Er... I haven't actually sent this. I feel bad because this admission is going to disappoint some people. Don't get me wrong - I would, I absolutely would except I doubt it would get Mr Bea's approval. He's nice you see. We're like chalk and cheese that way. Maybe with a little tweaking?

But if you want to send it, be my guest.

Dear Family and Friends,

Ok, well I know there are people on this list who probably don't care very much, and are going to feel a bit astounded in a moment that I'm revealing this information to them on account of our relationship not being that close, but you see I only want to say this once so I thought a blanket email might get us all straightened out so we can get on with our respective lives minus the irritating comments and the hushed gossip. So here it is.

The reason I fly back to Australia each month is for IVF. We started fertility treatment in 2005, and our first IVF cycle began in January 2006. So now you know.

I've noticed that people often don't know what to say after I tell them this. Or at least that's how I usually excuse the things they say next. For those who are thinking of replying to this email, or indeed speaking to or interacting with me in any way in the future, I have prepared a set of guidelines for your prior edification:

1. I do not want to hear about your brother's wife's cousin's workmate who tried for years and miraculousy fell pregnant after they stopped trying/adopted/consulted a naturopath/etc etc. Their diagnosis is probably different to ours and their story of little relevance. Plus the fact that someone else fell pregnant against such odds that their specialist still bores people with the tale at dinner parties twenty years later does less to comfort me than you obviously imagine.

2. Do not offer us unsolicited advice. You have no idea how much time we have spent looking into every avenue and weighing every decision. I am also rarely in the mood to justify ourselves to you.

3. Do not send me any more unsolicited pictures of your young children. This is not because I hate you for reproducing or your children for being born, but is simply in order to avoid future scenarios in which, for example, I receive your birth announcement with attached photos on the same day my followup hCG titre confirms the imminent end of yet another hard-won pregnancy. Because that upsets me, that's why.

In fact, I would go further and point out that, since one in six couples experience infertility and few of them choose to broadcast their woes to the entire world in a manner such as I am now doing, a pregnancy or birth announcement sent to a fifty-strong CC list of family and friends has a pretty good statistical chance of landing in the inbox of someone who is, unbeknownst to you, struggling to conceive. I therefore request, on behalf of all my assisted conception pals, that you exercise some level of tact when making such announcements. Anyone who can attach a photo to an email is also capable of setting up an online photo gallery or babyblog, and I would suggest that a brief description of the bare facts, with a link for those who want pictures and further details, is ideal.

If you've already made this mistake, don't worry - I have forgiven you because you didn't know any better at the time. NOW YOU DO.

4. If anyone dares underestimate the impact that this is having, or implies, however indirectly, that this is less important than it actually is or that I am in some way over-reacting, or even - heaven forbid - tries to point out some sort of bright side, I will have you, I promise, and you do not want to feel my wrath.

5. If what you're about to say can be described as a platitude, just don't.

6. If you are travelling any time during the next year and want to know if we'll be in Singapore on such-and-such a date so you can arrange to stop over, the answer is, "I don't know and if it turns out we are be prepared for the fact you might have to absent yourself from our presence and make your own fun for most of your stay, depending on the prevailing situation." This is the best I can do. Live with it - we have to.

I thank you for your attention and look forward to your enlightened responses. If there is anything I have said which requires further clarification, I would be only too happy to help.



Lut C. said...

You actually sent this letter to friends and family!!! Wow! Good for you.

steph said...

Can I copy this for personal reference?!? Very well put. I think it would be a step in the right direction for every one of us to draft such a letter and pre-emt half of the annoyance.

My only birth announcement exception was from my cousin, who tried IVF 4 times and failed. She adopted. She wrote on the back "there is life after IVF". I thought it was wonderful she personalized my announcement. This is totally not the norm, however, and I fully concur with your e-mail!!!

Anonymous said...

You worded that so well Bea. Would you mind if I copied that for future reference also? Sometimes I find it hard to get the words out to explain and I often end up offending people without meaning to.

Lara said...

You've got balls baby! ha ha Good for you!!!

Anonymous said...

Well said.
Definitely not too angry.

Jules said...

I would like to copy this as well.

It is well written & should be sent to all friends, family, workmates & anyone else who thinks they know better.

serenity said...

I am not dissapointed in this. It is a fantastic email and I would LOVE to send it. But J would make me re-write it to be nice too.

*sigh* stupid nice husbands.

Lut C. said...

I still want to use it as a script for the TALK we'll be having with our in-laws soon.

Babyblue said...

I think you should send it. I would. =) Ok maybe I wish I could. It would definitly make things a lot easier.

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