I have recently discovered that some of you have been avoiding me because of my infertility. Because you “don’t know what to say” or what to ask about. Because you’re not sure how to ask how I’m doing without feeling like you pestering me for information. Perhaps even because I make you feel uncomfortable. I would like to offer up some suggestions.
Next time we talk, you could ask me about the video-recorded presentation I am giving to the entire Children’s Hospital tomorrow or the paper that I am submitting for publication. I could tell you about my yearly performance review coming up and how I’m struggling to identify career goals for the upcoming year. You could ask about my upcoming trip to Philadelphia and give me suggestions on what not to miss. We could talk about C and how stressful his academic course load is this semester. I always have cute and funny stories about our dog and his new feline friend. If all else fails, we could talk about TV shows; I’m really into the Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Parks and Rec, Daily Show, and Modern Family and I just started watching Orange is the New Black.
The point is, with rare exceptions, I have so much more going on in my life then my struggles with infertility. Yes, it is big and yes, it is stressful. But it does not consume me. Sure, last week when I was hospitalized and then bedridden that was pretty much the only thing going on. But when I’m mobile, I’m my life is full. I am a relatively well-rounded person. Infertility is a part of me, and I wouldn’t mind talking about that as well. It would be nice if you asked how our fertility treatments were going, but if you simply ask, “how are you?” don’t expect to jump right to that part of my life.
If you want to ask how I am doing with this specific aspect of my life, I won’t get offended or be put-off. If you have questions, I would love to answer them for you. If you’re ignorant, be prepared for me to correct you (no, it is not my intention to carry 8 babies!). If I make you feel uncomfortable because I let it casually slip into conversation (I’m not drinking wine because I’m in treatment), well then this is something I cannot help. If you’re uncomfortable because you know that I am sub-fertile and you know that I doing treatments, this is about you and not me. It doesn’t have to be awkward. It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. I won’t make it this way if you don’t.
I would love to talk (about anything).