Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Infertility doesn’t stop when you're pregnant

It has often been confusing to me being pregnant. Not the pregnancy, that’s been something where I’ve felt afraid the whole time that something will go wrong…no, I’m talking about the signs of visible fertility. Kami has a post about this that got me thinking about it even more. Sometimes I feel very uncomfortable – like when the lady on the street corner asked me my due date and then told me to be careful because there were women out there who could not get pregnant so they might want to steel my baby, possibly even cut it out of my stomach. I’m not kidding. It was so absurd. And of course I am one of those women who could not get pregnant. Could not until DE and even then, it’s not a given. I got lucky. Finally.

I straddle both worlds. Once my husband and I started having our fertility problems five years ago we slowly withdrew from the people we know who were pregnant, or had children. It was just too painful to be around them or to hear them talk about their babies etc. It was our effort at self-protection. And it sort of worked. When I spoke to friends over the phone and they started in with baby related talk I would not go along for the ride because it left me in tears after hanging up. Rather I started saying things like, oh wow, I didn’t realize the time, I’ve got to go, or some version of that. It was much better than going along.

Now we are pregnant and I found myself reluctant to speak about the pregnancy because I remember and know all too well how painful it is to hear about pregnancy and babies if you want them. I do this, apparently to a fault. One friend actually asked my husband if everything was ok with the baby because I never talk about it. She is single and in her 30’s and I just didn’t talk much about it because I didn’t want her to be upset. Same with the other friends of ours who do not have kids or are not in relationships. The interesting thing is that she, unlike me, wants to hear about it. Which means, as Kami discusses in her post (and others discuss in the comments), that it is better to ask and be honest with people. So in that spirit: I grapple with how much to talk about my pregnancy online because I know when I wasn’t pregnant there were many days when I just couldn’t read about someone who was, and then there were the days when reading about someone who’d been through so many hurdles and was finally pregnant gave me great hope. I try to strike a balance here, if I haven’t please let me know.

Ultimately I don’t think infertility stops when something works be it a pregnancy or an adoption or the decision, as some make, to get off the roller coaster completely. Infertility changes all of us and makes us who we are, or will become. I think I am a better person today for all that I’ve been through (and will continue to experience) hopefully more empathetic and sensitive to those around me. I am continually reminded to take nothing for granted. Especially this online community.


onwardandsideways.blogspot.com said...

Great observation, Stacy, and yeah... I don't think you ever get over this, if you're honest with yourself. It's just something you learn to live with.

Unless you're one of the women — and they're out there — who keep this a TOTAL secret, even from the child. Shudder.

The freakish woman on the corner might be from my home town... something like that actually happened there, believe it or not. But it's not something I'd say to a pregnant woman, for god's sake.

Thanks for stopping by, and I will look forward to reading your posts as things continue — hopefully all smoothly!

onwardandsideways.wordpress.com said...

oops, my address is onwardandsideways.wordpress.com... : P

Kami said...

First, thanks for linking to my post.

Second, this is very well said. I sometimes feel embarrassed to admit that I am pregnant and I am not even sure why, but suspect it is because I have spent so much time withdrawing from others who are pregnant.

"Ultimately I don’t think infertility stops when something works be it a pregnancy or an adoption or the decision, as some make, to get off the roller coaster completely"

Something else I am realizing more an more every day. Thanks for putting in to words what I have been feeling.

peep said...

I understand what you mean. I don't quite feel reluctant to share other than the stupid fear of jynxing myself but I do feel conscious of older or single women and I am always dying to ask them so I can say "me too" and hopefully make them feel better. The first thing I would do is direct someone to this incredible source of blog support.

I had a friend who seemed to shun me when she became pregnant after IVF because she was afraid of how I would feel. I tried to express my genuine happiness for her and interest in her progress but she just never came around. It hurt my feelings and I felt like I lost a great source of support because of her issues and projection on me.

Honesty has to be the best way.

midlife mommy said...

About the lady on the street corner . . . someone actually made a comment like that to me, though I think it was along the lines of someone stealing the baby after it was born. And this person knew all about my struggles with infertility. I guess once I became pregnant (DE also), I became one of "them" as far as she was concerned. Not hardly.