As I walked into the break room to refill my water bottle one morning, two medical assistants were chatting about where they take their dogs to be groomed. One I have already introduced. Betty confided to Co-worker that she failed to conceive on her own, and by the time she went to an RE, she had a depleted ovarian reserve. It took her a long time even to acknowledge Co-worker's pregnancy and she revealed that even years after embracing her child-free status, she still found baby showers and other children-related events difficult to attend. When I joined the practice nearly five years ago, a few staffers revealed that Veronica was trying to conceive. Two years later, she disclosed to me that she failed to ovulate with 100 mg of Clomid and she decided not to pursue any further treatments. Her husband had a teenaged daughter from a previous relationship, and she had accepted her role as a step-mother. A year ago, she approached me and asked for an IUD, noting that she'd be pissed if she became pregnant at this time. I could appreciate her desires and understood that it was a painful process to arrive at that place.
Michael Scott, the office busybody, walked in the room and started listening to their conversation. "You spend how much on your dogs?" she gasped (as if she didn't engage in any frivolous purchases ahem, purses!) "That's ridiculous" she criticised. Betty was quick to react, "My dogs are my children!" she exclaimed as Veronica nodded in agreement. Michael Scott just rolled her eyes, "No they're not. You should have had real babies."
I nearly dropped my water bottle. While I would never actually resort to violence; on any given day, I could fantasize about hitting Michael Scott. Now I was imagining myself putting my weight behind my punch. I'm pretty sure Co-worker is the only one who knows about Betty's infertility history, but Michael Scott certainly knew about Veronica's story.
Her words stung like a slap in the face. They may not have been directed toward me, but I felt their effects. Such is the solidarity of infertility. Make an insensitive comment to one of my sisters and you hurt us all. I wanted to speak up. I wanted to say something to put Michael Scott in her place. Alas, I cannot. To do so would expose their skeletons as well as mine. Members of this sorority vow to honour each other's secrets. Such is the solitude of infertility. Alas, I'm cringing in silence.