Yesterday I went to the acupuncturists. Because it is a training clinic, each week, I am initially seen by a group of students, who ask me a number of questions about my general well-being, listen to my pulse and look at my tongue, before going off to report their findings to the Chinese Fertility Goddess herself. The CFG then comes in and repeats the whole process, before deciding on a course of treatment. She then supervises while the students insert the needles.
Yesterday, I was seen by a new group of students. How old was I, asked one of them. 'Thirty six,' I answered. 'Oh, that's no age at all,' he exclaimed, 'the newspapers are always full of stories about women having babies in their fifties: it's marvellous what doctors can do nowadays, isn't it?' 'I think you'll find those women conceived using donor eggs,' I explained, testily. 'Not necessarily,' he answered, 'I have a couple of women friends who both conceived naturally at the age of 44.'
How can this possibly be considered a helpful thing to say to somebody who has just undergone a cancelled cycle of IVF, and who is worried that her poor response could well be a sign of diminished ovarian reserve?
After the treatment, the same chap came in to remove the needles. 'Are you absolutely sure you want a baby?' he asked. 'Raising a child can be awfully hard work.'
Really? And there was I thinking that it was going to be a walk in the park! Does he not imagine that, after five years of trying to conceive, and the best part of three years of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, I have never before stopped to question my motives for wanting to become a mother?
Why am I surrounded by people offering unsolicited assvice? Why does everyone I encounter seem to have an opinion on my infertility?
The student in question informed me that yesterday was his last day in the clinic for the time being, so hopefully our paths won't cross again - otherwise I would have requested that he had no further involvement in my treatment.
I do, however, have every confidence in the Chinese Fertility Goddess. Yesterday, she spent some time explaining how she plans to tailor my treatments to support me through my IVF cycle. She also told me that I should cut down on the amount of dairy products I consume, and eat more seeds and nuts - in particular walnuts.
Such is my faith in the CFG that I immediately went out and bought a large bag of walnuts, which I am chomping through as I type!