Fertility Statues? Oh, please

When I read today’s headlines about Ripley’s world-famous fertility statues, my groan was probably heard in several states. Touch a statue and get pregnant? Not when you're infertile. If only it was that easy! The only thing this story touched for me was a nerve. The truth is, it brought back a painful memory about my infertility struggle, and the friends I had at that time – and lost.

My then-husband and I had a large group of friends, who were all in the early stages of getting pregnant, having babies, and getting pregnant again. Every time a couple wished to conceive, they got dibs on our group’s infertility statue. It was an ugly thing, large, and bronze. It made the round of bedrooms in Brooklyn and Queens, as each couple easily did the deed, and poof, had a baby. Until it was our turn.

The statue had a place of honor in our bedroom for months on end and of course, no conception happened in my house. (That would happen much later, in a hospital). Funny thing – hocus pocus isn’t actually enough to make you get pregnant when you have PCOS. Who knew? This stupid statue became proof of my shame and eventually, the next couple in line asked for it, even though we were the only ones who surrendered it up without it working its magic. I really could have died.

What made it worse was the lack of understanding from all of my fertile friends. We had a collective tag sale once, and one of the items being sold was a potty seat. What did I know from potty seats? I knew from needles, insane mood swings and daily sonograms. Not potty seats. So I sold the pot that went in the seat alone, sans stand, to some unsuspecting woman. Boy, did my friends get a hoot out of that one! They thought it was hilarious! Stories of the woman beating eggs in the potty pot abounded. To my deep, deep shame, and embarrassment.

I’m not friends with any of those women anymore. But I still remember the pain of those unsupportive friendships, and my inability to express my feelings in a way that made them realize how hurt I was. Instead, I cried in private, and nursed resentments, which grew like weeds. I liked those women, and wish I could have found a way to preserve those friendships. These weren’t bad people. They just didn’t get it.

I’ve never shared these 20-year old memories, to anyone. It feels good to get them off my chest. Some of you will understand that better than others.

So what’s the moral of the story? Maybe not to clog your life with old resentments, only to have them surface when you happen upon a silly newspaper story. And also, if anyone offers you a fertility statue, opt for something pretty from Pier One instead.


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