Last week when we were sitting in the fertility office for the ump-teenth time on our track record, emotions mostly organized, I was feeling really clear-headed.
I avoided eye contact with normal-looking girls across from me and wondered, what could be going on in her body that drove her and her husband into the chairs beside us? Masses of people had the secretaries and admins at the front desk juggling paperwork, phone calls and complicated questions. Most of us either have an issue with conceiving or personally know someone who does.
In these offices (I've been to four of them), fertility is a business. Emotion from doctors and staff runs kind of low; people are ushered on and off of ultra sound tables by the minute. I once had a standard IVF procedure done and couldn't shake the word cattle from my mind.
It's an amazing scene to witness in there, because when you step outside that office, a person suffering from infertility will usually opt to keep the fight a personal, silent one.
I couldn't help but wonder (this is starting to sound very Carrie Bradshaw), if so many of us are dealing with infertility, where is this enormous wave of shame coming from?
I can sit, sipping on my iced mocha, getting my hair highlighted and openly reveal the intricacies of our IVF drama to a hair dresser I met five minutes earlier. Am I being naive? All she'd wanted to know was if I wanted another kid. The infertility reveal? A total flinch-inducer.
And it usually is. But it's not like I'm describing in vulgarity the intricacies of my female parts. I have organs that don't work the way they should, and I'm not embarrassed to tell you that. Sad? Yes. And I think it's the expectation of sadness and tears that brings all that discomfort into these conversations.
But what frustrates me is that the sadness usually yields to silence for most people seeking fertility treatment. My inability to have a baby changed me as a person. It made me stronger. Smarter. Aware that everyone has a different battle to fight. I couldn't have made that transformation in secrecy, so I sought out the ears of anyone who cared enough to listen. Fighting tooth and nail to get Carter, I wasn't looking for remorse, but I knew that being honest was the only way to gain a shoulder to cry on.
I think if we - the fertility challenged - take a leap past the shame, the whole world will find benefit. The uneducated can gain knowledge and then, respect. This was the way my son was created. If anything, I revere my own infertility. That's what you have to do if you want it defeated.