You know how sometimes you’re speaking to someone new and there is something in what they’re saying or what they’re not saying that sets off your Infert-dar, that internal radar that lets you know the other person needs assistance to conceive? It could be an expression that passes over their face when someone eight-months pregnant walks by. It could be a tentative pause when they ask you if you have kids. It could simply be something in their story: longtime married with no kids. (Are they child-free by choice or not by choice or do kids not even factor into their mindset at all? Am I the only person who is constantly thinking about kids?). Whatever it is, your Infert-dar goes off.
But really, what comes next?
The internal alarm is great when it results in two people getting to share a “me too.” But when there isn’t a casual opening for you to say something like, “I know, morning meetings are hard for me too because I have to go to a clinic and have a reproductive endocrinologist thread a catheter through my vagina,” what do you do with that knowledge?
(But what if they’re desperately seeking a friend to vent to about baby showers?)
Poke at it?
(But what if they never want to talk about it and bringing it up ruins their day?)
Ask about it?
(But what if you’re totally wrong, and then you just asked this random stranger about the state of their reproductive organs?)
Obviously the path of least social faux pas is to ignore it, but ignoring rarely creates the change we wish to see in the world, nor does ignoring build community or provide answers or give comfort. Someone always needs to step forward and say it first.
But sometimes it feels really really strange to be the one to step forward and mention that your uterus doesn’t work.
How often is your Infert-dar piqued, and do you ever ignore it (or wish you hadn’t ignored it)?