First, let's discuss the title since I debated about it for a long time. I wanted to be funny and have it say, "Parents just don't understand!" from the Will Smith song that I loved as a teenager, but that didn't really work because some parents do understand as they have been there. I finally settled on the above, and I think it suits what I intend for this post to be.
I know I have some "Fertile Myrtles" who read my blog and this isn't saying anything bad about you, but just like someone who has never had cancer, you can in no way understand exactly what we are going through when we can't conceive - yet. (Let's visit that saying while we're at it..."I understand what you are going through." I used to say that a lot and think it helped, but it really doesn't, unless you have been there - literally. I have many friends who have gone through tragedies in their lives and me telling them "I understand what you are going through," when I haven't had those things happen just doesn't cut it. I don't know what it is like to lose a parent, or watch a parent suffer with cancer, or go through bankruptcy, or the variety of other things my lovely friends have had to deal with. So now I just say, "I'm here if you want to talk about what you are going through, or just need a hug." And I feel better and I hope they do too.) Okay, to continue...
Lately, I have a lot more Infertile Bleaders - which I love. Not that I love that other people are dealing with what I am, but that I know I am not the only one and I can connect with people who might raise there fist in the air and say, "I feel ya sista" when they read my blog, and mean it. So I know I am preaching to the choir here.
I know a while ago I did a blog about what to say and what not to say, and I don't intend for this one to go there as it was just covered. My intention is for all my Bleaders to understand where I am coming from when you tell me that "you got pregnant the first month without even trying" and "I just need to relax." How does it feel when a loved one, friend, co-worker, or complete stranger in that case, to tells you that it was easy for them to conceive, so it should be for you too?
I tend to apologize a lot when this subject comes up and I can go off on so many tangents. If you try to give me advice on the wrong day, watch out. I can get excited and my mouth can run away without my brain attached, and I consider myself a nice person, so after getting excited (maybe even yelling) I will most likely apologize. Unless I don't care for you, then don't count on the apology.
How can I even begin to tell you what it is like to want something so badly and then have not one, not two, but 75% of your friend/family/co-worker/stranger population tell you that it is "easy"? How about some examples?
- Would you walk up to a smoker and tell them it is easy to quit? No.
- Would you tell someone with asthma that all they have to do is take a deep breath and they'll be fine? No.
- Would you tell someone who failed a huge test that you passed easily that they weren't thinking right? No. (well, you might - but it would be insensitive.)
- Would you tell someone with a mountain of debt just to save money? No.
- Would you tell someone who has Cancer, that they should try Chemo? No.
So why when someone hears that you can't conceive do people try to tell you how to fix it? Because it isn't topical. People don't know what to say to that statement and they naturally want to help and fix, not realizing that their fixing isn't really fixing.
There are no reality shows about it - there should be! There are few walks/runs to support infertility studies - and they aren't publicized well. There is ONE magazine dedicated to infertility. ONE. There is a ton of research and books and websites and blogs that discuss infertility. Most people don't know a lot about infertility unless someone they love is affected. It just isn't something you discuss. It's kind of a secret.
I guess when I think of infertility sometimes, I feel like I am the one failing. I tell close friends and family, but I refrain from casual conversation about it - because it never stays casual. In fact, when someone asks, "when are you gonna have kids?" I usually say, "we're working on it," and change the subject. I won't post my blog on facebook as of yet. It just has a yucky feeling to it. I guess I don't mind writing about it when the blog isn't connected to me very much, but publicizing our failure to the masses, just doesn't sound like a whole lotta fun.
When someone gets Cancer, it isn't anyone's fault. They don't look at your spouse and say, "well, you drank too much beer, so that is why your wife has Cancer." Because we don't really know what causes cancer, except that certain people....many otherwise healthy people get it. When you are infertile, it's your fault. Maybe it isn't technically, but it sure feels like it. Especially when the doc says, "he has low motility" or "her fallopian tubes are blocked." Now it isn't something that you did to create this intentionally...but it is your body saying, "nope, sorry...not gonna happen" and in our case, they don't know why we can't get pregnant. When the doc says, "here are the things to eat and drink and do to get pregnant," I feel like all this time I have been doing something wrong and causing this to my body. I even read the other day that tampons can cause infertility because of some chemical in the cotton. If that is the case, I am screwed. I haven't used a pad since I was 13!!! These are decisions I made, and I have no way to reconcile them.
Yes, deep down I know that our fertility problems are not my fault or J's fault. But when someone you love (friend/family) come up to you and tell you to stand on your head after sex like it is the best idea and "why didn't you come up with this?" it makes us feel about three inches tall. It's not like we didn't attend sex-ed as a kid too and see how babies are made. Like we haven't been BDing like crazy people, whether we felt like it or not because it is day 10-16. Like we haven't been spending every waking minute when we aren't working to build our savings account to pay for doctors online researching what other crazy things we could do. Like we don't stick ourselves 3 times a day, with drugs that make us crazy, and hope that the doc is on time when it is time for our IUI. Like we don't have all kinds of gadgets you haven't even heard of clogging up our precious closet space. Like we aren't in debt because we so badly want those little eyes to look up at us one day and say, "Mommy!" Like we have been living in a hole and don't know how to get pregnant, like this person telling us to "get drunk and have lots of sex." Trust me, we probably know way more about getting pregnant than you do. That fact doesn't help us.
Our bodies aren't listening to our brain. My eyes tear up at the very thought of getting to say "I'm pregnant" to my husband, my parents, his parents, my grandparents, my friends. I want this so badly that I have a list of fun ways to finally tell people, whenever we get there. We aren't taking this whole infertility thing lying down - well maybe...but that is how you deal with this (smirk).
Sorry if this comes off as a rant (see, there I go apologizing again), but I wrote down the title last night in the midst of my sleep instead of getting up at 11 pm to write it. So it probably ended up differently that I wanted it to last night. But I think my point stands. Fertile Myrtles just don't understand, and we love them for trying. But we love them even more when they just ask how we are doing and listen, giving no advice.
So as a Fertile Myrtle...please don't tell us you understand what we are dealing with. Because you don't. Again, don't suggest "getting drunk," "starting the adoption process," or "drinking pineapple juice on day 14 of your cycle." We've heard the stories from 75% of our world, and they are old news. Just say, "I'm here if you want to talk about what you are going through, or just need a hug." And then give us that good I'm-here-for-you-whether-you-like-it-or-not hug. That is much better.