Our infertility was not a secret from my boss for very long.
About a month after our first RE appointment, my husband had his first semen analysis. I knew I’d get the phone call from the doctor’s office with the results while I was at work, but I hadn’t quite mentally steeled myself for my own reaction. As soon as the nurse on the other end of the line said “IVF is likely your only option to have children of your own”—instant breakdown.
A few minutes later after trying to compose myself, it took about a half a second for my boss to realize something was wrong. My telltale blotchy face and red nose never fails to give away the fact that I’ve been crying. I proceeded to LOSE IT completely and unprofessionally in front of my boss. Poor guy.
He was actually really cool about it then, especially since we have a friendly work relationship, but we’ve had some hiccups since. If there existed a manual I could have given him in that moment, this would be it:
DO: Try your hardest to get my husband on our work insurance before open enrollment (that was really nice of you).
DON’T: Use a separate conversation about our insurance options to share that your wife is pregnant, again. I’m happy for you, but for some reason it felt like a low blow at the time.
DO: Ask me from time to time how everything is going. I don’t mind.
DON’T: Assume I want to talk about it in front of everyone, especially our employees.
DO: Joke around with me about our infertility. I’m not that sensitive.
DON’T: Keep telling me—and I think you really believe this—that all we need to do is have sex twice a day in order to get pregnant. It’s truly not that easy for everyone.
DO: Share with me the milestones of your own pregnancy.
DON’T: Keep talking about how you want six kids when you know I would give my right arm for just one.
DO: Help divert the conversation when co-workers ask when I’m going to have kids.
DON’T: Chime in.