This week I celebrated two anniversaries. On 1st May it was three months since the publication of my book and six months since my first ever blog. It’s been an incredible time and I finally feel like I might be coming up for air.
Coming out about my infertility was one of the biggest decisions I’ve made in my life. I was so ashamed of it and for a while I seriously contemplated publishing anonymously. At one point I was Jessica Harper (my grandmother’s maiden name) but then my editor did a google search and told me that a Jessica Harper had just been convicted of defrauding Lloyds Bank of £2.5m and it wasn’t worth a mix up. So, unlike George Eliot, Belle de Jour and Robert Galbraith, I can confirm I am Jessica Hepburn.
It’s sad that there is still so much shame around the subject of infertility but it’s also understandable. Who wants a label that you desperately hope isn’t true? Who wants to admit to not being able to do what so many other women find so easy to do? But the thing about shame is that even if you keep it hidden it comes out in silent and subtle ways. The less you talk about it, the more you have it and the more you have it, the more it hurts.
Last week, I went where over fifteen million people have been before me and listened to Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability. She says that through years of research she has found that the people who have the courage to embrace their shame and vulnerability are, ultimately, the happiest. It made me think about the last few months – everything I was and now am – and I can honestly say on the anniversary of my book and my blog that coming out about my infertility, as me, has healed the hurt and made me happier than I ever imagined it could. So I may not be anybody’s mother but I am Jessica Hepburn and, do you know what, it feels ok.
So for this week’s question: is Anonymous a name you know or are you fully embracing your vulnerability and shame?