Despite the timeliness of this post, it is not about the Luck of the Irish, but rather the Luck of the Fertile. For the most part, this past week was consumed with work, combined with resting up to (unsuccessfully) fight off a cold, and my 35th birthday. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how little infertility was on my mind.
Yes, I still thought about it every day, yes my mind still did mental gymnastics trying to figure out how I will juggle everything once we move this summer, but it was not the constant, energy sucking cloud that envelops me some days. I was thinking I was in a pretty good place due to all the other distractions in my life right now, and I was feeling excited about (finally!) starting IVF shortly.
However, even with all of this, the infertility cloud threatened to invade my sunny outlook several times, and finally succeeded today, when the third birth announcement in a week appeared in my inbox. As I wrote in an earlier post, I was fully expecting the pending baby boom in March (3 down, 1 to go), but even with the advance warning, the announcements still brought on that unique mix of jealousy, anger, and bitterness that only comes with infertility.
The first baby was born to a girl I worked with earlier this year, but perhaps because I am not very close with her (and we have never discussed trying to conceive with each other), I was able to be happy for her, and not take it personally. She was also a super cool pregnant woman (yes, evidence that not all pregnant women are evil), which also lessened the blow.
Last fall, I had been dreading a 3-week business trip with her when she was in her second trimester, but despite the fact that I had my chemical pregnancy on that trip, being around her didn’t bother me too much. She was having an easy pregnancy, so I never had to hear her complain about pregnancy symptoms, and she rarely discussed her plans for her pending baby. She only started to noticeably show at the end of the trip, so I also didn’t have to endure hearing other people continually congratulate her and ask her about the pregnancy and baby to be.
However, the next two announcements hit harder, as they were both friends who had experienced losses before successfully getting pregnant again, and to varying degrees had comforted me after my miscarriage. While this by itself should make it easier to put aside my feelings, and feel genuinely happy for them and their good fortune, knowing that they have experienced some of what I’ve been through (pregnancy loss, but without the infertility) actually makes me resent them more.
I feel left behind, and angry that they have their babies now, yet I am still not pregnant, and will have to pay thousands of dollars for a shot at pregnancy. I feel betrayed that I had to be the one to comfort them when they came to me stressed about not getting pregnant after their losses (even though one of them was already pregnant in her first month trying, she just didn’t realize it at the time, and the other one had either just found out, or was about to find out that she was pregnant after tearing her hair out due to 4 months of trying). I even resent my strength in dealing with almost three years of infertility, while staying (mostly) sane.
About a month after our miscarriage, my husband compared me to one of these two friends and told me that I was much stronger than her based on how I was dealing with everything. It wasn’t a totally fair comparison, as there were many aspects of her loss that were much more difficult (it was a second trimester loss after they had already announced the pregnancy to everyone).
However, since then I’ve come to believe that he’s right. I know that I am stronger than both of these friends. I know that I have held up better than they ever would have facing even one year of infertility, let alone three. And yet, none of that matters. After all – who needs strength when you have the luck of the fertile?