Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Infertility Phenomenon

There is a phenomenon that, unless you have had a miscarriage or deal with infertility, you will never be aware of. A woman can go years and manage to see only a handful of pregnant women. Many of those pregnant women are probably on television shows or celebrity gossip magazines. But, if a woman is suffering with infertility, has a miscarriage or has multiple miscarriages, pregnant women start materializing before our very eyes. A simple trip to the grocery store can become a gut wrenching adventure full of pregnant teenagers and women dripping with children and sporting very round expectant bellies. Going to the mall is no longer a search for the most flattering outfit. It is a nightmare of ladies about to drop and give birth at your feet as they walk out of Baby Gap holding 3 bags full of adorable onsies and itty bitty tennis shoes.

Then there seems to be the sudden outbreak of co-workers or family members who have surprise pregnancies. They are the ones who claim they weren't trying or better yet, they were "on the pill" and really can't afford another child. Then they sit and complain about morning sickness, needing to pee all the time, and back pain from their growing bellies.

Facebook friends are another breed of anxiety inducing people who in most cases are just glorified strangers. All of the sudden every person that you ever went to high school with is expecting a baby. People that you barely knew, way back when, are posting ultrasound pictures and belly pictures. Just when you think every possible person on the planet who is of child bearing age has announced their pregnancy then the birth announcements come flooding in.

And just when you think it can't get any worse the phone rings. Your best friend in the whole world calls with that telltale shrill and giddy voice. Then, your voice begins to quiver as you try to say how happy you are for her. That feeling of your heart sitting so low in your stomach that you might either have to poop it out or throw it up. You want so much to share her excitement but all you can do is say congratulations and fake it through a few more sentences before making up some very valid sounding excuse to get off the phone. It is only a matter of seconds before the fake smile washes from your face by a waterfall of tears.

It is so hard to have a miscarriage or deal with infertility and then when "The Phenomenon" is shoveled into your face it is almost unbearable. This is how I finally decided to cope. When I came across a glowing pregnant woman in the grocery store or mall, I just reminded myself that I don't know her journey. She may have had 6 miscarriages too. She may have had to try for 3 years for that pregnancy. Not that I would ever wish a loss or infertility on anyone, but it somehow made me feel better to think she had "earned" that belly. She deserved that baby as much as I deserved one.

If it was a unwed teenager or someone who wasn't in a place to take care of a child I just had to remind myself that God sent them that child for a reason. Maybe that kid would save my child's life by donating an organ or becoming the doctor who cures cancer. While I very much wish that God would have put a baby in my belly or let me keep the one that had been there, there is not a finite number of babies. It isn't like God is going to run out just because someone else happened to get in line in front of me.

I think it is totally normal to be jealous, hurt, sad, and sometimes even crushed to know of others' good fortune (even if they themselves don't see it as good fortune at the time), even though you don't feel that way on purpose. When I see a friend's pregnancy announcement or ultrasound pictures on Facebook, I WANT to be happy for them. I want to send a message with a sincere congratulations, and give them a hug and pat their round bellies the next time I see them. But, right now, I just can't do it. I'm working on it though. Working on putting my jealousy aside, and realizing that it's not their fault I can't have the same thing. It's no one's "fault." Apparently, we are all players in this game called Life, and the game isn't fair...

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