Hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer, as many affected are unaware of the condition until the damaging effects are apparent. In many ways infertility is also a hidden entity.
The sound of silence is quite literal for the woman who shies away and retreats when her co-workers talk about babies. Isolation is another presenting symptom for the woman who dreads a family gathering or avoids a friend's baby shower. Insomnia and depression may also be associated effects. Infertility can compromise one's character; as it often requires her to lie about her intentions and situation and to invent excuses for absences. Infertiles must work so hard to keep their family planning as a private manner, something that others expect without exception. Thus in some ways, the covert status of infertility affords a woman some dignity. If no one can tell from looking, her secret is protected.
Then there are times when infertility is not so hidden. Many women develop bruises as they master administering injections. Although I am adapt with a syringe, I feared the cumulative effects from multiple shots would leave some marks during my stimming and early pregnancy. My swim teammates might take note of bruises on my abdomen and ass and wonder if I had become a victim of intimate partner abuse. I did start wearing long sleeves as my arms were black and blue from the near daily blood draws. The phlebotomist joked that I looked like a regular IV drug abuser.
Recently, I've become that girl from the Crash Test Dummies song. You know, the one who wouldn't change with the girls in the locker room, as I fear they'll find estrogen patches all over my body. Although the patches are clear, the adhesive material frames them with a gummy residue. One of my teammates was recently diagnosed with early menopause at the age of 42, and is currently using the same patches. She has consulted me a few times about her treatment, and as she is not too socially savvy, I know she wouldn't be discreet if she saw them on me. Therefore, it has become my routine to walk to the locker room very slowly, maybe hang back and chat with our coach for a few minutes, or accidentally on purpose leave my water bottle by the pool so I'll need to go back and retrieve it. All to consume time, so that I get into the showers once everyone is done. Thus preserving my secret.