I am looking for some advice… I’m not sure how much of this will make sense, so please bear with me. I’m really tired.
My husband and I are coming to terms with our infertility, my endo/fibro/etc, and upcoming (though it’s still hard to accept) ovary removal. With the removal of my ovaries, certainly all hope of a biological child is done for me. Even if I kept the ovaries, they say it would be extremely unlikely, basically no chance. I am nearly sure that the ovaries are going. Anyway, I’ve already posted about that…
My question is how to tell people in my life this news.
My closest family and friends already know. I have acquaintances that don’t need to know. It’s this larger group of friends and family that I know love us that I feel some need to tell. I just can’t quite figure out how. I think it would help us get more support, which I feel we need. I also think some of these people would be disappointed if I don’t tell them and they find out later that I didn’t let them know when I needed a friend. And I do need my friends.
The thing is… it’s just so damn hard to tell this story. It hurts so much to tell people. I couldn’t be more vulnerable. It feels like my heart and my guts are just hanging out.
But I think I do need to tell people. Keeping this private might be a great option for some people. For me, I think it’s feeding my depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation. I am an extroverted person who processes things best with other people. My husband is an introvert and it’s different for him. We are talking about how to handle this in a way that we are both comfortable with, and I think we can do that.
I need the people in my life to step up and support me, but I can’t figure out how to communicate that.
If you have experienced infertility, especially if say you found out you cannot have biological children, did you tell people? Who? How?
What about a major health development or surgery like this? Did you let people know what was happening for you? Who did you tell? How?
What about at work? It’s tough because most advice out there says to share only the minimal amount, but it feels so awkward to me. Shouldn’t they know I’m heartbroken and ill? It takes a special kind of jerk to judge someone for being heartbroken. Some of these people at work might be that kind of jerk. Anyway, I don’t care as much about them…
It feels like too much to call my friends and family individually and retell the story, but maybe that’s what I need to do. I have a large family and we have a lot of friends. Most of these people don’t know what’s happening yet.
It hurts even more because it’s so hard for me to accept. I don’t want it to be real and I’m having such a hard time getting into that place of accepting it’s real. I don’t expect to be accepting as in feeling okay about it. I don’t expect that. I expect to be sad for a while. Maybe the right word is acknowledge. I need to acknowledge this is real because I need to do this and the surgery is soon. I need to acknowledge the loss more fully and grieve because I don’t want to start grieving at the same time I start menopause. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. I need to go into that surgery strong.
I can’t keep this all hidden. It feels like too much. It doesn’t feel authentic to me. It doesn’t feel right. I think I need to be open about it. I can’t figure out how to communicate it in a way that can be understood. It’s a big loss for us, not just a bad day or a small disappointment. I’m, well I guess I’m overwhelmed with my grief right now. I still go to work and wash the dishes and everything, but I’m not at all myself and I’m so sensitive and fragile these days. I don’t even know how to ask for support or accept it. It makes me feel like no one cares about me, which I know isn’t true. They must just think I’m okay. How do I tell them I’m not in a way that gets believed?
Why would I not share this? Well, the main thing is that I’m worried that people’s lack of understanding, lack of compassion, lack of support, might hurt more once I know that they know what’s going on. I’m worried about what they might say. I’m worried they might be less patient with me – “Just get over it.” I’m worried they’ll judge me. I’m worried about being disappointed in my friends who find out what’s happening and then disappear (that’s already happening). All of these worries though don’t seem like enough. If they judge me, that’s on them. I can’t be responsible for that or worry about what they think. If they aren’t compassionate or as supportive as I wish, I’ll just have to accept that. Some people will be, and those people will be like angels. I’ve already been surprised at who shows up with that kind word or understanding ear.
So… thoughts?? If nothing else, writing this post has already helped me convince myself that I have to be more open about this in order to be true to myself, to acknowledge the loss, and to be ready for what’s next. The other challenge is to do that in a way that keeps my dear, sweet hubby comfortable too.
Image: Maternita by Gaetano Previati, public domain
Text copyright Snowdroplets 2016