Saturday, January 17, 2009

IF Silence

I was thinking. From what I can tell, the women in the IF blogosphere have female peers and friends IRL. But they're not infertile friends, not people going through the same thing. And also, the lovely IF ladies obviously have developed strong friendships with other IFers online.

I haven't made any close friends in the blogoworld (though I just got here, and already there are many whose adventures I follow with interest and fellow feeling). But I definitely don't have friends with whom I talk about infertility in my real life. Let's do the inventory.

(1) her husband and mine are friends. She has two kids but struggled very much for both (and definitely wants more). It obviously took a toll on her, but I found out before I was married and I wasn't in the boat yet. She and I would never have been best friends and knew each other only slightly, but I'm still impressed with how open she was with her struggles - in a way that didn't seem strange. Then her family moved. I haven't talked to her since.

(2) one of my profs! She got married after I met her. I know they don't have kids yet and really want them, but we're not friends.

(3) one of my classmates. She had been married three years and never used bc. She opened up to me once (in my first year of marriage - I didn't really know I was IF yet). I found out she'd been married 3 years, no bc, no nfp, and nothing - and had never consulted a doctor, and didn't want to b/c it might stress her husband, who was looking for a job. I entreated her to in case she was really sick. I called her a few times (she lives on the other coast) after I was definitely IF and felt like I'd like someone to share with. I thought she'd feel the same and couldn't tell when she called back. I called again some weeks later. She never returned the call and I haven't called since. Not going to stalk.

(4) another wife of a (very close) friend of DH. Lovely woman, I think she's great. But they've not even been married a year. I know her endo is worse than mine and she's a few years older. But I don't feel like she has a right to be in this "club" yet when I've had to suffer in it for so long (yes, I'm psycho) and the one time I mentioned how so much treatment for motherhood (hello! Second-oldest profession) seemed so unnatural and really bothered me, she said she was a nurse and it didn't bother her. This is reasonable, but zero connection, and I don't need to be condescended to, which is clearly the next step. Never going to discuss this again.

(5) another classmate. She had never had kids in a fourteen-year marriage. A mutual friend had mentioned she and her husband couldn't have kids and wanted to adopt. I brought up once that I was infertile. She never took the bait. Never mind.

(6) another classmate. She's been married 11 years. Can't tell whether she and the husband are waiting on purpose but it sure doesn't seem likely. She's given me (unwanted, medically unsound, but graciously offered) advice on my infertility, but never said a word about her situation. Supposedly, we were very good friends, but she's very reserved. She didn't bring it up, so I never asked.

(7) a small handful of other classmates who graduated with a few years married and no kids. Couldn't tell whether they were waiting on purpose and we've lost frequent contact. No point raising the matter now.

So, I'm no different. If it's really 1/7 of couples, I must know lots of infertile couples - maybe even several of similar age and similar values to mine. But I don't talk about IF with any real-life friends (OK, with the obvious exception of the many non-IF people who ask).

I hardly have a great following, but anyone who is reading, I'd really like to know: is this your experience too? Do you have any insight as to why this is?


  1. I too have found it difficult to find friends in real life to speak with about IF. My family knows a little bit and there are a couple of girls at work that I talk to a little bit, but no one is actually living with IF themselves. They are very supportive, but they don't completely understand. I too have been reading a lot of blogs online but haven't really made any special connections online either. It do really like reading other blogs though. It really helps you realize that you aren't crazy for feeling the way that you do.

  2. I found that too, that I didn't know anyone in RL that was dealing with what I am... until I started opening about it a little. I would say probably half of my co-workers know, and it was how I found out one of them is in the same boat.

  3. I definitely have limited people IRL to talk to about this (outside of immediate family and 1 or 2 close friends) but they are not going through it. The only one that is close is my friend E who had to be on clomid after having some cycle issues (she had a m/c) but then went on clomid and got pregnant the first month. I love being on here and reading others blogs to feel like I am not alone.

  4. Okay so I thought about your statement. First, I think I am one of the only people who one of her best friends is also infertile. However, the two of us became friends before she found out that E and I suffered from IF as well. When she did find out about our IF, she is the only person who understands and I have spent many of hours crying to her. I have kept our IF struggle very private from others, including my family.

    Now if I talked about my other friends (the girls I call 'table 1'). I am the only one right now in that boat. There are eight of us in total.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog a few weeks ago. I have been too busy to sneak back over here and comment back. :)

  5. I don't know anyone irl who is openly IF if that makes sense. I on the other hand have reached the point where I talk about infertility all the time.