The Hideous Truth
A blog by a regular josephine-shmo type o' gal who desires to share various hideous truths with the world.... and to hear readers' points of view re said hideous truths. Perhaps I am just a bitter, loopy 30 something with a chip on my shoulder. Or perhaps not. We shall see, shan't we?


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NOVEMBER 4, 2009 11:02AM

Don’t Tell Me to Fucking Relax.

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going insane

Don’t Tell Me to Fucking Relax.

Infertility & Me: A Hate Story.


I am so sick of people telling me it will happen when we relax.  I’ve been trying to get pregnant for five excruciating years and for some reason I continue to get inane, useless advice from strangers and those well known alike.  Not that I go around spewing out to any Tom Dick or Harriet the fact that I am trying to get pregnant, but sometimes I feel forced to, for social reasons or plain and simple necessary reasons.  When you’ve been through ten IUIs (artificial inseminations), 5 IVFs (in-vitro fertilizations), have been taking injectable hormones for five years, some intramuscularly (which, if you’ve never had, you’re lucky – they hurt!  Bad!), had about ten surgeries, one miscarriage, been in and out of the hospital for four years due to medical complications, had to go off every crutch known to wo/man including wine, coffee, working out (doctor said it stressed my ovaries and raised my FSH level) and zit cream… well you get the point.  I even had to quit my job because of all the time off and the medical problems.  Which, of course didn’t help the fact that my husband and I have spent every penny we’ve ever saved and even gone into debt.  Now we have no down payment for a house (we’re pushing forty, I’m a Harvard grad, he has PhD and an MBA from MIT and we still cannot afford a house – even a shitty one - because of medical bills?  This is the topic for another blog!) 

          Anyway, I want to share some of my experiences with “friends,” which I’ve had to endure while going through all this, and – mind you – while being fat (not working out, taking massive quantities of hormones, and eating a diet that I would never normally eat, including meat which I HATE and hadn’t eaten since I was about 12, have caused me significant weight gain), having worse zits all over my face than I did when I was prepubescent (I am talking hormonal, cystic acne that makes your face look like a pizza – and I can’t take zit cream), being partially psychotic because of the hormones (am I the only one out there who has threatened to kill her husband?), and am wearing outfits from the 90’s because I cannot afford to buy anything new since my fucking ovaries and eggs have put us in debt and I feel too guilty to buy anything for myself anymore.  (In summary, I look like the title of my blog: hideous).

So, given these factoids, there is a couple that my husband and I hang out with every now and then.  They invited us out to dinner (an expensive place, no doubt, thanks to the woman who for some reason MUST be the one to choose the restaurant every time we meet with them).  We went and were chatting over appetizers.  (Note: I had allowed my husband to tell these people about my medical problems because we kept on having to refuse their invites for evening events because I was taking refrigerated injectable drugs every night at certain times, and you just can’t go out when you need access to your refrigerator and than must have shots in the stomach or ass.  So I finally just told my husband to tell the guy why we were refusing and that it was nothing personal.  I put myself on the line – I trusted them with something very personal and deeply painful - to spare their feelings.)  And this is what happened.  We were chatting and the woman mentions how she LOVES to work out.  Bitch just LOVES working out: spinning, stair master, treadmill… you name it!  She loves it!  And she loves it so much she does it for two hours a day!  So I sit, hearing about her beloved workout routine, and thinking how fat I am, ‘cause I haven’t worked out for years.  I think how it is such a privilege that healthy people able to do so take for granted.  When she was done, I said that she was lucky and that I hadn’t been able to work out for many years.  Her boyfriend gave her a look and said, “See, I told you it’s not healthy to work out so much!”  And – get this – she leaned over to him and whispered loudly enough for both my husband and me to hear, “Don’t worry, I’m fertile.” 


My husband and I had given this chick the thumbs up when our friend (the guy) had introduced us to her and asked us for our opinion.  I had given her a glowing report and had been so supportive of her, every time they fought I was on her side.  I would defend her to him, because that’s what women do for each other, right??

Then there are the people who tell you “Relax!  It’ll all happen for you when you stop trying and just relax.  Take a vacation!”

Huh??  Will a vacation address my egg quality or whatever other unknown problems we have paid so much money to have diagnosed, yet still have no definitive identification of?  Even my own mother, when I was on my fourth IVF try and was going out of my mind with fear and hormone-induced psychosis told me to “relax, and take this all in stride.” 


OH, and what about the time some bitch in my building had the nerve to come up to me and blatantly ask me “how come you and your husband don’t have children?  You should have children!  They bring so much joy!”  She said this while miming the cradling motion with her arms.  Have you ever wanted to rip off someone’s head and then stomp on their bloody corpse?  I have.

Anyway, the point of this all is that I am here to share with the world a few take-aways:

1)                If you see a married, childless couple, DO NOT ASK THEM when they are going to have children.  It is none of your fucking business.

2)                If you are privileged with being trusted with painful personal health information, be a fucking human being and treat this information with care.  Be nice to the person.  Ask them how they are doing from time to time but do not pry.

3)                If you know a couple going through infertility – or ANY health or life problems for that matter – DO NOT TELL THEM INANE/IDIOTIC advice just so you have something to say.  Rather, be human and, if you cannot sympathize, you can at least empathize and tell them, “I am so sorry.  That is awful.  Is there anything I can do?” 

4)                And mean it.  Don’t then just forget it like it never happened.  Send them a card every now and then telling them you’re thinking about them.  Find a few good infertility (or cancer, or grief etc) books and share them with them with a card.  Non-judgmental support is so appreciated.  You will have a friend for life.

5)                Do not start avoiding them because YOU feel uncomfortable.  I cannot tell you how many people have told me they did this because they did not know what to say.  Refer to #3 above and recite it over and over and then call them or write a fucking note, or – even better – take the time to go see them.

6)                When you chat with them over the years that they are struggling, be mindful and sensitive of their perspective.  While I don’t often feel sensitive about all the other couples I know who have healthy, happy children, it does hurt me after a particularly grueling procedure to get emailed photos of the glowing children with parents.  Many infertile women cannot go to baby showers.  I just made the favors for my cousin’s baby shower (she is my age and got pregnant her first try!) and don’t really feel that way.  But know that many women do.  Be sensitive.  When I was in the hospital for a week last fall because of – once again, the doctors never really were able to diagnose it…. Maybe it was a “twisted ovary?”  Duh???? And you just got paid $60,000 to tell me this? – some unknown medical complication, I was pretty rock bottom.  I had a catheter up my crotch, which was put in by some twenty year-old who had never done it before, making an already humiliating experience traumatic and very painful.  I had a collapsed vein in my HAND from the same inexperienced staff trying to insert the IV into my HAND.  (Why God?  I am always told I have great veins by the phlebotomists I get blood taken from every other day during my procedures.)  I was in severe pain from the unknown medical problem.  I was seriously thinking about ending it.  And my best friend calls shortly after, and starts telling me about how she is spending $3,000 on decorating her front hallway of her $600,000 gorgeous home…. I love her so much but it was not the time.


In summary, this blog actually deals with more than just infertility.  It is in support of anyone who is going through anything that is hard, that is life changing, that is lonely and frustrating, and scary and confusing.  I often feel I am the only person in the fucking world (okay – in the U.S., that is) who does not have a perfect life, despite having worked my ass off and tried to make all the right decisions along the way.  Most of my friends all got married in their 20’s.  To the wrong people who they either divorced or are unhappy with and cheating on.  I waited until I found Mr. Right.  We were in our early 30’s.  In my twenties I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, traveled a lot, worked my ass off for several nonprofits and boards, and then went to graduate school at Harvard.  In my husband’s 20’s, he earned his Ph.D. and worked his ass off to realize the “American Dream” (he is not from this country).  After dating duds forEVER, I finally met my husband and we dated for two years and then got engaged.  My filthy rich friend (who has never worked a day in her life), who has two beautiful children and whose husband does insider trading and cheats on her, told me I should get pregnant right away.  That’s what she did – she got pregnant and then they eloped.  I said I wanted to wait until we got married.  I had a high-level stressful job and it took me two years to plan the wedding.  We got married when we were in our med 30’s.  I then went off the birth control pill, which I had been on for almost twenty years in order to PREVENT an unplanned pregnancy.  Always responsible, right?  I started trying immediately…. And then the whole saga began…

What did I do wrong?  Was it waiting for Mr. Right, or maybe being on the pill for so long?  Was is not trying just a few years earlier before I was married but before the dreaded age of 35 when your fertility dramatically plummets and goes to shit?

Oh – one more thing before I close.  It’s a takeaway for all the young women out there who see themselves in me (wanting a career, education, Mr. Right, etc)… I want to tell you that if you are in your late twenties or early thirties and still have not found Mr. Right, consider freezing your eggs.  I so wish I had.





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I second Tom's statement: You did nothing wrong. Best wishes.
Whoa, just relax there little lady! (Kidding, I'm kidding.)

I understand your frustration. If it helps to know that someone else has shared similar experiences and feels a little bit of your pain, then that's what I offer you.
Wow, that picture reflects the emotions of the entire post. Good luck. I agree with Tom, life can be a prankster throwing out the best made plans.
I sorry this is happening to you. However, YOU>DID>NOTHING>WRONG.
People can really be clueless! And you did NOTHING wrong--sometimes life just throws these terrible things your way. So sorry for all you've had to go through. You're a great writer--glad you joined OS!
You did nothing wrong. You can't play what-if, it will get you nothing but heartache.

I would like to say that this is a wonderful post for not only this situation, but for anyone who is experiencing grief. Your advice to friends was perfect - 4 & 5 especially.
I can't have kids and do not understand why everyone and their cat thinks they know what I should do or feels the need to know whether I can't have kids or am I just a selfish bitch. Best to you and your husband. You did nothing wrong.
I am sorry this happened to you. All of it. The bride is a bitch and you should not send her anything. She has no manners and no humanity.
Hell, I would have slapped the bitch. Why didn't your husband speak up and tell her to screw off? That just sucks, period. One of my own sisters threw her "fertility" in my face in a similar manner, even when she knew about the loses we have had.

You don't need this kind of negativity in your life.
This is a heartbreaking situation, I am so sorry it is happening to you and your husband. I hate rude people, one post last week had the perfect response "how about a big cup of Shut the F Up? " for the clueless. Best to you, R