As I prepare myself to go back to work, I’m also preparing myself for the questions people will feel more bold to ask me. Questions about if twins run in my family and all of that nonsense. It used to be annoying and I would give people wishy washy answers, only because really it’s NONE of their business (I’m being real – it’s not. period.) However, I decided to use these annoying questions as an opportunity to educate people.
“Do twins run in your family?”
Nope. I went through IVF due to severe endometriosis.
::::Silence as they try to come up with their next question:::
I don’t know. Before I would be ambiguous about it or use one of the “lines” that can be used. “No, but they do now..” or “Actually, we do have twins on…” but now I’m feeling like I just don’t care anymore. Do you want to know? Do you really want to know? Okay, I will tell you. I went through the process of IVF, which resulted in an early miscarriage, then moved forward with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) which resulted in a twin pregnancy. Why? Because I had difficulty getting pregnant on my own due to severe endometriosis. My insides are all kinds of jacked up and when I went to have the surgery to correct it, my doctor told me about how severe it was and how he was unable to do a thing, and advised me to move forward with IVF. So that’s what we did. After much prayerful consideration, talking with my parents, our family, our pastors, and each other..we moved forward with the entire process.
I think people need to be more aware of the fact that it’s not necessarily easy for everyone to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I was not one of those people who could get pregnant by simply standing next to my husband (lol)…so this is the road we decided to walk down. I also want to open up a dialogue. I mentioned before that when I was going through the entire process, and dealing with my fertility issues I felt really alone. The blog world and all of these forums became a home for me. A place where I could be honest, hold nothing back, and also connect with others who had gone before me or were experiencing the same kind of things. It was a safe place for me. It STILL is. But I want others to know that they are indeed not alone and if they need any support, and if I can offer it, here I am. I want people to know that it doesn’t make you any less of a person, woman, mom, or even a Christian (because as a Christian, I struggled with this – I wondered if I had enough faith or if God was okay with it..I really did.). I want people to know because I experienced a range of all of those emotions. I had so many things running through my head and did not have too many people to share it with. I want to remove the stigma or the shame from it. You may be wondering, why shame? Because I DID feel embarrassed and ashamed that I could not just go about everything the “natural” (oh how I loathe that word at times) way. I had to go a different route. But guess what? I learned that it was simply part of MY process! Just another thing to add to the list of things that shaped me into the person that I am today. It resulted in the most precious boys ever!
So, I have decided to just be honest about my journey. This does NOT mean that I will go into a detailed, play by play, every single time a person asks me about it. But perhaps it will open the door for people out there who are like me, and who simply need to know they are not alone. I will give you an example of how this has worked for me already.
I went to my school on Tuesday to meet with my substitute, observe a class, and get some paperwork. While I was in the classroom, a colleague who I had not seen in over TWO years (because she got pregnant and took two years off) came into the classroom and was welcoming me back. We were chit chatting and she asked me flat out about our process (I don’t rememeber the exact wording). Normally this would have ticked me off, because in reality like I mentioned it’s not anyone’s business..but I decided to just come out with it – “Actually, my husband and I had to go through the IVF process because I have severe endometriosis and….” and I proceeded to tell her a little bit of our story. Her response? “Wow! I had to go through that too! Because of my age they had to implant 3, and at one point it was twins but we lost one and….” and she proceeded to share with me a bit about her journey and guess what? I had NOOOOO idea she went through any of it! But guess what? There is someone right around the corner of me that went through a very similar road! She is a couple of rooms away! I’m not sure if I would have known that, had I not been willing to just be up front about it…and we were able to connect, share, and so forth. It was cool.
This is not for everyone. I know some people may disagree with my methods. But this is something that I feel pretty comfortable with. I also respect EVERYONE’S process. For some people IVF, frozen embryo transfers, and the like are not something they feel is the road they want to take or feel CALLED to take. Everyone’s road is different. I respect you!
Can I also address the cultural stigma associated with IVF? I’m Hispanic, Puerto Rican to be exact. My husband was born in PR, his mother, all of our family is Puerto Rican, our church is bilingual (99% Hispanic, from various countries) and producing children is something that is a given. Infertility is not talked about and when people find out you went through that, they are very surprised. I cannot speak for the entire culture, this is just MY experience so please don’t be offended! This also gives me an opportunity to let people know about infertility, IVF, and all of that jazz. I see it as an opportunity. I always said that I wanted to use what we’ve gone through for some kind of greater good. If I can let people know they’re not alone, educate people, and also just share about our process…then I am happy with that. I find it to be extremely liberating and freeing. And I love me some freedom!
Yes, I went through the IVF process. No, I’m not ashamed of it.