I find myself wondering if there is anything like infertility. Is there any kind of personal pain that is so little understood by those not experiencing it?
They have a vague notion that it’s causing you pain or depression or making you edgy. They know it causes you to be snippy, sensitive, unpleasant, sad and angry. They feel helpless around you. They make suggestion after suggestion that indicates they only have a 4th grade understanding of the reproductive systems of men and women spiced up with some snippets they heard on CNN once and laced with old wives tales and myth. They don’t realize the research we do and exactly how much information we have accumulated. They don’t understand that not all Assistive Reproductive Technologies are IVF, but they don’t want to be educated about it, even if they ask. They think they know best, despite not really knowing anything.
They don’t understand that each child lost after conception is still a child that you had hopes and dreams for. They don’t understand that each child dreamed about that never arrives is a cause for grief as well. They don’t understand that every time a single line comes up you are crushed again. And again. And again. And again. They don’t know what a beta number is and why it dropping is cause for wine, a darkened room and sad music for days. They don’t know how alone, isolated, solitary, we feel in this, even if we are going through it with someone we love. They don’t get that our partner doesn’t know how to relate to us. They don’t understand that relationships can fall apart under the constant, repetitive, strain.
They think there are things you haven’t tried yet. They think you are being stubborn. They think you should have given up three cycles ago. They think you should never give up. They think adoption is easy. They think adoption is weird. They think if you adopt you will conceive. They think that if you just gave up it would happen. They think you are ridiculous for trying all the old wives tales. They think you are ridiculous for not trying all the old wives tales. They think they would never give themselves shots unless their lives depended on it. They think it shouldn’t be such a big deal, it’s just kids. They think you’re too old. They think you’re too young. They think you’re too poor. They think that worrying about how to pay for it is the only problem you’re having. They think you shouldn’t be so sad about it. They think you should be thankful for what you have (and by implication, that you aren’t). They think you wouldn’t be a great parent anyway. They think that maybe God IS punishing you. They think it’s because you slept around in college. They think its because you drink too much. They think it’s because you had an abortion. They think it’s for the best.
They think all the horrible and awful things we think about ourselves at our weak moments.
(I know there are rare people who get it, or at least get it enough to be sorry, but not feel sorry for you. I appreciate those people a great deal. But at the moment I am feeling that they are greatly outnumbered.)