There I am standing next to door belonging to my vampire Psychiatry doctor. I call him a vampire because his office hours don’t start until 9pm. (Technically they start when he arrives, so it could be 9pm or 10:30pm.) He has weird hours and is flaky about arriving on time, but he really knows what he’s doing. The kind that actually cares what you’re dealing with and will work with you to find a solution without automatically reaching for the prescription pad. Talking to him you feel like a person and not just a patient. And for that reason, I and many others overlook the odd hours and lack of punctuality.
This is “fast track” night. The night the receptionist has off, so no new patients. Just those patients he is comfortable our treatment is working and basically only need prescription refills. Making the whole operation a first come first serve system. It’s important to arrive early, or you may end up driving home at 2 in the morning.
To the chagrin of the stranger walking towards the door, I’m first tonight. He appears to be in his mid 40’s and we start up a conversation. He’s a guitar player who’s looking to start another band. (Sorry Bub, Jingle Bells on the keyboard is all I know.) He’s also a hairdresser and originally from New York. Moved to the area several years ago to help take care of his father and lives with his brother for now until he can save enough to move back to New York.
I found this conversation interesting and amusing even though my ADD was screaming this was utterly pointless and would rather get back to playing the game on my phone. Then he said, “My Brother and his wife live in a huge 4 bedroom house and I don’t understand why they don’t have any kids.”
Before I had a chance to respond his phone rang. He rushes off to have a private phone conversation leaving me standing there with the revelation that his brother and wife’s childlessness is probably not by choice dangling off the tip of my tongue. I waited, hoping to continue the conversation upon his return when a disturbing thought struck me, forcing me to swallow my words.
Would his brother thank me or hate me for revealing this information? Am I a radio broadcasting the word of infertility to this guitar playing hairdresser? Or am I a rat revealing a secret this gentleman’s brother didn’t feel comfortable talking about to his own sibling? There is a small possibility his brother likes big houses and doesn’t want kids, but I’m finding that to be more the exception rather than the rule. I stood there like Holden Caulfield feeling dumb for not knowing what I should do or how I should act.
This gentlemen returned holding a new issue of Guitar Player magazine and was now more interested in it than talking, so I went back to playing on my phone. I wasn’t ready to start outing another persons infertility. Not without at least attempting to explain the sensitive nature of the topic and why this information would be kept even from those family members closest to them.
Infertility is so much more than simply being unable to have a child. There is a huge emotional and social baggage that we carry with us. To be told we aren’t capable of preforming a task that everyone on the outside simply takes for granted. We in the infertile community took it for granted ourselves up until that one doctor’s visit when we found out a miracle or science would be needed in order to reproduce.
I think I may look into having some cards printed for this blog. So next time I can hand one to someone who questions why their loved one isn’t having children. Thereby spreading the word about infertility, and hopefully, providing them with knowledge allowing them to approach the topic with the sensitivity it deserves.
I’m open to suggestions.
I’m still amazed by how many of us there are struggling with infertility. I have a friend at work I’ve known for several years. He’s married with no children, and both he and his wife are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever be lucky to meet.
Most probably think this couple have chosen not to have kids. I remember being one of them years ago. Since finding out about my own fertility problems, I have wondered if maybe he and his wife being childless might be more than simply a lifestyle choice. But how to bring up the topic in conversation?
“Dude, you shooting blanks too?” Seems a little too brash.
“Wife have a bum oven?” That won’t work. My nuts may be worthless, but they can still cause me pain when struck with a foot.
I didn’t want to bring up the topic of children, knowing how much I regret it when someone forces that topic on me. So we end up only discussing safe topics. Video games, movies, sports, heck even politics and religion turned out to be safe topics compared to discussing fertility.
Today at lunch the topic of diet and exercise was brought up. Considering it’s the New Year and we both struggle with our weight, not a surprising January 2nd conversation.
“Our diet got thrown off track when we started fertility treatments.” I blurted out of the clear blue. The initial horror of what I had said hung in the air. I first noticed the room was in fact empty, thank goodness. But the elephant I just laid still made me hold my breath, waiting for a response.
Maybe he didn’t notice or would ignore what was just spoken and continue with the conversation we were having?
Breathe, breathe, wait…what?
In an instant the connection was made. I knew what he had been suffering and he knew my own.
I wonder if my subconscious knew what it was doing blurting out those words. I sure hope that is the case, because I may have to become a hermit if I start shouting about infertility in a crowded restaurant. I may be open and honest on this blog and I certainly have told my closest friends and family about my situation. But as far as the general population is concerned, like all of you, I’m still hiding in plain site.
Yesterday fellow blogger rarasaur caught the poetry bug and wanted to write a limerick or a haiku about other blogs and was asking for requests. Curious and amused by this request, I submitted my blog for consideration. I was completely blown away with the result. The request line is still open if you’re interested. Without further ado…
IVF Male and the story of his folding mistress and battle for children to be.
A man tells a tale of fertility,
from a bathroom designed for sterility,
a small folded chair
keeps him grounded in where
parenthood is founded — humility.
For this weeks challenge, we are being asked to write about a controversial topic. And the question for the chosen topic is…
How do you feel about children in adult-oriented places?
No, not strip clubs and titty bars. Of course not those places you perv. We’re talking about fancy restaurants, art museums, symphonies or plays at a theater. The root of the question is: “How do you feel about children in locations where adult behavior is expected?” And that my friends is where the question falls flat on its face.
I’ve met some very well behaved children that I would have no problem sitting nearby while I ate my $60 steak. Are these kids perfect…of course not, they’re just kids. They act up, the parents correct them, and the evening continues. If that isn’t enough, the parents will remove the child until the child calms down. More than likely those types of parents would hire a sitter next time and try again when the child is a little older.
I’ve also been embarrassed by adults that should really know better. Climbing on a statue for a photograph when there is even a sign posted, “Please do not climb on statue.” Or the time some jerk threw a whole bale of hay into the bonfire almost burning the party host’s house down. I can’t help but wonder if they would behave better as adults, if their parents actually taught them etiquette by including them in activities where proper behavior was expected.
I say if you are wanting to teach your children how to behave like an adult, you should expose them to situations requiring that behavior. If you have no interest in your child’s behavior, then please get a sitter; but more than likely you’re going to be annoying me anyway with phone beeps while texting with your friends all evening.
For me, restricting children from these events depends on if the child is ready to learn these lessons, and each child is different. This happens to be one of those lessons I had tucked away for my child. I was willing to risk leaving a pleasant evening early over a misbehaved child to teach lessons that would be beneficial for the rest of their lives. Just as my parents did with me.
Now if we could just ban idiots. In my Venn Diagram parents who don’t watch their children are already included.
I’ve found blogging to be a big help dealing with the emotions throughout this process. The problem I’m facing is previously there was always a new step in the process to talk about. A funny story to share about an uncomfortable Urology visit, or being attacked by an overhead cabinet. Now I’m struggling with what to write about without every post turning into, “woes is me…I’m infertile and IVF didn’t do donkey balls to help me.”
The Dear Ivfmale posts are fun to write. But it’s really hit or miss if I have anything good to talk about. Twice now I’ve given up and posted something anyway, just to have a plethora of search gems pop up later that day. So I decided to start participating in the weekly “Daily Post Challenge” to keep the blog interesting and relevant to it’s purpose about issues dealing with infertility.
But another part of me wanted to do these challenges in hopes of getting Freshly Pressed. I know I can bring the emotion and I’m pretty sure if the right people would read one of these posts, it would be a good candidate for being selected. Sure it’s simply an ego boost. Frankly, after the dark thoughts running through my head this past weekend, I’m not ashamed to admit I need some ego boosting right now.
So I wrote the poem and posted it hoping that maybe being Freshly Pressed, it might raise my confidence and make me feel there is more to my future than just having a child.
With all the positive comments the poem received, it was a big help in bringing me out of my funk. I felt maybe I do have a shot at being chosen.
Then on Tuesday, my wife read the poem. She loved it! She loved it so much she posted it to her Facebook not caring who read it. It doesn’t matter hardly anyone has clicked her link. It doesn’t matter whether I’m chosen to be Freshly Pressed or not. I was Wife Pressed. She loves my poem and she loves me. And that’s all that really matters.