Sometimes infertility makes me feel like a starving person sitting in front of a rotating dessert case! It seems that everywhere I turn I’m surrounded by the babies others are blessed with, and while I am nothing but happy for them, I can’t help but feel this mix of heartache, jealousy, envy, and fear. What am I afraid of? Secretly, I’m afraid that I’m doing all this and nothing is going to come of it.
It seems that everywhere I turn I hear the word baby! People going on vacation with their children, baby showers, cousins “So and So” are coming to the party with their new baby, television reporters calling this year “the year of the baby”. Princess Kate and her baby boy…Millions of grown human beings with jobs, lives, bills, etc. await the naming of one baby…Seriously? I feel as if I’m in the middle of an SNL sketch.
Earlier this week, while at the gym, I was chatting with a friend of mine who is also a fellow NaProTechnology patient. Having friends who understand this experience makes it so much more bearable. We commiserated over not having answers and needing to know that we are doing everything that is humanly possible to make motherhood happen. To quote her, “At least if it doesn’t happen, I’ll know it’s not because I didn’t do something, it’s because God wants something else for me.”
Being around people who don’t or can’t understand is what is hardest for me. They are kind enough to ask about improvements in my health but don’t understand why I won’t share all the details with them. The answer is simple, because it’s my business and if they knew what they were asking for they’d probably stop asking. Although, I would love to see the look on someone’s face if I ripped out my Creighton Model Fertility Monitoring Chart and started to explain every little detail! Can you imagine the look on someone’s face as I explained the stretch of my CM and how it’s related to the hormones reported from that day’s blood draw?
Sarcasm and humor aside it was a heck of a day for me. I spent the day with a relative. We had lunch, we did some shopping, and over both, there were times where I wanted to hide, scream, and burst into tears. At first I didn’t want to be rude, so when she asked how things were going since my surgery, I replied that I am in deed healthier than before. She mentioned a relative of hers who is trying to lose weight but can’t. I suggested that she go for allergy testing because my inability to lose weight was due to an allergy to grains. She asked if she could refer her to my doctor. I explained that Dr. C. doesn’t take everyone, so unless she’s trying to conceive and can’t, she’ll need another doctor. And we were right back on the subject of my uterus again.
After much prodding, I explained that I have endometriosis and ovarian dysfunction and these things take time to treat! I wish they could make me good as new again because I’d be pregnant by now if that were possible. I wish I could have excused myself and gone home. However, we rode there together, in my car, and despite my need to hide, I was stuck.
Despite trying to divert the conversation to things other than babies, children, and anything related to family, I endured questions and suggestions about possible maternity leave should I get pregnant. There were back handed compliments saying that I’ll be a good mother someday, if I can get pregnant. She wishes she could have had more than one child… but didn’t before her first marriage ended. How will Prince Will and Princess Kate do with their new baby?…What will they name the baby. ….
Finally I had enough. I listened politely throughout all the Will & Kate stuff, but when the conversation came back around to me, I needed to express myself. I was polite, respectful, but I stood my ground when I said:
“I don’t think you understand. For me it’s not a question of when I get pregnant. It’s if I can get pregnant. My odds of getting pregnant are only 60%. That’s good but there’s still a fair chance that I’m doing all this to be left without a baby at the end. No amount of stories about a friend who got pregnant after so many years of trying make a bit of difference for me. This is the reality I’m living with, and for anyone who hasn’t been in my shoes it’s impossible to understand. When people constantly bring up babies and starting families, it’s very hurtful to me. I know you mean well, but all you can do is pray. ”
I wish people would understand. I wish they knew that talking to me about other people’s babies is like talking about bathing suits to someone who has had a mastectomy. It does nothing but remind me about what I cannot and may never be able to have. Would they ever point out someone’s beautiful hairdo to someone who is going through chemo and wears a wig? Not at all. But somehow when someone is living with infertility some people think they are being supportive by continually raising the issue but what they are really doing is rubbing salt in wound that will not heal.