Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Dentist Chair Realization

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.


  1. I believe there are other ways to conquer infertility besides the obvious "getting a baby". You can help educate and inform people that infertility is a disease as other diseases. You can keep fighting and moving forward no matter how many times it knocks you down. I decided long ago that infertility would never win in my life (even if we didn't end up pregnant, I would not allow it to turn me bitter and take anything else from me.

    One foot in front of the other.

  2. Great Post! It is your life. Handle how you see fit for you.
    Just this past weekend I was told "just relax and it will happen" by a relative not even in the know I am trying let alone "challenged" I guess people just assume ..first comes love ..then comes marriage ..then comes - - - - .

    1. Ugh "just relax" is so insulting. It's pretty much saying "you're doing it wrong. Because if you were doing it right, you'd be pregnant!"

  3. So true...seems like the one thing in life we can't control. Infertility can really make you look at other life problems, goals, obstacles differently. SO MANY other things in life can be achieved if you just work hard enough and keep your eye on the prize, and that's especially frustrating for goal oriented people.

    It's hard to feel like we're failing all the time, which is probably why sharing with others can make us feel like failures or a like we're setting ourselves up as a prime target for judgement to follow. It's funny though. I think your last statement about being embarrassed because you can't change the outcome is something that can totally be flipped around....I think that's exactly why you should NOT be embarrassed. You should be proud of yourself for not giving up! :)

    1. That is a good way of looking at it. I'm not sure I'm sold about telling others--but it does help me give myself a break. I'm not "failing"--there's something wrong I can't fix. Good perspective!

  4. I can so relate to this, my parents don't even know that we're trying to conceive, let alone challenged [fucked] I think about telling them, but my parents live in a small town in Connecticut. I can completely see my mother telling her dental hygienist, hair dresser and everyone else in town. Thanks for this reminder.
    I also appreciate the feeling of not being in control of your destiny. Most of my life, if I wanted something I worked hard and achieved it. I can't make this happen with hard work and determination alone. And that sucks.
    great post!

    1. I think infertility is especially hard for those of us women that are so driven. We're willing to work hard for our goals, but hard work doesn't fix infertility. Agreed - it sucks.

  5. Lilee, you rock at achieving what you set out to do. Whether you end up with a baby or not, don't let infertility beat you. And I know you probably HATE hearing this, but you do still have lots of time. Not that you want to wait and not that it doesn't suck. I know. I was married at 23 and wanted 4 kids by age 30. As you know, 16 years later, I finally have my family with two babies. It wasn't how I wanted it to play out, but I'll take it. I really hope you get to be a mother sooner than I did. And if for some reason it doesn't ever happen, don't let infertility win. Be the strong, driven woman you are and have a great life despite not having kids.