"Kids, when Lily and Marshall started trying to have a baby, they went a little crazy."
That was the opening line for last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother.
It's the truth, isn't it. Infertility can make you go crazy. It's stressful, physically grueling and emotionally draining. Infertility isn't a laughing matter.There's nothing funny about it. That being said, there are times when laughter can be the best medicine.
Each month you try to conceive, there are a mix of emotions that accompany the process. Constant feelings of rising hopelessness and sinking despair can certainly take an emotional toll on you and your partner. You might not feel like laughing, but letting out a good laugh can help lighten the mood surrounding infertility.
My colleague, Corey Whelan, recently published an Examiner article on different ways other women have dealt with infertility through laughter. It seems the idea is catching on judging by last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother.
The episode follows married couple Marshall and Lily as they make a trip to a fertility clinic after failing to get pregnant. The first scene shows the couple talking with their OBGYN about their fear of being infertile. The doctor asks how long they've been trying to get pregnant...the answer is 6 days. It then flashed forward to a few months later, and Lily and Marshall think something must be wrong because they're "doing it" a lot. And in various locations (including the doctor's waiting room), and different positions. Lily declines Marshall's plan to continue to have as much sex as possible, and insists on seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
They both undergo infertility testing. You can imagine the fun the shows writers must have had when creating the sperm collection scene. Marshall walks into the room as another man is walking out, and gets way too freaked out by the thought of another person collecting semen that he is unable to perform the task. I can imagine how intimidating and embarrassing it would be to collect a sperm sample in a fertility clinic's office, but I would suggest watching this episode- it might lighten the mood.
Lily checks out ok, and instantly Marshall is scared he's too blame. Since male infertility is to blame 40% of the time, it's certainly a possibility, but he checks ok as well. During this time, Marshall doesn't want to tell his father of the chance he might not be able to give him a grandchild. He says he's used to telling his family happy news, and is embarrassed to tell them about their struggle to conceive.
It's a tough question- should I tell anyone, and if so, whom? Ellen Speyer, a Member of The AFA's Mental Health Advisory Council wrote a wonderful article on this very subject- the pros and cons of telling people about infertility. It's a personal decision, but loved ones are there for you during the good and the bad.
If you're dealing with infertility I would suggest you watch this episode, and get a good laugh at infertility. Laughter is the best medicine.