PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When Your Infertile Friends Leave the Nest

When I was single (which felt like forever), I have a partner in crime for all my single adventures. Her name was Stacey. We’d go to bars. We’d go dancing. We’d hang out at coffee shops despite the fact that we both hated coffee. We would be each other’s wing-man (or wing-woman) in the quest to meet a sane, employed man which was not as easy as it may sound.

Now, I’m not proud of this but we would often mock people who were in relationships. Let’s be honest: we were jealous. We couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t us staying home ordering in and renting a movie with our “pooh-bear”. Why hadn’t we met anyone? We’re cute! We’re funny! We’ve got a lot to offer! It was frustrating and with every engagement announcement, every bridal shower and every wedding, we'd become more and more snarky and dismissive about the institution.

After years of rejection, online dating and having dinner with men who flossed their teeth over dinner, I sort of gave up on ever meeting anyone. The dates I went on during my “Single Sentence” bordered on science fiction. There was the time I had brunch with a guy who worked for the sewage system and he talked all about raw sewage for an hour while I tried to eat (I’ve never had Eggs Benedict again by the way) or the guy who asked me to guess how old he was and then got pissed at me because I guessed right (he wanted me to guess younger) or the guy who told me outright that he hated Chinese people (I’m not joking) or my favorite, the guy who hid in the bathroom waiting for me to pay the check so he didn’t have to. I think he’s still hiding in the bathroom to this day.

Then, one year, Stacey announced that she was going to get engaged in the next six months if it killed her, me and anyone else in a one mile radius. I thought this was ambitious but I respected that she was setting a goal for herself. Besides, I had already committed myself to a life of spinsterhood so if one of us were to get married; it was going to have to be her.

Of course, a few months after this conversation, I met Sam who is now my husband. Literally out of nowhere, we met through mutual friends and within a month, we had fallen completely and totally in love. Six months after that, we were engaged.

Stacey knew I had met someone and that I thought he was definitely a “person of interest” but when it came time to tell her I was engaged, I was extremely nervous. She was still single and I was officially becoming what we made fun of for so many years.

When we went to dinner and I broke the news to her, she looked at me for a moment in shock and then said, “How did you get engaged? You weren’t even trying to meet anyone? I’m busting my ass and YOU’RE the one who gets engaged! I can’t believe this!

You’d think I’d be hurt but really, I understood. I knew somewhere in her, she was happy for me (and she eventually said so by dessert) but she was ticked it wasn’t her that had this news. Besides, after all the sh*t I said about my married and/or newly engaged friends when I was single behind their backs, I at least respected that she vented to my face. I was abandoning her and joining the enemy… and I knew how that felt. I couldn’t be mad at her at all.

I think of this story often when a fellow fertility challenged friend announces their pregnancy. How they must feel how I felt with Stacey that day; guilty that I was happy and that I had found someone and that she hadn’t yet. I made every effort not to be over the top with giddiness about my engagement or my wedding. I went out of my way to keep up with single activities such as meeting her for drinks or gabbing on the phone with her any chance I got. In retrospect, I think I even didn’t fully allow myself to be as happy as I was for fear I was hurting Stacey or my other single friends. I knew better how it felt to be in their shoes than anyone and I didn’t want them to think of me the same way I thought of married people all those years.

The thing is every time someone I know who has struggled along with me to conceive ends up pregnant; it is a mixture of true joy and a bit of sadness. You do feel like you’ve lost a person who was in the trenches with you and you’re sad for yourself but you can’t help but feel happy for someone you know who has struggled desperately to achieve this moment. Ultimately, these stories of successes should offer you hope and incentive but in lower, more hormonal moments, it’s difficult not to feel either left behind or disappointed that it’s still not you.

All in all, it’s a mixed bag of emotions. I think the bottom line though is we all have different issues and we’re all different people. There is no logic to when it should or shouldn’t happen for one person or another. There isn’t an “Ok, whose turn is it now to be pregnant?” or “Who deserves it?” so why even bothering comparing yourself to someone else who got knocked up when you didn’t? Also, and as comical as this may sound, I do often remind myself that just because so-and-so had a baby, that doesn’t mean she directly took my baby away from me.

Now let me be clear here: I can say all this and I know it’s all true but obviously, if you’ve been reading my blog, you know there are times when I am blindly jealous or resentful of the fertile community at large. I’m human, I’m hormonal and at times, quite frankly, I’m downright pissed off at my situation. Still, in more reasonable moments, I remember the whole Stacey situation and I know that in this scenario, I’m Stacey.

One day, I hope I’ll be the one with happy pregnancy news. I also hope that when that happens, my fellow infertiles will forgive me for getting pregnant and celebrate along with me. Right now, at this moment, I have the opportunity to react to others pregnancy announcements like I hope others will react for me – with nothing but happiness, support and encouragement. Does it still hurt at times and am I still jealous? Fuck, yeah but I look at it as an investment for when it’s my turn. Well, that and because I know in my heart, putting aside all poopy, negative feelings, I actually am genuinely happy for them.

27 comments:

EWP said...

OMG I feel like you're telling my story. How me and my friend Anna hated all those couples, blech, and then I became one and was so scared to tell her. Ditto for the pregnancy stuff. But clearly you're saying this all way better than I ever could.

Hoping with all my heart that your day will come, and soon.

Manda said...

This was very beautifully written! I completely feel both sides of this.

I am so very happy to know you. You truly are an amazing person to be friends with.

Dana said...

Wow, this post is so timely. Several of my babyloss Mom friends are announcing their pregnancies. I am really happy for them, but I am sad for myself. I feel like I am being left behind and then I get mad at myself for feeling that way.

I'm hoping that your day comes soon.

jill's infertility document said...

Great post! I've been really working on this line of thinking lately, and when my bitterness, jealously and insecurities about infertility overtake me i try to reword them and spit them out.

Negative Nelly said...

Very well said. I lost a single friend when I became engaged due to her jealous. It was sad. :(

As I don't have anyone IRL or even on the internet I've shared struggles closely with...I can't say I've had anyone besides my one SIL notify me of their pregnancy announcement with any tact. But, if you get pregnant before me (which you're entitled to because it's been longer for you), I promise to be happy (but insanely jealous) for you!

Gurlee said...

Well said. I can relate to almost every single word.

RachelP said...

Wonderful post!

Cheryl said...

Fabulous post. Very well thought out and beautifully written. You have nicely and properly summed up what so many of us feel. Now, having said that - I sincerely hope your turn is just around the corner!

Lesley (and Eric) said...

So... whatever happened to Stacey??? Is she now married, or what?

Kakunaa said...

This was said so eloquently. It's NOT easy, and yes, there is guilt. I hope your day comes soon, and when it does, I will be cheering you on!

Lindsay said...

So nicely put. Its just the plain truth and so ard to know and remember at times but we are happy that so many in the community are getting their chances but I think you said it best by we're left in the trenches (for now!)

Eny said...

well, if it makes you feel better, I still belong to the proud infertily group and I have a feeling that I just renewed my yearly membership for next year with my last doctor's visit :).... no worries, I won't leave you for a long time :) hang in there!

Heidi said...

well said!

Jen said...

This is such a timely post! And, well said. Thanks babe. "Ultimately, these stories of successes should offer you hope and incentive but in lower, more hormonal moments, it’s difficult not to feel either left behind or disappointed that it’s still not you." It IS hard, but I'm (unfortunately) much happier for my fellow IFers that the fertiles in my life. (Which is hard too, I miss being happy for people.)

the2weekwait said...

Lesley (and Eric) -- It's funny because I was going to put it in the blog but then I thought it might sound to much of a bummer. Stacey and I are still friends. We don't see each other as much but she is in fact still single... which I know pisses her off.

missohkay said...

The bizarre thing for me is that I hate, just hate, seeing anyone pregnant or hearing about anyone else's pregnancy unless I know they struggled. But if they struggled, I'm totally fine because I feel like they actually appreciate it. So I spend a lot of time pretending that random strangers were infertile so that I won't glare at them... and if I ever get far enough to have a big belly, I imagine wearing a "Don't hate me, I'm infertile" t-shirt so that strangers won't glare at me.

CW said...

I absolutely loved this post. I completely understand and wish that I could have said it as well myself or even passed onto fertile friends so they understand a little bit. You are happy for them but inside you think nuts when is it me. There was a girl on our forum and they were battling MFI & FFI and she got pregnant first IVF go. I admit even though she beat all of those odds the first little horrible jealous thought that was in my head was "why not me I don't have any problems". Good luck love. I still stand by the mantra that good things eventually happen to good people.

Anonymous said...

Yes! This is a great, great post!!! I understand so incredibly much!! I hate the jealousy I feel when I hear someone else is pregnant but usually when it's another infertile person, I have that battle of happiness and sadness. Loved reading your post!

AL said...

Very well said Jay! Great post.

Mrs. M said...

Great post! I can totally relate.

Conceptionally Challenged said...

Thanks for sharing this story. It's hard to be Stacey, on some days more than on others.

Kelly said...

So true... great post, doll.

Brooke said...

I think that your honesty is brave.

Maddy said...

I loved this post (having spent so many years single myself). But now I'm curious - did Stacey ever meet someone???

Desiree said...

I really enjoyed this post - I'm pregnant for the first time after two losses and I'm still not sure how to feel. I'm scared of losing it again, yet I'm scared to be happy and I feel guilty because I know too clearly that feeling of being left out. It's been a bumpy road indeed!

Rachel said...

I never really did the whole single thing, I got married at 19. But the infertile thing I am doing big time (close to 4 years now, to poor to do anything "doctor-y" about it)!

I am soooo jealous when people get pregnant, but I have a much easier time being happy for them if they had a hard time getting and/or staying that way. When someone gets knocked up on accident, a part of me wants to punch them in the face. Obviously I wouldn't do this, but it seems like they just slapped me in the face so it would be appropriate, right?

Anonymous said...

Just found this post, and I have been struggling with the same issues. I got pregnant on my 4th try with IUI, but lost the baby at 11 weeks. I am now into my 3rd try since the m/c. It seems as though EVERYONE I met on the blogs got pregnant their first time post-m/c. I am so happy for them, but so sad at the same time. And ultimately, so very afraid. That is what hurts the most. The fear it will never happen again.

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