Saturday, January 20, 2007

Presto! You're (not) Pregnant!

I've lurked around the infertility message boards long enough to know that a lot of infertile women are bothered, nay, pissed off, when patients bring their young children to the RE office. As a fellow infertile, I get this.

Look, we know it's inescapable. Pregnant women, babies, and toddlers (oh my!) are everywhere. But what you've got to understand is that EVERY TIME we see them we have to choke down a feeling of pain/longing/desperation/jealousy/inadequacy until it burns holes in our stomachs.

And, as much as I'd like to, I can't go asking the management at say, the Kroger I prefer, to ban children from the grocery store.

It's especially difficult for me since I work in an elementary school. Excuse me, ma'am, could you please stop bringing your child to my place of work? And sir, what are you trying to do to me, dropping off an entire BUS LOAD of children every morning? Are you trying to rub it in?

But, the RE office is supposed to be a safe haven for us infertiles. A place where everything is designed for us, where infertility is not only the norm, but the requirement.

A woman who brings her children to her RE appointment is like a skinny woman showing up at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. And eating KFC.

On the other hand, I understand babysitters are not always easy to find/ afford. Perhaps some women bring their children because they have no other alternative.

My husband would be proud that I've made such a charitable interpretation.

But here's a phenomenon that I, charitable as I may be, can just not understand: People who WORK in the RE office having pictures of their children in the office. Pointing out. Toward the patient. At eye level.

If I had the guts to say these things In Real Life, this is what I would tell them:

Look, Ms. Financial Manager, I KNOW you have children. Remember, I saw you at the coffee shop sharing a scone with your three year old son? But, I really don't need little Aidan to witness the signing of a $20,000 check. In my head his picture comes alive and he taps his fingertips together saying, "Bwahahaha... Any university I choose!"

And, to you, Mr. RE doctor man, your children are adorable really, but don't you understand how much it hurts to have little Emma grinning at me while you tell me I'll need expensive, invasive medical intervention to MAYBE conceive a child? If you don't understand, who the hell does?

Keep your pictures, please, just have enough empathy to turn them around.

And, by the way, Mr. RE guy, there is something I've been meaning to mention to you. That article in the parenting magazine that quotes you? The one called PRESTO! YOU'RE PREGNANT! with tips on how to get pregnant quickly and naturally? It's very good. You must be quite proud. So proud, in fact, that you highlighted, framed, and mounted it directly above the stirrups in the exam room. Now, being an-RE-so-good-you-are-quoted-in-magazines, you realize of course, that the women in those stirrups, your target audience, are not PRESTO! pregnant. It might, perhaps, be a bit distressing to the woman with her feet in the air and the probe up her coochie to see that title looming over her.

Especially on her 52nd visit.

Now, don't worry, I'm sure no one would be so bothered by it as to rip it down from the wall, smash it over the ultrasound machine and deposit the bits into the medical waste bin, but I just thought I'd mention it.


RevaLou said...

You made me laugh and cry when I read this post. You made several great points that I had never thought of. I have made comments to you and then immedialtely thought to myself, "Idiot, what were you thinking." Not really thinking how my off handed comments about being rather happy that I never had kids might make you feel and for that I am sorry. Just smack me next time.
Don't you find blogging rather cathartic?

Susan said...

Hi Reva! It's so exciting to get a comment. Girl, don't even think about it... I've never been offended by anything that you've said. (and you may be the only person I can say that about...).
Yes, blogging is incredibly cathartic. Who knew? I blog. I'm a blogger. I blog about infertility. Now there is a sentence I never thought I would say!
Love you.

Melissa said...

Oh my gosh - YES! I totally agree! Thankfully I haven't had the experience of seeing kid pictures at my RE's office but I think I'd totally freak if I did.