How was your weekend? I hope it was excellent. Oh mine? Well, ahem. In a word it was: awful. I am still reeling a bit.
Let’s back up. In March, I had a weekend planned with my three college roommates. We were to spend the night in New Jersey (we are all within three hours drive) at my friend Mary’s house. Katie and I would drive up together from DC and Jenny would come up from Baltimore. We were all to meet at Mary’s Saturday by lunchtime. Katie called me the day before sounding awfully sick with a cold and said she couldn’t come, she was too sick. Since we had a quiet weekend planned, I had a feeling I knew why she was really sick. I was right, just weeks later she announced she was pregnant. Anyhow, the other three of us had a great time catching up. I knew that Mary had been trying to conceive for a little while, and I was sort of relieved she wasn’t pregnant when we showed up. We talked a bit about how getting pregnant wasn’t as easy as people scared you into thinking while in high school and college. I was in the middle of my second IUI cycle, so I explained a little about what we were doing. Jenny, who just got married last year, said she didn’t want to TTC until next summer (that would be, summer 2014). She kind of joked that since I’d been trying 2 years, and Mary for over a year, maybe she do it sooner. Then quickly added that she didn’t think they were ready.
In June, Mary called with her news (I wrote a little bit about it here). She got pregnant pretty much right after I saw her in March. Her news was hard for me, but I had known it was coming and I knew she’d tried for awhile. I was happy for her.
This brings me to this weekend. This was Katie’s baby shower weekend, here in DC. Since it was local there was really no way for me to get out of it. I had been preparing myself mentally. Baby clothes and baby bjorns aren’t as hard for me to deal with as pregnant bellies, so I concentrated on the time before the shower when I’d be with my two very pregnant roommates. I knew they’d both want to talk a lot about their pregnancies and the like. I knew all this. I prepared myself. I was ready to grin and bear it. I was ready to act excited about strollers and birth plans. I felt comfort that Jenny would also be there. She and I would be able to drink and tease the preggos about how delicious the wine was and that we needed to talk about something else now and then. I would have a buddy. I figured she’d help me stay a bit steady and remind me how it can be really fun to *not* be pregnant and that’d help me get through some of the pregnancy talk. I thought maybe they’d ask what was up with me, or maybe just Jenny and I would chat about it during a quiet moment.
What happened was not what I had prepared for.
At lunch on Saturday, Jenny, who was to be my safe haven for the weekend, waited until we’d ordered and then excitedly announced to us that she was 13 weeks pregnant. To say I was blindsided is an understatement. I felt like she’d kicked me in the stomach. My insides churned, I felt my face lose it’s color and I heard Mary exclaim “oh my god that’s awesome!”. I reached down deep and faked a big smile. I could feel tears rushing in, but I somehow held them at bay. I wanted to run to the bathroom, but there was no way I could just exit the table at that moment without it being a scene. In that moment the last thing I wanted to talk about was my infertility and if I burst into tears, that’s all they’d want to talk about. My mind was screaming “get the hell out of here!” but I sat frozen with the fakest smile I’ve ever smiled on my face.
In one sudden whoosh, I lost my one team member for the weekend. Instead of playing 2 on 2, it was now 3 against 1 and I was solo. While I’ve had difficult pregnancy announcements in the past, normally they’ve come with some warning. I have almost always had at least a small inkling it was possible before the announcement came. But this time, I was knocked over, I was shocked, but in the most terrible way. Usually I am able to muster some happiness, find the part of my heart that isn’t burned up with grief and let that part give my happy congratulations. But this time, I couldn’t find any happiness. I was just so overwhelmed with how unfair this all is. How I’ve been trying since before she even got engaged. How I thought I’d be pregnant at her wedding last summer and waited until the last minute to buy my bridesmaid dress. How she was so sure they would wait until next year. How she got pregnant the first month she even tried. How I had let my guard down about this one person and my heart just got the shit stomped out of it.
I have no idea how I made it through the lunch. When I could, I went to the bathroom and sent some stressed out texts to my husband and to my infertile sister in law. My SIL talked me off the ledge and helped me find my nerves of steel. I spent the rest of the day, dinner and that evening surrounded by some of my best friends chattering away about maternity clothing, doctor’s advice and nursery colors. All while I fought hard to not break down. Each time I went to the bathroom I was in danger of dissolving into tears that I wouldn’t be able to contain. Feeling so lonely while surround by people is one of the worst feelings in the world.
No one mentioned my infertility.
I guess I can’t blame them. It was clear by the amount of wine I started to drink that I did not have happy news to share. There was no easy way for them to inquire about it, while sitting there incubating lives in their bellies. But at the same time, I wish just one of them had thought to pull me aside and acknowledge how hard this must be for me. Maybe they were following my lead, which was to ignore ignore ignore the tears that kept threatening to overflow. Maybe I hid my angst so well they didn’t really notice. To be honest, maybe I really didn’t want them to say anything, since I am sure I would have felt mortified at my tearful response to any inquiries. No one likes to cry in front of a group.
The only thing that would have made it okay was if I was pregnant too. If I had also been guarding news and was ready to get advice on what jeans to buy and what crib is on sale. There’s no one to blame for the fact that I am not pregnant. There’s no reason, there’s no cause, it just IS. But I hate that infertility is taking my friends from me. It’s taken so much already, and I resent with every bone in my body that it’s taking my joy from me too. I want to be excited and gushing with my friends. I want to feel happiness and joy for them. Instead I feel angry, resentful and so fucking sad. All for something none of us have any control over.
I made it through the shower, it was easier than the day before had been. There were non-pregnant people to talk too. I drank more wine. It was over in less than three hours. However, I barely made it in my front door before I broke down. It was nuclear, the bomb of emotions I needed to deal with. I haven’t cried that hard or that long since my miscarriage. I let everything out. I am so tired, so worn out, so full of resentment, so angry, so jealous, so full of longing. I am sad. I am bitter that I can’t be happy for my friends.
I am so ready for it to be my turn.