September 14, 2010

"The" Question

I haven't made it a secret that my daughters are the result of a successful IVF. At least I don't think I've made it a secret. It's not like I bring it up in every post, but I do bring it up.
Anyway, I always cringe at the questions from strangers, the ones along the lines of "Was it natural?" or "How did that happen?" Usually it's just a Nosey Nelly trying to satisfy her (or his) curiosity. Still, I try to be polite, if somewhat vague, in my answer, because every now and then, the questioner responds with "We're looking into IVF (or another fertility treatment), too."
I never know how to respond to these women, other than an "I'm sorry you're struggling. I wish you much success." A few weeks ago, the pool monitor at our neighborhood pool started drilling me with questions. Right as I was about to become frustrated, she confided that she and her husband have been struggling to conceive for years. She said that while most people likely look at me and feel overwhelmed, she would give anything in the world to be this overwhelmed. Then last week at the dentist, the hygienist poured out all her fertility struggles. This was largely a one-sided conversation, as she was cleaning my teeth for most of it, so my response was mainly "Mmmm hmmm."
I have great one-liners stored up for the annoying "How did you end up with quadruplets?" question, but so far, I can't bring myself to use them. Even the curious are mainly well-intentioned and often don't realize how intrusive their questions can be. Many times they know someone who has twins or triplets and just want to share those stories. It's hard to feel like people are constantly judging me, but at the same time, I want to be able to provide some comfort and hope to those who are struggling.

14 comments:

Stephanie Barr said...

Life is full of uncertainties and challenges. You do the best you can with what you can. Sometimes, it works out like you planned. Sometimes, it works out a different way.

As for "Are they natural?" Of course they are, unless you made them from legos.

Suzy said...

Sometimes I get the urge to print a T-shirt that says, "No, we didn't do IVF" ... that's how often I have to answer that question. :) I identify with your conflicted emotions about the fertility question, though ... I still haven't come up with a "good" answer, but I'm hoping to do it before my kids get old enough to understand what's being asked!

Sadia said...

I come at this issue from the other side, with my spontaneous twins. I can't imagine what it was feel like to be confided in by strangers about their infertility journey - as if you didn't have enough of that of your own to carry over the years!

I wonder whether you could carry cards for some sort of infertility support group (or maybe even a good infertility blog or two) to get them off your case?

Quadmama said...

Suzy brings up a good point. My daughters are starting to understand the concept of "quadruplets" so it's only a matter of time before they start wanting to know more about the issues strangers bring up. I guess I need to start finding a good way to tackle that!

MaryAnne said...

I'm really surprised people ask this. Or, I guess I'm not, since strangers ask me if I had my kids so close together "on purpose". Yes I did, but why on earth do they think they should ask that question?!

Quadmama said...

I really like to think for the most part people either don't think before they ask these questions or they don't realize it's none of their business!

Amy said...

After having twins 10 1/2 months after my older son and meeting other twin moms, I am no longer surprised at what people ask. My favorite is are they all yours? and Did you plan it that way? Yes they are all mine and yes I planned to have my second close in age to my first and we were blessed with twins.

Quadmama said...

I have had more than one person ask me if I am the nanny!!

Writer Lady said...

I guess I'd answer that you were blessed with quads because you could handle itm and leave it at that.

Writer Lady said...

When I showed up at an event with six small children, people would ask, "Are they all yours?" I'd say no. That's all.

Quadmama said...

Someone asked me once if they were all girls. My response: "Only the ones in pink" (they all had on pink).

Novabella said...

Well, when you have no children, people ask pretty thoughtless questions too.

Quadmama said...

I can only imagine... "Why don't you have kids", "Can't you have children," etc.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I imagine it's probably much easier "just" having twins. In response to questions from random people about whether we did fertility treatments, I usually say something like, "We were doubly blessed." That usually weeds out the Nosy Nellies from those asking for some kind of personal reason. I have had a couple of people - both former colleagues - ask about fertility treatments, and I just somehow knew they were struggling themselves. In that case, I don't mind talking about our history.

I had a wonderful "mentor" through our entire fertility journey, and at times I don't know what I would have done without her to confide in. I have been able to "pay that forward" a little bit with one couple, which I was so glad to do.

I'm generally pretty selective about telling people "in real life" about our fertility journey...just a few close friends and close family know. My reason is that I want to be able to tell my girls myself, when they're older, and hopefully not have a next-door neighbor's kid spill the beans. HA!

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