Infertility Etiquette

There really needs to be a book on infertility etiquette to help infertiles and fertiles through awkward interactions with each other. 

My SIL and I were in sorority together before we became family.  We were good friends for several years, but then made the mistake of moving in together as roommates the year before we both got married (shut it – I know now how stupid an idea that was).  Needless to say, putting two women engaged to brothers who are both planning weddings 3 months apart was NOT a good idea.  Arguments, screaming fits, accusations against each other’s fiances, pretending the other person wasn’t in the house — it was bad.  Compounding the problem was that I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, but she was not one in mine.  Fast forward four years, and we’ve finally gotten over all that drama.  Really, time and extreme politeness from both sides have allowed us to become good friends again.  But we’re both very careful in our interactions to keep the peace because we know how bad things were in the past.

Now remember the sorority part?  Well, one of our sorority traditions was “passing the candle” when someone had a big relationship change in their life.  If you were never in a sorority (most of them have some variant of this practice), a candle ceremony consists of the girl who has the change asking one other girl to make her a candle.  The identity of the candle receiver is kept secret from the rest of the group.  During the ceremony, the candle is lit and passed around the room, and the girl who has the change eventually blows it out to signify that she is the special one.  We did this for Big Sister ceremonies, pinnings, lavoliers, engagements, surprise marriages, and pregnancies.  Even though we’re all out of sorority now, either by going alum, getting kicked out, or resigning, we still do candle ceremonies for each other.  When SILX told me about her pg on Sunday night, she did it by asking me to make her a candle. 

Being asked to make someone a candle is an honor, and signifies a position of trust and friendship between the two women.  I have made several candles in my time: 3 for little sisters, one for a pregnancy, and my SIL’s lavolier candle.  So for her to ask me to make this for her is a very special honor for me, and I’m very happy to do it.  I also have to figure out how to get our scattered girlfriends all back in town at the same time without raising any suspicions (like that’s possible!) in the next month, but that’s a whole nother problem.

The etiquette questions comes in here.  After this cycle, I think I’m ready to come out to my girlfriends about what’s going on.  But I don’t want my SIL to think that I’m trying to steal her thunder.  So I’m trying to figure out what the timing needs to be.  I don’t want to email everyone before SIL’s candle, but I also don’t want to have to verbally answer everyone’s questions the night of the ceremony (because someone will ask, and I’m not going to lie).  That leaves me the option of waiting until after her ceremony for the mass email or doing personal phone calls to each of my friends, neither of which I want to do.  The only thing I’m sure of right now is that I’m going to have to take SIL out to lunch and explain the situation to her so that she understands what we’re going through. 

Grrr… Why can’t any of this just be easy?  Anybody got suggestions on how to handle this?


PS — I want to thank the beautiful Kellie for her phone call yesterday; and especially for calling me on my BS when I told her I was doing okay.  I should know better than to try to bluff another infertile 🙂


5 thoughts on “Infertility Etiquette

  1. Why don’t YOU write the book? It would be funny as hell and I’d certainly buy it! 😉

    If the ceremony will be about a month out, can you send your mass email out right now? That would be enough of a gap between your announcement and hers, so it wouldn’t seem like you’re stealing anyone’s “thunder”.

    I hope you’re feeling better today.

  2. I would send the letter now. There’s plenty of time before the candle ceremony. Besides, do you really want to endure all of those questions during the ceremony. A breakdown during the ceremony would be much worse. We all know how difficult it is to be given the third degree, backed into a corner, and then the tears roll in. I would rather let it be known and hope for the best.

  3. That sounds like a great ritual. I never belonged to a sorority in college (I didn’t live on campus, and I didn’t attend a university where sororities were highly advertised), but things like that sound really cool. 🙂

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