Monday, March 30, 2009


I’m struggling with what and how much to tell my parents about the complexity of my IF struggles. I mean, they ~know~ we’ve been trying. They ~know~ we’ve been through “treatment”, and they know about my pregnancy losses (well – they know about the m/c and the ectopic. I didn’t tell them about my chemical pg, because my mom was stressing out a lot at the time, and later it didn’t make sense to)

They know we are seeing a doctor in Denver, and they know my “treatment” was getting postponed week by week, and they know that we called the cycle off and are now on a break from TTC. And they have been very supportive through it all. Obviously they love us and hurt for us, and obviously they find themselves helpless but still want to help.

While I keep them vaguely informed of stuff, I don’t go into too many details. For various reasons, I can’t. One reason being that there is a huge “language barrier” – no, it’s not that my parents and I don’t speak the same language. Of course we do, but my mom’s English is not that great, and I don’t know how to explain IF terms in my mother tongue. I mean, how do you say IVF or FET or Balanced Translocation in any language but English? So I sort of try and explain in as simple a way as I can – like telling them that “They take my eggs out, and they “make” embryos in the lab.” They know that our embryos are frozen right now – I don’t know how much of that they understand, but I’m ok with them not understanding everything. They don’t have to – I think it might scare them knowing all the details of our procedures.

There is also the reason of being protective towards DH and him towards me. I never told my parents about his BT. I didn’t want anyone to feel or say anything about him, even unintentionally. We have enough challenges in our lives, and really don’t want added dimensions on top of our complexities!

And then there is the whole “comfort” issue. How can I talk to my parents about vaginal ultrasounds, or DH’s sperm, or fertilization, or some of the completely shamelessly invasive stuff we go through? Some people may be comfortable talking to their parents about everything, but I never could.

So anyway, now they know that we have stopped our “treatment” in Denver. They also know that we’re looking for work, and that the economy is so tight right now. I understand that they want to help, and I don’t know how to explain to them that the best help they can extend is by staying supportive and not intruding.

Some of you may know how big astrology and horoscope reading is in India. Many marriages are finalized only when the boy’s and girl’s horoscopes “match”. Many parents get their children’s horoscopes made when the child is born. Many important decisions are taken “when the time is right.” Many ventures, and trips are started “when the stars are right.” Of course marriages happen “at an auspicious day and time.”

My parents thankfully were never the kinds who went very strictly by horoscopes. They have always been a good mixture of tradition and practicality. They didn’t even get our horoscopes made – they always told us (my siblings and me) that what we made of our lives was up to us.

So what my mother did recently shocked me, and made me realize how much of an effect my IF has on my parents.

She got our horoscopes made, and sent them to one of her friends who specializes in astrology. And she told me that she had done this. I protested. I told her it didn’t make sense. I told her it would just make me feel superstitious if my FET date didn’t match her “good dates”. And I don’t need superstition added to the mix of all my stress anyway. And I tried to tell her that. I said she could find out and keep the dates for herself if it made her feel relaxed.

Last night she told me she heard from her friend. And she proceeded to tell me that the time is good for us right now. I told her I am not going back to Denver right now – she said she meant that our time is good now for a few months, and chances are very high that I will conceive.

It’s like this added pressure you know? I mean, I’m not angry at my mom, and I’m not complaining, so don’t get me wrong. She is doing what she can do – and this is out of even her comfort zone, but she’s doing it because she’s helpless to do anything else, and she hurts for us.

But I’m struggling with how to tell her to not “pressure” us this way. Or should I just listen and keep quiet - let them assume I'm following their suggestion? What would you do? I don’t want to offend her, but I do want her to understand. Any suggestions?


rash said...

Nikki,i understand what you are trying to explain to your mom ,i am a hindu ,my mom being not much of a believer in horoscope has been taking mine and dh's horoscope to so called experts from past 3years i tried telling her not to do this but she sort of felt that it was her duty

when i and dh were in india last year it was a like a pilgrimage visiting lot of temples ,but i did it for my parents ..didnt want to hurt them and their beliefs

i hope one day we get our wishes fulfilled ,it is frustrating making parents understand infertility and listening to their advice sametime.

give it sometime maybe your mom will understand you and things will get better :)

Miss Tori said...

This is one of those things that I don't touch: horoscopes. I think people put too much stock into what is printed in a horoscope. If you want to use them as entertainment, that is fine, but to base life decisions on things like that, I just can't.

I think what I'd do, just to appease your mom, is have lots of fun sex. Try something different. Buy a new teddie. Find each other again. Even though you know that the chances are slim to none, you can tell your mom you are giving the old fashioned approach a try.

Candlelight, chocolate dipped strawberries, and a nice sparkling cider can be so romantic, and may end in a passionate night. It may not produce the results as your mom would hope, but it sure will bring a smile to your and DH's face.

Caroline said...

This is a difficult issue. Although I don't know much about your mother's beliefs,I can understand that our mothers (and others) try to make sense of our difficult situation based on their religious and spiritual beliefs.
My mother is a very strong Christian, and although I appreciate her thoughts and prayers, she has told me that God has given her visions about my ability to conceive. At first she thought that God told her I wouldn't need IVF. Well, here I am. Then God apparently told her that I would fall pregnant by last December. Well, obviously I did not.
I appreciate her faith and her beliefs, but I have had to seperate them from my own. What she wants to believe is up to her and I appreciate that she cares for me. But I also know that this is my journey with my DH and my faith. I believe that God is working some kind of story out of all of this, although I can't make sense of it right now.
I don't know whether that helps you or not. But know that I can relate to what you are going through with your mother.

Thanks again for your support. Caroline.

Anonymous said...

they wont understand. they will get mad at dh!and the other way around. just keep it brief.

Anonymous said...

That is so hard. In a way, I am jealous - my mother calls me about 3x per year - if that. This is deeply personal but she never really wanted kids. She seems to do better with my nieces and nephews so maybe she is trying to redeem herself with the grandkids...

I told my mother about our first IVF and loss and it was like telling a stranger. I quit telling her anything after that.

I guess what I am trying to say without giving assvice is that it sounds like you know your mom and it sounds like she loves you very much - what is your heart telling you to do?

Nichole said...

Wow - all of the previous posters have some great advice. It really is such a personal choice. I, like Caroline have had Christians tell me that "God told them...blah blah blah" I can tell you for sure that none of their visions included me losing my child. What I am trying to say is that this is your mom's way of helping and being supportive, but I wouldn't put much stock in it. She is trying to be supportive, so I would just let her do her thing and then file the information far away later. That's my assvice! Good Luck!

MamaSoon said...

I can't imagine. I don't share your culture so I am not sure what to do. I am very direct so I think I would send a note to say while I knew it was all in the name of love that I had a hard enough time feeling the pressure and stress of an expiring biological clock and that sharing that I have only months or right now just makes me feel sad and (insert the feelings). That I hope it does work for us but that the pressure of this information is too much for my heart to bear.
Would that work?

I wish you a miracle baby this month too. :)

Chhandita said...

Arghh Nikki I can so identify with this! Thankfully my mom never wanted to 'know' about it. She just kept going to this guru of hers and i let her do it.

Funnily, my family too never got our horoscope made but my in-laws did before we got married, not th we believe in any of that. I guess you just let your mother be, this is the only way she can help u (as she thinks) in laws were much more irritating, so hope in tht front u don't have to suffer much...

tons of love...

banditgirl said...

Nikki, dear, I can somewhat relate to your difficulties in deciding how much to share and *how* to share exactly, having a mother tongue other than English. I probably share things to a similar degree and in a similar way you do, and then my mom voluntarily sometimes does her own research to understand what exactly happens in the “black box.” At some point I told them how much I appreciated them not asking details about the when and how, thus allowing me to decide when and what to share (which often makes me more willing to share).
Another similarity: my mom went to a famous psychic in the country to ask about us and she said we will need an IVF. She was very apologetic about what she did, and I easily forgave her realizing, as you did, that she did this out of care and concern for us. But then, upon another piece of advice from the psychic, started to gently pressure us to fill out a form to have our lucky fertility star constellation figured out by the Jonas institute. Some of you may be familiar with this now worldwide organization which was started by a Slovakian Catholic doctor, opposed to all and every ART but eager to calculate the best date for natural conception. Part of their philosophy is also claiming that women can ovulate twice a month (at different times).
I told my parents that I did not believe in this for many reasons and did not want to talk about it anymore. My parents respected my wishes. It took two attempts to explain why I didn’t want to have anything to do with this humbug, but it did eventually. I think you know your parents and yourself best, but based on my experience I’d recommend you write a letter (I tend to use that medium when discussing these sensitive, painful issues with my parents) and explain, in the beautiful kind of writing you always do, why you want her to stop pressuring you with the horoscope. Just like you did to us, but adapted to your parents’ style. I think a letter can be reread many times, put aside and returned to, thus processed in a deeper, more profound way that a conversation can’t always do. Good luck, Nikki, and keep us posted. A very moving, heartbreakingly beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

I'm the same way, I told my mom only bits and pieces about our TTC journey.
Obviously she knew that we did IVF the first time in 2003 and had the m/c at 20 wks. The following 2 IVFs that ended in blighted ovums, I didn't even mention. The FETs which all ended in chemical pgs or BFN I didn't say anything either. By this time years have passed and we adopted our DD with our family's full blessing.
When we did our fresh IVF #4 that was BFN, I didn't say anything.
As for our last IVF with PGD, I told them all about it since it was our last try. In fact I took my mom with me to see my RE for our consultation back in July 08.
I don't think parents fully understand IVF or all the possible outcomes.
Your mom just wants you to be happy and help anyway she can, don't be too harsh on her. I wouldn't say anything.
Kaila :)

Lorraine said...

I have never told my mom about our IVF attempts. She has made her position on miscarriages ("probably for the best") and ART ("selfish") known, and therefore has shut herself our of a big part of our lives.

So it's easy for me to think it's sweet that your mom is trying, with whatever she can, to be encouraging. When ever I read that someone's mom sent a fertility doll or a series of massages ("Just relax!") I am a little bit jealous.

Hey - if the horoscope seems to work, maybe she can get mine done, too!

Anonymous said...

it's so hard. my parents totally don't get anything about IF either. ...and there's no language barrier!!

this is a lot to think about and process! :( good luck with this, girl.

Anonymous said...

Ah... you and I seem to be in the same boat. You are right, explaining IVF to a mom who is a non-english speaker is tough. But I don't know if I would have ever told her any more details than similar to what you talk abt here. I think its best to leave out the details so atleast they can sleep peacefully at night. Oh... and regarding the horoscope issue... my my!! In my case, its my grandparents. And shockingly enough, the astrologer was able to predict some "news" in the November/December timeframe last year and guess what?? That is when I had my miscarriage! I came to know about this prediction in January and I was taken aback. Its not like I trust horoscopes any more than but it was just intriguing!!
My two cents to you is just nod your head and do what you think is right. Hopefully your parents understand and give you guys your space.

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