How can we talk more freely?

10 Nov

In the comments of my last post, it was apparent that besides all of our prayers that she’ll have her baby girl,  we all wanted her to find the support she so desperately needs.  We’re the “lucky” ones….we’ve found our voice, and through that voice, we’ve f0und this community.  I’ve already been fired up about this before, but felt the desire to approach the subject again – how do we find a way to talk about this beyond our online community?

After my second loss, I felt like I was the only one to have ever known this kind of grief.  I believed I was utterly and painfully alone.   It wasn’t until I opened up about it here that I found others that shared my pain.  The more I talked about it on my blog, the more I talked about in my real life, too.  Just last week I was out to lunch with my boss and a couple of colleagues and we got on the topic of Twitter.  I was asked if I had an account, and I mentioned I did.  However, I quickly added that it wasn’t one that I’m willing to link to our organization’s account because it’s focused mainly on pregnancy loss.  The woman colleague (who hadn’t yet heard of my history) hesitated, but we continued our conversation despite what I had just revealed.  Today I receive a call from her telling me that her sister had just lost her pregnancy at 12 weeks and she wanted my advice on what to say.  Because I was so open about my relationship with loss, I believe it allowed her to feel okay about asking me for help.  Do you know how incredible it felt to have someone just pick up the phone and not be afraid to ask me about it?  It was hard not to think to myself, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Because I’m dramatic and cheesy like that.

But guys!  I helped someone — a complete stranger! — because I talked about it openly.  Because of that, she won’t have to hear, “Everything happens for a reason,”  or “It was probably for the best, you wouldn’t have wanted something to be wrong with your baby,” or “God knew you could handle it.”  Instead, someone will tell her she’s so sorry this happened, and she will acknowledge that her pain and grief is real.  And maybe as a result, she won’t feel so alone.

For so many out there suffering loss or infertility, their voice feels restrained, unable to speak about their loss.  According to the recent Redbook article, “The invisible pain of infertility” (November 2011), 61 percent of those polled hid their infertility from family and friends.  What’s more shocking…nearly half didn’t even tell their mothers!

I understand if someone chooses to keep this private – that’s of course their choice and they shouldn’t be forced to talk – but for those of us that are comfortable with talking about it, we need start telling people about our experiences outside of our blog so it can become a less taboo subject.   For me, I tend to be an open-book kind of gal so I’m able to talk freely (sometimes too much) about my life to anyone who will listen.  But for those out there that it doesn’t come naturally to, how does one do it?

What sparked this post was a comment from nobabiesyet in response to the PostSecret:

So ladies, how can we breach the silence and have our voices heard, so that others don’t have to feel as alone in their suffering?  How have you done it?  Do you think it should remain behind doors, or talked about freely on the streets?  Let’s see if we can come up with some concrete ways to do it, because the side of infertility that the NYTimes refuses to cover, needs to be heard.

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24 Responses to “How can we talk more freely?”

  1. Tracy November 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Love your post.

    I have found that the most supportive of people I’ve encountered when speaking of loss ARE total strangers. My girlfriends can’t talk about loss with me. It’s as if they feel like enough time has passed that I should be over it. Nobody get’s (except the community here) that loss never leaves us. I decided a long time ago that what I need is to be able to talk about it and that means finding people who will listen! Once you open the doors of conversation – amazing things happen 🙂

    • bodegabliss November 16, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      That’s such a good point, Tracy. It is somehow easier to talk about it with strangers. That sucks we feel more comfortable with them than the people we love most. But I couldn’t agree more…once you open the doors of conversation, amazing things do happen. 🙂

  2. Hope November 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    I agree with Tracy. I find it fairly easy to open up to strangers about my situation, not because they are supportive, but because I don’t have high expectations of them, and if they do say stupid things, I don’t have to ever see them again.

    But I am slowly inching closer to coming out more publicly. I’m not so much afraid of the initial conversation as of how it will affect my interactions with people going forward. And in this case, I’m talking about opening up to people who I don’t share private information with. Almost all the people I was close to before my losses already know about them. It’s when I think of telling extended family who I see once a year or less, or the nosy people in my church who just want gossip fodder but have never really bothered to get to know me as a person that I balk at being more open.

    So I’m practicing on strangers, for now.

    • Flowergirl November 11, 2011 at 2:13 am #

      I’m so the same, so many of my work colleagues know, but very few close friends, and absolutely no family – because I can’t deal with them not being able to deal with it – even though I have the Infertility Network UK Factsheet ready to give to them.

      So well done in helping that family and those sisters.

      • bodegabliss November 16, 2011 at 11:45 am #

        Thank you, Flowergirl. Although I’ve told many people in my life – both casual and close – I know how you feel about not wanting to tell family and friends because you can’t deal with them not being able to deal with it. I still haven’t told my Grandmother. As much as I talk about being pro-active on speaking out, I haven’t told one of the most important people in my life. But this fire that has sparked in me, has made me want to call her up. I’m planning on telling her as soon as I can.

  3. Eggceptionally Blue November 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    Courtney, what you did today is truly amazing. The girl who just lost her baby may never know who you are, but you made a HUGE difference in her life today. She needed a sister who would listen and let her be destroyed without trying to fix her. You gave that to her! Seriously…. one giant leap for mankind 🙂
    I couldn’t agree with you more, and you inspired me today. I’ve been pretty open talking about my pain at work and with some of my friends. But not all of them, and when I do …. when I tell them what I need from them, they usually are able to give me just that.
    The hub’s dad is in town this week and we haven’t told him about our struggles. On our wedding night he tried to convince me to go off BC that night and just get pregnant, regardless of what the Hub thought. He requested twins…. Needless to say I haven’t felt comfortable talking to him about how hard this year of TTC has been. Tomorrow I’ll change that.
    Your ability to talk about your loss allows others to feel comfortable sharing about theirs. Directly or indirectly, you might just save a life.

    • bodegabliss November 16, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      I’m wondering if you’ve been able to talk to your FIL? I hope you were, and I hope he was understanding and compassionate.

  4. chon November 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    I posted about this recently. I really want to promote it. I wrote to an Australian social media site that has lots of followers about articles they could do – they wrote back and said they already do but honestly – what!? Anyway I am going to continue on that path and the other thing I want to support is changes to the adoption laws in Australia which are awful. It is so hard to adopt here and currently it is adoption awareness week so I emailed the organisation and said that I was willing to be a part of it and offer my services. It is all new to me and I will continue to explore my options. I am very open with this to friends and family and they have all learnt more because of it. In fact one of my very fertile friends is exploring egg donation as a result. Which makes me pleased as anything.

    I am quite passionate about advocacy for the ALI community so willing to join the ride.

  5. Jjiraffe November 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    Fab post. I do feel some momentum in positive media coverage from Redbook, Yahoo Shine and with all of the awareness of Prop 26. Naively, I’m hoping that this might snowball into a much better educational system for the public around ALI.

    I have personally never had much luck with personal testimony but I am really pleased to hear about your outreach and assistance to this woman unknown to you. I think you really helped her.

  6. Mo November 11, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Great post! I don’t know how much I can add here since I’m basically mrs. blabbypants when it comes to my losses, and I can’t see it being any other way. But I can confirm that talking about it is much better than not talking about it.
    And I feel like this was the least eloquent comment ever! 🙂

    • bodegabliss November 16, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Why am I not surprised we’re both Blabby McBlabbersons? 😉

  7. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row November 11, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Love this post! (And the writer!:))

    I feel so grateful EVERYDAY that I’ve found this community. Seriously. I was in my car two days ago, just bawling my eyes out, and I realized that although I was sad, I could go home and read some blogs and feel better. And that’s what I did.

    I pray that the women dealing with this on their own find us…it’s not a club I’d ever want to be in, but now that I am, I’m loving the benefits of membership!

  8. Kristen November 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Great post. And how wonderful you were able to talk with that woman and make a difference for her sister.
    In regards to your question, I’m pretty open about what I’ve been through but can be guarded at times and I’m not sure why I’m guarded. For example at work, people ask “do twins run in your family?” and I say “yes,” which is true, but don’t elaborate beyond that about everything that’s led up to this pregnancy. And Facebook. (Which I really have a love/hate relationship with). I’ve put nothing on Facebook and actually haven’t posted anything there in months (may even be years at this point) because…I don’t know…for some reason I felt like that wasn’t the place for my infertility/IVFs/chemical pregnancies/miscarriage to play out. But I ask myself why I’m so hesitant to talk about it. And if it could help someone in some way, maybe in a way I didn’t even anticipate, isn’t it worth it?
    So I don’t know what the answer is, but you’ve got me thinking. Maybe if I ever get around to announcing my pregnancy on Facebook at the same time I’ll clue everyone in to everything else that’s happened, too. Actually, I’m kind of liking the thought of that…
    XOXO

  9. nobabiesyet November 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    Thank you so much Bodega for talking about this and helping us all think about how we can be more available to help others who are struggling. I was so excited to see my comment helped spark this in you. Today I made sure when I was asked what I did yesterday I was honest about having an HSG, and while it wasn’t a huge deal it was a big deal to me. I’m also thinking I may add this struggle to my more family blog so that the entire family knows what’s up. I also feel like I should put something on Facebook but I’m just not sure what that looks like. But thanks again it feels safer to talk when someone else has blazed the trail.

    • bodegabliss November 16, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      I think that’s great you were honest about your HSG! That one small step, but a big one. 🙂 I’m glad I could spark that confidence in you.

  10. slcurwin November 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Excellent! That is exactly what we need to do. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too open about my struggles, but it’s always worth it when something like this happens.

  11. missohkay November 12, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    I’m really open now. It took stopping TTC before I was comfortable being as open as I wanted to be. People still say stupid things (and for the love of God I can’t understand why my situation doesn’t make them more nervous when they get pregnant and blab to the world at 6 weeks), but at least I know I’ve raised awareness. All I wanted when I first had a loss was to know that someone else in my sphere of acquaintances had had one too. Now if anyone else feels that way, I can be that person for them, whether I ever know about their loss or not.

    • bodegabliss November 16, 2011 at 11:52 am #

      Exactly! This is exactly how I feel. Thanks for being able to put it more succinctly than I could. 🙂

  12. embracingtherain November 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Such a great post. I am so incredibly grateful to have found this community. I don’t know how I would have made it through the last year without the ALI blogging community. I don’t do a very good job of talking about it in real life and I don’t have any great ideas of how to do it, but I think that talking about it beyond our online community is important.

  13. Graph Paper Story November 14, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    It took me a couple of years of struggle to come out of the closet about it. When I did, I found it was actually easy. I started posting infertlity articles on facebook. I started mentioning it in conversations where it would be relevant, instead of making up reasons why my life was a mess or my future was so uncertain. People I knew wrote me to come out of the closet themselves, albeit not publicly. They needed support and were surprised to find it in a non-stranger. It means a lot to know someone else in your “real life” is struggling, too.

    There has been far less insensitivity than I expected. In the cases there has been some – or people who ignore it – well, infertlity has been quite handy in separating the wheat from the chaff, actually. The best people have seized the opportunity to be supportive and awesome, and you might be surprised who those people are.

    Just do it.

    But if you don’t want to – I still understand.

    All the best.

    • bodegabliss November 16, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      You’re very inspiring. Thank you for leaving this awesome comment of how you did it. I hope you not only inspired me, but others that come here to read this. It’s just so difficult to make that first step, but like you said, once you do…it gets so much easier.

  14. Emily November 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Hi! I found you from My Path to Insanity & Beyond. I loved this post. That is a wonderful story! I am so happy you were able to help someone understand a little more. I recently opened up to my friends and family and I am trying to tell even people I am not close with. I agree the word needs to get out.

  15. BW November 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I also found you through ‘My path to Insanity and beyond’. What a great post and I love all of your comments! I have been quite open to colleagues and close family about our journey, but there are certain friends and family who we don’t mention it to. I don’t know why – just hesitant I guess. I am new to the blogging community and only started my own blog last week. My hubby was very private about our IF for a long time, but he has realised how much it helps me to talk about things and reach out. He supports my blog wholeheartedly, which a year ago, would never have been the case. I’ve even found that he has started talking to his mates about it and they have been very supportive of him, which warms my heart!

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  1. Session with R Take 3 « nobabiesyet - November 17, 2011

    […] really talk about how I’m feeling about any given thing. I think that this goes back to what bodega bliss wrote about speaking more freely. Whether it be good feelings or bad I’m going to make a […]

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