real life

'I don’t know how to tell you this...'


Well, that’s it – I’ve decided it’s time to come out. Not to everyone, not yet, but to Mum at least. I just can’t hide such an integral part of who I am anymore. After all, I know it’s not my fault that I was born this way. It’s not a decadent lifestyle choice, or some whimsical experiment.

Heck, I wish it were ‘only a stage’.

I realised I had to come out the last time I saw my therapist Lorraine and told her everything I’d been feeling, even the things I couldn’t tell my husband. She listened and she understood me, better than I understood myself. The thing about Lorraine, though, is she’s kind of bossy. She’s told me, in no uncertain terms, that it’s time I tell Mum the truth about what’s been going on with me lately.

I know Mum won’t judge me, it’s not that. In fact, I know exactly what her response will be and I just don’t want it: pity. She’ll tilt her head to the side and in her most gentle voice she’ll say, ‘I just feel sad because I know life’s going to be harder for you.’ Honestly, is there anything worse than being on the receiving end of a pity party?

I really should clarify. These clandestine rendezvous with Lorraine and the proverbial closet I find myself in have nothing to do with a repressed sexuality – that’s a post for another day. My bossy (but well-meaning) therapist is urging me to come out of the IVF closet. To admit that I’m infertile and about to start treatment. 

On one hand, I feel like my husband and I owe it to society to be open about our infertility. After all, someone has to act as an alternative voice to all those lucky, gushing newlyweds who marvel about how quickly they got pregnant. And I am so very tired of playing the role of the Happy DINK. You know the script, it goes something like this:


Insensitive Work Colleague: ‘You guys got married ages ago, why haven’t you had kids yet?’

Happy DINK: ‘Oh, you know, we’re not really thinking about babies at the moment, we’re just enjoying our lives, travelling, all that stuff.’ (Actually, we’re thinking about it all the fucking time, but thanks for asking.)

But on the other hand, I just don’t feel up to the task of being an out and proud trailblazer for the infertile masses. Right now, I am grieving and bitter and resentful of my dysfunctional body – I’m also about to be pumped full of more hormones than a battery hen. So please forgive me if I don’t feel like being a pioneer right now. I’m sorry for letting down the sisterhood, really I am. But maybe I’ll feel stronger once I’ve told Mum…


So, that’s done. I’ve told her. Now, what do I feel? Lighter? Relieved? Nah, not especially. Bit of an anti-climax, even.

I wonder if Lorraine gave me a bum steer. I wonder what I was expecting to feel. Was I hoping Mum could kiss it better and make all my big, bad feelings go away?

I suspect I built it up too much and that maybe I’m putting too much pressure on her to have the right response for a situation where there is no real soothing answer. After all, putting aside my cheap closet analogies, this is actually nothing at all like coming out and celebrating my sexuality.

Right now, it’s just still too raw. I suspect the real benefits of opening up to her will come with actions rather than words. With lovingly prepared cups of sweet tea, sipped in hopeful silence after my visits to the clinic, and if disappointments should arise, with long embraces, helping to share the burden.

The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous. Please keep your comments respectful, even when you disagree. The author’s experience is as valid as yours.

Have you had to open up about a secret you’d been hiding?

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