The awkwardness of telling people at work ANYTHING about your personal life can be a hard thing for some people. For me it’s usually harder to keep my mouth shut, as it always eats me up inside if I don’t share. But I know that for others, it can be an incredibly sensitive and personal thing, especially with something like infertility.
The first person I told at work was my supervisor, and it was a beautiful catastrophe. It was within 30 minutes after finding out my test results from my doctor. I had told Andrea right after the call, and then composed myself enough to walk to my supervisor’s desk….and then immediately fell apart all over again.
She really helped me pick up the pieces and was incredibly encouraging and comforting. She was the most wonderful person I ever could have had present in front of me in that moment and had plenty of unique stories to tell me from her own life as well that were relevant and really helped patch me up enough to get myself home that first day.
Roughly 3 months later is when I made the decision to tell the first of my coworkers, and then slowly over the next couple months after that, continually shared with more of them as opportunities arose. Now it’s becoming easier to talk about as time goes on, for many reasons, but I love how much it’s opened the door to amazing and beautiful conversations with the people that surround me every day. I have learned so much about many of them that I may never have known if I hadn’t opened the door. I love feeling like I exist in community wherever I am, and for me that meant that I had to tell my coworkers.
That feeling of community came in handy big time when one evening at work I was telling coworkers about the baby makin’ fund that I wrote about in my last post and then they were asking questions about the process of buying sperm and choosing a donor. I was telling them about what I knew of the process (which isn’t that much at this point).
They asked if you get to see a picture of the donor. I said that I hadn’t worked through the emotions of that yet and “I didn’t know if I really wanted to see a photo of the man who will father my children.”
These three women all started objecting right away. One of them pointed vehemently at me immediately as the words came out of my mouth and loudly scolded me by saying “No! That’s not what that means!!!
Wow, I needed that. She was so protective of my emotions in that moment and I really appreciated the immediate thought correction. I shouldn’t think like that. It’s those thoughts that can send you into a deep spiral, and I was so grateful to have someone shield me from that right away.
The other two women also backed her up right away and made sure I knew a sperm donor has nothing to do with any other part of my life, and that a donor will absolutely not be the one fathering my children. That’s my job.
Surrounding myself by a community like this is what I love. It’s why I seek to form relationships wherever I go. You never know when you need this kind of blunt love and support, and sometimes the moments you need someone the most just happens to happen at work. I am grateful for every connection I make and every conversation I have, and I can only hope that I am giving people at least as much as I get from them.