Having gone through fertility struggles for almost 4 years now, I have spent many hours in the waiting room of fertility centers.
The waiting room is filled with women and some men who are all there for the same reason, we all want a baby. We all want to “fix” our bodies or find the nearest bridge to the baby. We all have the same expression on our faces, the same struggle, the same desires. Considering we all have the same suffering in common, one would assume that walking in to a waiting room full of people like you, would feel like a supportive reunion. Yet none of the patients look at each other, or say a word. I couldn’t help but notice something I feel is significant…
The silence is so loud!
None of the patients say a word to each other. Instead everyone stares at their feet, or their phones waiting for their name to be called. Waiting to hear if they took a step closer to their baby goals, or if they are even further. Why isn’t this a room filled with people who are all offering advice to each other? Or an ear to let you vent? Asking each other about their journey? Why aren’t we as women offering hugs to each other, offering a gentle word, a kind thought?
I couldn’t help but notice something I feel is significant. We are in a room full of women who want to be mothers, and yet we aren’t mothering each other in a vulnerable moment. This feels so conflicting to me!
I understand we are all so wrapped in our own situation that we are stuck there. I understand that we are scared to get too personal, say too much or too little. I get that, but it shouldn’t silence us completely.
So the last time I went to my fertility doctor appointment, I decided I was going to break the silence of the waiting room.
I will be the change I want to see in the waiting room. Everyone who knows me, knows that “silence” isn’t my virtue anyways.
I walk in to my home away from home these days (Life IVF Center in Irvine, CA) and I check in. Then I scan the waiting rooms. There are 2. One room is filled with out a seat to sit in, so I walk in to the second waiting room. I sit down and then my heart starts beating fast. Who will I talk to? What should I say? Just then, a woman with hair long as Rapunzel walks in to the room. She sits close enough to me that I realize she is “the one”. I stare at the back of her head for a few minutes and then I just do it.
“Yes” she says.
“You have the most beautiful hair!” I tell her.
“Oh my gosh! Thank you so much!” she replies.
That was easy. I didn’t have to ask her to share her deepest, darkest secrets with me.
I simply have her a genuine compliment. The silence in the room was broken, and there were smiles and giggles as we continued chatting.
Later on, a woman walked in the waiting room looking at ultrasound pics. She was grinning but also seemed to still want to be sensitive to all of us (very thoughtful of her).
I moved closer to her and said in a whisper, “I see you have ultrasound pics and a smile on your face. I just want to say congratulations to you!”
She looked surprised, no one does this. Remember? The silent waiting room thing? People don’t move a seat to say a kind word to a complete stranger…ever.
She responded, “Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! I am so excited! I am actually a surrogate and I’m carrying for a wonderful couple in China!”
Wow! That of course sparked a whole conversation and it was simply wonderful.
I didn’t feel an ounce of jealousy, but instead I felt over joyed for the couple in China who will get this amazing news soon!
The waiting room was not silent while I was in it. It was a little happier, while still being sensitive to the diversity of emotions in the room.
Before I left that day there was a woman crying. She had gotten bad news obviously. Her husband was consoling her and she appeared devastated. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to tell her I am sorry for what ever she was pained with. I wanted to mother her, but at that moment the nurse called my name and I left the waiting room to do my blood draw.
I share this with you all because I know you relate to the intense silence and intense sensitivity of the waiting room at fertility centres and clinics.
I challenge you to be the little bit of sunshine in their day.
Mother those, whom like you, want so badly to be a mother themselves.
You will be glad you did.