Thursday, October 16, 2008

Socially networked?

I’ve always considered myself to be “out of the closet” as far as our IF struggles are concerned. Well, definitely in the last few years. When we first started TTC, it was our business. Then slowly as we got BFN after BFN we started talking to a few close friends. Then my parents, then DH’s parents. But I guess it gets obvious after a while, whether we speak it out loud or not.

The loudest screaming factor is evidently an “aging” marriage, and no signs of any kids around. So yes, we’re out of the closet, one way or another. I write openly on my blog, I talk openly to my friends about everything. Our families know everything. Hey, even some colleagues were aware.

Then along came social networking. There are a bunch of sites out there, and everyone in the world is on them. It’s great to be able to connect back with people that you’ve lost touch with. You know the type – old high school class mates, ex colleagues, college batch mates, people from the town you grew up in etc etc etc. You keep getting sucked into it.

I started out with my connections being limited to people that I’m in touch with otherwise in real life. My extended family and real life friends. But these sites spiral you into more and more – “You may know these people”, or “Friends of friends”. Slowly I realized I now am connected to people from so far way back in life that I look at their pictures and go “Huh!! – I don’t remember him/her looking like this” or “Wow – I would not have recognized this person if I ran into him somewhere.”

All this networking brings its own set of issues along with it. Now suddenly people who are crawling out of the woodwork are curious about you. That’s where my dilemma sets in. I’m open about my issues with my friends who see me now, or who have known me in the last few years and have been with me through my struggles. I’m not sure I’m willing to be open with just about everyone that I’ve EVER known in my life.

I’m torn. On the one hand I love being connected back with familiar faces. On the other, I don’t want anyone to ask me anything. I have a few pictures with nieces and nephews or with my friend’s children that are up on these sites, and the moment someone comments on them, I feel compelled to “clarify” saying “Oh this is my niece” or something like that. Or when an old friend / class mate connects up with me and sends me a message saying “I’m married, 2 kids, work in so and so place, live in so and so place, what about you?”, I feel compelled to answer “Married, one dog, we’re working on building a startup”. My answers are technically correct, yet somehow, they seem to rattle me. 

Yesterday DH changed his status to “Requesting everyone to light a candle at 7 PM. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day”. I saw that and it struck me that I didn’t have the guts to say something like that to all my connections. I say I’m open, but am I? A lot of my connections possibly think I don’t have or mention kids because I’m heavily into our start up company. A part of me wants them to continue to think that way.

So am I really out of the closet as far as IF is concerned?

How do you guys deal with your social networking site connections? How do you deal with questions from people you haven’t seen in years, and probably won’t for years to come? I agree they aren’t an important enough part of my life, but questions do rattle me – wherever they come from. 

I suppose you could say one should limit their connections on these sites, why get yourself more exposure than you can handle? But you see, I enjoy being connected to people. I enjoy interaction. 

What would you do?


Jewels said...

I have to say on one site, I never spoke of anything personal on there until DF asked me to marry him, then anyone who read it would know that I even was dating someone. So I opened up about that.
Then when I m/c, I pasted it all over that site - but I locked the site to "friends only" and deleted some people as friends that I didn’t want knowing anything about me like that.
Then I opened my "face book" and remain pretty generic on there for the people I deleted from my other site. So we still have contact, but It's just "Congrats on - whatever" or "Good to see you again". Nothing personal.

If people (out of my comfort zone) ask, I tell it like I would a child that's asking "where do babies come from", I just answer the direct part of the question, but sometimes its vague (them) "you going to have kids" (me) "Maybe someday" because it is a BIG maybe, I just don’t tell them that the maybe is not a choice of mine - and usually I keep any emotion out of my answer, then change the subject back to them or on to something different.

I Believe in Miracles said...

Since I'm not out of the closet, I don't say anything. We're right at the point where we get asked the questions and we say things like "we're working on it" or "maybe someday" and leave it at that.

That's really a tough call. I would love to be open and honest, but at the same time I fight against IF defining me... a fine line to walk.


Darya said...

I'm out of the closet...mostly. I guess I'm out like you those I'm close with, to my friends, some colleagues...but I don't want everyone to know other private or personal aspects of me or my life.

What sucks about IF and having children is that people think it's their business to ask specific questions like 'why don't you have kids? Don't you want them? etc.' I tend to brush off the questions and walk away.

Anonymous said...

I consider myself a little TOO open about IF, but you're right I never thought about it before, but on fb NOBODY knows. Only my 2 best friends and my mom. I do get the occassional question "are y'all going to have kids" and I pretty much do the same as the other girls and answer with a "someday". My hope is to one day say "Audra is....having a baby!!" Then I don't really care who knows.

There are a lot of people like you said that i've known growing up and I don't know where these people stand on these issues(like I care)but I don't want anybody putting there 2 cents in. That's my main reason for not posting about it on there.
There are some IF groups on there, but I never found the support like I did at WebMd.

Lorraine said...

I have been open in the past - but after several years and no success, it was just too hard to rehash everything all the time.

I also wanted to get away from IF defining me, and I made a conscious decision to go back to grad school so I could have a different focus for my public persona, and keep IF private for a while. Now people ask me about my work and my thesis - it's nice to be able to talk about something that is almost completely positive and fairly widely interesting instead of always being the sad non-pregnant lady.

I Believe in Miracles said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I worried about the bleed too... so I go above the hole and not on it. Just in case. I wondered if that still would affect it, but I couldn't help it. I really can't keep track.
I have blood work on Monday. I think that will determine when I go in for the u/s. They said we could expect to trigger anytime after Monday... Did you have an average # of days you were on sims?

I Believe in Miracles said...

For Random Reassurance Week, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your insight and encouragement.

Sarah said...

Nikki, I just found your blog through a search-- I, too, have a t-shaped uterus and have had several IVF failures. I'm also considering seeking treatment at CCRM and will be closely following your surgery and subsequent IVF. We non-DES exposed t-shapers are a small group, and I will certainly be pulling for you with all my heart! Please email me if you would like to compare notes at any time. I wish you the best of luck, you're an inspiration!

Shelby said...

I'm in the same dilemma. Why should I go into hiding when I love connections? But the reasons I have done so in the past and present was with the intention of self preservation. I'm not sure that it's worth it.

I am mostly in the closet, except for family. So, when I have been confronted, as others have commented, I give very vague answers..."maybe someday". It's not so much the questions that are difficult as are the constant announcements on these sites. I hate that other's happiness reminds me of my grief, but it does and every time I log in, I am reminded of this. But then again, I'll always be reminded of this because that's what's in my brain almost every hour. Therefore I've decided that it's not worth it to hide away and be isolated. I may be in the closet, but at least I'm still in the world.

Jackie. said...

I think that when people get all up in your business, you know the kind, about how you do not have kids, you should take the opportunity to figure out how you can give someone the bird on a keyboard. Just a thought.

BTW, I have not figured this networking site stuff out yet for myself, so take above advice for what it's worth. I just gave you my gut. BUT, I will say that I've added a sentence about our infertility in my profile. I understand that the "do you have kids" issue can come up in casual chit chat in an effort to get to (re)know you, but whatever they ask me around that topic, I figure YOU ASKED, GET READY FOR AN ANSWER. And my answer will depend on my mood (and I'm moody).

I am wishing you good luck, Dear Nikki!!! When you figure it out, please pass the magic formula around. Hugs, Jackie