As if my job somehow thought that my blogging about fertility needed to take a backseat to actually working, I was scheduled on a last minute 4 day trip to Toronto this week/weekend. I just returned, but holy SHIT the last 4 days were busy.
I left the 80 degree weather we’re having in LA right now to get plunged into 20 degree madness for a bit. Readers who actually experience winter and get sick of it, feel free to hurl stuff at me right now, because I found that I enjoyed the wintry Toronto weather and cold toes. Mind you, I am not going to bitch about the fact that I was sweating as I deplaned back in LA today and fumbled around for my sunglasses.
In a somewhat randomly annoying coincidence, I was asked by no fewer than 4 or 5 of my colleagues this trip when I was going to plan on having a baby. One was my boss who is a raging alcoholic and yet still easily managed to pump out two kids. One other woman started at 22, and has 4 kids now. I was able to laugh off the questions with them, and just shrug and say coyly, “I don’t know…” but it stung to be asked. WHY THE HELL DO PEOPLE ASK???
The final straw was when a male colleague of mine asked me about the kids thing (he has 3 kids. Each was conceived the first month they “tried”). We were waiting for a group to show up to dinner, and there was no one else around, so I thought I would try responding differently than my normal shrug and laugh off the question. I don’t know if it was because I was fed up about being asked multiple times, or if I felt like I could trust him, but I said, “You know, my husband and I have been trying for 7 months, but unfortunately I’m not ovulating, and we’re having some problems.” My honesty stunned him a bit, I think, and I could see that he was embarrassed he’d even asked. His first response was, “Oh.” but then, he did something sort of surprising… he said something kind of oddly sweet (well, odd for him, because he can be a bit gruff sometimes). He said, “Well. I know you, and I know that you will make a great mom. I’m sorry that you’re going through this right now.” And that was it. I said, “Thanks. Frank.” and then we moved on to happier conversations. It wasn’t so bad.
Sometimes, I think that guys are more able to process things and move on–and for that, I’m very grateful that Frank didn’t start in on a whole fertility conversation with me.
But I still can’t help but wish that people who have never had to struggle with fertility could understand the level of complete insensitivity and obliviousness that comes across to an infertile when they ask us a “so, when are you going to pop out a kid” question. I know that it’s impossible for them to know what kind of struggle I’ve been going through, but do they SERIOUSLY not think that this is an issue people struggle with every day? Are they THAT ignorant? And most importantly, am I just encouraging their ignorance by smiling and shrugging vs addressing the issue truthfully? “I’ve been trying. For months. I don’t ovulate or get my period. Any questions I can answer for you about this?”