Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Shopping with Rose-Colored Lenses

I had another dentist appointment today. My upper teeth look human again, so that I can now toss my head back and laugh affectedly the way they do in bad commercials. I pre-medicated a bit for the visit (HATE going to the dentist), and then it went a little faster than expected, so I left feeling a liiiittle too good to get in the car and drive immediately. But hey, look — shops right near the dentist! With lots of pretty things to buy! And no HellBoy to distract me with his pesky screaming and thrashing.

It wasn't till I got home that I realized that everything I bought is PINK. Pink sweater, pink tank top, pink underwear, even some fuzzy pink flipflops. I almost bought a pink purse, but I didn't really like the shape, thank heavens. I must have increased the number of pink items in my closet by 500% today. Note to self: no more shopping under the influence. At least it was all on serious sale.

I still haven't made an appointment with my RE, but I will, I promise. I wonder, if my ovaries are indeed little dried-up husks, will I be devastated? Or will I be slightly relieved that I won't ever undergo another fertility procedure? I'm honestly not sure. But I agree, it's time.

At any rate, all of your comments definitely helped make me feel 1. appreciative about all that I have and 2. less embarrassed about feeling jealous.

I've been thinking about one of the comments that Bihari wrote:
I have several friends who are trying hard for children right now, and I really want to be a good friend to them through this, even though I have Mother Of Two stamped across my forehead. Any suggestions? I usually have just been keeping in mind that we all have our own set of losses and disappointments, and even if they're different, the experience of living through loss and disappointment per se can be the same, so that gives us a lot of common ground. But I could be full of shit. What say you?
Full of shit? Definitely not. In fact that's how I make myself feel better about someone else's fortuitous fertility: would I want her life? Everyone has some hard things to deal with. OK, this approach doesn't always work — there's one person in particular I know who has NEVER had ANYTHING go wrong in her entire life, in fact has had all sorts of wonderful things happen, and although she's a very nice person, I can't help it, I'm not a big enough person to be able to get past it. I know that people probably think that I've had it easy, too — I've got a great job and a TrophyHusband, we don't have to worry so much about money anymore, I've got a healthy baby. I even like my inlaws. Hell, I'm starting to irritate myself. But I have had some pretty crappy things happen to me in the past; I know what it's like to feel as if nothing will ever go right. And I think that loss and disappointment do indeed give you common ground.

As for specifics about talking to someone who's struggling with infertility when you yourself drop eggs like a hen and can get pregnant by shaking hands? Midwestern Deadbeat mentioned that she'd read Tertia's piece on how to be good friends with an infertile, and I think it is good advice. I myself was not/am not an especially touchy or bitter infertile (I think. Others may beg to differ). I've had worse things happen to me than infertility, and my experience was about a tenth as bad as some — it was only a few years of trying, I didn't have to do THAT many cycles of IVF, a lot of it was covered by insurance, and I didn't have any wrenching pregnancy losses, just one miscarriage of a "chemical" pregnancy — so I don't feel I'm able to speak for Infertiles in general. But I do have two pieces of counsel:

First, if someone is undergoing treatment, try not to take their bitchiness and/or craziness personally; it's not about you, and it will pass. Because those hormones make a person insane. I was never a PMS-er, and figured, how bad could ART be? Answer: really, REALLY bad. There were times when I would walk around in a white-hot rage for a week. I locked myself in a room during one vacation at my in-laws because I couldn't trust myself not to say something that would ruin my relationship with them forever. Seriously. TH had to bring me meals.

Second, there's a magic phrase that is always appropriate and that is guaranteed, if not to make an infertile person feel better, at least to not do harm: "You're handling this amazingly well." TH must have said that to me a thousand times, and while I sometimes doubted whether it was true, it always made me feel at least a tiny bit less psychotic. (Turns out it really wasn't true. Poor TH.)

8 comments:

MFA Mama said...

What're you trying to say, you don't want my life (I notice that you used the phrase "fortuitous fertility" in reference to me in the comments on your last one, so of course I have assumed I'm who you're talking about with this one, and really, it's all about me so who else would you mean)? Why the fuck not? Hmph :-)
I have found that the magic phrase also applies to friends pouring their heart out to you about their ill children, unfaithful husbands, wretched diagnoses of all kinds, and financial woes. Although I take it as a poor diagnostic sign that several people have used it lately on me :-(
"if my ovaries are indeed little dried-up husks, will I be devastated? Or will I be slightly relieved that I won't ever undergo another fertility procedure?" I think you already know the answer to that one. I hope the one you get is the one you want.

bihari said...

I am going to say "You're handling this amazingly well," to myself, my husband, and my kids as often as possible this week, because what a great phrase! And what a refreshing change of pace it will be for husband, children, and self to get a break from the incessant fussing-about-how-things-could-be-improved which goes on around here from dawn to dusk. Seriously. A little praise is in order for everybody. I'm taking it upon myself to dole it out.

I think I'll start with Urp, who is handling his rotten stomach bug and temperature amazingly well, given that he's not even eleven months old yet and doesn't have a lot to work with.

I hope very much that whatever news you get from the RE is the right new for you. And did I mention that you're handling this amazingly well? Because you are.

bihari said...

Right NEWS. Right NEWS. I need to go to bed.

ozma said...

There are some other things I think have confused me, mostly from reading infertility blogs. (1) People don't say that much about being infertile, about their feelings about it, about what they are facing--most people are extremely ignorant of what's going on. In fact, it can be confusing because a lot of people don't even know what infertility is really--like if you are undergoing treatments, most people would say 'oh, that's not INFERTILITY that's just a litle HELP or intervention or whatever. And it's the rare person who knows what a bitch protracted and complicated procedures these are.

(2) Is the issue envy here? Is it this kind of envy: "I have bad luck. X does not have bad luck. Goddamnit, I want to not have this bad luck." Anyone who thinks that unmediated conception and normal baby as a result or failure to have things go that way is not a matter of luck/chance/fate in most cases is kind of crazy. And because it is luck it can be confusing. You can envy people for their luck but is it really envy or something else?

I'm not making much sense. This is just because my not having a baby right now has to do with this more basic kind of envy--lack of money and current job success--so I can't even try and am heading into the 5% chance of conceiving years. I wonder if I will have annoyance when I see 48 year old movie stars pregnant.

Thank you for explaining some of these things.

The current inability to conceive of my sister, whom I really love just makes me anxious and hurts and I want to take your advice--I need to and want to do something. Because I want this person to have the baby she wants more than anything I can think of, much more than having another child myself. And because she is my sister it seems especially awful if she can't have what I have. (Also, I know it will piss her off more--at the fate/chance/luck, not at me.) What I think though, is that there's just about nothing I can do or say to fix it or even come close to making any kind of difference at all.

So I guess that's what I take also from your advice. In a way, the challenge is to avoid hurting them more. The inability to really do anything major--to fix anything--seems to be an unavoidable part of the situation.

Orange said...

Everyone reading here already knows what not to say to an infertile woman, right? "Maybe it's not meant to be." "You know, there are only certain days of the month when you can conceive." "Just relax." "Start adoption proceedings. My sister-in-law got pregnant as soon as the adoption came through." "Oh, you're lucky! Kids are such hard work."

thumbscre.ws said...

People don't REALLY say stuff like that to women undergoing IF treatment, do they?... DO they?! Basically, "If you were smarter/more emotional stable/in the good graces of the Almighty, you'd have a kid already, silly!"? Wow. That leaps right over the line separating "misguided" from "demeaning and cruel". If someone did that to me, I'd be tempted to plunge a syringe of Pergonal right into their dense freaking forehead.

Mignon said...

Thank you Doc for your help on that. I know many and I am meeting more and more women facing this issue, and I get tongue tied and nervous. Like bihari said, I wonder if I should hide my kids or try to talk the talk somehow...
Anyway, it made me think of so many cases in which people close to me have suffered a loss and I feel so inadequate. I'm sure there's a guide somewhere I haven't been able to find or maybe a gene I don't have.

TB said...

There are always issues surrounding infertility and loss of a child.
As a person who is infertile, I don't begrudge anyone their children, so I don't want people with kids, or women who are pregnant to feel like I don't celebrate with them.
On the other hand, I am trying to conceive, but have never lost a child, so this is the area where I tend to get lost. Beyond telling someone I am truly sorry, I never know what to say. But I believe that being there for someone, for whatever they need is all you can do sometimes.