Monday, July 21, 2008

Girl Power

Sometimes I wonder what infertility would feel like if I weren't the "broken" one. Would it be somehow easier without the burden of knowing that my body is the problem? Without having the success of a cycle hinge on my PCOS ovaries' ability to produce just enough -- but not too many -- eggs? Would I feel less pressure if I didn't have this vague feeling of inadequacy at my inability to fulfill this "womanly" role every single time I saw someone else's child?

The irony, of course, is that even with male factor infertility, the woman is often the one to go through treatment. And frankly, although there are days when I would gladly hand the burden over to my husband -- or, really, anyone else -- I think this is for the best. With all due respect to men, their tendency to whimper at the first sign of a cold and avoid the doctor's office at all costs doesn't do much to convince me that they'd be terribly good at handling this stuff. Women are tough, and perhaps no one is tougher -- by necessity -- than a woman going through infertility. We bite the bullet and take the injection. We talk through tears. We subject ourselves to relentless poking and prodding. We chew on our lip when we want to yelp in pain. We keep going and ignore the voice inside that says I can't do it anymore. And sometimes we even manage to look cute doing it. I don't know about you, but some days the only thing that helps me leave the house is a pair of fabulous shoes.

All told, I am amazed at what we all are able to endure. I am reminded of the scene in Sex and the City after Charlotte's miscarriage. She's been sitting by herself, catatonic, for days, when she flips on the E! True Hollywood Story on Elizabeth Taylor, in which Taylor says, "Now is the time for guts and guile." The phrase brings her back to life; soon she is walking into Brady's child-centric birthday party looking flawless and ready to take on the world. How many times has each of us done the same -- returned from that desperate place of grief to brush ourselves off and walk on?

I know we would all do anything to cancel our memberships in this club. But since I'm an official, card-carrying member right now, it's such a relief to know that I'm not alone. You're all out there, surviving, showing me what it means to have guts and guile.


kirke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I hear you about feeling inadequate. I am still struggling with my feelings of ambivalence and anger towards my body for failing in this most 'natural' of processes.

Guts and guile. I like that.

Anonymous said...

I like it and I think you are right. We are so strong. We make the phone calls and place the orders and get the shots and go in for the tests and the endless blood draws-- and, as you said, we keep going. Here's to hoping you (and all of us) will be on the other side of all of this soon (but until then, you DO look fabulous!)

Arian said...

These are tough shoes to walk in! Thank goodness we can find some that at least look good while we stumble around right? I went through the same thoughts right after hubby's S.A. I wondered how things would be if I could tag a bit of the responsibility onto him. I know it is only my guilt and feelings of failure that caused me to think that though.

I totally agree that we are the strong ones. I find myself again and again digging down deep to find courage and coming up with new strength I didn't know I had before.

patricia dolan said...

This is so beautifully worded, thank you! I just experienced a miscarriage and these descriptions are just the words that identify this scenario.


SuperDee said...

Hi there - I stumbled upon your blog post today when searching for that line from sex and the city - the quote from liz taylor, who died this am. I am going through the infertility thing right now (and coincidentally my husband is miserable and whimpering with a cold this week) and your blog post spoke right to my heart to the point where I could have written this myself. I hope your journey ended up being fruitful (looks like this was written 3 years ago). So, I guess I just wanted to say thanks for articulating these feelings so accurately.