Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Opening Up

I have been thinking about reactions to infertility. I am in a new place, and people are curious about me. The first questions they ask are, “Are you married” and, “Do you have children?” This is especially true if the person asking is female. I am all right with the married part. I am married, and Hubby and I are very happy. The question about children bothers me. I usually will distract the asker with my dogs. (People always seem to have questions about Great Danes.) Recently I started telling people we are infertile. I am sort of tired of hiding it and feeling uncomfortable about the fact that I am infertile. Why not tell people? I have lived with this for a long time. If it makes people uncomfortable, so be it.
What I have found, so far, is that the other person will usually tell me a story about someone else they knew who dealt with infertility. The conversation sort of dies after that. It is like the people who have children can only talk about children. If you are not part of that club, then you are out in the cold. There seems to be nothing else to talk about if you do not have children. I think it is a sign of how focused our society is on family. It is very frustrating if you are childless. People do not seem to know what to do with you.

I guess infertility is outside the norm, and because it is outside the norm, some people have a hard time dealing with it. I think we maybe getting better at it. No one that I have come across has rejected me or treated me differently because I do not have children. (I think.) Infertility treatment is becoming more common, too. I think we have at least one doc at our hospital who deals with infertility patients. (No RE in Roanoke, unfortunately.) During a procedure I was assisting with, the doc got a page about a patient who was in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). The nurse I was with asked what it was, and I knew, so I told her. She seemed surprised I knew what it was. She asked if I had ever worked in OB nursing. I told her I had never worked in OB nursing, but I was infertile. It seemed natural for me to know about OHSS because I am thinking about IVF, and I like to understand the procedure and the possible effects of treatment.

I suspect infertility treatment is more common now, and slowly attitudes are changing. Most of the people I have told have been understanding. But I have mostly only told other OR nurses and my Quaker friends. Time will tell how things turn out. It feels good to be honest about being infertile, for the most part. I still get uncomfortable with too much baby talk, and I am not going to attend baby showers any time soon. Hopefully by being honest about my infertility people will understand why I am not comfortable around babies and baby talk.

1 comment:

HeidiM said...

Hi, I just found your blog from the Stirrup Queens blogroll. I like it! I just read the first post but I'll have to read more. I just moved to Denver from Tampa 8 months ago and I've found a great way to meet other women is to join tennis leagues, and lately I've been just telling my new tennis friends that I haven't played for over a year because I was going through infertility treatments. I found A VERY SIMILAR response as you -- people with kids kind of put you in a mental folder of "people I probably won't be better friends with." It's sucky.