The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Your Pseudonym in Ink--Part Two

I am trucking through that last chapter right now, so I'm getting myself set up to work on the next chapter over the weekend. So I have another question. And truly, what is cooler than going into a bookstore and pulling a book off the shelf and turning to the person in the aisle next to you and saying, "check out my thoughts--p. 36." So, yet again, gathering your thoughts so we can have more than my view in this book.

As always, two things: (1) you can either email me a response directly or you can leave it in the comments section below. You can also grab this question as a topic for a post on your own blog, write a long response, and then email me the url for the post. (2) in either case, if you have not been interviewed in the past by me or participated in one of these before, provide a pseudonym that I can use for the quote (aim for semi-common such as Jane, Alicia, Tamara over descriptive such as Uterus-of-Doom-Lady). And include a way to get in touch with you--email address, blog url, etc--in case I have a follow-up question.

So, the topic I'm posing today is telling people that you're infertile, doing treatments, using donor gametes, using surrogacy or adopting.

Though this question may seem pretty heterocentric and marriage-focused, what I'm actually talking about is not after the fact, when you are pregnant or parenting and it is obvious that you must have done something to get there, but instead, that time period that every infertile person--single or married, gay or straight, young or old--experiences where you know that you're pursing parenthood and are needing assistance, but no one else technically needs to know or it can be hidden.

Some people go through treatments privately, without revealing to any friends or family members what they are experiencing. Others choose to tell a select few and still others tell everyone about their E2 levels, including the random woman buying Doritos in line behind them at the supermarket.

There are also people we weigh and decided to not tell and other people who are told despite the fact that we are trying to keep the journey private. Everyone has personal, unique reason for why they do or don't tell.

If you have told anyone, how did you broach the conversation? Did you wait for an opening or create it yourself (and if you created it, how)? Do you tell more than one person at a time or do you like to find private moments where you can talk about it one-on-one? Do you prefer to tell people in a written medium--email, letter--or face-to-face? Why did you tell them and how did they react? Were you disappointed or grateful, and did the telling make a difference in your life the day after and the day after that (in other words, did the telling do anything to change your daily existence either positively or negatively)?

Lots of questions, but at the core is a desire to hear about one or two (or ten or twelve) unique experiences you have had about discussing infertility (or adoption) with friends and family members. You may notice that pregnancy loss is not on this list. This is not to snub pregnancy loss but because the question was already asked specifically in the pregnancy loss interviews for that chapter and because I'll be revisiting it in a future question session on its own.

By the way, for the future, each time I do one of these, the post will be titled: Your Pseudonym in Ink. And I'm still pouring drinks at the Virtual Lushary. Just pausing long enough to ask these questions.


Denise said...

From the start, I always wanted people to know. It is really hard for me to keep secrets from people. Heck, it's hard for me to not say exactly what I'm thinking 24/7! I was worried at first that DH wouldn't want people to know, but one by one, as I asked him if he cared if someone knew, he didn't care. So we've slowly enlarged the circle of friends and family that know-whether it is every little detail, or just the basic "we're having problems getting pregnant and we're seeking medical attention."

While it can be hard to shoulder the expectations of so many at times, it provides us with such a support system that I can't imagine keeping it from our close friends and family.

I do struggle with this from a work perspective though (see my post on Sunday, February 17th).

Sunny said...

I began with my core group of friends. I just told them. I don't even remember how it went. As we moved through (now 5 years) that core group has grown. They receive the mass email about my IUIs or bfn. They read my blog. They send encouraging emails or drop wine off at my door. I can't thank them enough for all they have done for me.

Now for our family... we waited a year and even a little more for Grumps. I wanted to give them an answer as to why things weren't working. Of course I never could. My family through back, "This will work. You just haven't given it enough time." Grumps family was just plain shocked. I made him tell them because his mom was saying I was selfish for not having children. He took them for a walk to talk.

Since revealing it to our parents we pretty much stopped there with them. We don't talk about treatments or anything. I did once with my mom and her hopes got SO HIGH I couldn't do that to her again. The same thing happened to both sides when we told them we were pregnant and then we m/c.

A couple of years ago I actually put it all out there in our Christmas news letter. HA! I was tired of the questions or looks. The outside group in our lives needed to know. I am sure that was a fun letter to read.

Finally I pretty much tell anyone who asks now. Do you have any children? No, we are waiting for a miracle. We have been trying for 5 years. If they ask for more information, I tell them. I find it is easier to deal with people if they know the whole story. Also it is fun to talk about it all with pregnant people. It sure shuts them up!

I really don't regret tell anyone about our issues. I guess I wish our families had reacted differently. Treatment secrets aren't fun.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend and I both felt very strongly that we wanted to keep things just between us at the start. We didn't think we would still be trying two years later. Over time, we have disclosed to various people - family, friends, work colleagues. I told the people I work with all at the same time in a meeting, because a promotion opened up and people were encouraging me to apply for it. They were generally supportive, but haven't asked much since. I told my parents we were trying on a whim, when they became suspicious as to why I didn't want to drink alcohol. They were surprised and seemed happy about the idea but have had difficulty addressing the issue again, which was disappointing, as I'd hoped to feel more supported. As time has gone on, more and more people have been told in one way or another, but generally, it's not something either of us talk about much to them. I think we feel frustrated at their well meaning assvice and their understandable lack of understanding. We've withdrawn a lot over the two years and have retreated to online communities of people in similar situations. This is worrying us both, but we're hoping this is only a temporary thing - I mean, we won't be trying to get pregnant for the rest of our lives, will we? Whatever happens.

sky girl said...

It took me a long time to feel comfortable telling anyone about what we were going through. After I came clean with my 2 closest friends I would send update emails after I'd been to the doc or whatever. I kept things pretty close except for when I had to. (Except, of course, on my blog. There I shouted it from the rooftops.) I always felt like such a failure that I couldn't share any details unless I had no choice.

At the beginning I didn't share with anyone. My friends thought I was mad at them and my family wondered what was going on. I remember specifically 1 friend calling me and asking me what she'd done wrong. What wouldn't I talk to her anymore? And my Mom. She thought that I was mad at her too. That's when I made the decision to let in those that were close to me.

Email was always easier for me. I didn't have to look at sympathetic expressions etc. I could pick and choose my words. I could be stronger behind my keyboard.

When it came time to do my IUI, only my immediate family (mom, dad, sister) and 1 IRL IF friend knew about it. I couldn't face getting people's hopes up. I couldn't face having to possibly tell people that it failed.


Somewhat Ordinary said...

I've been extremly open about our fertility from the very beginning. I even talked about it before we even knew we were actually infertile. Since my husband had cancer as a teenager our families knew it was a possibility. When it came time to start trying I talked to friends about it. It was never a secret. I've been in a local paper about how to treat childless couples and I will be in a local woman's magazine any day now from the perspective of being pregnant after IF.

When we found out that my husband had azoospermia I let him take the lead on whether or not it was something we discussed with people. He was fine with it so again I was able to talk to friends about the situation.

Things got a little sticky when we decided to use donor sperm. We decided we wouldn't tell anyone we were doing treatments until we got a BFP. We wanted to keep it to ourselves in case it didn't work. At that point my husband was 100% on board with being open about DI. When we actually got a BFP his perspective changed. He is very afraid that our children won't see him as their dad and that friends and family will feel differently about the children. I feel like it is imperative that we discuss this early and often with our children.

Being a mother was always a dream of mine and getting to that point has been such a big part of my life that I felt being open was the only choice I had. I'm the type of person that needs to talk through things in order to feel like I'm accomplishing something. I mostly told people in person and I still talk to people about the struggle we went through. I never got negative vibes from people when I was talking about our situation. Obviously there were stupid comments like relaxing more or just adopting, but I felt like I needed to educate people who said things like this.

I will never regret my decision to make my journey open to people. I think it has been a positive experience for the most part. Being in the paper opened up the discussion with people I barely knew that were struggling too. Also, now that I'm pregnant friends and family have expressed how excited they are that our dreams are coming true.

Jen said...

We told friends and family when we started TTC even though I had always suspected it would not be easy for me given my long history of infrequent periods. So as the months passed by, we started getting questions about whether I was pregnant yet. Instead of getting a simple answer, anybody and everybody would get a long-winded of my cycle history. As we embarked upon treatments, I just started telling them about that too. Many of them read my blog. I guess I never really saw a reason not to be open about it. Treatments were such a big part of our lives that it would have felt weird not to talk about we were holding a big piece of our lives back. For the most part everybody was very supportive of our situation. I even learned of many friends who had faced similar situations.

kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kate said...

EDITED... Whoops!

Oh, man. I wrote about this a while back. Here is a snippet from that blog that answers a lot of your questions:

"And something snapped in me at that point. I just decided that I'm sick of tiptoeing around things. And these are H's colleagues. We're all closer than most co-worker families would be. And I'm really tired of the "when will you" and "why haven't you yet" attitude and questions. They don't mean to be crappy, and they know only snippets of our fertility story, so how would they know what would or wouldn't be appropriate conversation?

So I just started to spill it. "Well, the thing is, I would LOVE to spend three months in Vienna relaxing, but I don't think that it would make my body change the way that it makes hormones, since I have PCOS. And while that is being treated by my doctor, there are other factors to consider. It could be that PCOS is only the tip of the iceberg. It could be that H has a low sperm count. It could be that despite all signs and symptoms to the contrary, I'm not actually ovulating. It could be that we will end up needing drugs to boost how many eggs I make, and that increases the odds of multiples, and I'm not comfortable with that. And other treatments are extremely expensive and invasive and not covered by insurance. As a matter of fact, I'm totally needle and pain-phobic, which means I'm not even really ready to do most tests at this point. But it is clear that after trying for over a year, nothing has happened, and we don't know why, and we won't know why until I'm ready to go through the testing process. ... " Whew."


The whole post is here:

Feel free to quote liberally from that source as well, if you find anything there that suits the subject.

Again, you can sign me Anne, and you can reach me at my blog, or at mcfarland dot kate at gmail dot com

Kim said...

This was an interesting issue for us. Because my IF started with a diagnosis of Asherman's Syndrome - it was hard to keep it from people. I had to have several surgeries and traveled to visit family after one. The abdominal surgery includes inflating the abdomen with gas that takes forever to seep out. So I look a little - well, pregnant. I couldn't imagine anything worse than someone asking me if I was expecting, so we went ahead and told everyone then. Unfortunately this included a few people I had not told because I was pretty sure they wouldn't be very supportive.

It turned out terribly. The person I was most afraid wouldn't be supportive - wasn't. And she had a pregnancy announcement to make. She pulled me aside to make it (weeks before telling anyone else in the family) and topped it off by saying it was an accident and that she gets pregnant if her husband "so much as looks at [her]" I went back to our room and sobbed, drank wine, sobbed, choked on the wine, and finally decided I'd never tell her something that made me that vulnerable again.

We told our parents about every cycle, we told any friend who asked about our status vis-a-vis kids and and we told a few friends before they asked.

Obviously it didn't work out well in all cases. A few people were really uncomfortable with it. But I forged some close friendships with other IF friends who never forgot to email me on a beta day. And there were some non-IF friends who had the grace to be sensitive to our situation without primary empathy. I'm in awe of all of the people who were with us on that journey and I think the gift of the experience is the overhwelming gratitude I have for those friends.

I did most of the communicating by email because we lived at a distance from friends and family with a timezone challenge. But it worked out well because I could tackle the email when I was up to it. I had some local friends I talked to about it including everyone in the small group I worked with at the time. It was nice to have the combination, although it was hard at times to come in to work to the questions.

Kim said...

If you do use any of my remarkes, can you use the name Lucy?

loribeth said...

I've put my answer in post (book??) form on my blog:

You can still call me Laura. ; )

chicklet said...

Close friends I told over phone calls or over lunch, and they were good for the most part - supportive. Some however were awkward and said stupid things that just made me angry (you know, how I should "relax" or a friend who "relaxed" finally got preggers) so I stopped doing that.

Now I run a bit of a test. Like at floor hockey the other night a girl hinted that the SUV we bought would be good for family. I said yea, if that were to happen. She asked if we'd had that conversation. I said yes, but having a kid isn't as easy as people think. She asked if I meant the conversation or having one, I clarified having one isn't easy - it's taken us years. She was shocked, we shared, all was well.

But I now tell people that way - with a test of "it's not as easy as you'd think" cuz their reaction to that one comment tells me everything about how they'll react if I go further. Some immediately laugh about how people get all stressed, so I don't go further with them. Some ask further questions like the girl above, so I open up.

Baby Steps to Baby Shoes said...

When I learned of my cystic fibrosis status I had to tell my parents and sisters and, of course, they wanted the explanation of why we were doing genetic testing. I never have been totally clear to my parents that it's male factor we are dealing with. I have remained sort of vague. They know we are planning for ivf this summer and that the IUIs were failures.

Since we told my family, I thought it was only fair that DH's family knew too. This is the story of how we told his parents:

Hekateris said...

Some people I told, others I didn't. Frex, I told people at work when there was some baby talk going around and someone asked me if I had children (about 2 weeks into the job), then commented that I'd better hurry up because I was getting old. I just blurted out 'VF' and 'Only option' and 'NHS waiting list'. Yeah, I'd never do that again given the same situation.

But I told my closest friends back home, and respective parents and in-laws (wish I'd just stuck to the parents). And now, well, I'm still circumspect. If people ask, or if people are annoying me, I'll tell, but otherwise, no, I keep my trap shut. Besides, since my mother has felt free to spill the beans regardless of whether or not I considered the information private, I never really had to worry about it after all.

That last is a joke, btw.


Sassy said...

Oh wow. I've been wanting to blog about this exactly for the past few days.

With our friends we just started telling them as they asked about us having kids. We'd say that it wasn't that easy for us and then go from there. We started with our closest friends first and would give them the basics and more details over time. None of my friends are trying to have kids so it was hard for them to understand but they all tried their best. They all showed empathy in their own way and several friends still come to me with 'advice' they've found for us. That's the hardest for me to handle. The well meaning but ill informed comments sometimes get to much.

With my parents it went slowly slowly. We told them I had PCOS, I helped my sister get diagnosed with PCOS and that's how they learnt about the possibility of infertility. We were already getting treatment but it gave us a way to talk about it. We gradually said more and more to the point that they knew I was taking clomid when I ended up in hospital. They also understood that it was complicated and nothing was definite. I think knowing the basics of what we went through helped them deal with us moving on to adoption.

With my in-laws fuck all has been said. Early on my MIL said she wasn't ready to be a grandmother yet and we basically left it there. They are aware that we are infertile and have been having some sort of treatment for PCOS. We allude to things in dinner table conversation but have left it up to them to ask more. We're pretty sure they just don't care so we leave it at that. We still haven't told them about our plans to adopt.

My husbands friends have been a bit harder to deal with, being guys the whole thing is a bit messy for them. But we have one brilliant friend who we actually saw a stand up show about infertility with and talked about it afterwards together. He told us that he had issues with his testicles when he was younger and how he worries that he might not be able to have kids. It was a very special night and meant a lot to all of us to be able to share our thoughts and fears like that.

If you have told anyone, how did you broach the conversation?

So in summary, if I was given an opening I took it, or I'd say that we were thinking of having kids soon and go from there. I tried to tell one person at a time and chose people who are gossipy if I wanted the news distributed. All the conversations were face to face as I needed to see their reaction to see where to go from there. It's not an easy conversation to have but we felt we needed to let people know where we were at. It also prevented the odd painful comment as people were usually pretty considerate. The majority of reactions were enthusiastic 'you're-going-to-have-a-baby' stuff which was awkward because we knew it wasn't going to be that simple. A few people just did not get it but we were fine with that. It took us a long time to come to terms with it so we couldn't really expect others to just 'get it' right away. I think overall it made our lives easier as people gave us more room to have bad days and to shut ourselves off when we needed to. It was also nice to be able to vent to friends who got it. And I do appreciate the well meaning comments.

Now we hope to adopt we've told pretty much everyone that we're moving on to adoption now. That's all the detail they've needed. I must say adoption has been easier for them to take on and three friends have started talking about giving us a baby shower - something that was never mentioned before. I think it some of them are relieved for us.

As an interesting side note, when we told people we were going to be doing foster care the responses we got were very negative. Nothing like the response to infertility and adoption.

Sassy said...

Wow. My comment was waaay too long. But I thought it was worth adding that within hours of us telling my parents we're moving onto adoption (we gave them a book and a pamphlet) my mother smsed every person in our family to "let them know the good news". She had managed to hold herself back from telling people about our infertility but somehow her tact didn't extend that far with adoption.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ said...

I had my surgery ages ago when I was only 19... Everyone in my life knew about that. It wasn't hard to talk about.

In some ways I'm lucky in that most people are comfortable with infertility due to a surgery that you had no control over when you were young. People are less comfortable with you going through menopause before you turn 30!

I've been very open. With people I knew at the time of the surgery, I simplely say - 'hey remember that surgery you helped me through, well our worse fears are true, it means I can't have kids with my eggs and I get to go go through menopause really early.'

For others... well I am really open. My FSH was tested just before a trip back home to see all my friends and family. It was over 50. I found myself mentioning it to people as I made my way from house to house reconnecting with everyone. Just felt like the right time as it would be ages before I saw these people again. It also really helped me get over my own denial. Currently I only tell a few people each week and work with them until they get to a point that they can speak kindly to me. Last week I was trying to tell my mom - it might be a long time before I tell any other non-blog people. She's known all along of the possibilities, but now that everything has been confirmed its been really hard for me to communicate what I need from her. I think its been really hard on my dad too, but I only hear that through others in the family. Ah, such is parent-daughter relationships, eh?

Bea said...

First, I told a friend, because I thought she was the best person to offer support. I was wrong. I have been constantly surprised by the reactions of people I've told - sometimes pleasantly, sometimes not. Apparently, it's really hard to pick 'em up front.

I felt my parents should know I was having an operation. So before the first EPU, I took a deep breath and told them.

Eventually, it all started getting a bit much so I started a password-protected blog to keep selected people up to date with the details. This has worked well - not everyone can be everything to you all the time, so you need a group. But sometimes it's hard to tell each of them the bad news one by one. And sometimes they need a moment to gather themselves and think of the right thing to say back.

We have never told anyone in real life what our diagnosis is. MF is still a bit taboo, and we don't want to play the blame game - we just prefer them to think of it as "our" problem, which it is. (Although, unfortunately, in practice this means many people think of it as "my" problem... sigh...)


Susan said...

I've always had a hard time lying or even skirting the truth. When asked "What have you been up to?", after a several years of TTC, ALL I've really been up to is trying to get pregnant! So, my answer was always "trying to get pregnant and work, how about you?". When I tried to keep it private, I would stand there with a stupid look on my face and try to quickly come up with something interesting. Stupid look was all I could come up with. So, I started telling everyone and usually didn't hold back details. It was just easier this way. Also, if I've received negative reactions, I've just let them roll off of my back because it just doesn't matter what they think.

luna said...

I've had mixed feelings and experiences sharing our journey with other people.

I don't think I've ever just offered it up without being prompted or pressed. It depends on the person and relationship, as well as the setting and situation.

When asked about kids, I'll often just say "no, still trying," or "not yet." This simple response implies it has taken some time. Some people press, others don't. I don't offer unless I know the person well and they express genuine interest. I'm usually only comfortable talking about it in 1:1 in person private settings.

With friends and family who know we've been trying for so long, I don't offer more details except when asked. I'll usually give a vague response unless pressed for more info by someone who really wants to know, and not just out of curiosity but to truly support us. Since most of them have had children without any difficulty, they really don't understand what we're going through. I tread a fine line because I don't want pity. Rather, I'll share more only when I know someone genuinely cares and also has the capacity to support us.

When prompted for more information by someone I'm not close with, I will often say something like "we've had some issues to overcome" or "we haven't been too lucky in that area." This has led to some very engaging and valuable discussions where I've learned about other people's struggles to conceive or adopt. Then I've shared more details, e.g., how long it's been, the nature of our issues, or our course of treatment. I've been pleasantly surprised by and grateful for these interactions and connections.

But I've also been met with apathy or an uncomfortable "oh" and awkward moment, during and after which I wished I had just kept it to myself. Infertility is such a personal issue and I am a very private person. I felt exposed. After these interactions, I often reconsider how much I might share the next time.

When prompted for more information in a more public setting, I am often uncomfortable engaging, even if I'm apt to share more with a particular person. For instance, one well-meaning colleague probes in the middle of a crowded room, or before a meeting when others will soon join us. I usually have to say "time and place" to explain it's not appropriate and I'm not about to get into it there.

When offered inappropriate assvice, I usually react negatively and respond in a way that ought to shut the person up, with the hope that they might think twice before saying something so ignorant again. For instance, when told I should "just relax" or "take a vacation," or "it will happen" or "just adopt and you'll get pregnant," I not-so-kindly educate the misinformed person that it's not that simple, that medical issues require more attention, and that after 4 years I'm unlikely to just magically fall pregnant. I suppose in these instances, I share with the intent to educate the ignorant. It doesn't make me feel better, but it's a necessary kind of sharing.


luna said...

Just to clarify, the "not yet" response may not actually imply the passage of time while trying, but does suggest that we want children. Some people leave it at that, while others might ask more details, like when or how many. When probed for more info, I decide how to respond based on the other factors I mentioned in my last post. Thanks! ~luna

Starfish said...

I kept it a secret for a long time. I didn't want people to keep asking me about it, and I certainly didn't want their pity. I couldn't bear having to tell them a cycle failed and having them feel sorry for me. The only person who knew was my mom - and my boss since I had to miss work for doctor appointments.

After 4 IUI's and 2 horribly complicated rounds of IVF, I sat down with my closest friends (actually my cousins) and told them "it doesn't look like we'll be able have children". I knew they had been wondering for so long why we hadn't had them yet. I thought it would be able to tell them calmly, but I turned into a big sobbing mess. I had held all that emotion from them for so long. Although they just stared at me, stunned into silence, it was a great relief to finally get it out in the open.

We tried one more round of IVF after that, and started the adoption process at the same time. Having them know made the end much easier to bear. When the last round didn't work, they made a big deal out of adoption and cheered me on until we brought our son home.

JuliaS said...

My comments became too long - so I wrote about it on my blog.

I said you could call me Ishmael the last time I responded to "your psuedonym . . ." but, maybe Carena would be better rather than a one-legged white whale obsessed sea captain!

JuliaS said...

Oops - That link didn't work too well.


Malky B. said...

The first time around, I felt very uncomfortable talking to anyone about our treatments even my sisters. I had one friend who for some reason I could talk to about it. She herself was adopted although she didn't suffer from IF. Maybe that was the reason or maybe it was her sensitivity.

This time around, I'm talking to more people about it. Generally, I'm more comfortable talking to one person at a time. I feel it's still a rather personal subject and to talk about it in a group setting is still awkward unless it's at a support group where everyone is going through it.

I have even shared some of my treatment report ex: how many follicles I had, with woman I met at my doctors office (long waits+ boredom = spilling the beans).

The response has always been pretty supportive and I don't feel awkward afterwards. If someone does say something that's not too supportive I know not to share further with that person. That person might mean well but just not have the sensitivity to say the right thing so you learn not to reveal too much next time to that individual.

I realize now that keeping it all to yourself just makes you feel that much more lonely, as if you are on an island by yourself. Sharing has definitely help me cope better the second time around.

Malorie (alias if necc.)

Anonymous said...

We don't tell anyone anything. I suppose we must have anticipated potential problems when we started trying to conceive because we made a conscious decision at the time not to talk about it. Long before we started trying we had deflected questions by telling people that the timing was not right and that we'd often thought about raising children that were not biologically our own. Because of this, I think, people who are close to us maybe ask less and leave it to us to initiate conversations about babies and our family.

We chose not to talk about it because I didn't want to be exposed to other people's curiosity, questions and concerns. I didn't want to give people permission to talk about my experience with me. I didn't want someone to ask a seemingly innocent question and break down because it wasn't something I could emotionally deal with at that moment. So, for me, I guess, it is about controlling my own vulnerability.

I don't regret choosing not to talk about this at all. When I need to talk, I talk to my partner or retreat to the internet. Sometimes I will write a little bit, but mostly I find comfort in other people's blogs.

I'm sure that at this point our infertility is no secret despite the fact that we don't talk about it. Thankfully, we've found that almost everybody is respectful enough to leave the subject alone.

We have told a couple of people: a friend who initiated a conversation about her own experience with infertility and another friend who hounded my partner so incessantly about having babies that he broke down and told her in order to shut her up. Even these friends are kind about respecting our boundaries.

Grace is my pseudonym.