I am, through a blessing from the universe and a successful ivf cycle, a mother to a beautiful 3-year-old. And I am thankful beyond words for every minute I spend with her. Every tantrum, every irrational meltdown in the middle of Target, every refusal to fall asleep at night... all treasured moments because I know how impossibly lucky I am to be able to experience them. I never forget this. Especially not while I'm in my 3rd year of trying to get pregnant with baby #2. But that doesn't stop friends and family from continually reminding me, "At least you have Jocelyn." I must have heard it a dozen times this past weekend.
I remember reading, in an article about how to support women struggling with infertility, that the "at least..." argument was not really supportive, and it's true. They compared it to telling an amputee that "at least" they still have another leg. It's not helpful, and it's insulting. It assumes that I have become so focused on ivf that I've completely forgotten about the child I do have. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've become so focused on ivf FOR the child I do have. I probably would have given up 5 cycles ago if it wasn't for how badly I want my daughter to have a sibling to grow up with.
Of course, there's a worse argument I got to experience this weekend, the one that hurt the most--the salt in my lemon-stung wounds...the "just relax" comment. And it came from someone who knows, in great detail, just how much we've been struggling with this. It came from someone who knows how we've emptied our bank accounts and extended our credit into the abyss to pay for all of this treatment. And it freaking hurt.
She said, "You hear all these stories about people who struggle forever to get pregnant and when they finally stop trying, it just happens! They learn to relax and it works!" I had to look away. She turned to me and said, "Right?" And I couldn't dignify it with a response.
I looked into space hoping that a white screen would fall from the sky displaying a PowerPoint on how the human reproductive system functions. I could click through one slide at a time and hope that maybe, just maybe, visual aids would help explain the situation we're in. Perhaps an animation or brightly-colored pie chart would make it clear that we have zero chance of getting pregnant naturally.
Later that evening, I cried on my husband's shoulder about these comments, wishing that people could just "get it." But I've come to realize that there's only one group of people who really understands infertility, and that's the infertile. I am so lucky to have stumbled across some amazing women through this journey, and we all have each other's back. When I finally get around to making my "Infertility for the Insensitive" PowerPoint, I promise I'll post it for all to use.