While talking to a friend today I missed her obvious cues of discomfort and blindly just kept on blabbing away about the subject at hand. We were discussing her suspicion that she is facing infertility issues. She and her husband decided to start a family about a year ago and have had no success. She is getting tired of waiting and hoping each month and was discussing how she feels like she isn’t doing anything to change her situation. So, as I asked her if she was tracking her ovulation, if she knew the physical signs of ovulation, etc., I was trying to help her think of ways to feel more like she is taking charge of her fertility. Meanwhile, I missed her mortified looks as we discussed things like cervical mucous and the regularity of her period all while my husband was in the room listening to the conversation.
You see, these days it doesn’t even dawn on me that typical couples haven’t spent years talking about these very same things. I can’t even fathom what it would have been like to decide to get pregnant and shortly thereafter announce (in a very creative way of course) that it worked! For us, it began with “well, not this time” and progressively became commonplace to hear things like “no, you can’t go on that golf trip I’ll be ovulating then.” When I finally did get pregnant (the time that it actually stuck) the way I announced it was by shoving the stick at my husband at 4:00 in the morning (that was the longest I could hold out before taking a test). His immediate reaction was not all all what you would expect – he asked if I was spotting and if I thought they would do an early beta test to check my levels. Since I was having the same type of thoughts it didn’t really kill the “moment,” but it is pretty telling.
You hear it said many times that once you have a baby all modesty goes out the window. If you are seeing a reproductive specialist, or even just getting serious with your efforts at home, that is when your modesty, at least with your husband, is really gone. The things you discuss and talk about and will try just to see if it will work can be shocking to some. For us, like many of you I am sure, the candid nature of your conversations with your partner is not only a necessity but also just so normal to you that you eventually may not even realize you are discussing things that some people would never openly talk about. In a way, that is one thing about infertility that I don’t regret. I honestly feel like all that we went through and endured brought us closer together and really changed our relationship in a way that made it more open and honest. I certainly wouldn’t consider suffering infertility as a way to strengthen a marriage (in fact it is often the exact opposite), but I guess it is something good to be thankful for in a situation where positive results are frequently too hard to come by.