I went to a bridal shower today and saw a glimpse of my future. I figured a bridal shower would be pretty safe. After all, it's not a baby shower. Of course, when I got there I was surrounded by pregnant bellies. There were at least 5 enormously pregnant women present. I should have known. The bride is 30 years old which seems to be the age of fertility around these parts. The shower was a reminder of what I'll have to get used to now that I've put an end to TTC and decided to move on with adoption.
I'll have to get used to hearing conversations about pregnancy "It's another girl. We found out last week," "My labor went so fast when I had my youngest," "Oh my God, I had the worst heartburn with Addison. It was awful,". . .and knowing that I have absolutely nothing to offer to the conversation. All I have to offer are stories of my sister's and friends' pregnancies. How pathetic is that? It's better just to smile and keep my mouth shut. I'll have to get used to being silent.
I'll have to get used to realizing how much others take their fertility for granted and always worrying about that. There's a tradition at bridal showers that for every ribbon you break when opening a present you'll have a child. At this shower the attendants were cutting the ribbons for the bride and guests told the bride she has to break some ribbons. She called over to our friend who was sitting next to me and asked how many she should break. My friend, who has two children still in diapers, replied that she would definitely recommend that she break only two ribbons. I remember being so naive as to think babies would come easily and that I could start and stop having them whenever I wanted. Whenever I hear someone I care about assuming they'll get pregnant, I feel a twinge of anxiety. I say a quick prayer: Please God don't let her be like me.
I'll have to get used to being happy for others when I'm feeling like I'm on the verge of falling apart. The bathroom was my refuge at this bridal shower and I expect it will be at many future events. My friend the bride wants to get pregnant immediately, ideally on her honeymoon. And I know that she will, I just know it. So I'll have a baby shower to attend next year and I will go because she's a wonderful person and I care about her. Actually I'll have at least two showers to attend because one of my best friends is already pregnant. So I'll have to get used to plastering a smile on my face and just crying quietly in the bathroom when it gets too hard.
Something about this shower made me realize that adjusting to never being pregnant is going to be a lifelong task. I could picture myself at age 68 attending my friends' daughters bridal showers and struggling with the same issues. I will never have a pregnancy story or a birth story. I will never connect with other women over those events. Some conversations will always sting. What gives me hope is that I have heard adoptive mothers say that the hurt does get better, less intense once they adopt. It does not go away, but it hurts less. I'm putting my trust in them.