I’ve been debating about whether or not I should share this story online because I’m not sure if it may be too much information. After all, when I think of people who may be reading this (my pastor, a future HR manager, my boss) it almost makes me embarrassed to tell this story online. Almost. I always want there to be a reason to do a Waiting for Grace post instead of just writing for my own good. I’ve contemplated whether or not there is a reason to post this story and after a lot of thinking, I feel there is. I’ll discuss those reasons later in the post. And I know this is long, but I think you’re going to want to read.
In pretty much all of my Waiting for Grace posts I’ve talked only about the emotional strains of infertility or I’ve only touched on the surface level of the physical junk you go through when you’re dealing with this monster. But let’s face the facts; when you’re trying to have a baby you’re having sex. That’s how babies are made, after all.
But I’ve made it a point to never write on this blog the incredibly personal details of trying to have a baby because I really don’t think it’s necessary to inform you about sexual positions, cervical fluid consistency, levels of boob soreness, and other words you hope I will never write. If you’re really interested in learning about others’ specific body functions and sexual relations when trying to have a baby, visit an infertility message board. You can read those details there once you can get past translating all the insane acronyms that are used when talking about trying to conceive. Seriously, you’re going to need a dictionary if you venture that direction. (DH, TTC, AF, BBT, BFP, BFN, CD, BCP just to name a few)
Aaron always reads every Waiting for Grace post I write because he’s in this crap-storm too. I want him to feel comfortable with the details I share on the, at times unforgiveable, world wide web. If he doesn’t want something publicized, I respect that. So in writing the story I’m about to tell you initially we didn’t feel comfortable sharing it, and after much discussion I decided to just write it out to see how it feels because really, if you’re struggling with infertility, you may have faced the same type of situation.
So instead of thinking of this as too-much-information (TMI, for short) let’s look at it as an educational, informative, and humorous story that we all know has happened in some form or fashion to someone out there.
Like I said, when you’re trying to make a baby you’re having sex. Which means…you guessed it…I am having sex with my husband. Unfortunately, my body and my ovulation schedule dictates the timing of such events during a certain period of the month and sometimes there are products that are needed to help make it a..erm…smoother process.
I’m feeling you’re thinking this is getting TMI. Me too. But hang in there with me, will ya?
If you do a little research to find tips to help with fertility you’ll soon find that you should avoid using lubrication product such as KY, Astroglide, and yes, even your own spit. Apparently all of these things are detrimental to the livelihood and speediness of his swimmers. There are fertility-friendly lubricants on the market that are supposed to mimic cervical fluid, the catalyst to help sperm make it to the finish line. Of course, when I found this out, I was curious and refused to use the aforementioned products and resigned to only using anything that is considered “fertility-friendly.”
I began a quest. The particular product I found and researched is called “Pre-seed.” I looked in every major store that had a pharmacy section – Target, Walmart, Kroger, HEB, Walgreens, CVS…everywhere I went I took a quick glance to see if they had it, but no one did.
Before I was forced to buy it online, I thought maybe smaller health stores or independent pharmacies might carry this product so I decided to call a few local places and ask if they carried the product. Here’s something you should know about me; I’m pretty shameless. If I’m a little embarrassed to do or say something I always ask myself, “Will I ever see this person again?” And if the answer is no, I usually don’t care what they think of me. And it helps to make a joke out of yourself. When I picked up the phone to call my list of small health stores I prefaced my question by letting them know it might be strange and that I know, for them, I’m coming out of the blue.
I made it through calling a few stores who all said they didn’t carry such a thing. One lady was nice enough to even say, “good luck!” I made my next phone call to a tiny mom-and-pop store I’ve patroned several times in my life. A lady answered.
“Hello. (Name) Health Store. How can I help you?”
“Hi there. I’m looking for a very specific product and wanted to call and ask if you had it first before I stop by.”
“Sure. What are you looking for?”
“Okay, I know this is a weird thing to ask for but my husband and I are trying to have a baby. I’ve been doing a lot of research and was wondering if maybe you carried any fertility-friendly lubricants in your store. If you don’t, you’ve always been very helpful with offering information and was wondering if you have any information on such a thing?”
I cut down my spiel but remained sincere, “Me. Husband. Baby. Fertility-friendly lube. In stock?”
Silence. “This is NOT a sex store.” *click*
She hung up on me.
I had to laugh. I had to laugh at her ignorance and rudeness because I was asking a perfectly valid question. But then after the initial shock, it made me sad. Very sad. I just keep thinking, “What if any other woman had called and her comment had completely humiliated and embarrassed that woman to the point that she never wanted to talk about sex and infertility ever again?” That can apply to any situation, not just infertility. What if this was a guy approaching a friend to confess his struggle with pornography? What if it’s a teenager approaching a parent to ask about the birds and the bees? We never know what someone is going through. This is a perfect opportunity to speak life and encouragement and to act out of kindness and love. Unfortunately, sometimes people just don’t do that. This lady could have definitely caused some serious emotional damage.
Like I said, I have a pretty thick skin but she even made me feel dirty! What if she had done that to the lady who has a hard time even talking to her doctor about infertility? What if it took every ounce of courage for that shy woman to make a phone call to ask about fertility-friendly lubrication, only to be crushed with irrational judgment?
Here is why I wanted to share this story in spite of it maybe being too much information; First of all, it’s kind of funny. Really? You felt the need to defend your establishment because I asked about lubrication that helps you have a baby? This lady runs a health store and advertises herself as a health consultant. I’m incredibly disappointed that she didn’t take my question seriously because these are questions that people have and shooting them down like she did makes people not want to ask. Shame on her. SHAME on her!
Second, I wanted to tell this story because of this reason: sex is not a dirty thing. I’m so upset that she took something so innocent, pure, and sweet as sex with your spouse and trying to conceive, and turned it into something so horribly dirty and insulting. Having an open discussion about sexual issues and educating yourself when you are trying to get pregnant is a perfectly innocent and healthy thing. I feel that I prefaced it well in my introduction to this post; there’s a time when some things are too much information but there’s also a time when it is also okay to have an open discussion about specific details. I’m not going to share here online the details of my last infertility appointment but I might discuss it with my close girlfriends. I’m not going to have a conversation on my blog about how my body is telling me I’m ovulating, but it’s a perfectly healthy thing to talk about with my husband and my doctor.
I want to encourage you. If you’re too shy to ask questions or talk about what’s going on in your infertility journey, PLEASE don’t be. That is the case for any struggle you may be going through. Don’t let people like the lady who hung up on me discourage you from asking questions to professionals, your spouse, and MAYBE even your closest, most trusted friends. Please don’t be embarrassed and think that anything you say or ask about sex is wrong or dirty in any way. Don’t let anyone discourage you from talking about any type of struggle you are going through because of one insensitive and thoughtless person. We need to have open discussions about these things so people won’t be embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. Talking brings awareness to others and healing for yourself. And remember, you’re not alone. Please don’t think that you are. And please don’t be ashamed to talk about it.