Why Don’t We Talk About This More?

First things first:  had my Day 3 appointment this morning — I only had to sacrifice one vial of blood to the fertility gods, so that was a pleasant change.  Also, my u/s showed no cysts.  Nurse SAS will call me this afternoon after they check my hormone levels to confirm the start of clomid cycle #3, but she’s not foreseeing any problems.  Dr. Local sat in on my scan (he was actually scribing while Nurse SAS ran the wand).  Some of y’all know Dr. L, but for the rest of you, he is very calm, very soft-spoken, and I appreciate that.  He assured me that he thinks I should have no problems getting pg, and although I’m not sure I believe him, it does make me feel better to at least hear him say that.  Manly’s SA results came back normal, as did my bloodwork, so no problems there.  I thought about asking for a copy of the numbers, but you know what?  I honestly don’t care what the numbers are.  I’ve had enough stress about this crap already, and I’m ready to let the RE worry about the numbers.  Nurse SAS said that if we had 3-4 more unsuccessful cycles, we would sit down and do a detailed revisit, but until then, I’m not going to think about it.  “Normal” is good enough for me.

Last night I went to a Southern Living home party with a (pg) friend of mine.  J is a fellow IF, now sitting on the other side.  They took a little over a year to get pg, and did so following her HSG.  Anyway, after the party (think a tupperware party but with stuff out of Southern Living instead), we were sitting around snacking and checking out the catalog.  Considering that the party was at her mom’s house, and she’s pg with the first grandchild, guess what conversation turned to?  You guessed it — her pg, how excited everyone was, whether she was going to stay home, all the other womens’ experiences, the things that made me want to cry.  I was literally keeping my head down trying to not listen.  I know J noticed, because at one point she just reached over and squeezed my hand; she knows how hard this is for me. 

But then, J mentioned that it had taken them a while to get pg.  And you know what?  The conversation turned to how hard it had been for a lot of the women there to get pg!  Out of the six of us sitting there, it turns out that four of us had had problems of one kind or another.  J had long, irregular cycles (and possibly a tube blockage since she got pg right after the HSG).  I obviously have issues.  J’s mom had secondary infertility; she tried for years to have a child after J and never could.  And one of the other women, a grandmother, mentioned that the doctors thought she was pg, but she wasn’t, and then got pg anyway during that time so she spent almost a year being told she was pg before she actually gave birth. 

I don’t understand why we women don’t talk about IF more often; we all know it happens.  For example, I grew up knowing that my mom miscarried twins about six months after I was born.  And then my younger brother wasn’t born for eight years.  I never questioned that until I realized that we were having problems, and now I wonder what happened.  How far along was she when she miscarried?  Were they trying all that time?  We’ve never discussed it, and I’m almost afraid to ask.  And I don’t know why I’m afraid.  All I can come up with is that infertility is just something that isn’t talked about.  But at the same time, I’m talking about it!  I’m telling the whole freaking internet what’s going on between my legs, and yet I can’t get up the courage to ask my own mother about her story.

Anyway.  There’s my thoughts for the day. 

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10 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Talk About This More?

  1. I know it makes you nervous (right word?), but if you can, ask your mother about her experience. It might help you with yours. It helped with mine. Just some assvice (have some – I’m full of it).

  2. I wonder the same thing all the time. Like you I found out that two couples I’ve become acquainted had run the infertiltiy gauntlet as well but it wasn’t easy to learn. I’m going to blog about this subject later today, too. Have more thoughts than I can insert in this little box 😉

  3. The lightbulb also clicked on for me when I started trying. My parents ended up adopting one of my brothers when I was 7, then they got pg with my other brother when I was 9. A couple of months ago, I told my mother I had gone to a RESOLVE meeting. She then told me that she had been the editor for another RESOLVE chapter for 5 years! Who knew? Though I don’t tell my mother everything, this experience has created a unique, mostly unspoken understanding between us. And she never tells me to “relax.” 🙂 Maybe someday you will feel comfortable talking to your mother. Maybe she will create a brighter light of understanding for you.

  4. This is truly the last unspoken subject on earth…NO ONE talks about it anywhere. Celebrities, politicians, my friends & familiies, utterly bizarre.

    In my sons Grade 1 class, almost every single mom has gone through infertility, miscarriages, stillbirth, neonatal death, premature birth, high-risk birth at some point, but until we all went out to a party one night, we didn’t even know.

    It’s like a club no-one wants to admit they belong to.

  5. I have no idea why the subject of infertility isn’t talked about. It seems to be the last “taboo” subject. On afternoon TV, you see women paternity testing their 8th potential “baby daddy” and men dancing around doing erectile dysfunction commercails, but for the most part there’s silence about infertility. It’s frustrating but I also realize that I’m part of the problem. I don’t talk about it either.

    Hope your week is better than last one. Call or e-mail if you ever want to chat.

  6. I think the question I’ve had to go on to ask is not just why don’t other people talk about it, but also why didn’t I, in so many situations? I can call up so many times I ducked my head down and kept quiet, when I was really bursting to say something about the assumptions going on. Part of it, I think, is that walloping sadness that comes up when I find myself in the middle of those conversations (say, for example, the “whoops, we didn’t really mean to get pg; it just happened” conversation. Grrrr.).

    I think it’s quite amazing that that conversation did happen for you and the women there. Having one of those conversations seems to make it easier the next time around, I think, and makes everyone a little braver about talking about difficulty of conceiving and loss. The more we “normalize” these conversations, even just in small circles, the more they become part of the larger conversation.

  7. The “walloping sadness”, as you put it Ms. O, is the main reason I haven’t talked about it much myself. I can’t hardly think about the words I would need to say, much less actually say them, without tearing up. Or alternately, diving immediately into black humor. Which is not much better, because then people look at you like you’re not quite right in the head.

    I wish I could bring up IF and our problems in a normal, conversational, this-is-how-it-is manner, but I’m just not there yet.

  8. I think it is even more complex. It is a medical procedure that takes you away from your job that will potentially take you away even more permanently from work. This makes it something that you need to hide from co-workers. (Co-workers are, unfortunately, who we spend most of our time with in this day and age.)

    There is no incentive to share that outweighs the pain and shame that infertility brings. I think it is worse now than what it was from talking to my Great Aunt who never had children – save one stillborn. She had an extensive support network that took care of her in some ways that we don’t have today.

    My mother, before she had me, had had multiple miscarriages and a stillborn. It was a minister who helped her. I don’t think the ministers today are very helpful. Honestly, I think they spend too much time on politics and too little on souls – people’s everyday problems.

    I grew up knowing about IF, miscarriage, etc. As scandalized as my folks and family were by the first IVF done by my cousin and his wife, they said their piece but they still supported them. Family did that. Family doesn’t do that today – at least not so much.

    Perhaps, with the science available to us, many people don’t understand that not everyone is going to get pregnant. And there is the resentment that says: “She must have done something to cause this.” Even when those of us going through this know that that is not true.

    People are rather hateful surrounding this disease. Individuals tend to be more supportive, but there is something that brings out nastiness in so many – perhaps we embody what they fear – and thus we become pariah if we speak of this?

    Pax,

    MLO

  9. I struggle to imagine being in a room while this kind of conversation acutally happens. I’d like to believe it can and does occur, but sometimes it seems like the only news is good news – not news that makes people uncomfortable or sad. I’m with Ms. Once, I recognize that if I don’t bring it up, odds are good that no one else will. But it’s hard to get past that feeling that I’m the drag or downer if I bring up any of this.

    Thanks for reminding me that this kind of dialogue can happen!

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