Sitting in the waiting room at the infertility office is an interesting experience. When I'm there, I feel like I'm a member of a secret society--a society where age, race, sex, religion, and socioeconomic background simply don't matter. We all sit quietly with our heads down. Occasionally we look up, glance around, and exchange an empathetic smile with another "member." We are all aiming for the same goal. Our membership cards come in the form of small, white pills and syringes. There are expensive dues that come along with this society, but we hope the payout will be worth it.
When one of us gets bad news, we know only the other members can truly understand the pain and suffering deep within our hearts. When one of us gets good news, we are sensitive to the others, who are always the first in line to congratulate us. Because they are the only ones who know how hard we've worked. We often don't need to say a word for other society members to understand how we feel. A look or a moment of silence is all we need to convey our emotions.
Some of us arrived here with our husbands. Others came alone. Some of us were born into this society, and all of us will die as members--regardless of whether or not we achieve our goal. Some of us will remain positive until the very end, finding hope and joy in every step along the way. Others will become calloused and bitter, angry at members who reached their goal and sad about the loss of something they have never felt. Some of us wear our membership on our sleeves. Others hide it beneath their layers of clothing, bringing it out only in their home or doctor's office where they feel most comfortable and secure. We are branded for life: infertile. It's like the scarlet letter. The letter, which was originally meant to shame her, becomes a symbol of Hester's identity. Instead of feeling guilt and isolation, she feels strength. Infertility is like this. We can let it make us feel like outcasts, or we can use it for good--to feel powerful when this disease makes us feel so powerless.
I curse my fate a lot. I've done it on this blog, to my husband, to my friends and family, and in the confines of my own head and aching heart. But being in the waiting room at the office made me feel at peace, like I was home with my people. As I sat there listening for my name to be called. I'm thankful to have the support system that I do in the infertility community. I have never met any of you, but you have been there for me in ways my real-life friends simply can't be.