Previous: Infertility #7: Friends and Family
We made our decision to first share about our situation back in April this year. It is obviously a big situation to share publicly for anyone to view and read, but we knew this is something we wanted to be open about. I knew from very early on that I wanted to share as openly as possible, hoping to be a resource for other men out there who are dealing with similar issues. But there’s no denying that “going public” is a lot to deal with.
Very quickly, we had lots of supportive comments coming in and Andrea asked me how I was feeling emotionally a couple hours after it had been posted. I replied “I’m probably not okay. I feel nothing”. I was not ready or able to understand exactly how yet. I just knew that I was glad there were supportive comments, but I was not emotionally ready to handle them all just yet.
I waited a number of hours before I started reading messages or comments. In the very first message I read, it was a friend messaging me to say that they’re pregnant after dealing with some infertility fears of their own.
I had two thoughts at the exact same time, that completely collided with each other in my mind. One on side, I was incredibly happy for them and filled with joy. On the other, intense sadness and jealousy. This friend was incredibly compassionate and loving in their message, and they knew how it would hit me, but chose to tell me anyway because they wanted me to know, and knew that in order for me to properly feel their empathy without being misled, they had to tell me about the pregnancy. I completely understand and I love them for it, and I felt so honoured to know. Of course these moments aren’t easy, but I can never let myself get so sad that I abandon the joy I feel for my friends.
Honestly, I took a really long time to respond to the messages and comments that I got sent. I love the support and love but I couldn’t emotionally handle too much at once. I had to ration my time to not become completely overwhelmed (and sometimes still do). Andrea and I also immediately developed a strategy of how to consume all of the messages. We would read one or two at a time, and we would always read them side by side and at the same time.
It was a way of supporting each other in the moment, using each other’s strength to assist the other, and making sure that neither one of us became overwhelmed. I think the hardest part was that you never know exactly what message is coming your way. They all come from a place of love and sympathy, but it’s really quite interesting how each and every comment just “hits different”.
Let me say this….I love all of you, and I know that nobody has ever said anything with the wrong intentions. I love and appreciate all of the support that we continue to receive. But…
Every person who deals with infertility is going to have unique and different feelings to everything. Regardless of how certain things are intended, sometimes it impossible not to feel hurt, or just…tired. I recommend everyone take a look at this diagram of what not to say in these situations.
At this point, I am not ready to share how some comments have made me feel, but I can say that I have been caught off guard by my own feelings. Some of the things above may have been things I would have said to someone in my position to try and encourage them, like mentioning adoption or everything happening for a reason. But now I know exactly how they feel, and it’s not very nice.
Over time, the messages and comments have become easier and easier to handle and I have definitely found a new way of connecting with people in my life, which I appreciate. I have been able to have wonderful conversations with all kinds of people and have learned so much about those around me. I love and value the supportive conversations and messages we have had or received, and I hope to have so many more beautiful interactions with friends, family, and strangers.
Please don’t feel discouraged by anything I have mentioned. We want to hear your comments, have those conversations, and answer your questions. Always keep them coming!