Infertility, Poison Ivy and What We Wear On Our Outside

infertility pic   woman with maskDid you ever have one of those days?

 

For instance, you have a really important business meeting. With someone you want to impress. With someone where you would really like to put your best foot forward.

 

You wake up in the morning (having picked out a great outfit the night before), and there it is. Poison ivy all over your face. Itchy. Ugly. Blotchy. Undeniable and right out there in the open.

 

There is no hiding it.

 

Yeah, one of those days.

 

And yet, I still compare a day like that to a day in fertility treatment where I sat waiting for test results.

 

Where wearing my heart on my sleeve was not wearing poison ivy on my face.

 

Sitting in my classroom, full of enthusiastic, noisy and wonderful first graders, wondering if I would ever have the joy of picking up my own after school. Full of messy hands and a lovingly painted picture just for me.

The Effects of Infertility

Those days, my insides were not stamped on my face. My infertility didn’t affect my way of walking or speaking. I didn’t have a splint or a cast and I didn’t need to use a wheel chair. If I put on a bright enough, shiny enough face, no one would ever guess what I was going through. There would not have to be any explanations for my hurt because it was so deep inside.

 

My mask some days was much more intact than others. There were days where an innocent enough question would reach deep inside and twist what was already hurting. I would smile and do my best to not let it show through my smile.

 

I wonder now, sitting here, with poison ivy all over my face. Uncomfortable to feel, uncomfortable to look through and surely uncomfortable to look at, how it would have been to go through infertility with it stamped all over my face.

 

I wonder how the lack of privacy would have affected me. I wonder about the comfort that was often not available precisely because my troubles were not visible and I chose not to share; I wonder if I had made a different choice, how my life might have been.

 

I wonder about being stared at today. For just one day. I wonder what it would be like if I had to endure that as well with infertility. The looks of pity or disgust or compassion. I wonder if I had to live my life with my hurts marked all over my face.

What if every time I felt disappointment, that word magically appeared on my forehead? What if it faded to say relief? Then morphed into quiet joy?

 

What if we were open books and what we were going through was plain for all to see because it was all over our faces?

 

I wonder.

 

For today, my infirmity and discomfort is there. Some will ignore it. Some will stare. Some will offer unsolicited advice. Some will turn away.

 

Sending love out to my friends and family who have always just quietly been patient and loving with me. Throughout all my infertility trials and tribulations. And throughout poison ivy as well.

 

 

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Topics: Privacy, Feelings, Support

Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.

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