I can’t say she was the first ever, but she was the first stranger. And she got it.
Meine Besondere. I’ve decided to call her that name here, as I name all my friends something unique to identify them, but vague enough to keep their identity private. This friend, this ‘besonderen’ one, is a multi-multilingual beautiful woman. We are vastly different and not only because I speak just one language. Our paths crossed, and if we’re honest, we liked or understood each other equally very little then. A year ago, I could never have imagined sitting and chatting at length and in honest depth with her about the things that we do. We come from different places. We have different upbringings. We are different colours. We speak different languages (Her: Many. Me: one). But we are bound by a common trait. Trying to exist in a difficult present while dealing with something that bonds more women than we realise. (Ok, also a love for words and grammar. She’s especially good on the grammar. And the words. Bloody multilingualist).
At a recent doctor’s visit, a poster on the wall said that one in 6 couples suffer from infertility.
One sixth of the world’s couples. That’s a lot higher than I ever imagined (and I also really hope that my interpretation of one in 6 to one sixth was mathematically correct).
I can’t be sure why I opened up to Bee (because Besonderen means special in German, which she is, but is waaaay too long to keep writing with spell check on). It sort of just happened. I just said it out loud to a stranger. She wasn’t a complete stranger, but I certainly hadn’t heard her story, didn’t know her husband’s name and didn’t know she’d lived in Germany at that point (it would’ve been a logical deduction given the German. But eh, I wasn’t thinking). Perhaps, somewhere deep down I knew she had a story too and so I felt safe. On the other hand, perhaps I was just learning to let it go and she crossed my path that day when I did.
Being able to speak to her, openly and honestly, has been rewarding for us both. Not rewarding in the champagne filled glasses, “I got the job” kind of way. More in the ‘I’m going to be ok today. Oh wait, no I’m not. I’m freaking out. Actually thats ok, because its ok to freak out sometimes. Ok breathe. Just breathe.” way.
I don’t expect you to understand. But thats a real thing that happens. Yes, that exact sentence happens. Just like that.
Tonight, someone reached out to me and told me they read a post and were going through a similar thing. No two journeys are the same, this I’m sure of. But with one in six couples, there’s a lot more people going through shit like this than are talking about it. Its taboo, embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, painful. We don’t talk about it, we feel no one understands and we become the worlds best deflectors when the topic is brought up.
To know there are others, with a seemingly happy existence (on the necessary social media channels obviously) that are battling inside with a similar thing, is somewhat comforting. Not because they’re suffering (because they are, and its really worse than you can imagine), but because once you speak to them, you realise how normal, your abnormality is. To know Bee thinks the same shit crazy thoughts that I’ve thought. To hear about her swings, and her roundabouts – which involve different people to mine, but have so many parallels. To be strength when she needs it, to find comfort in her kind words when I do.
The point here isn’t that misery likes company. This is not a pity party. Because no one wants that. But I do wonder if I had found Bee earlier, would it have helped? Anyway… I can’t change that now. But perhaps I can just try and be that person who is there for other Bees (I may need to rethink this name) if they need it. Because sometimes, you just need an ear to listen to the “life is unfair” rant, by someone who agrees that life really can be unfair.