Yesterday morning as I reclined in the dentist's chair, staring at a photo of a cat yawning and the words Open Wide in a cute font, I overheard a conversation between the dental hygienist and a patient in the next chair. They seemed to know each other personally, or the patient spends way too much time at the dentist.
With my hygienist's fingers and instruments shoved down my throat, I heard one lady ask the other, "Does your daughter have any children?" They'd been talking about grandchildren for awhile, and it seemed like a safe question.
The patient answered, "No. They'd like to. They've been married for awhile but they're having some problems."
I cringed so hard I nearly bit my hygienist's gloved finger. The lady continued, something about her daughter moving closer, going through some treatments, but that IVF is just so darn expensive. I closed my eyes and tried to stop eavesdropping. I suddenly felt incredibly awkward, even though I wasn't actually in the conversation.
This, I thought, this is exactly why I haven't told my mother about our "problems." She'd tell her dental hygienist, her hairdresser, the stock boy in the produce section of the grocery store! That is so embarrassing!
But then I realized, maybe this lady is so open about her daughter because her daughter is open about her infertility. This mom isn't trying to embarrass her daughter--she's advocating for her. She didn't seem upset about her lack of grandkids, she just wanted to help. I wish I had that.
I know many of you are open about your infertility, and I think that's awesome. I'm sure you get a host of insensitive comments, but you also receive a lot of support. I appreciate that you advocate for us that are still too embarrassed and ashamed to admit our struggle.
I can't share my infertility. It's so outside of my personality.
This is why infertility is such a huge embarrassment to me. There's nothing I can do to just dig in and "fix" it. I can work hard, research, study, and do all of the things I've done to conquer all these other things--but it might not matter. There might be literally nothing I can do. I've worked so hard to accomplish all those things, but working hard doesn't do anything to combat infertility.
And that might be the worst part.