I've long dreamed of what my 'coming out' would look like. Coming out of the infertility closet, that is. I have always known it would happen sooner or later as I feel a real responsibility to the IF community and future couples who will face IF to share at least part of my story. I mean, it's ridiculous that IF is still such a taboo or rather now a sensationalized subject when 1 in 8 couples have REAL stories to share (that do not involve 8 offspring at once). But I've run into some obstacles in conceiving of such a plan.
First, how could I possibly convey the depth and breadth of the IF experience, the pain and the ups and downs to someone who has never stepped near it? How could my descriptions not sound over-dramatic and yet under-dramatic at the same time? Then there's the issue with how much to tell. Now that we will hopefully be welcoming our IVF/ICSI baby into the world this November, how much of this story belongs to him? Should I respect his privacy and allow him the choice to share the story of his conception? I wonder whether those who remain ignorant despite my best attempts will think of him first as a product of IVF and second as a child. So many variables to consider, and yet still I feel a driving force to throw open the closet doors.
While some of my closest friends and family members know of our IF, most of them do not. I can easily count those in the know on less than two hands. While in the process of treatment, I didn't think it would be very helpful to have any more noses poking where they didn't need to be and quite frankly I never trusted that ignorant comments wouldn't change my relationship with them. I only told those who I knew would respond with tactful and supportive comments or rather, those who I was close enough to know that a silly comment here and there would not destroy our relationship. Now that I'm not actively involved in treatment, I feel the day is nearing when more will hear about our struggles and the fact that we are not alone.
I'm still in the planning stages, but I've considered several different formats for the 'outing'. First, I have another personal blog (where I rarely write, my last entry was in January), that I know some of my friends and acquaintances do read from time to time. There is no way to go.ogle me and find it so I know that the only ones on it have been through invitation only. I've thought about a post briefly describing our journey (no exact treatment details, just length of time and alluding to an 'involved' journey) with links to a few informative Resolve articles, an anonymously written excerpt, and the infertility awareness project video that illustrates the experience much better than I ever could. On the other hand, I've also thought of doing the same only through email in order to 'contain' and have more control over who my viewing audience would be, but then that would defeat the purpose of disseminating information to the general public.
I once approached 'coming out' in an even more public way. You see, L.ifetime was recruiting couples undergoing IVF at my clinic for a documentary and I readily signed up for it. The purpose was to illustrate the 'real' story of infertility. I thought, hey if I'm going to come out, it might as well be on national TV, right? (ha, I'll take my 15 minutes any way you slice them!) I was fully prepared to have a camera follow me into my retrieval and transfer and through the aftermath of a possible BFN because I thought that if I knew I would fail in describing the experience to others, I thought that showing would be far more effective. Despite being in a series of lengthy talks with the documentary makers, they informed me that the project was on hold indefinitely, although personally I find it suspicious that they said this after I sent them my picture, ha!
So, yes I'm torn, but one day, when I feel the time is right, I'll come out. I'll come out for my infertile sisters and brothers who are still walking the path to parenthood, for those who have walked in the past and most importantly, for those who will find themselves on it in the future. I'm realizing very clearly one of the reasons why I was made to walk it myself and soon it'll be time to fulfill that.