There has been a running joke for years in our office that anyone who sits in partner T's chair gets pregnant. This joke started several years before I joined the firm, when T had two secretaries and a legal nurse consultant who worked for him all get pregnant within a few months of one another. T, and others, often use this joke, directing it to those of us in the office who are married and childless, primarily the other (female) associate and me, or to female employees who express a desire to have another child.
T likes to joke around a lot in general. Some of his jokes are of the type which, in a larger office, likely would not be told in mixed company. But our firm is small, and T is very savvy about "choosing his audience" and only making his off-color remarks to those of us who he knows will not be offended by them and will appreciate them. I can truly say he has never offended me, not only because I'm fairly thick-skinned, but also because he is a genuinely sensitive person who only kids around, in a spirit of fun, and is never nasty.
I should also add that T is a deeply religious Christian who has been married to his college sweetheart for over 41 years. He is still devoted to her--it is obvious in their interactions with one another--and therefore there is nothing lecherous about his comments on the subject, as there might be with some other 60-something male lawyers. T is always respectful and never leering or otherwise inappropriate, except for some of his humor. And even then, more of his humor is of the 12-year-old boy, bathroom variety than of a sexual nature.
I have mentioned T before in a couple of previous posts. T has two grown children, a daughter and a son, both of whom have dealt with infertility. His daughter was a patient of our RE and conceived both of her children, a daughter now 6 and a son now 4, with the help of IVF. (T is the one who told me our RE is "a miracle worker.") T's son and his wife tried to have children for over 7 years, including a failed adoption, before finally having their first child last month.
So. . . . while I have never confided in T about our infertility, I think he knows or suspects. There have been enough times when I've had to leave a little early or come in a little late due to "appointments" out of the office, coupled with my advanced (ahem) age and the length of time I've been married without announcing a pregnancy, to arouse the suspicions of someone like T who is not a stranger to infertility. T has asked me on more than one occasion whether I am pregnant, but only in private and in a tone of concern.
As T was preparing to leave for a four-week vacation last Friday, he walked by my office where I had a desk fan turned on high, blowing right in my face. (Not long before, I had been walking around outside in the 110-degree heat, going to lunch with people from the other firm with which I'd just interviewed.) T remarked to his paralegal--whose office is right next to mine and with whom I am quite friendly--at a volume that was meant for me to overhear that he's often noticed that women feel really overheated during early pregnancy.
The only other person within hearing distance besides the three of us was Ashley, a 19-year-old file clerk who works at the firm. Ashley is a very pretty young woman who is studying to be a nurse. I've often had vague thoughts of asking her to donate her eggs to us "in the name of science" or "to learn more about fertility treatment" as part of her education. She doesn't look like me--she is much more attractive and about 75 pounds lighter--but she and I have similar coloring, and we both have curly/wavy hair.
I came out of my office and played along with the joke, telling him "T, I'm not pregnant, just fat." T was apologetic and said he had had no intention to remark upon my appearance in any way. He went on to say, though, that if MM and I were working on getting me into that state (pregnant), "S, you should switch chairs with me while I'm gone."
My retort: "I think I'd be better off switching ovaries with Ashley. . . .that's more likely to work."
And we all laughed uproariously, and that was an end to the discussion. (Aside from my apology to Ashley later for any offense or embarrassment I might have caused her. FWIW, she wasn't offended.)
Isn't it great that I can still have a sense of humor about my barrenness, at least some of the time?