The real reason I’m barren
Other people dealing with infertility often seem so well-adjusted and logical about their situation. In the grips of overwhelming emotions (anger, sadness, envy), sure, but not torturing themselves with foolishness. So I’m wondering if I’m the only person who has secret explanations for why I can’t get pregnant. Maybe this is only possible for people in the unexplained category, but I can imagine it working for anyone: these secret explanations have nothing to do with medicine. Maybe people of faith don’t need secret explanations: it’s in God’s hands and part of God’s plan. But I can imagine it working for religious people as well: these secret explanations have nothing to do with faith. They are basically ways of making this situation all my fault and they do not answer to reason. For example, early on my secret explanation was that, because I concealed my attempts to get pregnant from my best friend, I was an asshole, and didn’t deserve to get pregnant until she’d had a baby and I’d suffered sufficiently to make up for this immoral act. Later my secret explanation was the following: because my mother had a bunch of unplanned pregnancies that made my childhood chaotic and anxiety-filled, I was very careful to prevent the same thing from happening to me. In fact, I was very proud of the fact that I never accidentally got knocked up, and that I got my life in order before having children. IF is a punishment for my pride.
In reality, I don’t even need secret explanations to make it my fault. How many cases of unexplained infertility are not actually cases of female factor, even if that precise factor is never identified? My husband’s contribution is fine, yet I do not conceive. I know there are other possibilities (feel free to try to convince me its not my fault!), but will be quite surprised if it turns out that they don’t involve me being defective. I wish I were one of those people who never wastes time with blame. To be clear, I don’t spend much time on blame either, but I can’t help getting completely irrational once in a while and searching for cosmic explanations that will allow me to feel even worse.
But enough gloominess, it’s time for a CHRISTMAS TREAT! The question shown below is always the last question on my final exam. It’s a free point for the students, and makes grading more fun for me. This one (from a genuine student exam) is pretty awesome, and may capture what some of you are feeling today.