Now there’s a book I’d buy!

Back in the earliest days of this endeavor, Ms. Swimmin came across a copy of the ubiquitous pregnancy manual What to Expect When You’re Expecting in a used bookstore and bought it, figuring it’d be handy to have and might as well be prepared for the inevitable pregnancy, right?

I leafed through it at the time, figuring I’d actually read it later during the inevitable pregnancy. But as I recall, there’s a big section in the book on what to do if things go pear-shaped (as it were) during your pregnancy.

What does not exist – so far as I know – is any authoritative set of instructions about what to do if things go pear-shaped before you even get to the “pregnant” part.

For example, what do you tell your families?

As I noted in my first post, we haven’t yet even told my parents that we were trying to get Ms. Swimmin all knocked up. There are a variety of reasons for this, but mostly because once they knew, my Grandma, hoping for just one great-grandchild to compare with her sister’s dozen or so, would know, and once my Grandma knew, the entire damn state would know, and half of the next state over…and, well, privacy counts for something, y’know?

And speaking of privacy… Ms. Swimmin’s Mom knew we were trying (as also noted previously), as did her sisters. So after we got the first test results last week, we told them what we decided we were ready to tell them: that we had gotten some test results that indicated that getting Ms. Swimmin pregnant was going to require outside help, and potentially help of an extraordinary degree.

That’s what we told them not just because it’s what we felt comfortable telling them, but also because that’s all we really knew for sure, and all we still know for sure now.

And so, expectations: what reaction should a couple in a situation like ours expect from family? Maybe we were foolish to expect sympathy and support. Maybe we should have known that wasn’t what we would get.

Ms. Swimmin’s Mom’s first thought – one of the very first things she said after hearing our news: “Are you going to be upset if one of your sisters gets pregnant before you?”

There’s history behind that statement too complicated – and detail-revealing – to get into here (though anyone with siblings probably has a general idea of the basics), but the upshot of it was that her Mom’s first thought on hearing news that’s really distressing on a very deep and personal level to her daughter: Gee, I hope this doesn’t cause more family drama.

Thanks, Mom. That’s really comforting.

She called again last night to talk more about the situation pry and try to lay a guilt-trip on Ms. Swimmin. “Your sister wants know if she should be tested for anything.” Well, you know what? Ms. Swimmin’s sister is an adult, a college graduate, and has Ms. Swimmin’s telephone number, e-mail address and is friends with her on Facebook. There’s no shortage of avenues of communication, and if Dear Sister wants to ask Ms. Swimmin questions pry, she’s perfectly capable of doing it directly, rather than using Mom as a go-between.

The refrain from the phone conversation that really sticks in my craw, though, is: “You’re being so secretive about this!”

In Mother-in-Law’s worldview, secrets are bad, and being secretive is bad. She has, I suspect, some amount of valid reason behind feeling that way, but “secretive” is one of the big guns in her arsenal of guilt-trip words.

But the thing is, we’re not being secretive. We’re exercising our right to privacy when it comes to our own medical issues. We told her family as much as we feel like telling them right now. As we learn more and this process continues, we will undoubtedly tell them more. But for right now, it’s none of their business, and it frustrates me to no end that Ms. Swimmin’s Mom doesn’t seem to get that. We get to keep some things to ourselves, and her curiosity and obsessive need to know everything about her daughters’ lives don’t trump that. And if she doesn’t like it, tough. She can go jump in the lake.

The thing is, right now, we don’t need her harassing us for details, we don’t need her suggestions about something she read about on the internet to make my boys swim better, we don’t need her telling us what our astrological charts say about when we should be doing it, we don’t need her peering over our shoulders. We really just want to hear her say, “I’m sorry, that’s really awful, if there’s anything I can do, please let me know.” Why is that so hard?


9 responses to “Expectations

  1. I don’t know why it’s hard; it just is. There’s no ‘how-to’ manual for families – just as there’s not how-to manual for us going through all this. Who to tell and when is really hard. You don’t know how they’re going to react, plus you don’t know where this journey will take you. I didn’t tell people I was doing IVF for years, so they didn’t know what I was going through or that some things might bother me. Then when I had a late miscarriage everyone already knew about the pregnancy, and it was sort of good they knew I was going through something – but also bad because no one knew how to act around me.

    But I think you should always keep hosing stupid relatives down as a viable option. At least in your fantasies; it helps a lot!

  2. Welcome to blogging.
    I hope you find this as comforting as I have in the past year. In July of 2009 by husband was diagnosed with Azoospermia (the absence of sperm in ejaculate). It was devastating. He has had a MTese (testicular biopsy) and we are doing IVF this month.
    There is no manual, you have to decide whats best for you and Ms. .. it’s hard.. and unfair.
    Blogging helped me and my husband get through the rough parts and I hope you find the same.

  3. Found you from the Lost and Found….we are a fellow male factor couple…and I started blogging 3 years ago–I remember thinking there was NOTHING out there for the male factor side of things. Im here as a blog-cheerer-on-er, and wish you all the best–and a short journey.

  4. I am a new reader..found your blog vis LFCA..Welcome to blogging..it makes me so happy to come across a blog that is from the male side of things…Good luck on your journey! I hope its a quick one!

  5. Hey there, found you on the LFCA. Welcome to the bloggy world – sorry we had to meet this way… MFI here too. Count Under 1 Million, 0% Motility, 10% normal Morph.

    One of the many things Infertility has taught me is how rampant unsolicited advice truly is. In addition, how to properly support a friend or loved one who is going through something I have no experience with. I.E. “I’M SORRY , THAT SUCKS. I’M ALWAYS HERE IF YOU NEED TO TALK”… Seems so simple , no?

    I don’t think it was unreasonable for you to expect symapthy and support from your families, and I’m sorry that isn’t what you got. But at the very least, you now know you’ll be able to get it here from now … I know you’re at the beginning of your journey so if you have any questions please feel free to email or check out my blog. (I have experience with donor, as well)

    Hang in there.

  6. Yes. Why is that so hard? I have yet to figure it out. I’m sorry you did not receive the support you need. I have learned that you have to educate people on how to be helpful to you. Most people simply will not get it. welcome to blogging. I look forward to reading. I hope this helps relieve some stress. Come check out my blog and non profit, Parenthood for Me.org.

  7. I really love your blog !! My husband has the same issue and we’re gearing up for IVF … Keep your chin up !!

  8. Welcome to the IF blogosphere…first off, freaking loved that picture, you gave me a much needed laugh today, thank you for that! I would totally buy that book. Good for you guys at disclosing what you feel comfortable with, people can be so unbelievably insensitive when it comes to infertility related issues. Best of luck as you guys begin on this journey, my husband & I are also in the IF world due to “swimming” issues…glad you’ve started blogging, it has been one of the best decisions I ever made starting this process, it is an incredible therapeutic outlet and I’ve met so many amazing people in similar situations.


  9. Welcome to the blogging world, sorry it had to be under such crappy circumstances. My husband and I have been dealing with MFI also. Unfortunately, his sperm wasn’t an option. We did think about using his brother for a while. You’re welcome to do dig through our old posts…I think it was right about Christmas that everything kind of fell. You can also click over to my husband’s blog from there…never know what will help.

    Good luck.

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