Thursday, January 08, 2009

input please - how to answer this question that I've avoided

My dad asked in an email recently if I would tell him more about how I got pregnant. My dad and I don't have the closest relationship. He would like it to be a lot closer, but I've always put up walls between us for various reasons.

Here's what he asked:
"Don't know if I should bring this up but guess I will anyway. If you ever feel comfortable sharing the whole process of getting pregnant with me I would love to hear it from you. I've only gotten bits and pieces. It's not relevant to anything particular just think those things should be shared between parents and children."

I've never outright lied about our infertility to anyone, I've just avoided the subject and avoided the questions. But since he asked directly I feel like I need to give him some kind of answer.

Here's the email I've written in response. Please tell me what you think. I'm struggling with the right balance of what to say.

I obviously ignored your question about getting pregnant. It's a very sensitive subject.

We did IVF. Many times over several years, after trying on our own for quite a while.

It was heartbreaking and emotionally painful roller coaster. It was depressing time of my life, and mostly just very sad. It's not easy to face the fact that your body doesn't work the way it should, and incredibly heartbreaking to be told that you may never have a child of your own. Especially when being a mother was the one and only thing that I've always known my entire life that I wanted. I've never failed at anything in my entire life, I've always accomplished everything I set my mind to, but this I couldn't accomplish and that was really hard for me to take.

Fertility science is still a lot of guessing. It took many tries to get the program just right so that my body would respond. We considered other options at various times throughout the process, but we weren't quite ready to give up yet. Obviously it eventually worked.

I didn't, and don't, talk about it because it was/is too emotional, and also because we feel that the process of making babies is something private between a husband and wife, no matter how it happens. Most people don't have to tell the details of how they get pregnant, because it happens privately in their bedroom. Mom knows some of it, but not much of the detail.

Ask me questions if you want. I might answer them, I might not. I hope you understand. Even now just thinking about it brings back a lot of sadness that I'd rather leave behind me. My life is so happy now.

16 comments:

Leslee said...

I think that's a nice response, very honest and forthright. Although it seems like a lot of information if you've never talked with him about it before. Your dad's showing a lot of initiative. Would you be willing to offer to have one conversation with him? That way you can prepare for it, tell him what you're comfortable telling him, and then be able to focus again on life.

Good luck!
Leslee

Heather said...

I think it's a great response. You gave him information, but let him know that it is painful for you to discuss. Wow! I wish I could be that good.

Tinker said...

Your response sounds like the right mix of information. Will you tell him at any point that your sister donated her eggs?

I'm very curious what prompted him to ask such a personal question.

Elle said...

I, too, am curious about what prompted his question.

But nonetheless, I think your response is exactly right. You honor his request to know more, while making it clear that it's a somewhat painful topic and not something you're eager to discuss.

Jaimie said...

How interesting that he has brought this up now. I would say that is a lot of information. I would think that he wouldn't ask anything or much else.

Caba said...

I think it's perfect. You need to feel comfortable with what you tell and don't tell people, and I think you handled it just right. You could have lied, or just shut the door in his face (so to speak), but you didn't. Instead you gave a level of honesty you are comfortable with, and even left the door for more communication open.

motheringmymiraclemultiples said...

I think you answered it well. He may not want to know anymore than what you have already told him.

by the way....
I tagged you...

Jamie said...

I think your response is very well written and outlines everything well. :)

Jennifer Webb said...

Your response is very good. I especially like your last sentence and think that you can add in what joy your children have brought to you and how thankful you are to have them!

My Reality said...

I think you responded well to his answer. If he wants more details, maybe you could give him the run down of an IVF cycle or something like that. But honestly, I think your last line says it all.

Bea said...

I think you've been quite generous with the information. Certainly no need to give any more, and you've explained why you won't be giving it, either. Particularly good point about how it's not really normal for children to share these details with parents at all.

Bea

Maureen said...

I'm responding as someone who also had twins by doing IVF with an egg donor. I suspect that your father knows that your sister donated her eggs to you, but he wants you to tell him yourself. I see that you intentionally did not share that information with him, and I'm wondering if you feel that he wouldn't be supportive of your decision to use your sister's eggs. Since I don't know anything about your relationship with your father, it is hard for me to imagine why he might be critical of your decision to use an egg donor. Or perhaps your concern is that he wouldn't keep your secret. For my own situation, I have chosen to be open with most of my family & friends about my use of an egg donor. And I intend to make my twins aware at an early age of their origins. (I plan to consult a professional for advice on how to best introduce the concept to my twins.) I fear that if I keep it a secret, it will be painful later on for my children when the truth is inevitably revealed. I don't want it to come as a big shock to them nor did I want it to come as a big shock to my family. However, if you're not comfortable giving your father the full story, then I think you worded your email very well. You've made it clear to him that you don't want to discuss it.

Bookerson said...

I think that sounds very thought-ful and just right. I think if my father asked that question I would say the same thing. (we are not very close) My mom knows more about us using DE, but dad does not know. I think it is something that not everyone needs to know all the details about.

Sarah said...

this strikes me as an interesting mix of wearing your heart on your sleeve while also saying you don't want to share much about it. i think that's actually nice, you're willing to let your dad in on a little of what this has been like for you even if you don't feel like rehashing the details.

beagle said...

I especially like the part where you say that no one is expected to explain the details when they conceive in the bedroom and that this is no different when it comes to the privacy of a couple.

For what it's worth, we treat details about the birth family the same way. Our philosophy is that those are our son's details, his story and it's not right for everyone to know it before he can and then it will be his choice who and what to tell.

Karen said...

I know I'm late to the game on this one, but I'm of two minds on this one:

1. First, I think that your answer is an excellent one and could stand as it is.

2. But second, I think it would also be wholly appropriate to say: "Do you really think it's relevant that parents and children should share the details of how their children are conceived between each other? We believe that no matter how a child is conceived we have a right to keep those details private, whether the conception took place in the comfort and beauty of our bedroom, or with the aid of doctors, science and laboratories. Why would one be more appropriate to share the details and not the other?"

It infuriates me that everyone thinks that infertility is their business but if I shared details of my sex life (what sex life?) it would be shocking and socially inappropriate.