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, April 20, 2011

The War Begins At Home

Today, I went for a walk on my lunch hour with a friend/co-worker of mine named Sharon. Sharon gave birth to twins approximately six years ago through her first in vitro so she’s become a sort of “IVF Sponsor” of mine. Nothing like having a friend you can go to during your work day and ask, “When you were taking progesterone, did you ever feel like punching someone dead in their face?” and having them completely understand.

We were walking through a park in Manhattan when a woman pushing a stroller tried to push past us and basically ran directly into Sharon. Instead of apologizing, she looked at Sharon with exasperation, sighed and said, “No, really… you go ahead.” Sharon moved out of the way and the stroller lady pulled out in front of us.

Now, because I have my period, because I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over two years, because I’m preparing for my third in vitro, because I’m worried about how much all of its going to cost, because I’m not relishing shooting progesterone oil in my ass, because I’m a bitter sourpuss about all of the above and because I truly am protective of my friends, I turned to Sharon and said the following snarky statement: “Just because you have wheels doesn’t mean you automatically have the right of way!” This was intended for Sharon’s ears only and was an attempt at a joke regarding her almost being mowed down but unfortunately, the stroller woman heard it and did not appreciate it.

The stroller woman yelled something at me at first that I didn’t quite make out and then even better, her friend who was also pushing a stroller came up from behind us and must have asked stroller woman #1 what happened. Quickly, the second stroller woman turned and yelled at Sharon, “Do you think it’s easy for us to push a stroller with babies in it? You obviously don’t have any clue!

I immediately stopped the woman and said, “Hey wait! I’m the asshole without kids so go ahead and yell at me.” I motioned to Sharon and said, “She has twins at home so don’t yell at her.” I then turned to the first stroller woman and said, “Look, I’m sorry. Ok? Let’s drop it.

The second stroller woman seemed taken aback for a second that she was yelling at woman with twins. She thought for a moment before yelling at me, “Um, ok but she’s the one laughing!” while pointing angrily at Sharon.

Sharon and I, without discussing it, mutually decided to just walk away from the women. I mean, I had already called myself an asshole and said I was sorry, so other than handing them my currently used maxi pad while explaining that I sincerely DON’T know what it’s like to be pushing a stroller and I might never know what it’s like, there wasn’t much else to say.

As we walked away though, the second stroller woman shouted after us, “Fine! Walk away but you should show mothers more respect!

I wanted to yell back, “And you should show infertiles more respect!” but I kept my mouth shut since it had already gotten me into enough trouble today and let's be honest, I did act like an asshole and didn't have much of a leg to stand on at this point.

Next week is National Infertility Awareness Week®. Well, actually, for me, Infertility week is every f*cking week but for the rest of the fertile world, it’s just from April 24th – April 30th. It has been described as a week to bust myths and clear up misconceptions about the disease of infertility. As I returned to my desk after this altercation though, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How can I bust myths and create understanding of infertility with the fertile community at large when I can’t even bust myths and understand infertility with myself!

I try and fight the good fight and not play the victim to my situation. During most hours of the day, one could even describe my attitude as realistically positive. I also manage to maintain a sense of humor throughout all the painful procedures, disappointments, friends and families baby announcements and financial losses. Sure, I have my good days and I have my bad days but I do try, not always successfully, to be hopeful and humorous. However, all of my best efforts obviously failed me today when confronted with the “stroller women” (or as Sharon now calls them, “The Stroller Nazi’s”).

The Stroller Nazi’s (TSN’s for short) did not appear to be women who had a job. It was a sunny day that they could enjoy, not on their lunch hour, but all day long if they wanted to. They had their super duper high tech strollers, striking tans, beautiful blonde highlighted hair, top of the line warm up-suits and they were wearing fancy shmancy sunglasses. They also had babies. They represented everything I want but can’t have.

I need to work. I also look fat in warm up suits, my sunglasses are from Walgreens, I burn in the sun easily, blonde highlights would look more like stripes on me and I can’t seem to have a baby let alone a stroller to put them in or run people over with. In moments like that, when I’m confronted with just how very infertile and inadequate I am, I lash out. Why? Because in that instant, everything feels like it’s my fault. I am the failure while they are the successes. I can’t do the simplest thing like get pregnant like a normal person. I suck. Why do I even bother coming down from the bell tower and mingling with common folk? I should hide in the shadows with my hump and bay at the moon.

I swear - if I heard someone saying some of the things I say to myself, I’d be outraged. If I wouldn’t let someone treat a friend that way, why do I allow myself to treat me that way? I am the Ike Turner in the Tina Turner/Ike Turner relationship but with myself.

And really, how many times have we all done that? Said to ourselves that we are failures? That we are losers? That we’re ashamed? That we can’t do anything right? When are we going to forgive ourselves despite the obvious fact that we haven’t actually done anything wrong in the first place?!?!

More importantly, how can we expect others to show us respect when we can’t show ourselves the respect we so deserve?

We are amazing, strong, resilient, supportive women. We subject ourselves to physical and financial strain without any guarantees. We are expected to rejoice for everyone pregnancies without question when so few people go out of their way to support our losses… but we do it. Often. We smile. We buy presents and we hide our pain. We willingly go through hell at the mere promise that we may have a child of our own. We wake up every day, get dressed, function in society no matter what hormones we’re taking, how we’re feeling or what bad news we’ve just been delivered. And yes, we occasionally yell at women pushing strollers but that just means we’re human. We get jealous and resentful but we pick ourselves up over and over and over again and keep going. We are unsung heros who even in our weaker moments show more strength and courage in one cycle than most people do in an entire lifetime.

Whether your friends and family know you struggle or have struggled with infertility, whether you make a scene about it or not, can we all agree that we are worthy of acknowledgement and respect even if it’s just the acknowledgement and respect we should give ourselves?

So, during National Infertility Awareness Week®, there are many different events you can attend if you choose to and are able to. For me though, I think I’m going to make it a week where I finally, for the love of god, let myself off the hook. After all, I may be an asshole but I still believe I'm an asshole with a good heart.

52 comments:

Sam said...

WOW. You are a lot nicer than I would have been. Seriously, who are those women to judge, and make assumptions? Or assume because they are mothers they deserve for you to jump right out of the way and respect them? For the record, before infertility I hated people with strollers, and now even more. Those people never freaking look and ram into your ankles! Honestly I think I would have yelled back and made her feel like s*it but that's just me ;) I HATE when people use the "you don't know what it's like to be a mother" statement, I find it demeaning. But my husband also tells me I take everything to heart, so I dunno.

But seriously - let yourself off the hook, for all of it. You've fought more than most people, you deserve a break.

cgd said...

Jay, this is brilliant. Your post gave me the chills. It is amazing how we beat ourselves up over this stuff. I am on board for the let yourself off the hook week. I am so honored to be on this journey with you.
P.S. I think this all the time about strollers. Especially when they walk side by side on the sidewalk and you cannot get by!!!!! get out of my infertile way please!!!!

amiracle4us said...

OMG!!! When I first read this I thought you DID yell back about respecting an infertile and I was giggling with glee!! Some people just have no clue. My reply to the comment about 'not having a clue' would likely have been something along the lines, 'an it isn't by choice and I can garauntee I would LOVE to have the 'trouble' of pushing a stroller with a child than my empty one I have now'". UGgggg....I hope the rest of the day went better! xo

Sarah Woulfin said...

Such a smart and strong post...thanks!

China Doll said...

Love this post... we should totally be 'big-upping' ourselves for all we go through :) And don't feel bad about yelling at TSN - they deserved it... though next time, I'd go for the guilt trip and declare your infertile-ness with a few little tears in your eyes ;)

A Shadow of My Former Self said...

Incredible post. It is so much easier to accept shabby treatment from others when we don't respect ourselves or acknowledge how this struggle has impacted our lives. Thank you for pulling together some very important issues and tying them together in such a profoundly succinct bow.

BTW, asshole or not, your kind hearted self did not deserve that treatment. Cut yourself some slack! She clearly did not accept responsibility.

~C~ said...

I don't think you're an asshole, I think TSNs are assholes. When my husband just got a "Ugh, you don't have kids, do you?" the other day, afterwards when we were home, he told me he wanted to reply, "Ugh, you don't have a job, do you?" Mwahahaha.

I really despise the entitlement attitude of a lot of people with children. Pregnant women may be smug, but they ain't got nothin' on women with kids.

SLESE1014 said...

I just want to tell you how much I love you! You are me, except you're in New York so you can get away with it. There have been many times when I just wanted to slap the fertiles who run me over with their thousand dollar strollers and designer diaper bags. I just give them dirty looks because if I opened my mouth, the rant would never stop!

We all feel this way for a reason. We have a gift/curse of IF. We all have struggled with the crap of those who play the "motherhood" card. You handled it as well as would have...in fact much better!

Cristy said...

Stroller Nazis: there's a reason this term exists. I think they should start requiring licenses to drive some of those high-tech strollers. I've been mowed down a few times already and the only time I've received an apology was after the woman drew blood. Anyway, I'd like to believe that the rudeness is due to one-to-many peroxide treatments in an effort to maintain that blonde hair, but the reality is that there are assholes in the world. And they never apologize.

This incredible post is timely, in so many ways. With Easter celebrations in full swing and "Mother's Day" in a couple of weeks, it's hard not to get down on one's infertile self. So thank you for the reminder that what we're living through is not for the faint-of-heart. And thank you for calling us out on the self-deprecating thoughts. I've met more amazing women who are living/have lived with infertility and they are all amazing!

Kitty said...

Amen!

unaffected said...

Hey, we're all assholes here! Good job on walking away from TSNs!

Secret Sloper said...

I know soooooooo many women like that in NYC. Guess what? Most of them are outrageously dull people. Your little strolltercation was probably the most exciting thing that's happened in these women's lives all week. Other than their most recent Brazilian.

You are the extremely funny asshole without kids who stood up for her friend. So good for you. And forget showing *mothers* more respect. We should all show *people* more respect. Especially when walking on public sidewalks.

Finally, I can't imagine the entitlement that could allow someone to mow a person down with a stroller and be pissed at *them* for taking up space rightfully owed to their child's apparatus. I would be so apologetic if I ever did that! But then again, I can't believe a lot of the crap I see parents doing in public on the regs.

Rebecca said...

Wow. Awesome in many ways. I love that you're turning this around and you're totally right. Thanks!

Kate said...

I always appreciate the laugh I get from reading your stories.
I needed it today.

Thanks!

Jen Durham said...

This had me laughing crying and MAD, I almost wish you would pulled out that maxi pad and showed them, I bet it would have shut them up. GGGRRRRR! Great post!

sienna said...

omg, i think i would have RAGED on the woman. just bc you're a mother doesn't earn you automatic respect. lots of mothers don't deserve to be one, and sounds like she plowed right into your friend and deserved a beating (well, not really a beating, but at least a verbal one). sorry you had to deal with that :o( the next entitled and rude mom that i run into - i'll give her a good tongue lashing with you in mind.

kateanon said...

It's easy to be kind to others going through it, and we often wish those around us would be kinder about IF. It's the HARDEST thing to be kinder to ourselves about it. Even when you try to be positive, it's hard to keep down the blame, shame, anger, sadness, etc.

I don't blame you for having an asshole moment (I do it all the time and have no more meds to blame it on). I think those venting moments help more than you know. Hang in there.

S said...

First time visitor for ICLW here. . .

I loved this post. I hate people with a sense of entitlement, whether they are mothers or not! What right did these women have to take up the sidewalk with their strollers, especially to the point of running into your friend, and then get angry with her about it? Grrr.

Respect is something that is earned, not automatic. . . for everyone, not just for mothers. And I get tired of people acting like the fact that they could produce a kid makes them superior to others.

Kelly said...

YOU are not the asshole. Those mothers were the assholes. Why should you bow down to their "motherhood" when they're the ones mowing people down with strollers? Bitches...

wonder woman said...

Are you kidding me?? a person doesn't have to be a mother to know that stroller or not you don't run into people on the daggone sidewallk??? What in the world!!??

You are clearly a much nicer person than me. I do have a kid, but i would have told that lady "congratulations for having kids i hope you don't raise them in a BARN like you obviously were!!" That's like yelling at someone with the handbasket in a grocery store because you're having to push the big grocery cart around and hit them. It' not my fault i'm cooking for one and you're shopping for an army? get a grip!!

whew! that story made me mad for you.

bodegabliss said...

"We are expected to rejoice for everyone pregnancies without question when so few people go out of their way to support our losses… but we do it. " This is so true! I think that has been my biggest struggle. Where are our gifts of condolences? Our fake smiles?

I've hated this part the most (not the no-gifts part, the no support part...although, gifts would've been nice!).

Alex said...

I love love love this post! That's right - for one week (AT LEAST!) treat yourself well. Because you do have an amazing heart, and you deserve the very best, especially from yourself! I love this!

April said...

AMEN! For the record, I think I would have yelled back at her.

ICLW

Megan, aka LadyofMoonlight said...

Ugh. Women like that (TSNs) will never be happy, no matter how much they have in material goods or looks or family. And seriously, it isn't just shoving your stroller into another person, it's shoving your *child* into another person. Not to say I've never accidentally hit another person or object with a stroller (those things are unweildy!) but to wham your kid into someone intentionally? Dude, I probably would've retaliated with, "you should show your baby more respect and not use him/her as a weapon!"

As for IAW, I almost wish there was a shirt we could buy and wear, almost as a "coming out" sign for infertility. Just walk around town with our IF shirts, announcing to the world that we're everywhere, in every walk of life, many ages and all races, male and female, and we're just normal everyday people. Maybe even meet another infertile on the street that you've seen before and realize your common bond. Sorry, just fantasizing for a moment :)

Kelly Jean said...

Ughhhh I agree with the first poster. You're nicer than I would have been. I would have FLIPPED! Think about how insensitive that woman was! How DARE she assume that you're CHOOSING not to have children. OR! That you don't have 1,000 children of your own at home?! Stupid witch.

The thing that gets me through things like that is - you never know what YOU might have that SHE might want. Maybe she's BORED to death with being a SAHM. Or her husband is cheating on her with his secretary. Or she gave up her career to be a mom, and not in the *gladly, please!* way that we would, but in a *loved her job and was forced to give it up* way. Maybe she's jealous of your chest! You never know!

Most importantly - one can assume with reasonably assurity that you will treasure your child more than she and any other woman who hasn't dealt with IF.

Love your blog, thanks for sharing!!

Kelly Jean said...

Just had to add LMFAO at "Get out of my infertile way please!!!" hahahahahaha.

And I love the thought of everyone wearing IF t-shirts. "We're here! We're infertile! We're not proud, but hey, we're here! So deal with it!"

daega99 said...

Yeah, I wouldhave yelled back... ;)

Happy ICLW!
http://daega99-arewethereyet.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

You are awesome.

Jenna said...

HAHAHA this post cracked me up! :)

Kanis said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm still reeling from my the failure of my first IVF cycle. I don't feel strong; I've never felt so weak and out of control in my life. But your post reminded me that no matter how much pain, sadness, loss I may be feeling, everyday I get up and stand in front of my students and still give them all of me. I am strong. We are strong. Thank you.

Jill said...

I just finished shooting myself up with some Bravelle and that post made me smile. Thank you for your insight and give yourself a break, we all say things we shouldn't, if we did not "lose it" everyone once in a while we would go insane. Take care.

thebunlessoven said...

Another cracking post!

I've been hiding out reading for a few weeks now (that sounds creepy!) and you are among some fine, fine writers who've inspired me to get started on my own blog about the shitty travels through IVF.
I know there are millions of us out there, but that's sort of the point, isn't it?

Thanks for the inspiration and the laughs.

China Doll said...

Love your blog!! I've awarded you a Stylish Blogger and/or Versatile blogger Award :)) Follow the link below and join in the fun this Easter :)

http://infertilityinchina.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-good-friday-so-far.html

jill's infertility document said...

Yeah, right, we should really respect mothers more. Wow, those are fighting words, self-righteous fighting words. This would have ruined my day.

Trying not to feel like the victim in these kinds of situations and interactions, while at the same time trying not to victimize yourself with the things we say to ourselves is a huge struggle. I think letting yourself off the hook is the perfect way to honor Infertility Awareness Week.

Thank you for the motivation.

EBC said...

i hate strollers and jerkass mothers. i think they should both be banned from the planet. stupid devil contraptions. way to hold you self back from totally slugging the woman!

btw-if you do the blog award thing, i gave you one at my blog.

Lynn said...

I can relate so closely to so much of what you said in this post! I blame myself for our IF, for not having children, for not having more than we do. I feel like I should hide myself away. I often don't feel worthy of being around "normal" people, "better" people. I feel so depressed so much of the time.

As for the women who yelled back at you, you are such a better person than I am because they would have gotten a yell right back and a detailed history of my IF and how not having children was not my choice and how lucky they are to have the "not easy" task of having babies to push in a stroller.

Good luck with your journey. I hope you find success with it soon!

ICLW #105
http://wistfulgirl.blogspot.com

badweather said...

For sure it isn't easy to push a stroller in the city, but oh boy it is a million times harder to walk down the street wanting to.

Here in London they give out badges for pregnant women to get seats on the tube, saying 'baby on board'. I want a badge saying 'baby overboard'. And if I do ever get pregnant, I want a t-shirt saying 'don't glare, I'm one of you' right over where the bump is. Or 'gestation time: 4 years'.

Thanks for the chuckle, as always tinged with sadness that so many of us have had the same experiences.

Amber said...

I love that you point out that infertility week is actually all the time for those suffering from it. It doesn't take a break. I would have loved to have only had one week a year that I had to deal with all the bullcrap that went along with TTC. I hope this is all worth it in the end!

Happy ICLW

Tracey (thefertilitydaily) said...

That's it. You have totally ruined me for ICLW! I am addicted to your hysterical voice and can not stop reading your blog.
I wanted to deck TSN for you! The RE I blog for also blogs for Fertility Authority. I went over and loved your post over there, too!
It took me 6 fresh IVFs before I had my girl adn the odds were against me, but I kept going. I hope your dream comes true.
And since you're such an amazing writer, you should look into entering the essay contest my RE is holding this week for NIAW. Great daily prizes, but the one grand prize is a free micro-IVF, though that grand prize won't be awarded until Labor Day. Just a thought for you. Good luck. I'll definitely be back to read your blog again, Jay! ICLW #156

foxy said...

Awesome post. and I can only pretend that you did yell back at the stroller that she should show some respect for infertile! It makes me smile, so I'm going to pretend thats what actually happened. hehe.

I also LOVE the idea of an IVF Sponsor.

You are a fantastic writer and I'll be back to read more.
Happy iclw!

Liz said...

Sounds like quite the encounter! Glad you stood up for yourself. I wanted to let you know I awarded you the versatile blogger award. Happy Easter.

Miss Conception said...

Hi from ICLW. Your post was both hilarious and poignant. I'll be back for more!

My Infertile Confessions said...

WOW! I WISH you said that last comment! People have NO IDEA what its like to be an infertile! So frustrating!

Hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend! :)

Maria said...

Holy sh*t! I cried AND laughed at this post (and some of the comments).....so great. And, for the record, I'd rather be my short, brunette self with $5 sunglasses than act like a TSN. I love how fertiles show us what NOT to do when we're finally on the other side. ;)

Maria said...

P.S. I just awarded you a Versatile Blogger Award. Pick it up from my blog. :D

Lu said...

Bravo! I think I would've tripped mommy #2, good for you for not getting physical. I almost pulled the perky blond ponytail of a mom in line at the grocery store last week because her kids were running amuck and driving everyone crazy. Seriously, it was all I could do to NOT give it a tug.

Lori said...

I certainly know anthing or two about this! It's so hard to stay positive and up beat all of the time. I too try and project that all the while i'm in a boxing match with myself. Muhammad Ali is in my head......CONSTANTLY!

I am so glad I read this post today. After the week I've had it's just what I needed. I swift kick in the behind to stop treating myself the way I do. You're right, we would never allow people to treat others they way, I'll speak for myself, I treat myself!

You are doing a great job getting through all of this! ;) <3

TheKirCorner said...

you really should have yelled that back at her, or walked over to her and yelled it at her. I think I would have, esp being where you are,,when I was where you are I was a miserable bitch and WORDY.

but this post is exactly what we as infertiles need more than $$$ for treatments (well we need that too, but you know what I mean) it's permission to feel the way we do, permission to be angry and upset, disappointed and frustrated. I loved this for all those reasons, for being able to know that even now when I had the children that I feel like a failure it's my right to feel that. The guilt, the heartache for all of you still struggling.

You're a warrior and a role model for all of us.

Adriana said...

I am so happy that I found this blog, specially today, I been crying non stop, I received a full timevjob offer (currently I work part time) because my colleague got pregnant, I know I should be happy for her, but am just so jealous!! on top of that I scratched my car, today am just a ray of sunshine! I just needed to know that they are other women that go through the same thing as me, thanks for being here.

Kristen said...

What a lovely post! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Damita said...

Great post! You are not an arsehole!

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! Crazy stroller nazis!

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