I personally know several couples who have struggled with infertility and have read of may others who chose to keep their struggles a secret from those closest to them until after they conceive, deliver, or adopt. Many of them have indicated that when they chose to disclose what they went through, their families and friends were hurt that they were not included earlier to provide emotional support. These individuals questioned why it was so hard for the couple to tell them about their struggles, and sometimes took it personally.
The couples who chose to keep their struggles a “secret” most often cited self-preservation as the reason why they decided not to tell. It was to hard themselves to cope when the fertility treatments did not work or an adoption fell through. To tell others about it made the heartache even greater. When you tell someone about your experience in some cases it feels more real.
The couple’s choice not to tell is not a selfish one. It is what they need to do to make it through this difficult time in their life. The couple oftentimes is struggling with grieving the idea of a natural pregnancy, trying to figure out “what is wrong with them”, and coming to terms with the processes that they must endure to accomplish their goal of a family. It is a very personal and often embarrassing time for the couple.
Be patient if you are supporting a family member or friend who is having difficulties with fertility. Their choice not to talk about what they are going through is not a negative reflection on how they feel about you. In most cases, it is actually harder to tell the people who you admire and respect the most.
Please read other myths about infertility that have been busted on Resolve’s website:
National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW): http://www.resolve.org/takecharge.*