Infertility Tales: The Blogger/Author (Episode 2)

Infertility Tales: The Blogger/Author (Episode 2)


I have little sympathy for people who can’t
have their own children. No one ever promised you a rose garden, and
no one ever promised you a perfect family, either. Sometimes you need to suck it up, play the
cards life dealt you, and live your life the best you can. Uncaring attitude, maybe, but I’ll save my
sympathy for someone who really needs it. When a society is so fortunate with everything
it has, such as the US, it’s significant that the inability to have a baby is supposed to
be deserving of sympathy. Have you seen the living conditions outside
the borders of your perfect world? It doesn’t have to be overseas, just visit
any slum in your very own city. That is where I’ll place my sympathy. If the inability to have your own offspring
is your greatest problem in life, you’re damn lucky indeed. You just heard how people viewed my story
when it went public for the first time. Even the most supportive people in our lives
wondered why we hadn’t thrown in the towel sooner. Why didn’t we just move on? Well, we did, several times in my 30s. My very first infertility work up occurred
when I was 29. We, my husband and I, found that infertility
profoundly affected our lives. There was a point in time when I could not
even say the word “infertility” aloud, because I was afraid that would make it more real. We tried everything. We tried diet changes, yoga, acupuncture,
IUI, IVF, everything we were comfortable attempting to do. At the end of 10 years, we were physically,
emotionally, and financially depleted. The expectation of success actually made the
whole experience that much harder. We had been prepared for the physical challenges
of infertility, we were completely unprepared for the emotional and social challenges that
resulted. I searched high and low. I wanted books. I needed blogs. I needed someone to talk to me. And every book and blog that I found at that
time in 2006 was written by a woman who had had her own trials, but had ultimately delivered
a child. I was happy for them, but they didn’t speak
to me. They were not my life. Is it any wonder that people don’t talk about
it? When you heard the New York Times comments,
you get a sense of how people respond when they hear about people who don’t succeed with
treatment. It’s not pretty. I struggled to accept that Mother Nature and
science were not going to work for us. I struggled to accept that I would never experience
the ultimate female rite of passage. I would never be pregnant, I would never nurse
a child, I would never share in that sisterhood bonding of labor and delivery stories. Our family tree ended with us. There would be no mother of the groom, no
mother of the bride, no grandchildren. I had to face and accept all of that, and
I also had to accept that there would be no tidy closure. This was going to be in my life forever. Well, while I failed miserably at fertility
treatments, I excelled at being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our fertility journey came to a close just
as there was an explosion of mommy blogs, moms’ clubs, and the glorification of parenthood
at a volume I had never seen in my life. You want to talk about feeling like a misfit? I realized then that it was important to start
speaking out, because when you end fertility treatment, I learned the hard way, you’re
in for a rough landing. There is no language, as Marnie talked about. There’s no protocol. There are no casseroles. And you are left to endure the impact mostly
alone, short of a few friends who probably are aware of what you’re going through. When you don’t fit neatly into people’s categories,
a friend of mine in Australia who I met through my blog told me, you become something of a
fringe dweller. People don’t know what to do with you. And, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve
walked into new meetings with colleagues, neighbors, people I’ve never met before, and
inevitably, the conversation turns to children. And I often wonder, do I disclose what we
went through? Do I share the loss of our alpha pregnancies? Do I talk about the trauma that we experienced
and that we had a hard time working through? Aisha Taylor recently came out on CBS The
Talk, and she disclosed to her colleagues that she’d been through several rounds of
failed treatment. And the response to her story is not unlike
what I hear and what many women in my shoes hear, which is “You’re not that old,” and
“you know there are other treatments you can try.” Giving up on your dream of your child isn’t
easy, and it’s that much harder when you’re in the darkness and there’s no light to reach
toward. When I turned 40, my husband and I decided
we’d had enough. And we had just finished doing some work around
the house, and I decided I needed to go to the hardware store. And I walked in, and as I was finishing up
my purchase, the woman behind the counter, a senior citizen clerk said, “I need to see
your driver’s license.” And I said, “Well, just so you know, the picture
doesn’t look anything like me, because my hair color has changed a whole bunch of times.” And she reached over the counter and said
“Dear, just you wait, one day your grandchildren will see pictures of you as a girl and never
believe it was you.”

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