“So? How’s the babymaking coming along?”

I’m new enough in the Austin area that I have to remind myself to make an effort to bond with people and actually go out sometimes.  Otherwise,  all my energy is focused on Husband and that isn’t fair to either one of us.   For example, this past month I took Clomid for the first time.  I don’t know if any of you have experienced the joy of  clomiphene citrate before, but one of the effects it had on me was that I became even more of a crybaby than I already am.   Dog food commercials,  checking the mailbox,  Husband looking at me for too long or not looking at me long enough… all these things sent me running for snot-rags and ice cream.

It was a hard time for both of us.  He’s a computer engineer, and he needs to try to fix things when they aren’t operating properly.    When a man tries to ‘repair’ you while you are mid-meltdown, it only makes things worse.   We don’t always want to be fixed,  sometimes we just need to be validated and given space to melt for a while.   Our partners can’t always figure this out,  but a friend can.

In my experience, the balance of energy gets thrown off when I expect Husband to be everything to me all the time.  I’ve been trying to remember to use my friends,  but the problem with that is that most of my closest friends are half way across the country and I never really made an effort to rebuild my circle after I moved here.  I’m making that effort now,  and I’ve noticed that it is tricky deciding what I will or won’t talk about over dinner with someone new.

The other night I went out with the wife of a friend of Husband whom I had chatted with via Facebook, but never really had any actual face time with.   It was her birthday the next day and she happens to be going through a divorce  so there was plenty to talk about other than my reproductive system, which was nice.   One of the many benefits of  hanging out with different kinds of people and their different kinds of problems is that it gets you out of your own head for a while.  All that anxiety and worrying about ourselves gets boring and gross,   like wallowing in dirty bathwater.   Sometimes you just need to get out and dry off.   It is within the isolation of keeping to yourself that depression can fester and spread.   So it was refreshing and healthy and good that I could be away from my home and even Husband for a while and think about somebody else’s problems and hopes and dreams.   I loved the feeling, and it was making me love her.

Then it happened.   The shift in conversation that always comes up when I’m chatting with someone new:    “Soooooo?  How’s the babymaking coming along?”

*GROAN*

My stock answer:  “Well, you know,” (uncomfortable chuckle) “we’re working on it!”    This is never a satisfactory reply.   Even though they are clearly asking me the most personal thing you can ask anyone (basically: “What’s happening up your vagina?”)  people feel bizarrely entitled to the details.

“What’s going on with that?”  she asked.

“What’s ‘going on‘ with it?”  I repeated.  Sometimes when somebody asks me what I think is a stupid or rude question I repeat it at them, giving them a chance to hear it back and decide if they want to retract it.  She did not.

“Yeah, like,  what are you guys doing?”

“What are we doing?”  I mirrored again,  the smart-ass in me begging to be released.   She nodded sweetly with a smile.  “Well, we fuck a lot, if that’s what you wanted to know… cuz… I hear that’s how it’s done.”

This should have shut down the conversation but it didn’t.  She laughed.  I’m known to be kind of a goofball, so surely I must have been being goofy.  She pried a bit more, saying she knew we were having a hard time and blah blah blah.  This is where I had to make a choice:  I could continue to be an asshole about it and deflect all her questions (It is my uterus after all,  so screw you if I don’t feel like giving you a tour);  OR I could be open with this sweet lady I was trying to bond with who just spent half an hour telling me about trying to get her alcoholic husband to sign the papers and get out of her life.  She was able to share her dirty laundry with me with a smile on her face and light all around her.   She wasn’t grumbling or dark, she was just talking about her life.   What was I so scared of?  Why couldn’t I do that, too?

I softened a bit and offered some vague insight.  “Well,  we have been trying for over three years now, and I have been checked out… so has he.   They keep saying everything looks good to go, but nothing is happening.  It’s pretty heartbreaking sometimes…”   She nodded and grinned like she understood exactly what to say.   That is NEVER a good sign.

“Oh, it’s just not your time yet.  That’s all.  You just need to stop thinking about it for a while and that baby will come to you when it’s ready.”

I felt myself wanting to get impatient and rude again,  but instead I tried to illustrate what it’s like to hear things like that.  I felt the floodgates open and I gave her details I normally wouldn’t have shared over enchiladas,  like what fibroids are and what they look like up close after you have them removed.  I told her what it was like being told I should have a hysterectomy and would never have kids at all.   I told her about the journey recovering from all that crap, and how it was a major challenge.  I told her it was not something I could just wish away or I’d be pregnant by now.  I told her that infertility was a real medical condition that I was working on having treated, and not just some negative way of looking at things.   I told her these things until I was tearing up.  I realized that my voice had gotten louder as I talked,  so suddenly the thing I was originally trying not to share with the person across from me had been shared with half the restaurant.   (“Check, please!”)

I had opened up,  and I wanted her to get it.  I certainly didn’t want pity,  but I also didn’t want to be told it was no big deal.  I wanted her to say something similar to what I said after she had described her drawn out divorce situation to me:  “Wow.   I don’t know how I would handle that… probably not as gracefully as you seem to be.”    No one ever says that, ever.  Not unless they have been through it, too.  And that is why I am here sharing with all of you…  but that is what I desperately needed to hear in that moment.

Here’s what I got instead:  “Well, I had my kids really easy… so if you ever need a surrogate,  I would totally carry for you!”

Ouch.

I didn’t want to be mad at my new friend.  She didn’t know.   I wanted to finish my margarita and laugh about something silly and be able to have girlfriends.   I wanted to get through a conversation with a new person without having to show them around my internal organs.  I wanted to go home and blog to you guys and feel like a little bit less of a freak.

Cheers, new friends!

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathleen Wright Croft
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 09:19:18

    LOL…Been there. Done that. It’s like there is a list out there of stupid phrases you must repeat when someone tells you they are infertile. I have moved on to the donor egg process and I carry her pictures with me and I realized the other day I am making people uncomfortable by showing them. Oh well.

    Reply

  2. m.g.
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 10:06:46

    I know…. “Oh Well” is about all we can say sometimes 😉

    Reply

  3. Lily
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 12:12:21

    I totally relate to you! It is absolutely true that unless someone has been in the situation of infertility they haven’t a clue about it and really don’t know what to do or say. When people used to ask me when we were having kids, I would awkwardly reply, “when it’s time”. I have since stopped that and told them we are going to specialists. 99% of the time it shuts them up, if they are so nosy and I’m not feeling too sarcastic, I tell them it’s private. I do think it important to tell people that you are going through infertility to at least shed some light on it and ATTEMPT to enlighten them and stop the ignorance. Otherwise, how will these fertiles ever learn? Hang in there, you’re not alone!

    Reply

  4. m.g.
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 13:05:16

    Hi Lily,
    I agree it’s a positive move to be more “out of the closet” about infertility, I just don’t always want to HAVE to talk about it, you know? It *is* personal~ whether you’re fertile or not, I can’t imagine opening a conversation with someone by asking about their uterus 😉
    but if somebody knows me for more than a day, they do end up knowing about it…

    Reply

  5. Melissa
    Jul 09, 2011 @ 06:06:22

    Wow this is probably the most honest blog about infertility I’ve read! You have this uncanny way of putting exactly what it’s like into words. It’s comforting to read about someone who feels the same things I do!

    Reply

  6. m.g.
    Jul 09, 2011 @ 08:18:35

    Aww, thank you Melissa. Knowing that is comforting to *me* , so it works both ways 🙂

    Reply

  7. Sunny
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 08:35:02

    M.G you are a sweet heart. I tore shreds off the last person who offered to surrogate for us. AND it was my own damn mother. Sometimes even those closest can’t say the right things at the right moment.
    But let me just tell you, you are graceful in the face of heart ache, you are brave and courageous and HONEST too.
    You most certainly are not alone in these thoughts xx

    Reply

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