I’m used to feeling left behind. My friends started having babies so long ago that I’ve grown used to the fact that I’m the last childless person in my circle of friends. When I started trying, my sister-in-law was single. In the time that I’ve been trying to start a family, she met a guy, got engaged, got married and has had two children. Younger coworkers who weren’t engaged when I met them are married and pregnant or have already given birth. I’ve been left in the dust.
I found solace in my support group though and met so many women who were in my position. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling left behind there too. There are so many new people in the group, it almost feels sad to keep going and to keep telling my story to these women who are just starting Clomid. Meanwhile, the women I started out with are thinking about child number two.
You’re not supposed to compare yourself to other people, right? Don’t a million pins on Pinterest say that? But how? We spend our entire lives being compared to other people. You spend your school life being graded and ranked with your other classmates. Classes are graded on curves. You’re separated out into different classes based on your talents. Then, all of a sudden, you’re supposed to stop. You’re supposed to stop caring about where your life is in comparison to your peers. I understand that stopping the comparisons would probably make me happier but it’s a lot easier said than done.
I don’t live my life in a bubble. I wish I could sometimes. Instead I live in a world when I encounter other people getting the thing I most want all the time. It feels inevitable to compare myself to them and to feel left behind.
One day, toward the end of a conversation I was having with the painter David Salle in his studio, on White Street, he looked at me and said, “Has this every happened to you? Have you ever thought that your real life hasn’t begun yet?”
“I think I know what you mean.”
“You know–soon. Soon you’ll start your real life.”
–Janet Malcolm, “Forty-One False Starts”
This. This is my life. I don’t even know what I can add to this.
Found on The Happiness Project blog.
Sometimes, it feels that after infertility, it seems that people try to explain why they deserve their pregnancy so much. “I’ve been suffering for two years and it sucked big time so I deserve this pregnancy. And because I had it so hard, I deserve for it go smoothly.” What bothers me about that is that it implies that the ones who aren’t pregnant after three or four years, didn’t deserve it enough. The ones that lose their babies don’t deserve them as much apparently . It means that to them, I don’t deserve it. I’ve been waiting for nearly six years and they only waited two. So they must be a better person or more deserving of a baby. That’s simply not the case. It’s luck and it’s random. If everyone that got pregnant did so because they “deserved” it, there would be no unwanted babies out there.
Someone in my support group had a successful IVF and she said she was feeling good and had no morning sickness. She said it was because “God knew how much she suffered to get a baby, so he was making it easy on her.” I didn’t say anything. I was too stunned. Because what does that say about me? I didn’t suffer enough trying to get pregnant so God threw in a good dose of morning sickness and pre-eclampsia and a baby death just so I would get the full suffering experience?
It’s like the saying that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. A comic, Tig Notaro, talked about that after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her mother died. She was saying how the angels were standing back and saying, “God, what are you doing? You’re out of your mind.” And God says, “No, no, no. I really think she can handle this … Just trust me on this. She can handle this.” That’s insane. Are you saying that if I was weak and crumbled at the thought of any stress, God wouldn’t put this on me? You’re basically telling me that this is my fault. You’re telling me that because I’m so strong, God is really piling it on there because I can take it. The weak woman who wouldn’t be able to stand her baby dying: that’s the woman who gets her baby.
It’s all just luck of the draw. I know that we’re taught to believe that good things come to those who wait and good people get rewarded while bad people get punished. It’s just not true. Crappy thing happen to good people. Good people lose loved ones, they get sick, they lose their jobs. It’s not because of anything they did. It’s just the way life goes. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either very lucky or just in the pre-crisis part of their life.
People don’t mean anything by it. They just say things. Things spill out of their mouth because they don’t know what to say next. They don’t know how these things can hurt.
Jonathan Coulton is a geek singer-songwriter that my husband really likes. I started listening to some of his songs because my husband had them on and they are pretty funny and catchy. My husband burned me a CD so I could listen to songs in my car and there is one that I always always skip.
I was fine,
I pulled my self together
Just in time,
To throw my self away
Once my perfect world was gone I knew,
You ruined everything in the nicest way
You should know,
How great things were before you
They’re better still today
Now I can’t think who I was before
You ruined everything in the nicest way
It’s about having your first child. This song always makes me cry. It didn’t used to. I could listen and tune it out for the most part. We saw him in concert about a year ago. He sang this song and as soon as it started, I burst into tears. I was having a great time and the tears came out of nowhere. I buried my face in my husband’s chest and sobbed. Thank God it was loud and dark and so no one really noticed. If they did, they were kind enough to pretend that sobbing in the middle of a show where everyone was laughing and singing along was perfectly normal.
That CD is in my husband’s car and so I haven’t heard it in a while so I haven’t had to quickly push the skip button while driving. Today though, the song popped into my head. Out of nowhere, I started humming it. And while it didn’t make me sob like it once did, it did hurt my heart.
I can’t wait for life to be ruined.
I’m turning thirty-five this year. How did this happen? Didn’t I just graduate college, get my master’s, and get married? How has almost ten years passed since my wedding day?
I know I shouldn’t harp on “what was supposed to be” because it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t matter what it was supposed to be like because it is what it is. It is what it is. It’s my least favorite saying in the world. It means life sucks, so suck it up, buttercup, and get used to it.
I started trying to get pregnant in 2007. If I had gotten pregnant that first month, that baby would be turning five right now. I would have a five-year old running around. I would be planning a fifth birthday and enrolling a child into kindergarten. And that’s just if we had gotten pregnant on that first official try. Before then, we weren’t really preventing so I could really have an older child even. I could have three kids by now.
I’m turning thirty-five and driving a Corolla because there is no need for a bigger car. I’m turning thirty-five and putting my dog and cat on my Christmas cards. I’m turning thirty-five and some days I feel hopeless, overwhelmed and lost and can’t control my anxiety.
I’m turning thirty-five and this is not the way it was supposed to be.
I just saw a commercial for Huggies Mommy Answers. A woman runs into the kitchen and tells her husband, “We’re pregnant.” They rejoice. “You’re going to be a mom!” “You’re going to be a dad!” “There’s a human being growing inside your stomach.” “Now what?” And they plug the questions into this Mommy Answers website, I guess.
I never had the now what question and I doubt many of you had. We knew what. Go back in 48 hours for another beta. Duh. Keep going back til your numbers are sufficiently high. Go on progesterone or stay on progesterone if you had problems in the past. Keep getting your levels tested. Go in for that first ultrasound. Pray for a heartbeat. Go back weekly. Pray every time. Graduate from your RE. Go into the abyss that is a regular OB’s office and realize that everyone else on earth thinks that pregnancy is just a routine thing that everyone goes through. No big. Go from being carefully monitored at all times to being seen every four weeks. Go from internal ultrasounds to a quick Doppler check for the heartbeat. Keep praying. When everything goes to hell, pray some more. Then decide whether you’re going to do it all over again or try something new.
Now what? I can’t even imagine not knowing anymore.