I've been writing the past few weeks about how to best dodge impertinent, indiscreet, and very personal questions from our so-called family and friends during this holiday season. Relatives are a necessary evil at holiday time. There are three categories of kinfolk:
1) Those we can't wait to see. 2) Those who are great to see a few times a year and 3) Those who make you certain that in a past life you stole from a children's charity and their visit is your little holiday gift from Cousin Karma.
Sometimes infertility turns holidays into one big ugly sixth grade dodge ball game for us. You spend family gatherings ducking and side-stepping personal, obnoxious, stupid, and embarrassing questions. And you spend (did I just misspell "waste") weeks before the family powwow anticipating who's going to ask those questions and trying to duck and side-step those people altogether.
Here's the solution: Present them with a nice gift. A book. Wait! I know you probably think this is about me trying to hustle my ebook which I do on a regular basis. You don't have to give them my book. It would be damn well appreciated. But my book might not be the one they need to read. (Did I just type that? My fingers must be possessed. Where's my eraser?)
The point of giving them a book is to minimize your angst and your pain. Sure, it's gift tag has their name on it in your handwriting, but make no mistake, it's a gift you're giving yourself.
It doesn't really matter when you give the gift. You can do it a week before the family brouhaha. Call it preventative medicine. Instead of waiting for the holiday joy to nose-dive: When you're mid-holiday soiree and the yentas corner you in the kitchen and your only response to their barrage of conception questions is to squirm and hyperventilate.
Days before the big family gala, give the book (even better-- send it--what you pay in postage you'll save in hand sanitizer). And make sure you include a note in big bold, neon letters:
"I'm really not comfortable discussing what we're going through, but this pretty much covers it." OR
"I know you've been concerned that I'm not pregnant yet. I think you'll really enjoy this and it will explain it better than I can at the moment."
I recommend you start your statement with something to the effect of: "I'm not ready to get into my personal business..."
By starting off with a statement like that you're swatting the gnat before it starts buzzing in your ear. So if after reading your generous gift, they come back and say:
"I was shocked by chapter 8! You're not really doing what's in that chapter are you?!" Now you can just hit "rewind" and say:
"Remember two weeks ago when I said I wasn't ready to get into my personal business? Yeah...well...ditto this week...Bye"
The point of giving them your present is: You're giving them lots of information about your infertility situation without giving them any information about your infertility situation. For example..just an example..not hustling: If you give them, let's say, my ebook, I'm spilling my infertile guts to them so you don't have to. I don't care if they know my business. I'm not related to them. Screw them. They mean nothing to me. My ebook, I'm told, is fast, fun, humorous reading. Your family and friends will get what it's all about, and what you're going through daily, but it's not profound enough to leave them feeling overwhelmed or freaked out.
But maybe you don't want anyone to yuk it up over infertility. Maybe you want them to better understand your particular issue that's causing your infertility. Then find a book written by a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
Or maybe you want them to understand the emotional toll it's taking on you better and a more serious book by a psychologist is in order.
The point is: No matter what the title of the book you give them, the sub-title is: "How to Get You Off My Back & Out of My Ovaries...(You Nosy B)"
Below are just a few books out there you may want to consider for yourself this holiday season or as a gift which, as we said earlier...is really a gift for you too. You just can't lose with this system. It's fool-proof. Remember that ebooks can also be given as a gift via Amazon if the giftee has an account. These are just ones I know about. Nobody's giving me any cash or sexual favors to tell you about them...except the last one.
1) Dr. Richard Marrs' Fertility Book http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Richard-Marrs-Fertility-Book/dp/0440508037
2) On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility (Helen Adrienne, LCSW) http://www.amazon.com/On-Fertile-Ground-Infertility-ebook/dp/B00529QMOM
3) The Fertile Secret: Guide to Living A Fertile Life (Robert Kiltz MD) http://www.amazon.com/Fertile-Secret-Guide-Living-Life/dp/0983845891/ref=la_B005EIXDWU_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355191947&sr=1-1
4) Conquering Infertility- (Alice Domar Phd) http://www.amazon.com/Conquering-Infertility-Domars-Enhancing-Fertility/dp/0142002011
5) Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility (Yes this IS MY ebook. It's my blog for chrissakes. Throw me a bone will ya?) http://www.amazon.com/Laughing-IS-Conceivable-ebook/dp/B007G9X19A