Let’s set the record straight. I’m not a psychologist with years worth of research in my portfolio. I’m not a doctor who knows big words about specific sections of the brain and the hormones that they squirt into the body. I’m not a fertility specialist who can explain to you the complexities of coping with the emotional baggage that comes with having broken lady parts.
But I am an infertile woman living in the 21st century. And I’m also a blogger. So that gives me all the necessary tools to present you with a list of 10 things everyone (especially my friends and family) should know about infertility.
10 Things This Infertile Wants You (The Fertile Ones) To Know
1. Birth announcements don’t come in bouts of 3.
Nay. In fact, they come in groups of a hundred. Sometimes more. In fact, in less than a 2 week time span, practically everyone I knew–from best friends, to that child actor from the 80s, to the kid I used to babysit in the 8th grade–announced that they were expecting. Even the Prince of Friggin’ England was all like, “Heeey yoooou guuuuys….I’m gonna be a baby daddy!”
You should be forewarned that when this happens you will find me in holey pajama pants, lying on my bathroom floor, sobbing into the bathmat. Don’t worry–I’ll find my happy for you eventually. It’s just going to take some time to pick up the shrapnel from the baby bomb that just hit my house. (It’s not as cute as it sounds.)
2. Let’s just put it out there–Friends with Kids, We Are Jealous Of You.
It’s nothing personal. But when we come to your house to visit and accidentally step on a Lego, we’re jealous. When we meet you for dinner and you’re a few minutes late because you had a diaper blowout, we’re jealous. When we call you up and can’t really hear what you’re saying over the sound of baby giggles in the background, we’re jealous. When you post a picture of your darling child in over-sized sunglasses and a beer box on his head, we’re jealous. It doesn’t mean we love you or your pint-size mini me any less. It just means that we see what awesomeness you have in your life, and we want it for us, too.
3. We really don’t need to hear about the conventional methods anymore.
I know you mean well when you gently remind us that the best way to get pregnant is to stop thinking about it/take your temperature/get drunk/elevate your hips after sex. Believe me–I’m more flexible than I look.
The problem with us is mechanical, not creativity. (wink wink) So there’s really no need to reenact the Kama Sutra to show me just how you got knocked up. (Although, if you really want to, go ahead. Just be forewarned that I will take pictures. I’m always looking for good blog fodder.)
In this same vein, please don’t make weird suggestions about other, less traditional ways to procreate. I want to have Brian’s baby. Not his brother’s, not his uncle’s, and not his third-cousin-twice-removed’s. Sorry. That’s just weird and creepy.
4. At some point in our relationship, I will cry.
I’m a big ol’ fat cry baby about most things, anyway. But this particular thing? I have no control over my emotions. The truth is–I’m grieving. That’s really what infertility is–grieving the life of the child you always imagined but will never have. It sucks. It’s really hard. And I cope by crying.
So inevitably, we will be cheerfully chatting about that catty thing someone said at the party, and something will trigger that “OMG I DON’T HAVE OFFSPRING” button in my brain, and I’ll be sobbing all over you before you can grab the stray tissue at the bottom of your purse. I apologize in advance.
5. I use humor as a defense mechanism.
If this blog isn’t proof of that, then let me explain.
Your adorable toddler will run up to me and give me a big kiss. I will make an inappropriate joke about my ovary exploding. Everyone will laugh.
You’ll ask me if I’m available to take photographs at your child’s birthday party. I’ll laugh too loudly and make a joke about always being free since I don’t have a child of my own to throw parties for. No one will laugh.
I’ll be writing a semi-serious blog post about the trauma of infertility, and I’ll throw up a stupid picture of myself Photoshopped to look like a clown.
With me now?
6. Please don’t say, “You should adopt!”
You’re totally right. A family IS about love, not blood. There ARE lots of kids in the world who need loving homes. We totally agree with you. That doesn’t mean we’re ready, yet. It also probably means we’ve still haven’t worked up the courage to rob a bank, yet. Cuz that’s shit’s expensive, yo.
7. We totally still want to be friends with you, even though you are fertile.
It’s ok. We don’t begrudge you your fully functional baby-making parts. Mostly. So don’t worry that bringing your kids over is an inconvenience. Don’t stop inviting us to birthday parties and baby showers (although sometimes I might not come.) Don’t apologize when your kid squeals loudly or chases my cat or accidentally scribbles on my kitchen table. We love you, and your screaming toddler. I’ve even been known to miss a football game or two just to hang out with you guys. Now THAT’S love.
8. Sometimes, we need to hang out with our “non-kid” friends, though.
It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with our desire to drink copious amounts of alcohol, talk about grown-up type things, and say curse words often and loudly.
I know you can carry on conversations about stuff other than your kids. (There’s a reason we’re friends. You are a super-cool cat with tons of interesting things to talk about. Am I right??) I also know that you want that giant margarita right there just as much as I do. But I also know it’s harder for you to leave the kids out of conversation, because they are your life, as they should be. No guilt trips here, lady.
It’s just this: sometimes it’s easier for us to be around people who don’t have that problem, and who aren’t so hyper-aware that something they say about their child could potentially send me into the ugly cry. It lets me get my drink on with the knowledge that I can be a happy drunk instead of the weird drunk who’s walking around the party blurting out random child-rearing facts that I probably shouldn’t know.
9. Imma spoil yo’ babies.
When they fall down at my house, I’m going to kiss their boo boo and give them a cookie. When it’s their birthday, I’m going to video myself singing to them and email it to you. When I come over to visit, don’t be surprised if I come bearing little gifts of my adoration for your progeny.
There are two parts to this: 1) I do it because I love your kid. He/She is adorable, and I just want to squish them regularly. Kudos, Mom and Dad, ya did good. And 2) I do it because it helps me fill a void. I don’t have my own child to sing to or bake for, so I’m gonna do it for your child.
Don’t worry, they’ll pay you back by pitching a fit at bedtime because they just want to go to Auntie Abby’s house and play.
10. We will be fine.
I know you’re concerned, especially because I’ve been in a constant state of funk since we got the official word in June that we won’t be able to join you in the land of Parenthood. (At least not without a crap load of cheddar and a miracle to rival the parting of the Red Sea.) If I’m honest with you, and with myself, I don’t know how long this part of the process takes. We’re sad, and we will probably always be sad. But even though I don’t have working ovaries, and even though Brian doesn’t have the Michael Phelps of sperm, we still have each other. And that, friends, is the really great news.
*It took me a really long time to publish this blog. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make something like infertility even remotely funny?? It’s really, really hard. So don’t feel like you need to send me an email or comment apologizing if you think you’ve possibly done or said one of the things above. Because you probably have. Because everyone has. And it’s totally OK. The important thing is that I know that you care. There’s not really anything anyone can say to make it better, but knowing I have friends in my corner who are cheering for me and who only want me to be happy makes bearing this cross a little easier. I love you–each and every one. And I love your stinkin’ babies, too.