Less than a month ago, I attended a drop-in support group for infertility. It was the first time I had ever spoken to other infertiles and this topic came up. They actually referred to it as 'coming out of the closet'. That parallel is spot on. For four years, I have swallowed the biggest focus of my life when I am around others. This swallowing is fueled by a number of dysfunctional self-statements that I figure will be revealed if I spill the beans, the least of which are:
- My body does not work as it should, therefore, I am different. Perhaps even less than every other person around me.
- Somehow, God must've thought me unworthy of parenthood.
- Perhaps I am not actually female after all. Sure, I have the plumbing, body parts, and the overzealous love of the color pink that a female has, but if I can't reproduce, then I must not actually be truly female. So, then, what am I?
- Upon hearing about my many appointments, a secretary said, "You work in Special Education. Maybe God is trying to tell you something. You don't want to have one of the kids we work with." Yes, this was one of the most disgusting comments I've received, and no, I didn't reply. I was just too stunned.
- After receiving flowers the Friday before Mother's Day from my husband, the principal at one of my schools (who knew of my IF) kept puzzling over why I received them. She finally said, "Well, I know you couldn't be pregnant." This was also one of the offenders who earlier suggested that maybe I should 'just' adopt (with a big emphasis on the 'just'), as if this were a consolation prize.
- A friend (who is completely unaware of my IF) posted a long, ranting entry on his blog against IF treatment because of the possibility of multiples and subjecting them to medical issues. This man, who is bright, educated, and very fertile (but clearly lacking a shred of empathy) said, "If you can't have children on your own, then clearly God thinks you don't deserve them." While not religious, he made it a point to state that conception is a miracle that should not be toyed with. I wonder if he would have that idea if he hadn't had two healthy children, both after a month of trying.