The Barren-ess

Well, well, well…

Did you know that this was a thing?!

National Infertility Awareness Week
National Infertility Awareness Week

I had no idea… and I am. So… awareness!

And one in EIGHT couples? Wowza. Friends, I hope that for many of you I’m swaying the odds in your favor. Goodness knows I know many more than 8 other couples though. Dang.

Recently, I passed what I’ve long considered “the point of no return” — I started taking birth control.

Seems counter-intuitive , doesn’t it? But apparently, birth control is a necessary step in the IVF process. No more wishing, hoping, praying, imagining that this month will be the month that a spontaneous pregnancy catches us by surprise. We’re committed. Past the point of no return, if you will, on the way to IVF.

Early, early last Monday morning we headed down to Madison for the uterine mapping process. I’ll spare you the details, but it was not exactly a fun time. One step closer. Now that I’m on the pill though, I’m happy to just check, check, check these things off my list and get to the real business at hand. Egg collection, fertilization, implantation, and then, God-willing, a legit pregnancy. Cross my fingers, hold my breath, say my prayers, beg all the powers that be…

Honestly though, stumbling across this infertility awareness business, recognizing that I’m just another 1 in 8, makes me feel a whole lot less bad for myself. It’s a lot easier to be over-dramatic and woe-is-me-ish when I’m preoccupied with the utter uniqueness of my situation, which is really not all that unique at all. Tough, yes, but not unique. Barren, but not a barren-ess… nor the barren-est.

Misery really does love company, I suppose. But misery loves joy too. And support and friendship and happy news. Misery can even not be so miserable all the time because the notion of whether or not I’m going to have a family this way or that one is really only one small part of the life that I am living… which also happens to include blogging and smiles and products for curly hair and a floppy-pawed pup and buzz-cutted man, etc, etc, etc (please don’t tell Grammarist i just listed et ceteras, it’s so super wrong). Yes, sometimes procedures and tests and waits, anxiety and pain and grief, but even lives not marked by infertility include all those very same things. I’m just one of the eight in which infertility happens to be a major source.

Ain’t no thing. Except sometimes when it’s a thing. And in this week, I guess we should maybe chat about that thing on account of it being a week dedicated to the awareness of infertility.

So: some people are infertile. Some people like me.

Some people also have cancer or webbed toes or choose to adopt despite not being infertile at all. You never know. Different strokes. I guess the best way to go about it all is to remember what my fortune cookie said that one time: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their battle too.

Fortune Cookie

Regardless of the appropriate etiquette and practiced responses we’re supposed to be referring to (those links are specific to infertility, of course, not webbed toes)– I think with a little kindness about it all, remembering that there is a battle going on, one we might know nothing about, we can’t really go wrong.

Even my own attitude seems to swing somewhat wildly… some days, like today, I feel relatively non-nonchalant, infertility is just another thing. Other days, infertility feels like The Only Thing. With respect to etiquette and responses and such, I certainly can’t expect you, my husband, my dog, my mom, or anybody else to try to gauge that. It’s simply not fair. I can hope for kindness, though, and so can you. And while you obviously don’t need one more thing to be aware of (infertility! autism! breast cancer! colony collapse, drought, pandas, and webbed toes! so many Things!) it can’t hurt to remember that the radar of others’ isn’t necessarily tuned to the same channel as our own and, as such, discrepancies regarding awareness do exist. Because our radar spheres have overlapped in this moment (and I know that all of these metaphors are super non-coherent, scientifically speaking, so yeah) here I am, bringing infertility onto your screen.

Blip! You’re welcome.

Not really though. More like I’m welcome. Because it’s my self-serving blog, not yours.

Wiiiiink.

Anyway, I’m really going to go write that book review of I, Lucifer now. I keep thinking about it, obviously my mind wants to talk talk talk about it. See you then!

5 thoughts on “The Barren-ess

  1. I believe the 1 in 8 with no problem, I know many couples our age who are struggling with infertility, unfortunately. My sister also had her own struggle with it years ago and went through IVF herself, so I know from her experience it can be a very dark time. Praying and hoping for you!!

  2. “With respect to etiquette and responses and such, I certainly can’t expect you, my husband, my dog, my mom, or anybody else to try to gauge that. It’s simply not fair. I can hope for kindness, though, and so can you. And while you obviously don’t need one more thing to be aware of (infertility! autism! breast cancer! colony collapse, drought, pandas, and webbed toes! so many Things!) it can’t hurt to remember that the radar of others’ isn’t necessarily tuned to the same channel as our own and, as such, discrepancies regarding awareness do exist.”

    This is brilliant and honest and I love it. And me too- it’s a me thing and I was not “aware”….hmmm…..that’s worth a whole blog post for sure- all the “awareness” these days!

    (I’m excited to read your reveiw of the book I just had to let go of trying to get to- all the books!)

  3. I learned this week that “common humanity” is an important part of self-compassion and something I know I need to work on. My first thought isn’t ever “lots of people go through these same struggles.” But everyone is fighting their battles, just like your fortune cookie said!

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