Is it just me, or is this holiday season the worst for infertile couples? Firstly, all you hear is that Christmas is really for children, making you wonder why you should even bother. A trip to the mall haunts you with the sounds of angelic voices singing carols as you pass the queue of children patiently waiting for their nostalgic photo with Santa. Sorry, I'd love to help the local economy, but there's another advantage to online shopping. Each day the post brings more cards with baby pictures. Okay, we get it, you had a baby this year. I saw your facebook post of the cord being cut and I got your birth announcement. Thanks for the reminder.
If these private moments of torture weren't enough, there's a public battle with your relatives waiting for you to answer the question, "So, when are you going to have a bay-bee?" If I had the resources, I would give some type of Golden Globe or BAFTA award to every couple who is able to hold it together and not breakdown in this siutation. I'm facing my challenge with my aunt and two grown cousins. The older cousin, who is a mother to two pre-teen boys started pestering me about having kids a few years ago by posting "When is the baby due" on my facebook page (that started fun rumours). The younger one experienced infertility and conceived her first with IVF and then conceived spontaneously at the age of 41. After conquering infertility her husband didn't think there was any reason to be sensitive and asked me about having children right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner earlier this year. At one point, when we were thinking we would be pregnant but not disclosing at this time, Husband and I were looking forward to brushing off these questions while exchanging knowing glances. I was thinking I could drink out of the blue wine glass.
My aunt, who is completely disorganised, doesn't own a proper set of wine glasses. It's a hodge podge of glasses from various vineyards and other collections. So three years ago, it wasn't unusual to see my younger cousin drinking from a blue wine glass. It wasn't until I was helping with the dishes that I discovered she was actually drinking apple juice. Sure enough, she announced her pregnancy at Easter. It could have been my turn for the blue glass, leaving my aunt and cousin to wonder. I may still use the blue glass, just to fuck with everyone. Infertility brings such misery, I'll take any fun any way I can. My plan is to bring along my friends wine and sarcasm. I would love to tell eveyone to mind their own fucking business, but that would just announce that we are experiencing fertility problems. If the question comes up, I'll laugh it off, "Are we going to have a baby? Why, do we need one?"
I need to have this strategy as it's not always been easy to keep my cool. When my dad came to visit a few months ago, he asked my uncle about spending his summer vacation week with his grandchildren fishing with him. I looked at the steak knife on the table, wishing I could just stab myself in the heart rather than listen to my father solicit surrogate grandchildren as his barren daughter can't give him any. Even more painful, my uncle was oblivous to my dad's needs and just bitched about the difficulty travelling with pre-teens. I started to clear the table just to get out of the room, but I was soon joined by my father and his sister, who was discussing her shocked response to my cousin's pregnancy. My dad asked "How does a pregnancy happen after infertility? Is it because you're relaxed?" "NO!" I exploded, and then launched into a lecture about subfertility, timing and gamete quality. I dismissed myself to the bathroom to escape for the second time that evening. I wondered how much I just revealed with my outburst, my aunt is pretty astute, but fortunately I have a reputation for being a know-it-all, especially when it comes to my profession. I just discovered I had more reason to be testy as AF showed up. Could this night get any worse? Maybe, but at least I could face it with a glass of wine...