Conflicting Emotions

Pregnancy announcements while you’re struggling with infertility tend to come with a lot of conflicting emotions. While you’re (usually) happy for the person making the announcement, it more often than not brings up a painful reminder that yet another person has achieved what seems to be the impossible for you.

I think I’m in a good place right now, since I’m doing the IVF, and therefore could be less than a month away from a positive pregnancy result of my own. It’s been six months (when I did my last IUI in December) since a potential pregnancy for me has felt this close. But despite my general positive outlook these days, a pregnancy announcement the other day still brought out some feelings that only someone familiar with the  infertility struggle could understand.

This was not the usual “oops I got pregnant” announcement, and therefore it did not elicit the normal set of conflicting emotions. This was a couple who had been trying about as long as we had, and who I wrote about in one of my first posts on this blog. When we last saw each other at the end of January, they were still on the waiting list for the fertility clinic, so I don’t know if they ended up doing fertility treatments, or lucked out with a miracle pregnancy. Regardless, this pregnancy was well earned, so when my husband casually mentioned in conversation the other day that they were pregnant, I said I was happy for them, and I am.

The thing is that I am also happy for myself. I’m happy that I stuck with my self preservation instinct and did not bond further over our infertility. I’m happy that despite pangs of guilt over the last few months I never got around to sending her the information on the fertility yoga class that I am taking (which would introduce additional opportunities for us to commiserate about our shared experience). And of course I’m happy that despite my lack of support on this front, they still managed to get pregnant.

It seems so petty that I can feel this way, especially when I really believe I may be on the threshold of a pregnancy of my own. But I know that if we had shared more about our struggles, this pregnancy announcement would be much more difficult to take as it would be yet another race that I had lost; one more person leaving me behind. While I’m not proud to say it, one thing I’ve learned over the last year is that when it comes to pregnancy related news and events, I have to support my emotional state first, before I can provide support for someone else. And sometimes these two things are mutually exclusive.

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8 thoughts on “Conflicting Emotions

  1. I hear you. Just came back from visiting my friend and her newborn. We had previously been through the infertility journey together and things are really difficult for me now as I’m waiting for my own good news which seems to get further and further away.

  2. Thank you for understanding. It’s posts like this that make me really glad that I’ve kept this blog anonymous.

  3. You are not alone in your feelings. I’ve gone as far as isolating myself. I felt it was better to be absent than bitter. I’ve gotten much better though. I’m weeks away from beginning IVF and it’s given me a renewed sense of hope.

  4. Thank you for the comment. I totally understand being absent rather than bitter – it’s also been my coping mechanism. I feel the same way about IVF – definitely feeling more hope than I have in a long time. Hopefully it will do the trick for both of us.

  5. I have a few friends in “real life” that have or are dealing with infertility too. Sometimes we share and commiserate, but it’s tricky, knowing at any point things can change if someone gets pregnant. When my friend got pregnant with twins on her first IUI after trying for just a few months and complained to me about not wanting twins and how she cried when she found out- I realized I would never think the same way about her again. I now just see her as selfish that she could complain about having twins (her reasoning was she wanted a natural birth) to someone who had been through 3 rounds of IVF and 2 miscarriages. I won’t ever forgive her for that.

    That’s why I also like to be anonymous here- and why I appreciate my Twitter and blog friends so much. I feel that you all have a much higher sensitivity and empathy.

    Wishing you your turn ahead.

  6. Thanks Jess! What a horrible thing about your friend. Even if she was feeling nervous about the pregnancy, I agree that you are the last person she should have been complaining to. I feel so fortunate that I haven’t had to deal with too many insensitive comments. I too find the online support to be amazing. Sometimes I do wish I could have someone live to talk to, but then I usually decide it’s easier to keep things online.

    • Thank-you for the comment! Yes, such situations can start a spiral of negative emotions – you’re sad for yourself, so bitter/resentful at your friends’ good fortune, which makes you angry at how petty you’re being.

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