It’s tricky, knowing whether it applies to you or not. There hasn’t been a definitive diagnosis. No doctor has told you that you can’t get pregnant. You just don’t get pregnant. You keep not getting pregnant, month after month. Are you infertile or just unlucky?
Or maybe you’re just old. You might be imagining it - paranoia is not unlikely given your emotional state - but you’re pretty sure anyone who knows that you’re trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant (your doctor included) puts the blame squarely on you. Of course it’s not happening for you. You should have started this ten years ago. Except your twenties came and went (along with part of your thirties) before you met someone you’d like to have a baby with.
Still, despite your advanced age, you didn’t anticipate this difficulty. People get pregnant all the time. They do it accidentally. Surely if basically everyone in the world can manage to do this thing, so can you. Just look around - suddenly everyone you know is pregnant. Every week another friend will announce her pregnancy (the ones who know about your situation will do so sheepishly, making you feel even worse) and you will do your best to smile and remind yourself that there are not a finite number of babies available. This person’s pregnancy does not diminish your odds. It does feel pretty damn unfair though, particularly when you know your pregnant friend hasn’t been trying nearly as long as you have. Babies are not distributed on a first come, first served basis, unfortunately.
You will also hear that women you dislike are pregnant. On the one hand, it feels even more unjust that these terrible people get to have babies before you. On the other hand, you get to just feel straight up pissed off at this news, which is refreshing after feeling so guilty about not being completely happy for your friends.
People will tell you to just relax. It’ll happen once you stop worrying about it. You will not punch these people in the throat. But you’d like to.
You were relaxed about it. For months, you’d hope, but when it didn’t happen you could tell yourself (and believe yourself) that it was better that it wasn’t this month because [reason here]. Wine and sushi for everyone! A year went by and the months tick on and sure, you can still think of the reasons, but they no longer help. You can’t stop worrying about it because what you’re really concerned about isn't when it’ll happen. You’re worried about if it’ll happen.
You feel your lifelong dream slipping away from you. And they are telling you to relax.
They tell you to keep busy and take your mind off it. Except you can’t take your mind off it because your body won’t let you. You spend two weeks of every four with physical symptoms, either of impending ovulation or PMS. Plus the actual period. The cramps, backache, and headache feel like your body’s way of adding injury to insult. You’ve been taking a beating from your reproductive system for decades, and yet now that you want it to do its one job, it refuses.
You are open to adoption. So open, in fact, that you’d planned to adopt your second (and any additional) child. It’s just that adoption takes a long time and you’ve been ready to become a parent for so long already. Another two to three years feels insurmountable.
Sometimes it feels like if Infertile applied to you in some sort of definitive way, it would be a relief. If it’s never going to happen, knowing that for sure would release you from the cycle of hope and disappointment. But of course, you don’t really want that. You clutch your hope against your chest, even as it crushes you again and again. Every 27 days.
You don’t need people’s attempts to feed your hope with their stories of their cousin’s friends who got pregnant as soon as they adopted. You don’t want their confident assurance that it’ll happen for you. How could they know?
“That sounds really hard. I’m sorry you’re going through that.” That’s what you need.
Or, ideally, a baby.