I've been thinking about this a lot lately, this whole business of how, when, and to what extent do we share our struggles with infertility. When we first began recognizing that there was something wrong, we told no one. It all felt too personal, too intimate, and too unclear. People may have guessed, but as far as directly telling friends and family that we were struggling, that came much later.
Things are different now. It may not be the first thing I tell a new acquaintance, but those who love us and are involved in our lives know about our struggle. It is simply part of us. Infertility impacts us daily and affects everything, and so for me, it makes sense for people to know.
But I understand couples who choose not to share. Opening up to others about our struggle makes us feel vulnerable. There were times when I immediately regretted sharing and wished I could take it back. Openness also brings more comments and questions, and on the days when you feel you're barely keeping it together, a question or comment--even if it is kind and loving--can be hard to receive. Being open can in a strange way bring a sense of loss: we lose the opportunity to be "normal" and share a pregnancy like other couples get to do.
For us, though, sharing our struggle has been rewarding and is worth some of the loss and vulnerability that has come. I don't mean that every couple needs to let every person in their life know about their infertility. But having our pastor, leaders at church, family members, and close friends aware and involved is a step toward healing. It also brings more knowledge to those who may not know anything about infertility. They will become people who are much more sensitive to couples who are not able to have a baby, and they may become an encouragement not only to you but to others as well.