Infertility: The Unpopular Girl

Dealing with infertility is kind of ridiculous. It brings out the best in some people, and the worst in others. 

For some, it makes them realize that they always wanted children but didn't realize it (I'm one of them). Maybe it's not so much that they didn't realize it as the fact that, like everyone else, they just took it for granted. They assumed, much like the rest of the world, that when everything else was in place - loving husband, beautiful home, financial stability - and they were ready to bring home their little bundle of joy, fecundity would miraculously produce the desired offspring.

WRONG!

Do not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200. 

Suddenly, without realizing how or why you ended up here, really, you're sitting in an office chair, an exam room, another office chair, another exam room, your feet in stirrups for what seems like the millionth time just in the last 3 months (and not even involving a pap) with all sorts of scary equipment that you're too chicken to ask if it's legit (because, honestly, it kind of looks creepy) - and before you know it, you've been poked, prodded, invaded, examined and otherwise physically "abused" in the name of science so many times that any sense of humility or embarrassment are almost completely gone.

At this point, the only thing you're thinking is: can I start charging admission for this freak show to help pay for IVF?

Meanwhile, you wrestle with carrying around "The Burden", also known as the secret of infertility. You see, it's not just that we're embarrassed to confess our less-than-optimal reproductive capabilities - as women, we're quite like men are rumored to be in this department. At the end of the day, most women want to have children - and, I daresay, some of us still do so not because someone is pressuring us, to get baby gifts or to best a relative and cross the finish line first (I WIN! I WIN!) but simply because we love our husbands and want to create a bond everlasting through the forging of a family unit. 

Experience has taught many of us that sharing "The Burden" is not exactly welcome. By the way some people react to news of a couple struggling with infertility, you could be forgiven for thinking they had just confessed to having contracted Mad Cow's Diseases, SARS or were single-handedly bringing the bubonic plague to their neighborhood. 

Newsflash: believe it or not, infertility is NOT contagious! Really! Ask your doctor. I promise that you will NOT get infertility from being extra nice to your friend who just told you that she and her husband have - unsuccessfully - been trying to have a child for 5 years. I promise that you will also not suddenly become infertile as the result of sharing the same ob/gyn with someone who is thusly afflicted, so please feel free to recommend a doctor you're happy with - especially if there's a customer loyalty program, because with the amount of visits we're racking up, it sure would be nice to get a freebie. 

If you're really lucky, you'll get some sympathy. Some support. But you better know that your infertility is on a timer - and time is money, because that support and understanding won't be there forever.  You should also realize that, as soon as you open your pie-hole - I mean, mouth - about struggling with infertility, it's a free-for-all invitation for any idiot to say whatever pops into their bird brain, without the benefit of censorship.

If you're lucky, you'll "only" get something as benign as "RELAX" (because, really? how can all these invasive, embarrassing and sometimes painful medical procedures that have as yet to lead to a baby NOT make you feel relaxed, right?).

You may also somehing slightly irritating (though not too jarring) like, "Hally Berry got pregnant at HER age, so you have plenty of time." Yes, I can definitely understand why someone would say that. I always thought Halle and I had been separated at birth - it's about time I made a phone call and cashed in on that.  Beyond which it makes perfect sense that some random celebrities unknown circumstances that led to pregnancy at close to 50 necessarily relate to an average woman in her 30s trying to figure out how to afford IVF without going bankrupt. 

At the far end of the spectrum, you'll get people who will question your belief system, tell you that your infertility is the direct result of your lifestyle choice and/or who you married, that God hates you and wants you to die (and, believe it or not, this isn't just restricted to racists and gay-bashers, although I know they all have reserved front-row seats in hell). 

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