Infertility is a very private issue, however, when people are suffering with it, gaining support can be very important. So many couples wonder, should we tell anyone if we are having infertility problems? There are certainly pros and cons to revealing this very intimate issue with others and there are steps couples can take to ensure that they are making a good choice when talking about it to others.
Potential Problems with Revealing It
One of the biggest issues in revealing any infertility problems you are having is how others are likely to respond. Sometimes people make comments and gives suggestions that just aren’t all that supportive. For example, if your grandmother says, “I know a good home-made cure that will guarantee pregnancy,” it isn’t likely to be helpful.
Or other people tend to say things such as, “You should just adopt,” or “When you quit putting so much pressure on yourselves, it will happen.” Although they may be very well intentioned with their comments, their sentiments may not be all that helpful.
Sometimes people have strong opinions about infertility. If you’re trying to conceive using IVF or another method, others may offer opinions about how silly it is to be paying so much money or they may make even make jokes about your efforts.
And then of course, there may be problems with gossip. Tell one person, and suddenly the whole family, or worse yet, the entire neighborhood knows your business. And you might not want the whole world knowing what’s happening.
Why It Makes Sense to Tell
Despite some of the potential downfalls of telling others about your infertility problems, it can make sense because there are likely others out there who can offer you some much needed support. In fact, if you talk to other couples, you’ll likely find that many of them experienced infertility issues at one time or another, they just hadn’t talked about it previously.
And there are many people who can give you genuine support and hope. Sometimes support comes in the form of emotional support where you may have a friend or relative who can simply listen to you. Or it may even be in the form of financial support from someone who can offer assistance if you need it.
Telling others can also help you not have to deal with the awkward question of, “When are you going to have kids?” When people know you hope to and are aware of what is going on, hopefully you won’t have to deal with answering this one as often.
Choosing Who to Tell
It’s important that you and your spouse come to an agreement about who to tell and how much you want to tell. If one of you prefers to keep the matter more private than the other, you need to discuss it. If one of you is uncomfortable, it’s probably best to keep the information quiet.
Discuss your motivation for telling someone else. For example, do you want to tell your neighbor because you’re pretty sure that she’ll be a great emotional support? Or do you want to tell your mother just so she’ll stop hounding you about grandkids? Whatever the reason is, make sure you discuss it.
Also practice developing a script together. How much detail do you want to tell people? They may ask questions about which one of you has “the problem,” or may want to know what steps you’ve taken to increase your chances at fertility.
You may want to keep it vague and say you’re trying to work on it or maybe it makes sense to give the details. Either way, it is most important that you both are in agreement with how much information to offer.
Don’t feel obligated to tell anyone. Just because you tell your mother-in-law, it doesn’t mean you have to tell your mother. Choose the people who are likely to be most supportive.
If you spill the beans to someone in an unplanned way, it’s important to tell your partner. Perhaps you told a co-worker who just revealed having a similar problem. Or maybe you were having a bad day and you mentioned it to your friend. Whatever the reason, stay honest with your spouse. Even if it means your spouse may be upset.
Gain Support as a Couple
There are lots of options to gain support as a couple as well. Consider a support group for others who are trying to conceive. Read articles and book together. Even online forums can be a good source of support. And a professional counselor can assist you as well in dealing with infertility and addressing any issues it may be causing for you emotionally or as a couple.