Public v Private part 1
I was sharing some g&ts with a colleague the other evening when the subject of careers came up and planning children. She asked me what she admitted was a fairly personal question “was I planning babies in the near future?”. My response just tumbled out “yes we’d been trying actually but it wasn’t happening naturally so we were on the NHS IVF waiting list”. It was that easy to say and yet I’ve not shared this information with some of my closest friends.
I’ve found the issue of Public v Private, when it comes to discussing our fertility journey, very problematic. N told colleagues at work really quickly and they were very supportive of him taking the time off he needed. I was more reticent. Companies rarely take the news of potential pregnancy well, particularly if they’re small like mine. As my boss herself was pregnant it seemed easier to share the news. She was supportive and it relieved the stress of explaining repeated doctors appointments although I’ve not told other colleagues I’m close to. How do you start that conversation over the queue for the kettle?
N and I have been wary about which of our friends we’ve shared the info with too. When is it right to tell newly pregnant friends whom we don’t want to discourage from sharing their news with us? I have a brilliant friend who is a constant support through WhatsApp messages but I can’t bring myself to open up to one of my oldest friends, face to face, yet.
I recently began a conversation with a friend about our difficulties assuming I’d already told her. In finding out I hadn’t, I also discovered she was going through something very similar and that we’d quietly been struggling and feeling lonely in each others company, which seemed so sad and ridiculous.
Why does it feel so taboo to share something that, whilst intimate, is so natural a thing to try and do? Equally when something that seems like the easiest thing in the world to do becomes difficult, why is that so hard to share? That casual and honest confession with my colleague felt so liberating and painless. Maybe fertility needs to make it into the everyday so it becomes less of secret burden?