Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mom Dilemma: To Tell or Not to Tell?

I'm in a dilemma.  I can't decide if I should tell my mom about our upcoming IVF cycle.  The last time I went home to visit my family overseas, I did a cycle of IVF there.  But that's for another post.

I didn't tell my parents that I was doing IVF until I arrived home.  I was there for 2 and a half months, and DH only joined me for 2 weeks of the trip, which luckily was perfectly timed for our IVF.  No one in my family knew we were planning to do IVF except my sister and her husband.

My parents knew we that we had been trying to get pregnant for a while now.  Before that, Mom used to give me the "don't wait too long to have kids" advice.  Once we told them we had been trying for a while and actually needed some "help" they were supportive and kept praying for us.  When I was home I had to tell Mom and Dad about the IVF procedures because I had to explain why I needed to stay around in the city and would not able to travel out of town to visit relatives and such.  They were excited for us but I don't think they really understood what IVF really is, how much it cost,  or what it actually takes.  They just knew it was a lot cheaper to do it back home than to do it in the US.

I had only one request for my parents.  Just one.

I asked Mom and Dad, please, please do NOT tell anyone about our IVF.

We have lots of relatives and I didn't want to have to explain anything to my uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews.  News travel fast when you don't want it to.  It was enough that we were getting all the "when are you guys having kids" questions.  It is none of their damn business anyways!  Plus if IVF didn't work, I didn't want to have to explain anything to anyone, least of all nosy relatives!  And I didn't think I could handle the pity or the sorry looks from anyone.

So only ONE teeny weeny, but very important request.

Towards the end of my stay there, and midway through my IVF cycle, guess what I found out?  Mom had told not one, but TWO of my aunts that we were doing IVF!!

What the heck!!  I was furious!  I was upset!  I almost yelled at her!  I broke down in tears!  I felt betrayed!  I specifically asked her not to tell anyone and she told two aunts!  I felt like I could not trust her anymore!

Mom explained that this one aunt also had issues conceiving again after my cousin was born.  This aunt tried many years unsuccessfully for another baby, even experienced multiple miscarriages.  Mom thought she actually tried IVF too, but that was 30 some years ago.  This aunt even thought about adoption but never did.  It was really sad, yadda yadda yadda......  Mom thought maybe by telling this aunt about our IVF, she would be helping me out somehow.  I have no clue how that would have helped me.  It's not like I'm close to this aunt or anything.  I think I've talked to this aunt 5 times in the last 15 years.  Maybe Mom was just helping herself out.  The other aunt, I don't even remember why Mom told her.  Maybe because she was the closet to Mom.  Maybe Mom just couldn't help herself.

The worst part was the first aunt called to say hi and and see how I was doing.  The second aunt actually came to visit me during my stay.  Luckily, neither of them brought up the subject of IVF.  Both times I pretended like I didn't know they knew.  It sucked.  I hated pretending like everything was fine.  I hated the awkward conversations.  Even though we never talked about it specifically, I felt like I was lying through my teeth the entire time.  And I hate not knowing who else now knows.  One cousin? Five?  All of them?

The point is, I SPECIFICALLY asked Mom not to tell anyone about our IVF, and she did.

Unfortunately, now my two aunts and God knows who else, know that the IVF cycle did not work.

So now the dilemma is if I should tell Mom about our IVF cycle next month.  I'm not sure if I can trust her to not tell this time either.  I hate keeping her out of the loop, it feels like I'm lying to her.  If I tell her, I worry she will tell my relatives again.  Plus I know she is going to worry about how much it's going to cost us, and how we can afford to do IVF, "especially in this economy".   Why get her all excited and worried only to be disappointed if it doesn't work?  Wouldn't it be better to just surprise her that they would be grandparents again if it works?

On the other hand, I could use all the support and prayers from both her and my dad.

So, what do you think?  Should I tell Mom or not?


  1. That's a real tough situation. Hm... I really don't know. I hope you can find peace about it soon. I am more open about my situation and so I really cannot put myself in your shoes with this one. Good luck, hun!

  2. I completely know what you're going through! Dh's mom can not keep a secret if her life depended on it, even when we ask her to keep it confidential. We've had to make the decision to not tell his parents any time we have a fertility treatment. It's for my sanity! Best of luck to you!

  3. I am only telling my mom what she needs to know, because she is not 100% supportive of what we are going through (even though she herself went through it 30 years ago) You do not need the stress she is causing you by telling people who you don't want to know about YOUR business. In your situation I wouldn't tell her.

  4. That's a tough one! We told everyone about it and it was freeing, but also nerve wracking. I needed my mom to know though and she came to town to help out. You know she will pass on the info to some of your other family, but support is so nice! Good luck with your decision!


  5. We are pretty open about our situation. However, it is difficult to face people when it doesn't work. I think if the support outweighs the stress, then you should tell her. However, if it is going to stress you out more, you shouldn't. You don't need to add anymore anxiety during the process. I hope you are able to find your answer. Good luck this cycle!!


  6. Here from ICLW. I have a mom that likes to 'tell' too. This is one reason I don't tell her anything about our TTC efforts and problems. But there are many other reasons for not telling, and it works out great. We have a normal mother-daughter relationship and I don't have to worry about pity parties or random strangers finding out, I don't have to wonder if my reproductive health is going to be dinner conversation at every holiday for the next however many years or the first thing on her mind every time we talk on the phone, I don't have to worry about them waiting and getting excited when it's not time yet ... And I love that. Because I dwell on it enough. I know you've told once but it's ok to keep it to yourself this time, they still support you. They still know what you're going through and will be there for you no matter what. So I see it as giving yourself a break - if it turns out well they'll be too happy to be mad that you didn't include them from the outset and if it doesn't, you might be glad that they don't know because sometimes a disappointment is more difficult to get through if your family members become reminders of that disappointment. Just my 2c. I certainly hope and pray it does go well.

  7. Wow - that is a tough one. Since I am the queen of indecision I don't know what to tell you. I hope that whatever decision you make feels like the right one for you.

    Always enjoy following your blog! Happy ICLW!

  8. If it were me, I would tell. Like you said, you would love their support. Maybe this time, they will keep it a secret. I understand how you feel though because when I went through IVF the first time, word spread to 'everyone' and everybody made my private life their business whether I wanted to be the center of gossip or not. Next time, we tried to keep it mostly secret but eventually it got out to most of our family and friends. I was so engrossed in the cycle (and grieving over my mom who just passed) that I didn't have much energy to be mad about it. And, as long as no one bothered me and asked ridiculous questions, I didn't really care in the end. I'm surprised now how many didn't actually know anything about it at all. I wish you all the best in your decision.

  9. I went through this dilemma about 1 1/2 years ago about whether tell my mom about our TTC troubles after trying for 1 1/2 years already. I decided to tell my mom and she has been more supportive than I could have ever imagined. However, I can see being hesitant if your mom told others when you asked her not to even though she thought she was helping. I think that if telling your mom will cause more stress throughout your IVF, I would not tell her. I would only tell her if you think it will help you with having less stress. IVF is hard enough that we do not need the additional stress. GL with your decision making!

  10. I would not tell her for fear that she would tell somebody else again. That said, I am not close to my mother so my feelings about my own mother may be influencing my advice to you. If you really feel that you want and need her support I would tell her only after telling her how much the fact that she told your aunts was not a good thing. If you think she gets it this time around, tell her. If not, don't.
    Happy ICLW!

  11. I wouldn't. Just from what she's done the previous time.

    But then if you're going to be stressed out & guilty over not telling her, then do tell. Anyway, this time you're oceans away from "concerned" relatives!

  12. Unfortunately, only you can make that choice. Telling her would give you her support, but you'd have the risk of others knowing. Not telling her would maintain your privacy but close yourself off at a time support is greatly needed. You need to decide what you can live with--- what will carry the least regret.

    We told the people who are our greatest support and choose to be "open" to those who ask. We've been where you are, wanting the privacy and not wanting to have to explain things and feel their pity. The explaining and pity does suck, but the support is all worth it. People are generally excited about new life, and want to be supportive. Often their support is counterproductive and not helpful, but the thought does count for something. We do not regret coming out of the closet because we know our family accepts us and supports us *the best they can* along the way.

    Good luck with your decision.

  13. To put things in perspective, I wish I have that dilemma. My parents really don't give a darn about me. Let alone all that we had to go through during our struggles in TTC. Personally, I don't think there is a right and wrong answer. Here's what we did
    1) didn't tell my parents cos' all they care about it $$$$
    2) told DH biological mum the 1st time but not the 2nd time cos' she has no idea all that it entails and her comments were more annoying then what's worth.
    3) told DH dad and stepmum both times and they have been the most supportive people. They prayed for us and don't ask us stupid questions. Mainly because they have a lot more sense than the other parents and secondly, they were there when his step-bro was TTC and were involved in helping them. Don't really know how many rounds my bro-in-law attempted in IVF but they ended up adopting my BEAUTIFUL niece!

    Hope this helps and not confuse you even more :-)

  14. For me, I would say don't tell, especially given the history of her telling others.

    We gave up on telling people a long time ago. I couldn't take the constant questions and the insensitive things people would say.

    We just asked people to support us by not asking questions but know that we were going through a lot, so please pray for us.

    If I had to vent, I vented to DH, and visa versa.

    I think it works better that way.

  15. I'm sorry that your mom broke your confidence before when you felt like you needed her most.

    I wouldn't tell her, however, I can understand how torn you are.


  16. ugh, sticky situation. i wouldn't tell. if just thinking about it is already stressing you out, you shouldn't do it. you don't need extra stress during an IVF cycle. wait to tell her once you get your BFP. :)

    good luck!

    disclaimer: this is coming from someone who is very afraid of the exact thing happening. my mother knows nothing. not even that we've been seeking any kind of help.

  17. That is such a hard decision! If you are concerned that she will share what is going on with your relatives and you absolutely don't want them to know, I don't think I would tell. On the other hand, do you think you would benefit from having more people in your family praying for you and offering support? If so, it might be worth it to tell. GL!


  18. Well, everyone has their own unique relationship with their mom so it's hard to give this advice. I haven't told my mom about my ivf cycle because I didn't want her to worry about me, especially if it didn't work. She thinks Im still doing IUI's, so when I tell her about medications and about a "procedure" date, I dont feel like I am lying too much. And this way, she is still praying for us.
    Good luck.

  19. I'm not in your exact situation, but I know that with lots of the stuff that we've done we've chosen not to tell, simply to keep it more underwraps and have to explain less to less people. I also hate disappointing my mom, so we choose not to tell them some things to keep from seeing that sad, disappointed face. I didn't tell my mom about 2 possible adoption situations, and now I'm glad as they didn't work out. I didn't tell her about meeting with the most recent birthmother until it was done b/c it's just too much sometimes. So, I completely understand and definately think it's a very individual decision! I like the above comment to tell her some but not all of the information!