Yesterday Daniel and I were walking Wendy, trying to take her to more heavily populated areas because we’re trying to train her to be less of a maniac around humans who aren’t us and as we were headed home we ran into one of Daniel’s friends. It had been a few years since they’d seen each other and the guy was with his clearly pregnant wife.
We caught up, discussed career and homes and “have you talked to this person?” type-stuff and as it was going on I was thinking that I probably wouldn’t bring up the fact that we’re doing IVF. I just didn’t want to take anything away from her pregnancy and didn’t want to make her feel weird around me and I think there’s just something intrinsic in my female core that knows there’s cultural discomfort around the woman who wants a child but who is having trouble having a child and not only do I not want pity, I just would rather keep the focus on her news which is happy as opposed to mine which is complicated and awkward.
I am very open about our struggle with infertility—too open, many rooms full of men might say—but the one situation where I don’t immediately trot it out is when someone else is pregnant.
As I was thinking this, sure that not bringing it up was the right move, I heard Daniel say, “We just started IVF.”
There are times when marriage truly feels like a commingling of spirits, like you are two halves of the same whole, like you complete each other and are one heart in two bodies (which suggests you each have half a heart. How is that a good thing?) and you wonder how you existed so long without this other person who knows you so intimately it’s as if you communicate without speaking.
And then there are other times where you feel like what you are, two strangers who share a bathroom, use each other as their emergency contact, truly hope the best for one another, respect each other enough to both set an alarm when one has to be up super early which means two people are waking up every ten minutes while one of you hits snooze repeatedly and who often have a hunch about how the other feels but who don’t know for sure until you ask.
“If she guesses Moonrise Kingdom I’ll believe in telepathy,” Daniel told me he thought recently, as I guested on the Doug Loves Movies podcast. The game was to name as many Bruce Willis movies as possible and I was struggling. Daniel was in the live audience thinking the name over and over. Focusing on it, visualizing it, trying to send it to me with the power of his mind.
“The old Jim Belushi movie?” Doug asked incredulously.
“Yep!” I laughed as if maybe I’d been saying it as a joke.
Anyway, back to yesterday, before I had a chance to shoot a look at Daniel I heard the couple say they’d also done IVF. “Oh! What clinic do you go to?” I asked.
Turns out we go to the same clinic.
This is what I meant when I said, on a recent podcast, that ever since I’ve entered into the world of infertility, where I’m open about it and people are open about it with me, I feel as if it’s so much more common than you think. And so, as I explained on the podcast, I was briefly pulled out of this mindset when my good friend and fellow podcaster Jenna Kim Jones announced her pregnancy, which she achieved naturally, and which was a reminder that some people actually get pregnant naturally and easily and without spending enormous amounts of money and time and that also, though it’s become normal to me, there is a problem here and there is something a little broken about my lady bits and it shouldn’t have to be this way.
But then yesterday happened and now I’m thinking maybe I was right all along, that most of the kids in Los Angeles are conceived through IVF and that the reason everyone I know goes to the same clinic is because everyone does IVF, they just aren’t always open about it.
I just hope Jenna doesn’t feel alone. Everyone has their own pregnancy story and her way is just as valid, if a little less talked about.