In honor of the Commentathon, I am writing a post. It won't be as entertaining as The New Baby Guy, but if people happen to hop over to my blog in an effort to boost their points and find new blogs, I'd like them to read something other than details of my recent BFN Pity Party.
We have all been to waaaay too many of those parties anyway, so no need for me to drone on and on about the anger, disbelief, crushed hopes, broken dreams, despair, and other terrible things that go on at these parties. We know the words to all of the songs, we have all the party favors, and we've gotten sick off all the party food served there. I'm confident that I'll circle back to further explore the range of shitty emotions I'm feeling right now related to the latest BFN, but it's not going to be the topic of this post. (Except that I just spent 14 lines writing about it. Nice.)
Like the Pity Parties, we are also all aware of the changes we go through as a result of IF. None of us are the same people we were when we started TTC. Pretty common things to be ditched along the side of the road are: innocence, naive optimism, emotionally unencumbered sex, and the ability to feel true, pure joy at someone else's pregnancy announcement. But there are dozens and dozens of other ways that we all change -- many are the same for all of us, but many are different. We've lost friends, we've lost joy, we've lost that spark inside of us that used to shine so brightly. I can't possibly express strongly enough how much this sucks.
I had a particularly rough patch about 8 months ago. Three pregnancy announcements -- by very close friends -- in one week sent me over the edge. First was one of my closest friends whom I also work with named Laurie. Shortly after her twins turned 1, Laurie told me she was pregnant again. I'll never forget it, our cubes are right next to each other so she rolled up next to my chair and had a horrible look on her face. I thought someone had died. She spoke very quietly and simply said, "I have something to tell you." Somehow, in that instant, I knew. This woman got pregnant naturally. On the first try. With boy/girl twins. Then, she and her husband decided that they'd like their kids 2 years apart so they did the math and figured out when to start TTC again. Yup, you guessed it. On the first try again. They just had a beautiful baby boy, born 2 weeks after the twins' 2nd birthday. It would be impossible to express the jealousy I feel at being able to plan like that. But I don't need to tell you guys, you already know how it feels.
The next announcement was by my neighbor Lynn whom I see every day. She already had 3 kids aged 4, 3 and 1. Like a complete dumbass, I came home the day of Laurie's announcement and boo-hoo-hooed to Lynn about it. Imagine my surprise when, the very next day, Lynn looked at me -- with exactly the same expression that Laurie had the day earlier and said, "I have something to tell you." You could have knocked me over with a feather. The real kicker is that she was already 17 weeks along and I had no idea. I see this woman every day. I was so wrapped up in my own dramas that I didn't notice a pregnancy right in front of me. She now has another baby girl who, although I get to snuggle on whenever I want, still makes me sad and jealous every time I see her.
The next announcement was by our former nanny named Jessie. It came 2 days after Lynn's announcement. Jessie cared for our daughter Megan part-time starting when Megan was 3 months old. (I work 3 days a week.) Just before Megan turned 2, Jessie and her live-in boyfriend broke up and she decided to move back to Pennsylvania to be close to family. At the time of this decision, she wasn't pregnant, but by the time she moved away, she was. Not by the now-ex-boyfriend, but by another guy. Anyway, she moved away, and a few months later emailed me to tell me she was pregnant. I was stunned. She also now has a beautiful baby boy, although she's only 21 and the father is a lazy, 19 year old loser.
The point of me telling you all this is that all 3 of these people were AFRAID to tell me they were pregnant. Laurie said that the very first thing that went through her head was, "Leah is going to be so upset." She didn't think, "Wow, how great that I'm pregnant!" or "Yeah, we're going to have another baby!" She thought, "Shit, Leah is going to be so upset."
Apparently Lynn went through the same thing. They didn't tell anyone (even their own kids) that she was pregnant for over 4 months because she could never figure out the best way/time to tell me. And if she told her kids, they would certainly tell me since I see them every day. So they kept it a secret until the day before they left for a week long vacation. Lynn said she wanted to tell me just as they were leaving so I "wouldn't have to look at her" while I was adjusting to the idea. The outrageously sad thing is that she was so right. It was a horrible week with lots of mean thoughts and crying, and it was truly best that she was away. I was okay with it (really, what choice did I have?) once they returned.
Jessie was scared to death to tell me. I think hers was also because she knew she messed up by getting pregnant so young with a loser, but she also knew I'd be crushed. That's why she had to tell me over email instead of when we talked on the phone every other week.
I hate that I am now THIS person. I am the person you avoid. I am the person you walk on eggshells around. I am the person who causes you to pick and choose your words. I am the person who makes you filter your conversations so that there aren't any pregnancy stories. I am high maintenance and that might actually be worse than being infertile.
I am this person because of the changes due to IF. As if all the crap that goes along with being infertile doesn't suck enough, we need to add in the fact that our friends and family see us as emotionally fragile. That sucks. I hate that. I was never the emotionally fragile person, the sensitive one. I was the rock-solid person who could handle anything and was there for all of my friends to lean on. That was the Old Me -- funny, carefree, generous, giving, strong. Strong. I miss the Old Me. Every day.
Now they all pussy-foot around me, hoping that I don't crumble. However, one day when I dicussed this with Lynn, she said something really helpful. I was lamenting how I hate that I've become THAT person. The one you are afraid to tell things to. She assured me that I wasn't THAT person, I was just in THAT situation. It made me feel much better, like I hadn't actually lost the Old Me, she was just hiding under layers of shitty situations.
But now, I'm not so sure. I think I might be changed permanently. Surely things will get better when we eventually reach the end of our BabyQuest journey, but will I ever be the same again? I just wonder if that Old Me is gone forever?