I have a friend who, at the beginning of this journey, was extremely understanding and supportive. She would always call and ask how I was doing, or e-mail me to check in on the status of my latest doctor’s appointment. Now, she doesn’t write and when she does call, she never asks how I’m doing. Last week, she called to tell me about her sister, who was about to give birth. After five or ten minutes of non-stop talk about labor and babies, she said, “Childbirth sounds pretty scary. Are you sure you want to have kids, Katie?”
I kind of paused, not knowing what to say. When I regained my breath and collected my thoughts, I just mumbled, “Yeah, I’m sure.” Then, she stuck the nail in the coffin: “Well, don’t worry. You’re still so young.”
Are you joking?
I shot back, “Yeah, and every day my eggs get older and my chances of having a kid go down.” That was the end of THAT conversation.
The only thing I can blame this on is sickness: People are sick of my infertility.
Infertility may consume me, but it certainly doesn’t consume my conversations with people in real life. The only person I will bring it up to spontaneously is my husband. If he isn’t around and I feel like venting, that is what my blog is for. I tweet about it too, occasionally. But I never bring it up to friends unless they ask me about it first. This is for two reasons: 1) Rehashing every single doctor’s appointment, every fear I have, and every time I get a negative on a pregnancy test to every friend I have isn’t going to help me and 2) I don’t want people to get tired of hearing me talk about it or feel sorry for me.
But think about it: Does it ever occur to anyone that I get tired of talking about it? Or thinking about it? Or getting probed by the ultrasound wand? Or popping pills? I get tired, too: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m effing exhausted trying to remember which drug I’m supposed to take on which days, when my appointments are, and how I’m going to pay for current and possible future procedures.
I didn’t ask to be like this.
The friend, the one who hurt my feelings last week, has my blog address. She doesn’t read it. Most of the friends who I’ve given my blog address to don’t read it anymore.
When you’re young, you are innocent enough to believe that you will meet the person of your dreams, “marry”, buy a house, get pregnant, and become one, big, happy family. You think you’ll be friends with the girls or boys you hung out with on the elementary school playground forever. Each time a person wrongs you—whether that person be a friend, a lover, a parent, or another family member—a piece of your innocence dies. Each time you receive bad news, experience a family tragedy, are diagnosed with an incurable medical condition, a piece of your innocence dies.
The last of my innocence died last week.
I’m not bitter, or angry, or sad. I just am. I know I will never get that last piece of innocence back. Not now. Not after the things I have seen and heard and experienced. I will never be the person I once was: so sweet and naïve that I couldn’t see the truth of what was actually in front of me. It’s just not in me. Instead, I will be more aware of the questions I ask about other peoples’ personal lives. I will never tell someone that I “know” something will happen. I will never try to make excuses for others. I will be the best wife, daughter, sister, and friend I can possibly be.
Part of me wishes I had kept my diagnosis to myself. The other part of me knows that, despite the few bad apples, I’ve gained a world of support from others—both inside and outside of the IF community.
I don’t want people to get sick. I want them to understand. And as much as I want my innocence back, perhaps I’m better off without my rose-colored glasses.