Last week we were leaving the fertility clinic when we heard someone call our names. It was our friend Jenna. Our first reaction was the usual pleasant surprise that happens when you bump into a friend unexpectedly. Hey Jenna! Then in a split second we remembered where we were and thus that our cover, and Jenna’s, was blown. The surprise shifted to shock as the three of us stared at each other in disbelief. You too? Have you been coming here for awhile? Yup. You? Yup.
We were all still stunned. Then the shock shifted to exuberant excitement. We couldn’t believe it. This whole time we had been socializing with Jenna and Eric this past winter, we were both hiding the gut-wrenching truth of what was actually going on in our lives. We’d been making small talk about vacation plans and their new condo when we could have actually been talking about what was on our minds – with some of the few people who actually get it.
We started talking a mile a minute and comparing notes and disbelief that we were all going through fertility problems. It’s a funny thing to be excited about and it was interspersed with “well I’m sorry you’re going through this too” then back to the excitement that we finally had people we could talk to about this who actually got it. I’m pretty sure our conversation was so boisterous that the entire waiting room full of anxious couples was staring at us.
For the rest of the afternoon I felt like I was still coming down from a high. It was so wonderful to finally feel like we weren’t alone – to feel like we weren’t freaks and that other normal people – friends we go cottaging with, who I went to grad school with, whose wedding we attended – good friends, were also going through this. We immediately messaged Jenna and made plans for a double date.
When we came home my husband and I started wondering about their story and figured that they had likely started going to fertility clinic around the same time as we had. We were experiencing such parallel struggles yet it was only the fortuitous timing of our appointments that led us to realize we were in a similar situation.
I’ve been so frustrated that I haven’t had anyone to talk to about this. They say that one in six couples experience infertility yet there is radio silence around the issue. I’ve been banging my head against the wall every time another friend gets pregnant wondering “where the hell are the other one in six?”. Turns out, they were right beside me this whole time.