I was interviewed for a documentary on infertility

Not too long ago, I agreed to be interviewed by a journalism student for her documentary about “infertility in America.” She contacted me through my Brooklyn Resolve support group. I wanted to do it, knowing that her point in creating this project was to destigmatize, educate, and illuminate. So one day last month, she took the train from NYC out to me in LI to spend the day recording my story and taking photos (from behind, or just of my hands) for a slideshow that would accompany my voice.

She was young, energetic, sensitive, and good at her craft. I felt I was in very good hands.

I am glad I went through the experience, but I wanted to write a little bit about how difficult it was for me to tell my story. I felt vulnerable, exposed. I felt as though something unusually horrifically awful had happened in my life—which I know has happened, but I try not to think of myself, or my life, like that.

I started with the story before the story, going back to my decision to divorce my first husband, and it wasn’t long before I was crying. I talked about the feelings of being defective, inadequate. I talked about feelings of regret. These are all things that I strive each day to heal from, grow out of, and often succeed in doing so—with increasing strength and stability, these days, I am relieved to say! So it felt odd to go back there. I felt transported back to the old pain.

She asked to take photos of objects that might help in illustrating the story, and at one point, I pulled out my pregnancy books. One is a “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” diary, with mostly blank pages. I’d filled the early weeks with images of what I’d thought was, and would be, growing inside me. She took a photo of me pointing to the image of a fetus at 9 weeks. I had a D & C at 9 weeks for blighted ovum;  there was no fetus inside my gestational sac. It felt strange to point to the image of the fetus in the diary—the fetus that, unbeknownst to me up to about week 6, never actually existed, but that did exist with bright intensity in my mind and heart, during those early golden weeks of my first pregnancy.

I saw the words I’d written beside the images—little letters to my future child. Gah. “You’re the size of a pea today!”  I wrote. “You’re the size of a blueberry!”

She took photos of me walking to my car with my yoga mat slung over my shoulder. Of me typing in this blog. Of my mountains of supplements. Of the lists of “Do’s and Don’ts During IVF” pinned to the fridge with a magnet. But when she took a photo of me pointing to an image of 9-week-old fetus, I felt physically ill with sadness. I don’t know if I should have opened that diary. Then again, if it helps make her documentary more powerful, and if that documentary helps women in my situation in the future, and helps people in general to understand what women go through, then opening it was worth it.

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