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?