Please note on your readers that I have a new blog: http://nowaystosayit.com.

If you have any questions, you can email me at katieschaber (at) gmail.com.

Thank you for all of your support over the years! xo

Friday, November 13, 2009

the label

Sitting in the waiting room at the RE's office is an interesting experience. When I'm there, I feel like I'm a member of a secret society--a society where age, race, sex, religion, and socioeconomic background simply don't matter. We all sit quietly with our heads down. Occasionally we look up, glance around, and exchange an empathetic smile with another "member." We are all aiming for the same goal. Our membership cards come in the form of small, white pills and syringes. There are expensive dues that come along with this society, but we hope the payout will be worth it.

When one of us gets bad news, we know only the other members can truly understand the pain and suffering deep within our hearts. When one of us gets good news, we are sensitive to the others, who are always the first in line to congratulate us. Because they are the only ones who know how hard we've worked. We often don't need to say a word for other society members to understand how we feel. A look or a moment of silence is all we need to convey our emotions.

Some of us arrived here with our partners. Others came alone. Some of us were born into this society, and all of us will die as members--regardless of whether or not we achieve our goal. Some of us will remain positive until the very end, finding hope and joy in every step along the way. Others will become calloused and bitter, angry at members who reached their goal and sad about the loss of something they have never felt. Some of us wear our membership on our sleeves. Others hide it beneath their layers of clothing, bringing it out only in their home or doctor's office where they feel most comfortable and secure. We are branded for life: infertile. It's like the scarlet letter. The letter, which was originally meant to shame her, becomes a symbol of Hester's identity. Instead of feeling guilt and isolation, she feels strength. Infertility is like this. We can let it make us feel like outcasts, or we can use it for good--to feel powerful when this disease makes us feel so powerless.

I curse my fate a lot. I've done it on this blog many times, to my husband, to my friends and family, and in the confines of my own head and aching heart. But being in the waiting room at the RE's office today made me feel at peace, like I was home with my people. As I sat there listening for my name to be called, I thought, I'm kind of proud to be infertile. I'm proud to be part of a group that is so amazing and caring toward others. I'm proud to be part of this club where we can all cry together, laugh together, and burn baby shower invitations together (that last one is for you, Rita). I'm thankful to have the support system that I do in the IF community. I have never met any of you, but you have been there for me in ways my real-life friends simply can't be.

There's an unspeakable bond between us that can never be broken.

15 comments:

Astrid said...

I had a post a while back about how I felt a sort of smugness (for lack of a better word) about being in this society. Like I am more educated and sensitive and caring for having gone through this. And those are qualities, rather than abnormalities or challenges that we normally think of when we associate ourselves with IF. Not that it makes me any less bitter. I think the sentiment of your post is similar, you put it much more eloquently though and have done our society proud. Beautiful post.

A baby for Al? said...

Very beautiful post, Katie. I feel like I'm just starting to own up to my IF scarlet letters, so to speak. I'm not ashamed that my body isn't doing what it's supposed to any more. I feel like I'm already stronger and more emotional from this experience and it's really just started.

Such a great post. You're a strong woman, I'm glad I found your blog and can follow along.

A said...

I agree- I couldn't have said these things better myself! And I'd also agree that while most of us never forget this journey after we "graduate", those who do seem to forget (I have one acquaintance!!) only amplify the connection that I seem to have with the rest of us :)

2catdaughters said...

So beautifully put, Katie. In exchange for all of the heartache and sorrow, I feel like I've gained patience, compassion, empathy, and most of all, strength. I think we've all overcome challenges along the way that we previously thought were insurmountable.

I admire your amazing strength and insight. I'm so proud to call you my friend!! Let's go burn some invitations!! :)

Kelly said...

I, too, feel like I'm part of a sisterhood of the infertiles. Although I've never before felt I've had people understand me so well. I'm thankful for all of the amazing women I've met in this journey. At least something positive came out of this!

(((HUGS)))

Jin said...

Well said!

Hayley said...

This is such a great post Katie. Love you!

Elizabeth said...

It's so great to hear this come from someone else, and know that I am not alone. I find myself feeling snobby on the message boards when it comes to newbies. Perhaps that's why I don't reply to any of them anymore. Very well written blog - this should certainly be in the running for your post to Creme de la Creme!

Kelli-Sue said...

I dont even feel like I should be allowed to comment on this post or if I will be looked down apon for commenting but, you are such a wonderful writer. Even though I have never been in your shoes reading your blog has made me educate myself about IF b/c I knew nothing about it. So for that I thank you. Good luck this cycle.

Katie said...

What a beautiful post!

Nicole said...

I LOVED this post! So true and well written :) I agree that, while it's an awful road to be on, it is something to be proud of- to be one of such STRONG people!

JC said...

Katie, this was an absolutely beautiful post. So right that us IF sisters are among the most supportive and caring women around and we should be proud. Thanks for this post, it was great.

Rebecca said...

This is beautiful, Katie. It's true. At the RE is the only place where I know that everyone I see totally understands and where I feel like I understand them. Even if the specifics of our situations are different, we know how hard it all is. It is a place to give knowing smiles and support to those who are crying. And, I really do feel like we'll never forget this process and will always be part of this community.

Liv said...

I admire your strength. I couldn't imagine what your going through darlin.

I have a close family friend that I watched journey through a similar situation for years.

You have strength beyond words.

Bean stalk ballads said...

Katie what a beautiful expressive post. I am so glad i found your blog..