Thursday, June 16, 2005


Describing what infertility feels like to someone who hasn’t personally experienced it is surely impossible. We try, like Boulder eloquently does, to come up with analogies, but I’m not sure anything can really get the point across. And I think that’s what makes going on with your everyday life so difficult. I’ll meet up with friends and/or relatives who will kindly ask me what’s going on with “the baby stuff” (as my sister-in-law recently referred to it) and my answer barely skims the surface of what is truly happening to me. I don’t mind them asking, and I happily share the details of the monitoring process and the giving of shots and the IUI procedure and the progesterone and when test day is. But I’m completely unable to express the frustration, the sadness, the disappointment, the gleams of hope that truly make up “what’s going on with the baby stuff.” Thus, I feel like I’m forced into being this superficial, phony friend/sister-in-law/daughter, because I’m not honestly sharing how I’m doing. Not only do I feel badly about being infertile because of what it means for my future, but I feel badly because I know it makes my parents and D and those that truly love me worry about and feel terrible for me. And this makes me less likely to want to spend time with a friend/sister-in-law/parent, because I hate not being able to be completely open with them, so I choose staying home rather than going out. Which then only leads to feeling isolated and alone and, of course, depressed. It’s one of the many Catch-22s IF has introduced me to.

Which I guess is why having fellow IF friends can be such a relief. Mare writes today about meeting Amy, a fellow IF blogger, and how great it was “to be in the company of someone who totally and completely gets my situation.” And I hear what she’s saying. Recently my best friend found out that her husband has congenital bilateral absence of vas deferens, so that their only option is IVF. She’s just begun the grueling tests, the calls to insurance companies, the endless waiting for the next step. Although she has been ttc for a year and a half, it’s only now that she confessed she sees what a struggle I’ve been undertaking. I wish to hell she didn’t have to find out. Statistically I thought that at least my trouble would allow those close to me to escape the IF curse. If it’s 10% of the population, shouldn’t I be the 1 out of my closest 10 friends (granted, I’m not sure I have 10 close friends) to suffer? Alas, that’s not how it works apparently. When she first found out she called me and said, “Let’s do IVF together!” And I honestly wanted to. It won’t work out that way timing-wise, but just knowing that she and I are walking this road together makes me think the trip will be less painful.


Blogger Kat said...

My friend is IF (dramalish) and I am one of those well-meaning folks who ask "hey, how is the baby stuff?" I can't speak for all friends/family of IFs but I will say (as I say to her all the time) I really do want to know.

Yes, sometimes I say the wrong things. Sometimes I change the topic without realizing it, but I really do care.

I would certainly rather have her talk about it a little longer and more indepth than I would wish rather than have her stay at home and not talk to me at all.


June 16, 2005 6:22 PM  
Blogger K said...

The most recent statistics say one in six couples, so I guess we'll all run into more people in our shoes. I know so many through running a RESOLVE chapter, but I have no close friends going through this. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but sometimes I wish I had someone who understood.

June 16, 2005 7:38 PM  
Anonymous korin said...

Having someone who gets it makes all the difference in the world. When a woman I met online moved to my city, we became instant friends... and it makes everything more bearable.
I actually don't like it when my fertile friends ask me how 'the baby thing' is going. I'd rather just talk to the few people who get it, than try and explain it to people who don't.
Thank god for blogging. :D

June 16, 2005 9:12 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I am extremely lucky (and saddened) to have several close friends and my boss living with me on Infertile Island, or who have served their time there. It certainly makes things easier when you don't have to explain every little thing or watch someone's eyes glaze over when they realize you really ARE going to tell them how things are going on the baby front.

June 17, 2005 12:04 AM  
Blogger Dramalish said...

I know what you mean about feeling "phoney" about not being able to express the anguish and frustration we go through...
And I also agree that a lot of it is self-inflicted- we choose the front we want others to see.
Some of the best decisions I've ever made were when I looked friends in the eyes and said:
"It's not going well. This sucks, and let me tell you why."
Even ferties can be surprisingly sympathetic given the opportunity. ;)
But as you pointed out; there is nothing like an IF confidant who *knows* what this is like.

June 17, 2005 2:52 AM  
Anonymous thalia said...

what i've found is that telling brings others out of the closet. It's amazing how many of my friends' friends did IVF or tried for ages. So I keep on with the telling, even though, like you, that doesn't involve always telling it like it feels.

June 17, 2005 4:53 AM  
Blogger Chee Chee said...

I can so totally relate to your feelings. I too feel like I am holding back from my friends and family. I only give vague details about treatment to a select group of friends. (My mom is of the relax, you're fine, you'll get pregnant when you least expect it school of thought, so I share almost no tx information with my family). I rarely share my actual feelings with anyone, other than DH.

I have one good friend, who is IF and she is the only person with whom I can really share. And even with her, I feel like I am holding back. She has other health concerns and quit IF tx after only two IUIs. She is comfortable with her IF. I'm just in a different place.

June 17, 2005 11:43 AM  
Anonymous P. said...

I am so sorry that your best friend has to go through this but I am glad that you two have each other!

June 17, 2005 3:24 PM  
Blogger Millie said...

I'm lucky in that I have a lot of people who truly 'get it' because they are there/have been there. Some of these folks I met online, some through my husband's work (when he started talking about it) and some through a support group sponsored by RESOLVE. I've got to say the couples support group that we joined has been the biggest lifesaver. They are now (and will always be) among our closest friends. It's just easier being with them, whether we're talking about IF or not because they get it.

I'm so sorry that you're friend has joined our ranks but glad you'll each be able to support each other.

June 17, 2005 4:46 PM  

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