Infertility’s Low Grade Exhaustion Due To…


How does infertility affect us? Let me count the ways …

Sorry, Shakespeare, for mangling your great expression, but as I continue to assess the many different ways that this dreaded condition affects and changes us and our lives, I’ve created a new category: Infertility’s Collateral Damage.  I welcome your examples and contributions.

In a recent exchange with Ellen at Miss E’s Musings she uncovered a positively perfect description for something I’ve been doing involuntarily for years but never had a name for.  Funny how the right word can lead to an epiphany. The word of day: surveillance.  Used in a sentence: I find myself exhausted quite often as a result of the energy used in the constant surveillance of pregnant women and mommies (Momzillas to be more precise).

With the epiphany, I became more conscious of my surveillance behavior. When I arrived later at the office I came smack into contact with a colleague nearly seven months pregnant all belly and smock topped with her second child.  A cavalcade of emotions ensued, morphing from surprise to panic to anger and then to resignation. I was suddenly very aware of her and my next move. She was engaged with another colleague in an animated conversation about something to do with a school board’s indecision and I found myself bristling. There was something about her indignation and how the indecision would adversely affect her children that left me cold. 

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I immediately started casing the joint for an escape while at the same time fabricating a comment should I be asked for an opinion — most of them too sarcastic to actually utter aloud.  It became apparent that they were too wrapped up in their conversation to notice me.  I was able to make a clean break.  My getaway complete, I realized how much energy I devote to what should have been a completely innocuous encounter.

I wonder how many pregnant women and Momzillas realize how exhausting just being in there presence can be?


9 Responses

  1. Ellen K

    June 8, 2007 6:01 pm

    Heh — glad you liked my choice of words. Some days I feel very cold & analytical in my surveillance (“Houston, we’ve got a 6-month bump at 2:00”); other days I am more emotional. It is exhausting at times. I’ve noticed this happens especially frequently at the grocery store — perhaps because I know that when I reach the checkout line, there will be an assortment of tabloid covers plastered with “bump watch” pictures and pregnancy rumors.

  2. Somewhat Ordinary

    June 8, 2007 8:21 pm

    What a great word for this behavior! I constantly find myself in surveillance mode-at the grocery store, at work, walking in my neighborhood. I feel like I should be part of the Secret Service of something the way I’m always scoping out situations and looking for quick exits! Thanks for putting this into words.

  3. Bea

    June 9, 2007 3:27 am

    That’s exactly it! Some days you’re even watching for pregnancy when there isn’t any around. (Woman at 1 o’clock – confirm no visible bump…) That’s probably crossing the line slightly, but things do get pretty anxious at times.

    And if pg-woman has said something vaguely upsetting – breezily assuming it’ll all be ok, or complaining about morning sickness, etc etc – it’s even worse. You’re on hyperalert, just waiting for the next misstep.


  4. Leah

    June 11, 2007 2:14 am

    This is the perfect word for it. I’m also able to gauge my mental health / fortitude based on my degree of surveillance. For example, when I’m in a bad place, I can spot a pregnant woman from 100 yards away. I glare at her, covet her joy, and generally think mostly bad things, all the while staring a hole through her belly.

    However, when I’m in a moderately good place, I take a different approach. If I think I see a pregnant woman, I avoid looking altogether. I resist the urge to let my curiosity get the better of me, I don’t even confirm if that is actually a maternity top she’s wearing, or just one of those obnoxious empire waisted things that are in style now. I don’t allow myself to make up crazy fantasies about how easy it must have been for her to get pregnant, and how blissfully happy she must be right now. I don’t engage in any of it. I just look away and move on.

    Obviously, that last approach doesn’t work when it’s someone that I know. Mostly when I encounter them, I act appropriate and say appropriate things while in their presence. Then I run to my car and cry. Very mature, I know, but it gets me through the day.

  5. Amanda

    June 11, 2007 3:39 pm

    I have been trying to conceive for almost 2 years the age of 22 I am definitely not suppose to have issues but I understand exactly what you’ve been blogging about and would love for you to write a guest post on my blog at anytime!

  6. Foreverhopeful

    June 12, 2007 6:30 pm

    What a great word and never thought of it that way or aware of my own behavior. For me, I think I’ve become the expert at avoidance. I avoid any parties or social events that I know there will be children or pregnant women. I avoid friends who are pregnant and have babies. And this is because being in their presence is exhausting and painful for me. So I avoid so I don’t have to deal with any of it.

  7. pluto

    June 15, 2007 11:49 am

    That encounter with the pregnant colleague, with your “cavalcade of emotions,” was really well told.
    She’d be startled if she knew what you were feeling.

  8. Ann

    June 19, 2007 1:25 pm

    There is another woman at my workplace who rides the same shuttle to work that I do. She is in her third trimester. I have heard rumors her department will be moved off-site. I am secretly hoping it will be moved soon, rather than later, so I don’t have to look at her anymore.

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