Monday, February 2, 2015

The Thorn in My Ovary

Disclaimer: I plan on using this blog—in part (a large part)—to facilitate my deeply-rooted need to complain about things that irritate me. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that that’s a LOT of “things,” and that may seem superficial, but my numerous irritations usually stem from some underlying value or moral that I see violated. So! There is a purpose to my ranting, I assure you.

Let’s start with this one: women who take their ability to have children completely for granted.  

Now, admittedly, I’m likely a tad more sensitive to this issue than most other ladies of child-bearing age due to the fact that it is exceedingly difficult for me to get pregnant. I have not been terribly open about this fact to the general public because it’s a sensitive subject to me; however, the truth of the matter is that my lady parts function about as well as a jammed vending machine. That is to say, I’ve got the goods (eggs, in this case), but it’s gonna take a lot of shaking, poking (not the fun kind), and brunt force for me to release them.

I have a pretty severe case of what’s called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and without boring you with too much medical mumbo jumbo, it basically means I’m kind of like a backed up hen. I’ve got plenty of freakin’ eggs, but I can’t just lay one, at least not with a high degree of medical intervention. I was really put through the ringer while I was trying to get pregnant a few years ago. I’m talking multiple needles a night, doctor visits every other day, ovaries the size of my head (perhaps slightly hyperbolic, but they were quite large), and a procedure that is cringe-worthily known as “Ovarian Drilling.” Granted, the cost-benefit analysis of all that puts me way on top, as it gave me these little goobers:

"Bro, Mama is not yet ready to lecture us on the dangers of weeds. I'd stop eating that if I were you."

Still, even though it was worth the physical and emotional stress in the end, there are much more—er—pleasant methods of getting pregnant I imagine I’d find preferable to the onslaught of needles, lab coats, and egg excavations I endured.

I could write an entire book on what it’s like living with infertility when you’ve dreamt your entire life of being a mom, but it would be quite long. And depressing. Not unlike its subject matter.  Perhaps glimpses of that point in my life will come up in later blog entries, but for now, suffice it to say that I can’t even begin to imagine how beautiful it must be to GET A BABY by merely HAVING SEX WITH YOUR HUSBAND. Whoa. Mind-blowing stuff here.

Okay, enough with the prattling, woe-is-me, borderline-uncomfortably-personal exposition. Let’s get back to what (or, rather, who) prompted me to start this blog in the first place.

Let’s just call her “Mrs. Fertile,” or “MF,” for short (pardon the serendipitous abbreviation).

It was an unseasonably warm (even for TX) afternoon back in late January, and I’d taken the boys to the playground to get some fresh air and exhaust themselves so they’d pass out later burn off a little energy. The playground was pretty packed. The scads of kids skittering up and over all of the various equipment kind of reminded me of a particularly bad roach infestation we experienced while living in our crap-hole military house in Georgia (aside: Did you know that a group of cockroaches is called an “intrusion”? Apropos, yes?).

But, I digress: I will save my theories on how cockroaches are the sperm of Satan himself, sent to impregnate this world with evil and general repulsiveness, for another time. So, anyway, the playground was pretty saturated with the buzz of human interaction, and it made it rather difficult not to involuntarily listen in on some of the conversations going on between fellow moms.  I was spotting my kids on what I refer to as The Stairway of Death (seriously, the thing is set at like a 70° angle), when I overheard the exchange that put me on such a tirade.

This woman to whom I’ve alluded, MF, was engaged in a conversation with who I can only assume was a second MF, based on the inordinate amount of head-nodding and “Mmhmmm”-ing that I witnessed from the latter. The conversation went more or less like this:

MF 1: “So I already have one born in December, and one in August, so I want this one in April.”

MF 2: “Mmmhhhmmm.”

MF 1: “That way they’ll be spaced exactly four months apart.”

MF 2: Head nod.

MF 1: “Because, really, that’d be the easiest thing to do.”

MF 2: “Mmmhhmmm.”

MF 1: “So I figured we’ll just try to get pregnant in July.”

MF 2: Head nod.

Now, as annoyed (read: jealous?) as I was of this lady’s ability to space the birth of her children out in the most convenient fashion possible, this is not what sent me into a fit of infertile rage. No, what bothered me most was the exasperated sigh that followed, accompanied by MF 1’s utterance of:

“And then we can just be done.”

(This was followed, of course, by an adamant head nod and exuberant “Mmmhmmm!” from MF 2.)

Excuse me, but, “JUST BE DONE”? As in, “Let’s just get it over with”; as in, the proverbial ripped-off Band-Aid? Is there some sort of linear equation out there that I’m unaware of, where x = the months apart your children’s birthdays must be, and y = the total number of offspring you must produce before you can “just be done”? 

To speak of the beautiful blessing of your body’s ability to create LIFE as an obligatory chore is just downright disrespectful. I’m sure not everyone shares my sentiments, but I can think of plenty of women that do, particularly those in my infertility support groups. It can be hard enough for us to be genuinely happy for our friends and family when they announce yet another pregnancy in the midst of our own struggles, and then we have the accompanying guilt to deal with. But to hear someone speak of having a child as a necessary evil? It makes me want to eat one of those squeezy stress balls that are recommended for people with high blood pressure.

I know that I have plenty to be grateful for, that I’m blessed in many ways this lady may not be, and that I’ve probably taken things for granted in my life as well. I’m no saint. I’m not saying this woman doesn’t have a right to feel the way she does, or that she shouldn’t be allowed to talk about those feelings with a friend at the playground. But, in my opinion, it’s kind of akin to delivering a detailed play-by-play of your latest excursion to The Cheesecake Factory in front of a diabetic. Wrong? Not legally. Insensitive? Obviously.

I just wish that people would be a little more cognizant of their surroundings and take into consideration the effect their words might have on others. Granted, I’m probably overreacting a tad and making the whole thing sound worse than it was for entertainment value. But, at the end of the day, hearing someone speak so flippantly about her own ability to have children proved to be a real thorn in my side ovary—another reminder of what I can’t have. It’s still bothering me more than a week later. I know it sounds ungrateful of me, because I have two BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING toddlers, but I can’t even begin to imagine what a miracle it would be to go from “I want a baby” to “I’ll just skip birth control this month” to “BAM! Bun in the oven!”  MIRACLE. Not something to “just be done with.”

So, Super Fertile Moms, if your baby-making ability is something you take for granted, that’s your own—regrettable—business. But please don’t disrespect the privilege of pregnancy at a playground full of kids and fellow parents. Some of us are there trying to enjoy a stress-free playdate with our own—not-conceived-out-of-convenience (or a deluded sense of duty)—children.

1 comment:

  1. I've been waiting for you to write...can't wait to keep up with this. Thank you--100% you. Love it.