There I was, standing in a long line at the Walmart pharmacy with a prescription for $1,000 worth of fertility drugs. I remember it was winter, and in south Louisiana, that didn’t mean much except hearing people sniffle and cough.
I’m waiting in line, wondering if I had enough money left on my credit card to pay for my monthly fertility shots.
Then I heard my name, “Monique! Hey girl!” A sister to one of my friends had spotted me in the sea of people.
We talked across the packed area where others were sure to ignore our loud voices. I was glad to see a familiar face and take my mind off why I was there.
Then it happened, the dreaded question, “So, do you have any kids yet?”
I politely said, “No, no kids yet,” hoping the conversation would end there with the obligatory “nice seeing you.”
No, that would have been too easy.
“Well, Monique, why don’t you have any kids? What’s wrong with you?”
And at that moment – with tons of people around – I loudly said, “I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, but I am standing in line to spend $1,000 I don’t have on fertility medicine so I can take shots for ten days this month.”
You know the saying – you could have heard a pin drop.
It is not in my nature to be mean or rude, but at that moment, I lost it. My friend quickly said she was sorry and that she would pray for me. But before I could thank her for the prayers with everyone starring at me, she was gone.
I share this somewhat funny experience 25 years later because asking anyone when they will have kids is not ok.
As my daddy always said, “think before you speak.”
What that friend didn’t know, what I didn’t want anyone to know, was how much my husband and I were struggling as we tried to become parents. After trying to get pregnant on our own for about two years, we tried fertility shots, followed by eight rounds of artificial insemination and then three rounds of IVF.
This was during the late ’90s when the internet was still fairly new and before Google calendars and iPhones. For eight years, I logged every shot, the medication, the dosage, and yes, every time we had sex using a small Girl Scout calendar. I kept those calendars for years, even after my fertility journey was over. I recently found them while decluttering.
You see – when you are dealing with infertility, it isn’t just an emotional struggle – you have to be on your “A” game with knowledge and documentation…..all while remaining “stress-free” – right.
That day in Walmart, we were beginning our first round of IVF. At that point, we had spent about $30,000 on fertility treatments.
So I lost it.
My husband and I chose not to tell anyone what we were going through. I even went to the hospital for shots instead of asking my mother (a nurse) to administer them. I just couldn’t handle the monthly calls and questions of “did it work?”
So for eight years, I told no one.
That was my choice. I am very independent and my husband and I felt we could handle it on our own. I would not suggest this to all women going thru infertility. For me, it was the right choice.
In the end, my fertility journey was not successful, but my quest for motherhood was. My husband and I have been blessed with two precious gifts, our sons Laine and Wyatt, who we adopted through foster care.
For anyone going through infertility, this journey is extremely emotional and personal. It’s ok to feel angry, sad, confused, stressed, and tired. And it is definitely ok to “lose it in Walmart” if you need to.
It may seem as though motherhood is a faraway dream, but please know you are not alone.So many women have walked and are walking this journey – right alongside you.It is ok to feel all of the things you are feeling. And remember that faith and hope are also on this journey with you regardless of how your “motherhood” journey transpires.