Not more than two weeks ago, a couple of my blog friends (Doug doesn’t like me to call them my “fake friends”) and I were having an email conversation about how we would react if/when one of us got pregnant. And then, yesterday, one of us did.
My reaction was exactly as I’d predicted: I’m happy for her, and sad for me. And frustrated out of my mind that I can’t just feel pure happiness at this kind of news – especially coming from someone who: a) is older than me; b) is married; c) has been trying to get pregnant and facing repeated disappointment for the better part of two years; d) I adore for her wit and compassion and eloquence; and e) absolutely fucking deserves it.
This is when I feel the most abnormal, when we’re not talking about a teenager accidentally falling pregnant, or someone getting knocked up after a drunken one-night-stand (like in that movie… what was it called?), or my parents who married later in life (32 and 40) and decided to start trying right away since so many of their friends were having trouble conceiving… They were married in October; I was born the following July.
We are talking about one of my own here. We are talking about someone whose struggles are my struggles, and whose triumphs should be my triumphs.
But I am happy for her and sad for me, and I feel like a bitch for being anything other than happy for her (and I mean happy for her, in that baby-shower-attending fuckwit sort of way), and I am therefore eating all the Israeli chocolate that was sent to me by another one of my
fake blog friends.
There is one big difference between me and the rest of these girls who have been journeying alongside me the past few months: I am not trying to make a baby. They are. Every last one of them is actively trying to conceive, while I am just trying to heal while I wait for the timing to be right for me and Doug to start trying ourselves. Most of the time, I have so much in common with these women – the way we look at the world, the way we look at pregnant women, the dark senses of humor, the crippling emotions surrounding our infertility and losses – that I forget we differ at all.
But we do differ, and in light of my friend’s announcement, I was harshly reminded: every single one of these women will get pregnant before I do. Or she will move on to adoption. Or she will give up on babies and run off and join the Peace Corps. But something will happen for each of these women, something will conclude this chapter of her life. Before I even get a chance to try.
I told my newly-pregnant friend last night that, as I feared, her success just made me anxious to give up waiting and start trying. Like, “Hey, I bet I can do this shit too! Let’s go find out!” She wrote me back, saying, “I honestly don’t know how you read all these blogs and DON’T constantly feel like you want to start trying right away!”
Me neither. I must be pretty strong-willed. Or thick-headed. Or both.
The other loss here, the selfish loss, is that this friend has been such an outstanding spokeswoman for our community: she even has a series of posts called “Stuff Infertile People Like,” which are brilliant and hilarious. She says the things I’m thinking, and somehow makes her bitterness articulate and graceful, while I fear my bitterness is just… bitter. And whiny.
So even though I know she has no plans to turn into a dippy, look-at-me-look-at-me pregnant chick who posts facebook pictures of things she’s peed on, I’m worried that the infertility humor might stop. The solidarity might stop. The heart-wrenching posts about this suckhole we’re all living in might stop. (She says they won’t, and I’m inclined to believe her.)
But, I told her, after some tears, some soul-searching, some being lectured by Doug about how this is one of the pregnancies I’m supposed to be happy about, and the reassurance that my honesty wasn’t met with indignance, I do hope that her pregnancy is healthy. Because as much as I worry that the funny infertility posts might stop now that she’s pregnant, I’m more scared of the possibility that something could go wrong, and that it would break her funny forever.
Happy for her, sad for me. And pissed that I will probably never be “normal.”
I’ve slept in this bed,
between blue-striped sheets,
you with your back to me;
I’ve washed my hair
with your strawberry shampoo,
worn your bathrobe;
I’ve sat in front of these mirrored walls,
admiring myself naked,
getting up close to apply mascara;
I know the pictures you have framed,
the way you alphabetize your movies,
your growing collection of girl-given stuffed toys.
But today it all feels more like a memory
than something familiar.
I’m dressed as an adult in black,
wondering why I’m even bothering
with the mascara at all.
Some things never change;
they just end.