Recently, I started getting the feeling that my mom wanted me to get IVF. I got this feeling because of several subtle remarks she’d made, such as, “If they knocked me out, I wouldn’t care about the egg harvesting at all, personally,” and “Me? I would have done anything to be able to have a child.” I was an English major, so I’m professionally trained to pick up subtext.
“Listen to me,” I told my sister. “Mom is pressuring me to have IVF, but she’s doing it in a sneaky mom way, so there’s no way I can say anything about it without sounding like a crazy person.”
We were on the phone, but I could still kind of hear her roll her eyes.
“She can’t make you do anything,” she reminded me. However, she would not promise to interrogate Mom the next time she was visiting, to see if I was right. She has morals, which is the only thing I don’t like about her.
Later, when she was visiting me on the way back to her house, she apologized.
“I don’t really know whether I should tell you this,” she said. “But mom doesn’t just think you should have IVF. She thinks you’re getting IVF.”
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
She sighed. “Well, so, we were talking about your IUI procedure, and she said … let me see if I’ve got this right … she said something like, ‘I can’t believe she’s going through with in-vitro.'”
I made a series of dying animal noises and clutched at my hair. We were sitting right next to each other on my giant living room couch, the one I bought and then worried about because it was so huge, I thought it swamped the room, but now I love it and I can’t imagine why anyone has normal-sized couches anymore. Despite the space, we were right next to each other, like we always are and have been since we were kids. The proximity meant that my sister could gently untangle my claw-like fingers from my hair, which was good, because I don’t need to be infertile and bald.
“Shh, shh, shh,” she said, like you’d say to a spooked horse. “It’s OK. It’s OK. Let’s just let go of our hair now, OK?”
“What did you say to her?” I asked in a strangled voice.
“I said, ‘Well, you know she’s not, right? She’s not having IVF.’ And she said, ‘No, she said she’s getting shots.’ And I said, ‘She’s getting one shot.’ Are you OK?”
“Fine,” I said unconvincingly.
“OK. I’m trusting you. Anyway, I explained to her that you’re willing to take Clomid and get one shot, and do a procedure, but that you don’t want your stuff taken out and mixed up in a separate area and then put back in again.”
“But I can’t promise she’ll get it.”
“I’m going to lie down in the road,” I said. “It’s the only answer.”
Later, after we’d eaten a lot of pizza and sat around on the giant couch a while longer, I said, “Can I text Mom, or no?”
“Of course you can text Mom,” she said, rolling her eyes again.
“But what if she’s mad or her feelings are hurt?”
“You’ll be very nice,” she said. “You always are. And it’s OK to be annoyed at people, even when you love them.”
We’ve both had a lot of therapy, but my sister was way ahead of me in the mental health department to start, which is cheating.
“MOM,” I texted. “SISTERFACE SEEMS TO THINK THAT YOU THINK THAT I’M HAVING IVF. Y/N?”
One minute later, my phone blinked.
“IUI RIGHT?” she said. “I KNOW! R U OK?”
“Now she knows I’m having IUI,” I said. “So thank you?”
“You’re welcome,” she said. “And who knows what was even going on.”
“I’m so annoyed,” I said.
A few minutes passed.
“I really miss Mom and Dad,” I said. “I hope I get to visit soon when all this is over.”
“I know,” she said.
Image via caligula1995 at Flickr