Saturday, May 10, 2008

What I have to get used to

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 smiling benignly at comments like "There are so many pregnant women here. If I were the bride I'd be running in the other direction". . .all the while thinking that if fertility were catchy I'd be rubbing up against all those preggos right now.  And if infertility were catchy, my friend the bride would be running as far and fast from me as she possibly can. As a matter of fact, if infertility were catchy, I'd be standing by myself in a corner of the room. 

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.  


Lost in Space said...

Karen, this just made me cry today. I am so angry/sad/frustrated for you and feel the hurt in your words. Huge ((hugs)) to you, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Karen, everytime I read your blog I am inspired by your strength and willingness to face all of this head on. To accept it (as much as possible) and do what you can with it. I know with my high FSH that there's a very real chance I will be where you are in a year or two (or less). Reading your blog gives me hope that if that happens, it is possible to get through it.

Barb said...

It is hard. I'm just so sorry. I get little almost panic attacks sometimes when i think about it. The only way I can handle it at all is to take it one day at a time. sigh.

loribeth said...

OK, maybe it's partly sour grapes talking, but even before I started ttc, I never quite understood this fascination/compulsion with getting pregnant on your honeymoon. Who wants to spend their first few months of married life coping with morning sickness?? Why not take a year & just enjoy some time together as a married couple? I guess a lot of couples these days live together before they get married & see marriage = time for a baby. Whatever. I'm sorry that something that you thought would be a "safe" event turned out to be so painful. (((hugs)))