Friday, July 9, 2010

How selfish is too selfish?

When you are dealing with infertility, especially over a long period of time, there comes a point when you realize you have to be selfish. You need to avoid baby showers and people who just 'don't get it.' You need to nurture yourself and do whatever you need to do to stay sane.

But where is the line?

We're visiting my family right now. Different members of my family know different levels of what is going on with us. My cousin probably knows the most. My parents, the least. (Well, some of my cousins know even less, but they don't really care one way or another, so I've left them out of my scale.)

I've talked a bit before about why I've kept so much from my parents. My mom has major anxiety issues. Far worse than mine, and she's never been treated for them, therapeutically or medicinally. My dad.... well, he's a New Yorker in many senses of all that those words imply. He doesn't mean to, but he just can be really abrasive and say the wrong thing. For example, when I first told them that we were having trouble and were seeing a doctor, he followed up by asking me that if we had a boy whether we were going to have a bris.*
Hmm. Gee, dad. Not really in my top ten concerns right now.

I've always been kind of closed mouthed with my parents about everything for those reasons as well as others. At this point, they know we are having fertility treatments. My mom recently asked "Did they do the thing yet where they take the eggs out?" Yes, mother. They did the thing.

Another annoyance- even when I tell them, they forget. Seriously? How can you forget I told you about the thing with the eggs? It's kind of a big deal? But yesterday, I was talking to my mom's sister about it, because her daughter is a cancer survivor and going to have to have IVF because of some complications that went along with her treatments. My mom comes running up and says "wait wait wait! I didn't get to hear any of that!" I told her- "Mom, you already know." She said "No I don't! I didn't know you were doing IVF!" I said "Yes, you asked me directly. Remember? The thing with the eggs?"

So anyway. They don't know about my miscarriages. I just honestly feel like I can't deal with all of their questions and worry. I told my cousin (the one who is going to have IVF) "I'll tell you about everything we have gone through, but I haven't told my mom everything... because... well, you know." and she kind of made a face and said "Oh, I know." So It's not just in my head.

Anyway... back to my title... I know that it bothers my parents that I keep stuff from them. I know they wish they knew more. I even know that they know that part of the reason I do it is because of how they have handled situations in the past. But I feel bad that they feel out of the loop. It's hard, because initially I was telling myself I was leaving them out of the loop for my mom- because I felt like she'd get so upset. But now I have to admit that I'm keeping certain parts from them for myself- because I feel like mom would get so upset but I don't want to deal with that.

I don't like being selfish. But right now, to be honest, I want to be.

*I was raised Jewish, III was raised Catholic. What exactly we plan to do with our children is still 100% up in the air, and both of our parents have been informed of that.


S said...

To answer the question in your subject line, I think selfish is too selfish if/when being selfish is causing a real strain on your relationship with someone who is important to you. It is not entirely clear from what you have written here whether that is the case with either your mother or your father; to me, it sounds like this may not be the case, but that you are simply feeling guilty for keeping them out of the loop.

Like you, I have limited the information I have shared with my parents. My father knows nothing except "Yes, we would like to have a child, I am off birth control, and we have had basic testing done which is all normal." (He is on limited information status because his wife can't keep anything to herself.)

In the beginning, I shared a lot more information with my mother, but I found that she said many things which offended or upset me and didn't make any effort to follow what was going. (For example, when I started my first cycle of Clomid, she told me "For all you know, you could be pregnant right now!" Um, yeah, no. I am taking a drug which is contraindicated during pregnancy, so let's hope not!) So now my mom knows nothing about the status of our ART or TTC, and surprisingly, she doesn't ask about it. Maybe she thinks we have just given up, who knows.

My in-laws, on the other hand, have been nothing but supportive and understanding, and have appropriate discretion, so they know everything about what we are doing and considering.

Please forgive the long comment. I just wanted to share my experience to let you know that you are not the only one who has chosen to limit the information she shares with her parents.

Kakunaa said...

I tried sharing....they get really weird about it. It's kinda this awkward thing. So we keep the info limited. My coworkers no more because their discomfort means way less to me. It's rough. I'm so sorry sweetie.

DaisyGal said...

thank you for writing this post. I am past the "getting pg part' of it, but I can tell you that until you are and holding a baby, you be as selfish you feel you should be.
I lost friendships, I lost people in our struggle to get PG, and I do miss them, but I love John and my sons more.

As for our parents, my mom was harsh at first(She is a nurse and wanted me to just RELAX...UGH) and then when it wasn't happening and she came onboard she was a STRONG advocate..thank god. MY MIL only knows what we tell her, she knows we did IVF but because we are catholic she has certain people that she refuses to let us tell how the boys came to be (Unless of course they read my facebook pages)

I know that having my mom informed and on my side was very important to me, but if you feel like it's just more "work", more "heartache" don't...

the people who LOVE you will be there when you get to the other side I promise you that.


Anonymous said...

I have been struggling with telling family and how much to tell each person. You can read about my adventures telling my father here: So I talked to him last night, and I was struggling with whether or not to tell him about my recent ultrasounds. So I said, "Well dad, my ultrasound yesterday was really good, my lining is nice and smooth." And he says, "Oh good, so you're nice and fertile!" My dad has a really loud phone voice, and I could TELL that he was in a room full of other family members, none of whom know about our situation. I yelled at him, and he said, "Nobody's listening to me, don't worry about it." Still... the insensitivity, after we told him we didn't want everybody to know... so frustrating. It's SO frustrating when they don't understand or respect your wishes.

caitsmom said...

Got no advice or comment really, other than to say---do what's best for you. Parents and our relationships with them can be so complex. Peace.

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