This is a bit of a rant from a few weekends ago. You see, I found myself dumbfounded as a couple of fertile friends-of-friends told me and my husband how lucky we were to not have children. Seriously?
I had to bite my tongue. I desperately wanted to lash out in that moment…but I couldn’t. I wrestled with whether I should make some snide sarcastic comment. The words even sat on the tip of my tongue ready to be flung…but I held it in and let the pit in my stomach grow instead.
I am pretty open with our journey with friends…so no one in my immediate circle would be so foolish as to say something like this. But, on Saturday I was reminded that there are lots of people out there who just don’t think; infertility is a foreign concept.
Saturday was supposed to be this super fun night out with a larger group of people taking in a pro-sports event. The evening included dinner before and drinks after. It was the type of event/outing I would have been all over five years ago before I was married. Needless to say, I was excited to go out and enjoy a few drinks on the town. It has been three years since I was able to say yes to something like this where I wasn’t in the middle of drugs or treatment plans. My spirits were up and my guard was down.
For the most part the night was fun, but there was this foolish/awkward moment towards the end of dinner when we were mingling with a few couples we had just met. As expected, the question of kids came up, “Do you have any kids?” and I replied with my well-rehearsed response “No, not at this point.” One of the two ladies said, “What, no kids? Oh my god…you are sooo lucky!” I awkwardly half smiled, while the wheels in my head went into overdrive.
Based on the expression on my face I expected the commentary to stop (I am sure the words “F*#k OFF!” were tattooed on my forehead), instead the second woman didn’t miss a beat and jumped in too, “No really, you have no idea how envious we are of you guys right now.” From there they both proceeded to reminisce about the days of sleeping in and no kid commitments. The icing on the cake was that one of them even had her new baby sleeping in the car seat beside her.
As they chatted all I could think was, is this really happening? Do they have any idea what they are saying? My rational-self stepped in at this point and reassured me to calm down (they just don’t realize). In the moment I attempted to stay present, but my irrational-self started thinking of all the sarcastic come backs I could puke on to the table:
“Yes, our fertility doctor would think we were lucky too…or rather I should say his bank account is.”
“Yes, it’s so much fun going through 3 IUI’s and 2 IVF’s and taking clomid. Good times!”
“Yes, 37 consecutive failed attempts is a real blast….sleeping in so much better!”
Endless dark comments sat on the tip of my tongue…but in the end my rational-self responded and said, “Oh, you have no idea” as I looked at my husband. He gave me an all knowing reassuring smile that immediately grounded me and gave my heart a warm hug. Thankfully from there the subject changed as we had to leave for the game.
As we walked to the stadium, I could feel the pit in the my stomach and a bit of the shine of the night wearing off. Dammit! The monkey on my back was now coming to the game too. I didn’t do it intentionally, but I avoided those two girls for the rest of the night. I sat beside my best friend and told her what had happened. She was empathetic and decided the cure was another beer, which I agreed. I stuck with her for the rest of the night and picked my spirits up by sharing the news about our Embryo Donation opportunity.
The next day as I nursed my hang-over I questioned if I should have said something. I feel like people need to be educated, but I also know that I did the right thing by doing nothing in that particular moment. It was foolish of both of them and I need to pick my battles and surroundings. I don’t want to be a ‘debbie downer’ or morph myself into a person others need to tip toe around.
There’s no doubt, they were being extremely foolish. If I had responded to them, I would have made them feel even more foolish and made the moment heavier for everyone in the conversation. I am no martyr, but understanding the impact of my words is more important to my spirit than an awkward moment.
I know in my heart that if the circumstances were different…a casual coffee or a more intimate setting…I would have politely corrected and educated them so that they would have realized, they were the lucky ones.