Preface: This blog has been a long time coming. I’ve starting writing drafts of it but never finished. It’s no doubt different now than it would have been 3 months ago and it ended up so ridiculously long I’ll be impressed if anyone makes it to the end but here goes:
It took us years of thinking, planning, decision-making and preparation (testing for us and our kd) before we actually physically started ttc in January of this year. During that time, we ‘came out’ to many of our friends and family about our plans. There was a mixture of reactions, but for the most part the people closest to us have been supportive. As a result, and I’ve blogged about this before when we first started ttc, when we did finally step up for the first insem, we also had a bevvy of people behind us watching every move and excitedly awaiting the results along with us. This group of people was a wide range of family, friends, co-workers and in K’s case some students.
It didn’t take long before I became uncomfortable with the number of people and the pressure it built. I thought it would make it hard when the results were negative. You’d never know when someone was going to ask the question and as the months started to go by with no good news, it became something I didn’t want to be reminded of by others. I was happy to talk about it but only on my terms. When I was ready, not because because of a random thought of an acquantance. And I was really more worried about K, with the number of people at her school that knew and how upsetting it got to be telling the same story over and over. As well as that, we had decided to wait for 6 weeks or so before telling most people if it was a BFP so if they were asking us during that time it would be hard to lie to them all.
Initially people were very excited for us. For most of them (and I can only think of two people who don’t fall into this category) it was something brand new, something that they hadn’t been close to before or even necessarily considered. They were routinely hopeful, excited, disappointed, angry.. all the emotions we were experiencing but tempered with a bit of distance that we aren’t lucky enough to have.
After the first couple of months we had settled uncomfortably into the nicely segmented two week cycles that is the world of ttc. At times, it’s threatened to overshadow anything and everything in our lives, and this has been something we’ve consciously tried to avoid. I think we’ve done well with that. We’ve made sure we have time out for just us, we’ve taken a couple of months off along the way and we have certainly grown together; even closer as friends and as a couple.
So as I was saying, somewhere along the way I started worrying about the number of people that seemed to be involved. We talked about this for a long time and agreed that we would try only telling immediate family and one or two close friends the details. Basically the same people that we’d be telling right away if it worked. It was hard to start with, we’d both been pretty open with everyone and dammit our friends are rooting for us so at times it has felt a bit deceptive.
We’ve fallen into a pattern now where it feels good. We tell both of our parents and K’s sisters, as well as our respective bosses (we need time off work for the insems and luckily they are both super-supportive) and maybe two friends what’s happening and when. We originally were going to not talk about it with other friends at all (well at least that was my plan), but we’ve found that we both end up telling people when it hasn’t worked.
It’s working out well for us I think, or as well as anything could at least. We get the freedom during the tww of not having everyone looking over our shoulders and in my case, it tempers my tendency to overthink and overrationalize every possible symptom each time someone asks a innocent question. It allows the workdays to go past without necessarily being reminded of it all. Of course it’s still in my head but it stays in a place that mostly only K and I go. It also means that when we do get the BFNs we also get the support of our friends. Most months we end up telling people it didn’t work, and even though they didn’t know we had inseminated, that support and encouragement is great to have.
I have however, enjoyed watching how people’s understanding of gay/lesbian parenting has evolved through this.
Most people don’t have any clue of how much of a struggle gay people go through to have a family, or how few options there are available. I was talking to a couple of people at work about it this week and they had no idea that we don’t have adoption as an option for example, or that the only sperm bank in NZ has a longer waiting time for lesbians than for straight infertile couples. Their reactions to these injustices always come from a place of surprise – they don’t understand how two people such as K and I have such a lot of hurdles in place when there are so many new stories at the moment about children being subjected to the most despicable things by the very people that are supposed to protect them.
Hell I don’t understand that either, but it feels good that amongst all of the hard stuff, we are able to educate, to bring a personal face to these issues in the hope that one day we’ll get the chance to make it better.
We’ve had our share of omg moments – you know the ones where you hear someone’s pregnant and you just want to scream or cry (or more often both). The ease at which some people seem to get pregnant can be so disheartening when you look at the pain and hardship that so many people have to endure. We have become such wistful softies when we see babies out and about and we can’t help but scout the baby aisle and stores even when we know its only going to make us sad.
But we’ve tried hard to hold onto our zen moments. Our belief that it will happen when it is meant to. That everything happens for a reason. That when our baby does arrive we will be more prepared and ready for it because of this journey.
We’ve learned that the clinic will fuck up. Again. Because that’s what they do. And yes we still get angry, but somehow our expectations aren’t so great. We’ve learned that we there are at least one or two people that do care. That despite their administrative screw ups, there are actual people there that do see the pain, that do want to help.
We’ve learned about how to comfort each other when we’re both hurting, we’ve learned to let go of some of the small things, we’ve learned that we aren’t always right, we’ve learned that we couldn’t possibly have handled a newborn and a new puppy at the same time, and we’ve learned that we are still luckier than some.
But mostly I think we’ve learned that we have so much love between us, for each other and for our family, that no matter what happens things will be okay. They have to be.