I knew that it was just a matter of time. When you're a happily married 37-year-old with no kids, people just don't seem to be able to restrain themselves for long. So, when I was out to lunch with several colleagues, including my boss, it didn't really surprise me when a colleague that I don't know very well suddenly said "Sara, do you have any plans to have a baby?"
Surprised, no. Annoyed? Absolutely.
What on earth is an infertile supposed to do in that situation? Telling the truth would a) mean announcing to my boss that all of those "sick days" for retrieval and transfer are actually optional, that my moodiness is self-induced, and that I'm hoping to be inconveniencing him by taking a maternity leave soon, b) make everybody at the table feel very uncomfortable, and c) involve sharing information of a fairly personal nature with people with whom I'm not terribly close. Heck, there were a couple of people at the table whose names I don't even know!
My reaction? Not good.
I stared at the table, muttered "not right this second", and then immediately changed the subject.
The thing that was particularly annoying about this incident is that I'm normally really open about my fertility problems, when asked in an appropriate context. I don't like to lie, and I don't think that I should be ashamed of a medical problem, so my normal protocol is to just give people the quantity of information that's appropriate for our relationship (close friends--the whole story, acquaintances--the basic info without details). The trouble is that here in Korea, I have no idea how much info is appropriate. Also, in my opinion, asking a personal question like that in front of a large group of people is never appropriate. So, what to do? My boss is actually an incredibly nice man, so I doubt that sharing my situation with him would result in discrimination. However, you never know, and once I tell him, I can't take it back. As for the colleagues that I barely know, why should I tell them something so personal?
The thing is, I DON'T have any plans for a baby. Hopes for a baby yes. Dreams of a baby, yes! Passionate all-encompassing desire for a baby, absolutely. But plans? The word plans implies that we think that we have some control over our fate. These days, I only plan cycles, not babies.