There are many taboos that women face. From menstruation to menopause, women are expected to keep quiet about their experiences. When it comes to fertility, this expectation is no different. Of course, there are some women who are open about their struggles around having a baby. But for every woman who shouts openly about IVF and monitoring her Basal body temperature, there are a hundred others who suffer in silence. Why? Perhaps it’s so that other people don’t feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s so she doesn’t feel uncomfortable. Regardless of the reason, it’s time for women to understand that they don’t have to be quiet about their fertility journey.
You are Not Required to Make Other People Feel Comfortable
Women, in general, seem to feel the need to make others feel comfortable. Whether it’s not mentioning their period in front of others or not sharing that they are struggling to become pregnant, this is just one way that the taboo around reproductive health is reinforced.
Emily, who struggled with fertility and suffered a miscarriage before having a beautiful baby girl, experienced this very thing. Though she was afraid that people would judge her and be uncomfortable with the way her and her partner chose to conceive, she made it a point to talk openly about her experience. She said, “The way we were trying [IVF], I felt made people uncomfortable and especially since we had to use a donor. I try to talk about it more in front of those people in a way that shows how comfortable we are with it that maybe they’ll get more used to it and not act like it doesn’t exist. That’s the only thing that really bothers me. When people try to act like the journey we took never happened. It doesn’t have to be talked about, but acting like we conceived normally and that IVF never happened bc you don’t feel comfortable with it bothers me.”
Being quiet about your fertility journey so other people feel more comfortable does no good for anyone. You still struggle quietly and no awareness is raised. Once Emily opened up about her IVF treatments, she received messages from so many women. Some wanted to offer support and others rang in with cries of, “me too!”.
Ultimately, the more you talk about it, the more people around you feel comfortable doing the same.
Everyone Needs a Support System
Many women say that the reason they don’t reach out to people about their fertility journey is because they don’t want to burden them with their struggles. While this is understandable, there are so many people who will happily support you in whatever way you need. They can’t do this if you don’t allow them to.
While society as a whole may frown upon the open discussion of fertility, the people who love you won’t. When you make the decision to not keep your experience quiet, you’ll find that there is an overwhelming amount of love, guidance, and encouragement just waiting for you to receive it.
Start by reaching out to those who have been through what you’re going through. Forums and support pages are full of women who have struggled to get pregnant and they can be a great starting point for receiving support. You can also reach out to close friends and family. The important thing is to ask for what you need. Is it a listening ear? Is it advice? Is it someone to spend time with and not talk about getting pregnant? Whatever you need, ask for it and watch as an abundance of love and support rolls in.
Ultimately, how open or not you are about your fertility is up to you. The point of all of this is to remind you that you do have a choice. If you want to share all the details, do so with confidence. If you want to keep your experience to yourself, that’s your choice, too. But the only way to end a taboo is to talk about it. If you’re being quiet about your journey for the sake of others, consider how many people (including yourself) might benefit from an open, honest discussion about what it’s like to try to conceive a child.