I listened to Jody Day’s webinar ‘Coping with other people‘ for the We Are Worthy summit recently. Jody mentioned and discussed scenarios regarding coping with other peoples opinions, you know the opinions of family and friends that leave us voiceless and wanting to run for the door with comments such as “well at least you can have a lie in..”, “count yourself lucky that you don’t have to deal with…”, “you must have lots of money and go on loads of holidays”, “you can have one of mine”, “don’t give up hope”, “well at least you have a good job” and the list goes on and on and on.
But what happens when you walk into a consultant’s office after being referred by your GP to look into a condition or issue that is completely unrelated to having children? You walk into their office with the thought of having a child being the furthest thing from your mind – ok the fact that you had just spent 20 minutes in a waiting room full of screaming kids didn’t help – but you get my drift. For once that appointment wasn’t about your ‘baby mania’. That was me when I went to see the Gyne consultant about my fibroids and ridiculously painful periods and the conversation went something like this…
Consultant “Do you have children:” Ok so it’s a standard question that is always asked.
Consultant: “Have you been trying to have a baby?”
Me: “Yes. I tried for 3 years and stopped trying about 2 years ago now”
Consultant looking concerned: “Have you considered using a donor egg?”
Me: “Nooooo” with suspicion in my voice
Consultant: “I think that you should think about it”
Me: sighing “No I don’t think so”
Consultant: “Don’t worry the donor mother will be someone that looks like you….
Me: ‘You mean she’ll be black’ popped into my head
Consultant continues: …..”but it doesn’t matter about her. The sperm will be from your husband and the blood will be from you because the baby will grow inside of you so it will still be yours”
Me thinking: I can’t believe I’m hearing this, I really want to tell her to shut up but I can’t speak….
Consultant: “I think that you should think about it”….
When I finally left that office I was so angry, angry with the consultant for forcing me into a place that I had chosen not to visit previously and angry for the consultant not taking the care to realise that I may not want to engage in that particular conversation anyway. But most of all I was angry that I couldn’t find the voice to tell the consultant how I felt. I couldn’t say that I had spent the last 4 years dealing with the painful grief of my situation and the painful reality that I would not become a mum. I could not say that through it all I had chosen not to pursue the options that I felt were not right for me and I could not say that I did not come here to discuss this with the consultant in the first place. I felt like I had been re-victimised for my choices and unexpectedly thrown back into the depths of my grief.
Why do these situations leave us feeling worse than the experiences we have with our family and/or friends??? I wonder if it is because we expect more from these professionals who should know better and be more sensitive towards us when we sit in front of them shyly admitting that we were unable to conceive a child. I know that the consultant was not aware of what I have been through, she did not know if I was getting support to deal with my grief or if I was even dealing with my grief. The consultant did not even know if my relationship is ok or if I am still suffering from the emotional rollercoaster that I’ve been on for the past 7 years. And more than anything I did NOT walk into that room asking for the consultants help me to have a child in the first place. So why were they insisting that I take their advise????
One of the difficulties that I have faced on my journey is the issue of believing that I did not try hard enough for a child, I didn’t have IVF, I didn’t chose to adopt and when faced with this questioning from others, I am left to question if I really wanted to have a child in the first place. But I managed to reconcile these thoughts and feelings and make peace with my decisions. Hearing that consultant almost force her opinions on me was just as damaging as the journey itself. Why could the consultant not accept that their solution was not an option for me, why could the consultant not have asked me if I wanted to talk about it in the first place??? Why did they feel that it was their place to persuade me that I needed to just keep trying???