Back to the In or Out Chronicles (which is much different from the ole in-out-in-out...ha ha ha...wink wink...nudge nudge. In-out-in-out? Boom chica wah wah!). And as another sexual side note, we found a Fisher Price dump truck this weekend that plays this song: "in and out / in and out / that's what dump truck is all about." And how can you NOT sit there and poke each other and raise eyebrows saying, "oh, yes, dump trucks are all about the fuck."
On this lovely day of Yom Kippur, I started thinking about it again when Ms. C said that she needed to figure out a way to work the pomegranate into dinner since she wasn't out to her family and couldn't just ask them to eat the pomegranate with her. Talk about guerrilla fertility support. Thanks family. You have no idea that you just wished me fertility and a sweet new year. IN YOUR FACE.
As you know, I am out. I'm actually Out. With a capital O. Because that's just how out I am. I wouldn't have any problem walking through the grocery store wearing a shirt that says, "ask me about my luteal phase defect" if I thought it would help me connect to another person and ease their journey. Because you know that I'm a strong believer in passing along any information you have that could help another person (and, since this seems to be a post riddled with side notes, another huge thank you for everyone who is on the peer counseling list. And feel free to write others on the list with questions!). It's how I jump ahead in my journey and it's my civic duty to help others leapfrog past wasted months of trying in order to get to a diagnosis or a procedure that works best for them.
That said, there is an element of frustration when you are out and other people wish you were in. Or wish you weren't quite so out. There are times when I have shared intimate details of our journey with another person and then they acted as if it were the white elephant in the room from that point forward. I turned to them for support and received none (I give them the long answer because they showed an initial interest in my fertility and asked a question such as "are you guys trying?" I tend not to answer the question, "how are you" with details about fertility treatments even though for my answer to be honest, it would have to include details about my progesterone levels. I know that when people ask "how are you" they are generally just giving you a longer version of "hello." But when people specifically ask if we want another kid, I believe they either want to know the truth or are being nosy and should understand how these questions are inappropriate unless you want to hear all the saucy details of my last transvaginal sonogram).
If you ask me personal questions, and you receive personal answers, you now have a responsibility to support me. Don't ask the question if you're not prepared for all possible answers. Or at least say that you're uncomfortable discussing my fertility issues so I know in the future not to share again.
But here is an off-shoot and an interesting question. That is prefaced by these two scenarios: (1) If you go into a restaurant bathroom and a woman is sobbing hysterically at the sink, do you ask her what's wrong or do you ignore her? (2) If your friend got into the car and you saw that she had a black eye, would you ask her how she received it?
Because both of these scenarios open up a can of worms. That may make you uncomfortable. And you can't shove them back in if you don't like the answer. You now are tied to that person and have a responsibility to support them. Somewhat. I mean, if the woman just told you that she had broken up with her boyfriend, you don't have a responsibility to follow her home and eat ice cream with her on the sofa. But you do have a responsibility to comment and comfort within the confines of the public bathroom. If your friend told you that she received her black eye from her husband, you now have a responsiblity to support her through spousal abuse and aid her in getting help. Yes, you can always step back and say, "oh. That sucks. Where do you want to eat tonight?" But what does that say about you? And where do our responsiblities to each other start and end? Just basic responsibilities because we're all human. And then the next level of responsibilities because we're friends. And then the next level (or perhaps the same level) because we're family.
I was reading a book about pregnancy loss last weekend. I was reading it because (1) the topic interests me, (2) it has info about implantation issues and clotting disorders that I think will help me organize my thoughts before my hematology appointment, and (3) I'm currently working on the chapter on pregnancy loss. A family member asked what book I was reading. I flipped over the cover and said, "Preventing Miscarriage." She said, "oh" and walked away.
Which is one of the drawbacks to being out. Because when you're in, other people may let you down, but they don't consciously know what they're doing so you can only blame them so much. I mean, idiotic statements are idiotic statements. But when you're out, you expect a modicum of support. Even a "are you reading that because you lost again?" Just a question to show interest. Granted, this person did not know the can of worms they were opening by asking what I was reading. It is very different then asking if we're trying. But still. You know our history, give a little support. Show that you care.
Someone commented once that they're only out when they get something out of it too. They share the details with someone because they receive support in exchange for the information. But what do you do when someone is asking you intimate details about your IF journey, yet they're not giving you the support in return? Do you continue to share? Do you stop sharing and just answer each nosy question with a terse smile and a "nothing new to report" (even though there is plenty of news to report)? Do you walk to them about it? And what do you do when they continue to give you nothing in return? Is there anyone else in this world (besides you and your partner) with a RIGHT to know the details--other family members, friends, etc? For instance, grandparents-in-waiting are affected by your fertility (or lack there of) because their role can't be fulfilled without you. So do they have a right? If you're going to ask a sibling to help you take care of your kids once they're here, does he/she have a right to know your fertility status?
Because being out and getting no support in return makes you wonder why you're telling people the details in the first place. And I'm specifically speaking about when I answer a question with information. Not when I'm walking around the grocery store, volunteering details of my luteal phase defect.