Thursday, November 1, 2012

Attack of the Babies!

...or How I Outed Myself as Infertile at November's Halloween Party

Whew! It's been quite a week filled with babies around here. If there's a recipe for me to feel both joyful and distraught, it involves taking my regular life and adding other people's babies.

Carpool Buddy had her baby two Fridays ago. Coworker had her baby this past Friday. All are doing well.

Then there were five children aged 2 and younger at November's Halloween party. There was so much baby/child/labor/nursing/post-partum NFP/"omg we're pregnant with #3" talk going on among the women, at first I was like "Crap! I do not need this." And it just went on and on! Husband and I were the only married couple without kids at the party, and there was only one unmarried couple! I tried to listen respectfully, then I made myself scarce, then finally, aided by a delightful mixed drink of some sort, I dove right in and outed myself.

Ok, so maybe it wasn't quite like "Hey party-goers, I'm infertile." But I made some comment about adoption to November and someone overheard me.

"Are you talking about adoption?"
"Are you thinking about adopting?"
"Well, not really right now, but maybe someday. I can't have babies, you see."

What happened next? To my everlasting surprise, no one in this super-fertile, uber-Catholic group pointed and laughed. Nor did they run away in the fear that it might be contagious. They got really quiet. They were curious, but actually respectful.

They asked if we knew it was me, and not Husband. (Yes.) They asked if I was seeing a doctor. (Yes.) They asked if I'd heard of Dr. Hil.gers. (Yes, my doctor trained with him.) (And of course, we don't know if we'll never have babies, but we've been trying for more than two years now, so we're technically infertile.) I told them about my surgery. They asked if I was praying specifically to Our Lady of Guadalupe. (No, actually. I'll have to add her.)

One of these women I've known for several years through Novie, and I always got the impression that she thought something was off about me, because where were my children?! In the end, I think I did this for motives that weren't really pure (are there pure motives for telling people you're IF?). It was to justify myself in this little group of ladies. A sort of announcement that I'm not not having children on purpose. I can talk about reproductive organs and sacrificing your body, too! I just don't have the living, breathing results that you get. Being surrounded by all of that pregnancy talk, having friends with two newborns, playing with those children, I just didn't have the strength to hold it in any more.

Um, plus, did I mention the liquor?



  1. Good for you for standing up for yourself and sharing your experience. I think people can be so negative and judgemental sometimes that it's good for them to get a reality check. Not every woman on the planet who is married and doesn't have children wants it to be that way. Plus, it's good step forward for you by being honest. I find that when I let people know what's really going on I feel more like myself - that I'm not whoever others are making up in their heads, but I'm me, someone who really wants to have children but is having a really hard go at it. Praying for you.

  2. One of my friends had problems with subfertility. Not for very long, about 11 months, but it was enough to cause her a lot of heart ache. One of the things that was most difficult for me is that she would not really let us be there for her. I know it's a very personal journey and sometimes you can't really share it with others. I try to respect that, but we wanted to be there for her whatever she was going through, too. I'm glad that you gave these ladies a chance to be there for you!

  3. I am so glad the women were respectful! I often feel that super fertile hard core Catholic women look at me like I am some kind of alien, even when we say we are trying to have children but it hasn't happened yet. You are so brave, thanks for sharing!

  4. I definitely appreciated you sharing about IF with this particular group. I think for the uber-fertile sometimes it's easy to loose sight of the fact that an abundance of fertility is actually a blessing (rather than a burden as it can sometimes seem to NFP ladies). Plus I was happy to see no one gave you any stupid advice (ie, 'just relax!') or at least not that I heard :)

    Thanks for being open, and for coming to our highly baby-populated party!

    1. Nov, you're right, this was a good little group to share with, and I'm glad I did it. We're bringing it to the line, right? :D

  5. I hate when you drop "the bombshell" and then it gets really quiet & everyone's looking at you & waiting for you to talk & explain yourself. Obviously, I'm shy & hate being the center of attention. :-) You are SO brave for explaining yourself in the midst of that group of women, especially when you didn't know what kind of statements you would get. And I'm so thankful that Novie was there to support you during the conversation. And ... I'm also thankful for liquor. :-)

    1. Yes, that is exactly what happened! The silence, the eyes! I was like, "ok, in for a penny, in for a pound here - gotta say something!" But, I'm not sure that I'm brave so much as not very private. I share probably way more personal stuff than I should, almost all the time. And yes, I'm thankful for Novie and liquor too :-D! That should be my next Thankful Thursday post.

  6. You are so brave! I can't stand discussing IF with... well, anybody. I hate telling people we can't have kids because I don't want people to think I'm trolling for pity.