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The Women in the Waiting Room
a blog by Katie Landry, December 10, 2013
Infertility is no respecter of persons; Infertility plays no favorites. Infertility is an equal-opportunity employer.
Infertility has many faces.
These thoughts cross my mind every time I am in the RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist)’s office. An awkward place, the RE’s waiting room. There is no small talk. No eye contact. No one is there because they want to be there, because they chose to be there. In one sense, yes – they want to get pregnant, and they choose to get help. But no one wants or chooses this path to make it happen.
We are all there because something isn’t right. Something isn’t working like it is supposed to. And because of that, there’s a certain somberness that hovers over the women in the waiting room. We all respect the privacy of each other. No questions asked. No advice offered. No trite answers given or explanations presented; there are none.
Given the choice, we all would have chosen…well, not this.
Infertility looks like the pretty model-like woman in her….late thirties, maybe? Tan legs, short black-and-white dress, long dark hair, big wedding ring. Surely, not her?
Infertility looks like the trendy Philippine woman – with her lime green thermal v-neck, her neon pink iPhone cover with one earbud in her ear, her short, modern pixie haircut. Her? Yes, her, too.
Infertility looks like the cute twenty-something blond with thick bobbed hair, denim-jacket and Burberry scarf, her husband tailing behind her as she walks out of the office. Not her…
Infertility looks like the woman in her forties with the long salt-and-pepper hair, a little harried and worn, looking for one last shot, against all hopeful odds.
Infertility looks like the forty-something woman in a black pants suit coming in before work. It looks like the Spanish girl, the black girl, the white girl, the Indian girl, the Asian girl...
It looks like thirty-something woman in yoga pants and sneakers- someone I would probably be friends with, if we weren’t here…
Infertility looks like me: a thirty-nine year old teacher, married later in life, someone who always took care of herself, never thought she would ever not be able to be pregnant, someone who always worked hard, was kind to others, put God first…. Her, too?
Although the waiting room is silent, Infertility is not.
Infertility sounds like questions about insurance copays and wrangling about coverage for how many number of treatments? It sounds like phone calls with fear in your voice and hushed conversations behind examining room walls. It sounds like sniffles and held-back tears as you quickly exit before anyone sees you cry.
Infertility echoes in the stillness of the waiting room, all busy on our iPhones, waiting for our names to be called, waiting for the verdict of ‘this’ treatment or ‘that’ bloodwork or ‘those’ sonograms or which test was it? It sounds like the thousands of questions that echo and shout in our brains but no one hears. It sounds like silence to everyone else, but we know what infertility really sounds like: Fear. Confusion. Doubt. Hope. Hopelessness. Uncertainty.
You would never know Infertility if you passed her on the street. She looks just like everyone else.
But in the waiting room? We recognize her. Because as we sneak glimpses of each other (for no one really looks at each other openly), it is just like looking in the mirror.