With so much great support, you begin to open up and trust that you can talk about your feelings and that it is safe. You may even start to think you can talk to people outside of your support system. Which is great. It's great to be able to open up and not hide what you are going through. Infertility can be so isolating.
But, beware that when you open up to people who have no idea what you are going through, they can say awful things. Awful things that make you fight back tears until you can be alone and cry.
This past week was one of the hardest weeks I have had during our adoption wait. The children had off from school for spring break so I was working long hours and I was exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions that came from being profiled. Someone mentioned that I looked tired. I told her that it was a tough week for our adoption wait. I told her we were being profiled and it didn't work out. For about a second it felt good to talk about it. She then starts telling me a story about how one of her cousins just found out she is pregnant. That she didn't think it was possible to get pregnant because she did fertility meds to get pregnant the first time and they weren't even trying now. I couldn't figure out why she was telling me this story. She went on and on and then basically ended it by saying, "So, I've been praying for both of you." What?? What was the point of telling me that? Clearly I am never going to accidentally get pregnant. She is well aware of my lack of uterus. So, her story was to tell me how other people have it rough too? And her "rough time" story is someone getting pregnant accidentally when she didn't want to?
There was also a person who when I told her I had endometrial cancer, told me about her friend who really had cancer. Unlike my fake kind. I know how lucky I am that it was caught early and that all I needed was surgery. But, it doesn't change the fact that I lost my uterus to cancer. I honestly lost count of the number of times leading up to my surgery that she told me I was fine and acted like I was making a big deal out of nothing. All I had said was that I was scared of the surgery. Even my oncologist said he didn't know how advanced the cancer was until he went in. I was scared. But, I had to endure multiple conversations about how there were people in hospitals with real cancer.
I told one of the parents about it all over the phone. I needed to give everyone notice because I would be closing for two weeks to have the surgery and recover. The very next time I saw her after telling her I was having a hysterectomy, she told me she was pregnant. She went on and on about it and told me about how they bought onesies to decorate to give to their parents as a fun way to tell them they were pregnant. They hadn't even told their parents yet, but she had to tell me then? I barely held it together while she talked and then cried so hard as soon as she left. It wasn't that she was pregnant that bothered me. It was that she decided to tell me then and go on and on without any regard for what I was going through. She really thought I wanted to listen to her talk about her morning sickness?
You know what another person said to me when I told them? "I don't get it. What's the big deal? You couldn't have kids anyway, right? I mean, no offense."
Do you have any idea how many people have told me their abortion stories? Just in the past year two people have told me that they've had multiple abortions and that they were on birth control each time they got pregnant. I am not in any way judging their choices, but for pete's sake, why do people feel the need to tell me these things? Both times the women ended the conversation by saying something like, "Fertility is wasted on someone like me."
After seven years of trying to start our family, I've heard it all. I wish I had realized a long time ago that all my feelings are normal. That there are other people out there feeling the same way. That I didn't have to be alone for so many years.
National Infertility Awareness Week is April 24-May 1, 2010.
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