Thursday, March 27, 2008

Things better left unsaid

My first thought was to turn this post into a "Top Ten Moronic Dumb Insensitive Things Ever Said To An Infertile Person Or About Infertility." Two Words: Jennifer Lopez*. But that's too easy. And it makes me mean and shrill. Instead, I'm moved to talk about how infertility has made me a less-mean person

  • I try very hard to self-censure before I blab out some moronic, dumb, insensitive utterance that will very likely hurt someone's feelings or make me look like an asshole. For example, I was in a class at work yesterday and a woman walked by wearing, I kid you not, a white, furry, long-haired vest. She looked like half a lama. I caught myself turning to my neighbor to snort derisively at this woman's fashion choice and then stopped. And said nothing. The woman did indeed look like an alpaca, but I had no business verbalizing it to a stranger or near stranger. (Caveat: If my husband had been sitting next to me, I would not have been able to stop myself.) In a way, I'm looking at this as karma-reversal. How many times have I heard things like "when are you having children and how old are you anyway?" and "I've heard relaxation and avoidance of stress helps". I'm sure these are paybacks for the times I did make the lama remarks.

LESSON: One should not dress as a domesticated South American hoofed mammal. No, no, no, I mean: THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

  • A close corollary to bullet #1, I'm learning that even if I believe in my heart of hearts that someone is doing or about to do something that is completely moronic or stupid, I don't need to share the full extent of that belief (unless it involves bodily harm or excessive weight gain, particularly mine). Even if pressed for my "honest opinion." Even if someone flatters me excessively, tells me I'm funny, that my reproductive organs are those of a 16 year old, that they will die, just die, if they don't have my brutal, honest opinion. Nope, not getting it. You know why? Nine times out of ten, people just need to be heard. And you just need to listen. And gently, ask questions and reassure that person that you support them. Even if they're making what you perceive to be a huge mistake. I know this because I remember every single conversation I've had about this journey where I was allowed to cry and talk and cry and be heard. For me, I'm saving my brutal, honest opinions for that 1/10 husband.

LESSON: Listening is a gift greater than words.

I realize that I've only written about two lessons I've learned from infertility that have made me less shrill, but I think they're biggies. (Notice how I didn't get defensive or say something mean like, "well you tell me what the hell you've learned in the last five months of any significance other than how not to wear goat.") Next month I will be posting from a yurt in Tibet on inner peace and the oneness of all human beings.


*According to People Magazine, J-Lo said about her pregnancy: "It was natural. We didn't do in vitro, which I know was reported. Everybody assumed that because we had twins. I wanted to have a baby, but I've always said exactly what I said all those years they (reporters) asked us since we've been married: 'Well, when are you guys gonna have some kids?' 'When it happens naturally, I guess!' And that's when it happened. It was a surprise to us."


Carrie said...

You are very funny. Honestly.

I don't know how J. Lo can say such things. It does seem a bit much.

I'm glad you are learning from your experiences, for me the whole deal has made me a much less fun, if slightly more empathetic, person. And, without doubt, more pessamistic. I used to think, why would it go wrong, I now think well why wouldn't it.

I'm impressed by your self control, wearing a goat vest is too silly to ignore. But you still thought it! Does that really make you any better than me??

PJ said...

J. Lo lies. She lies, she lies, she lies!

A few days ago my husband and I saw a woman with the ugliest, crashingly loud, obnoxious pants on that you have ever seen. I love my husband, because I didn't have to say a word. I just looked at him, and he knew. It was almost telepathic! Of course, we verbally trashed her.

Probably why we are infertile--karma and all :P

Paranoid said...

Half a llama. Snerk.

S said...

You are so funny. You are better at lesson learning then me!!! I would have made a snide comment!

Denise said...

Fertile people think those things too and probably sometimes say them out loud (like me). I try to be aware, but I'm sure I don't always catch myself. I don't have the best track record of keeping things to myself when it comes to my opinion. But that's what my friends love about me (or so they say).

Ahuva Batya said...

I think I will be looking to you as my yogi from now on. Peace on, sister. Llama vests off, however.

Mrs.X said...

Oh, J. Lo. If I could reproduce naturally with Marc Anthony or have infertility, I think I would choose infertility. He looks like a vampire. Of course, I just violated the basic tenant of your post which is to not say what I think, but hey! In this case, life is too short to stay silent and I suspect that many would agree with me.

On a more serious note, I understand the compassion and understanding lesson that infertility gives you. I too used to be very much into letting people know when I thought they were making a mistake. Now, unless it is a huge one (do not under any circumstances marry him), I keep my mouth shut and just smile and nod. I'm sure there are several of our friends who question the lengths to which we are going to reproduce (after all, why do you want screaming snot nosed kids!?) and they have thankfully kept their opinions to themselves. The least I can do is return the favor when they show up in leggings.

luna said...

I think I'll take the yurt next to yours. especially if they're handing out inner peace. ~luna

shinejil said...

J-Lo LIES! But I understand, though it was her choice to enter the celebrity meat grinder. Having your HSG covered in major mags is part of the bargain, yo.

What? You didn't like my new vest? But the Llama herders wove it for me special. They say it helps fertility.

I've been thinking a lot lately, too, about how IF has changed my approach to people. My big lesson is "Never assume." Just because a woman is pregnant or a mom doesn't mean she didn't go through hell.

Also, we women share this hell, but we've never talked in public about it before. So, while lots of gals are genuine bitches, mostly we're all in this together. While I might resent someone for getting knocked up with the wind blows from the right quadrant, she may have struggles that beat anything I've ever endured in IF.

Joonie said...

You are absolutely hilarious! You made my day! Really.

gracechild said...

yeah i read that article in my clinic's waiting room when I went for my baseline on tuesday and ..... i was torn. On the one hand i hate it when I tell the truth and no one belives me so I want to believe her. On the other hand....YEAH RIGHT! NATURALLY CONCEIVED MY FOOT. You conceived naturally then I must be the queen mother. So I'm torn

Io said...

You are funny. I suppose it's better to have learned *something*
Although I hear that dressing as a domesticated South American hoofed mammal is all the rage in Paris right now.

JJ said...

I feel the same way: Cele-blah-ty

I couldn't agree more about the listening...

Ommmm be with you!

Duck said...

hee hee heee.
Jlo lies, and it's not very good karma for anyone.
I too have learned a lot from this bitch of an issue, maybe when i'm having an up day, i too will write my happy to be learning from IF list.
PS - love that you have the uterus of a 16 year old is a complement.

Evil Stepmonster said...

I think shinejil is onto something. My brother brought me a statue in Sth America that is so ugly it freaks me out, but he was told it is a fertility symbol so it has pride of place on my dresser.
Your lesson #1 is a good one - you never truly know someone's situation.
Ommm to you in your yurt - heh maybe you could invite JLo.

meh said...

My friend at Paranoid led me to you, and let me tell you, you are gifted, hilarious, and a blog I will come back to. Thanks for the laughs. Thanks for reminding me to be thankful for my own crosses and not someone else's. Peace sister. I wish you all good things. God grant me the ability to hold my tongue as you did, llama vest indeed...