"Being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure." - Bob Marley
I ain't talking about virginity, y'all. Ladies dealing with infertility can be some tough ass mother F'ers, if I'm being frank. I get it, you have to build up some kind of defense mechanism to deal with this shit. I did make a shirt that says, "Ain't for the Weak" because it's the truth. Dealing with infertility means being vulnerable. Vulnerable in the fact you are susceptible to a good amount of heartache because nothing is guaranteed.
Recently, I had a patient who is as tough as nails (like a good majority of them are). She had a poor response to her IVF treatment, and ended up with one embryo. Of course she was nervous to start the FET process knowing she only had one chance for this to work. She did end up getting pregnant, and everything looked great. Unfortunately, there wasn't a happy ending with this one. She had a miscarriage at 8 weeks.
After taking a little time off, she's back and starting from scratch. Her attitude is one for the books. We tried to help her out as much as we could by giving her donated medication because the girl has been through a tremendous amount. Here we are thinking, "She is going to be ecstatic. Pat on the back for us. Go team." Instead she complained about the damn bag we put the medication in because it had our logo on it, wah wah wah.
This is where my empathy had to kick in. Instead of thinking wow, she is an ungrateful bitty, I made myself look at this situation from her shoes. This girl (who is close to my age) has been through more than I can even imagine. Her acting like that is nothing personal nor does it have anything to do with the paper bag we gave her the medication in. It's her masking her vulnerability with some gangster attitude, and she's dang good at it. Hopefully, with time, she will realize that it's okay to hurt, it's okay to not be okay with what happened to her, and know that even though we are just her clinic staff, we really do care.
I have a connection with this type of patient in particular because I am one of those tough ass mother F'ers myself or at least I pretend to be one. I came to the realization that I don't easily let people in. I am FAR from vulnerable. How can anyone ever get to know me completely if I only give them a fraction of myself? This is when I had an epiphany. My personal defense mechanism is humor/sarcasm/wit/being a partial asshole/all of the above. I've been through some less than desirable times in my life, and I'm scared to get hurt again. What I have realized is if I don't open up I’ll never experience true happiness (thanks, Bob). So today thanks to this patient (and some special people in my life that shall remain nameless) I decided to stop livin' in this Gangsta's Paradise, and allow myself to be vulnerable. My career has opened my eyes to so much and has helped me grow professionally and personally. I will be forever grateful to the patients who have enriched my life without even knowing it!