Friday, October 3, 2014

We are everywhere.

The weird thing about the pain of infertility is that it's so private.  For whatever reason, society decided that it's not one of those things we can talk about openly in casual conversation.  Being in law school, I feel like that's especially true for me because the vast majority of my peers aren't anywhere close to the stage of life that I'm in.

In fact, most still think it's crazy that I'm married.  My first year, while I was still getting to know everyone, there would come a point in each developing friendship when I would say something like "my husband" or "my mother-in-law" or "I promise you that when I say no, it is not an invitation to try harder; please look at the rock on my finger and then walk away", and the other person would realize that I was married.  Not once did anyone react with a casual, "Oh, that's cool."  Nope.  Shock and awe and horror, generally, and then I would have to sit through a several minute monologue about how crazy it is for them that I'm married because they don't feel AT ALL mature enough for that kind of lifelong commitment (not that they're saying I'm not mature enough or anything.  Seriously, they're SUPER happy for me and totally sure that it will work out).

Suffice it to say, I feel pretty confident that sharing with said peers that I want to procreate would be met with the same (or greater) amounts of shock and monologue, and it gets pretty exhausting, so I will pass.  Besides, infertility makes it a non-issue for now.

So, because of this, I have a secret pain and a secret life that I don't share with any of the people I see day to day, which is nice because it allows me to have somewhat of a break while I'm at school, but it sucks when people ask me how I am and I have to be careful how I answer.  Sometimes I wonder whether there are any others in the classroom struggling just below the general awareness.

Well, yesterday I met one.  In casual conversation before my clinic seminar started, people were talking about how weird allergies are and the clinic aide said that when she was pregnant she spontaneously developed a peanut allergy that went away when she wasn't pregnant anymore.  I had known that she was married, but not that she had children, so I said, "Oh, how many kids do you have?"


"But you just said you were pregnant..."

And then she gave me that tight smile that I know so well.  The smile that says, "Please figure it out because I don't want to say it.  To be honest, it still hurts."

I immediately apologized and said I was sorry to hear that to save her from having to explain and then the professor came in and started class so I couldn't say anything further.  I wish I could tell her that I know what she's going through, but I don't know how appropriate that would be or how much she would want to talk about it with a student of the law school she works at.  That might be weird.  But, somehow, it's nice to know she'd get it even if we never talk about it.  It's nice to know she's there.  And I'm sure there are others are out there, too... hurting just beneath the surface.

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