inn my neck. My mom didn't handle this well, according to my sister. She never said anything to me, but my sister said that she felt really guilty, like it was her fault since it was a congenital defect,

    That makes me wonder if your mom might feel some sense of being implicated in all of this, Ike she is responsible for your biology. I can understand that, I thnk.

    Give her some time and see what she comes back with. I really really hope it is the response you need. I know how painful it is when the response is all Wrong. I had some serious hard runs in the dark as a way to take out my anger towards my mom for never comforting me over the miscarriage.

  8. my mom still refuses to believe i am infertile, after losing my R reproductive organs, knowing the L side is all twisted up and having been through 3 IUIs and 2 IVFs. she always says it that im not really infertile
    im sorry that on top of that you got some of the standard lines that people like to tell those of us who are TTC without much luck. you don't deserve that. possibly send her this?

    i hope it helps xoxo

  9. I'm so sorry that she reacted so poorly. I lucked out with my mom. I'm pretty close to her anyway, so she has known all along about my infertility. And, she even hooked me up with a gestational carrier last year. It didn't work, and was more serendipitious than anything, but she was looking out for us.

    I'm sure part of it was just the shock and I bet she turns around in time. Hang in there. I'm eager to follow your progress with the acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I wish I had tried that before all of my medical procedures.

  10. In-laws were super supportive and understanding, we told them when the babes were 26 weeks baking, so obviously didn't tell them advance of having good news.
    As for my parents - well - that is a discussion over email - but my mom would be just as ignorant or even MORE ignorant then yours... it maybe a shock, but, perhaps you can also tell her what kind of an ASS she is being, i find my mother has no clue of the stuff that comes out of her mouth.

  11. Sorry there wasn't more support from your mom. Give her time. I think she may just need time to digest it all.

    The first month we started TTC I told my mom. I was so excited and thought for sure I would be pregnant in no time. Well it has been a long 5 1/2 yrs later. She has know every step we have taken. After our first IVF she was almost relieved. I think it was because I responded so well and the nurse said, "Well obviously you are not infertile." My mom carried around a lot of guilt when we thought I was the "issue". Had she done something wrong that made me that way. DH's parents were told only about 2 months ago that he is the one with the "issue". His mom was floored and couldn't believe it. No one in her line has ever had any problems. I think they just always thought I couldn't get pregnant.

    In my mind we are a couple who share the issue. I don't like to point fingers. (I'm sure you feel the same way.) The fact is IVF is our only hope of having a biological child and we hope it works. And yes our life savings is being thrown into it and I don't think anyone else should tell us how to spend our hard earned money.

    I really hope your mom can be more supportive and help you though this difficult time. I'm sure she will come around. Like any of us want to go down this road. This is just where life has taken us.

  12. We tried to keep TTC a secret from my parents because we knew we'd have this awesome announcement for them...but when I had to have surgery I decided I needed to let them in. My mom immediately said how sorry she was and how sad she was for missing all those cycles she could have been comforting me. This was a great reaction, but ultimately her support wore thin and so much of that had to do with me--I never really knew what I wanted from her in terms of support, which made it hard on her :) She wanted us to stop treatments way sooner than we did, and to this day she does not know about our final trip to CCRM. It's complicated with families and especially Moms...

    Hoping it gets better.

  13. I think once your mom gets over the news she will be more understanding. My parents knew about what is going on with us over time and now they know and they are quite supportive but at first it was a complete shock for them. Good luck!

  14. Oh holy crap! So sorry about your conversation with your mum. I know it must hurt terribly because you really need to receive support and strength from others, not visa versa! My family just never asked. Ever. Which makes it very difficult to discuss. For what it's worth, when we told both sides of the fam that we were adopting, they also seemed to be in shock and also made ridiculous statements. I could see their wheels turning (who's broken and why aren't they fixing it?) with unasked questions, but I'm not ready to talk about it with them. All the best!

  15. I got more or less the reaction you got. My mom was freaked out because she didn't know much about IVF and also because the thought of something being wrong with her daughter scared her so much. She would not admit to it but I know her too well. With time her reaction changed a little but after the first IVF (failed) she started talking to girlfriends of hers and she got into her head that I would die if I had another IVF. Don't ask me why but she really thought I could have a stroke (my dad had a severe stroke) and die. Again proving my point that she was scared for me and still sees me as a little girl.She tried to talk to me about adoption rather than more drugs even though she always told me how adoption is a difficult process. After the second IVF worked she told me that she had known all along that it would have worked! I say give your mom a chance to digest what you told her, it's a lot to take in at first. I never told my parents the timing of my cycles because I knew I couldn't take the questions and I knew they could not handle knowing what was going on. good luck!

  16. My mom knew I had endometriosis after my first surgery. She was here and I gave the doctor permission to tell her anything after surgery. So that set the stage for possible issues. Also, after dh's semen anaylsis came back I called her crying. Then after our visit with the RE who told me that it would be near impossible for us to conceive because of the severity of my endo I kept my mom somewhat, although vaguely informed of our IUI treatments and then subsequent adoption plans. So there was never a "moment" in which I told her. It happened in stages and I think she suspected it. Still, there has been no lack of tacky comments when it comes to the adoption process. She wants us to have the "perfect" baby and can't accept that that's never going to happen.

  17. "If it's meant to be..."

    It always surprises me when people can say that...especially those who have had personal tragedies themselves. Their is no "meaning" to infertility - just a problematic medical condition. Would you say that to someone with a life-threatening disease? "Sorry about that cancer, but I guess it's meant to be." Never. I totally understand your predicament and hope everyone around you can be supportive!

  18. Wow - what a terrible conversation. My mom was pretty awful - she keeps saying, even after everything, that if God doesn't want me to have children naturally, then I shouldn't have children - I should adopt. The part that hurts the most from my mom is she was infertile - I was adopted. I can't figure out why she isn't more understanding. She thinks any kind of ART is against God, and she doesn't understand why I go against God's wishes. She didn't come out and say it about my recent miscarriage, but she's said it about my ectopic pregnancy - maybe that was God's way of saying that I shouldn't have done the IUI...

    My dad, on the other hand, was wonderful. He asked lots of questions, and was really supportive. Guess it's not surprising the two of them didn't stay married!