Monday, December 15, 2014

It still stings

I never thought that having a baby and making it to the other side of infertility would magically wipe away all the years of pain, frustration and disappointment. I did think that pregnancy announcements would stop being painful and that they might even become a source of happiness like they are for most people. Well, that hasn't really been the case. Pregnancy announcements still have a little sting. Granted, it's not as bad as it used to be, but it's still there. Some don't bother me and others are harder to take. SH and I will often make snarky comments when we are alone about how nice it must be for said couple to be having a free baby. Us, bitter? No way.

When our neighbors told us they were having a baby, I have to admit that happiness for them was not the first thing I felt.  It took me longer than it should have to squeak out a congratulations. I'm not proud. Then she told me she was only 7 weeks and that was like a punch to the gut. We are friendly with them and occasionally hang out socially, but we are not close enough to warrant getting a 7 week pregnancy announcement (they were not telling everyone at that point). I think it bothered me because of the naive confidence they have as fertiles. I envied that blissful ignorance. It also stung a little more because I actually expected she might have trouble getting pregnant. She is 35 and I know sometime in the last couple years she had surgery to look for endometriosis, so obviously she was having some problems. I also think, based on casual things she has said over the last few years, that she wasn't on birth control. She wasn't trying to get pregnant, but she also wasn't preventing it. The fact that she didn't have an accidental pregnancy just led me to think there was a slight possibility she would have problems. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want her to have any problems, but I felt strangely comforted to know I might know someone else with infertility and not feel so alone. I think that's why her pregnancy announcement only a couple months after her wedding hit me so hard.

Cut to Saturday afternoon. We are now about a week away from her due date and we run into them as we are leaving. She said she started having contractions that morning so it could be in the next day or two. As of Sunday afternoon, she was still having contractions but hadn't gone to the hospital yet. When I looked outside, I could see her walking slowly up and down the block with her sister. She was clearly in labor. That hit me even harder than the initial announcement. I have realized over the last year that there is a new layer to my infertility induced jealousy. It's the jealousy of women who get to their due dates and go into labor. Jealousy of getting to hold and bond with your baby in your hospital room. Even jealousy of going through labor. It's so weird to me that I have two kids and I have no idea what labor feels like. It still makes me so sad when I think about my birth story. And every time I hear a birth announcement it just reminds me of what we went through and the experience we didn't have. The most important thing is that I have two healthy, happy beautiful babies, but I can't seem to get past how they got here.

Our neighbors are a very nice couple and I wish them nothing but the best, but SH and I are having such a hard time being giving. We've offered our help and now we are leaving it up to them to ask for it when they need it. But, I know from experience how hard it is to ask for help when you are in the middle of newborn sleep deprivation. We should be better than that. We should do for them what we wished others had done for us.  They are having a girl so I have been giving them our old clothes, but I can't bring myself to give them anything else. It's almost like we don't want to help them because they had it to easy.  I actually can't believe I'm admitting that. It's horrible. Thank god this blog is anonymous.

I hate that I feel this way. I feel ungrateful. And guilty. I won, right? I kicked infertility's ass. So why am I still struggling with it?  Why can't I move on?

4 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with this. I didn't experience any labor either. I don't know what a contraction feels like. I barely got a glance at my babies for their dirt two days of life. However, I'm okay with all that. I think it's because I truly never expected to experience ANY aspect of pregnancy to begin with. I'm sure that doesn't probably help you with your guilty feelings. I'm not quite sure what to say about that other than I'm sorry that IF is still ringing it's ugly head. I do think it's very generous of you to share your hand-me-down girl clothes, and you did at least offer help. Whether they accept that offer of help or not is now up to them. Hugs!

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  2. I so get this. To this day, it still bothers me that Myrtle, not only got knocked up on the first try without really knowing what she was doing, had a easy-going problem free pregnancy, and then had a textbook perfect vaginal delivery on her fucking due date (oh and she had the gall to complain about the fact that she didn't want an episiotomy, you know like you're ordering a sandwich at the deli and you want them to hold the pickles, her baby was in the NBICU at that time, otherwise, I would have told her to shut the fuck up). I'm anticipating that I will most likely be facing a C/section for pre-eclampsia (that's my birth plan, anyway) At this point, I've accepted so much of this process has been unpleasant, let's make the birth experience awful too...

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  3. I am the same - a one year old daughter from a successful IVF cycle. I am now back on FB sharing pics of my adorable daughter (it's MY turn!) but the pregnancy announcements still make me want to throw my computer across the room. And while I was going through the IVF process (so thankful round 2 worked or I would've been admitted to the psych ward), my office mates were both pregnant. And now they've announced yet another pregnancy and I want to curl up and die. So, you are not alone in your feelings and it's good to know I'm not either!

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  4. It's so weird how we can have an okay reaction to some people being pregnant, and then get really jealous or upset about others. I get like that too, and I'm not even entirely sure why some bother me and others don't. You're not the only one! As for the labour thing, I think it's totally legit to feel sad that you missed out on the experience. I'm sure all moms who miss out on labour feel some part of what you feel, but I wonder if maybe you aren't taking it harder than you expect because it's piled on with all the infertility baggage, as in "we couldn't get pregnant normally, and I couldn't even give birth normally!" If you still feel really guilty about your neighbour, cook them a pot of chili and then go easier on yourself. Infertility PTSD is no joke.

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