Monday, February 4, 2008

Musings on how IF is sort of like cotton candy

I am forever droning on and on about how IF has permanently changed me. I contend that it has changed me much more than finally being pregnant actually has. That's why I often sort of "forget" that I'm pregnant, and still sneer at big bellies with bitter jealousy.

I intentionally put the word forget in quotes there because I most certainly do not forget I'm pregnant -- too many physical reminders for that to actually happen at this point -- but it seems that my brain is a little slower on the uptake when it comes to finding a way to dissolve the feelings of jealousy, anger and that of being unjustly tortured.

I have, however, come up with at least one way that being pregnant has changed me. I have always organized the entries my bloglines according to Still Trying, Not Trying, or BFP. There are some overlay categories (Braces Bunch, Order of the Plastic Uterus / DC Bloggers, and Other), but the basic categories relate to their status regarding the p word.

Prior to becoming pregnant (or holding on to a pregnancy longer than most people keep a sinus infection) when I would head over to my bloglines, I would always read the Still Trying section first. I still do that, so no big change there. Here's where the change has come into play... Previously, when I would read those blogs, I would be looking for someone in my situation. Sistas who just got their BFN from yet another cycle, Sistas who were enduring miscarriages, etc. It's like I focused on those in misery because, well, I guess I wanted company.

Don't get me wrong, I was happy when someone got a BFP but it was so convoluted and mixed up with jealousy (not to mention that my reaction was tempered by the IF Pain Olympics and the Sliding Scale of Happiness) that it left me feeling conflicted and shitty. It was like an IF train wreck -- I didn't want to look because it made me feel like a pathetic failure, but I had to look because I care about these people and I do genuinely want them to get their hearts desires. Needless to say, it left me feeling sort of like I'd eaten cotton candy... it was yummy and sweet and I knew that it was supposed to make me feel good, but it also left me feeling empty and unfulfilled and disillusioned.

Now, it's different. When I head over to read my bloglines each day, I continue to start with the Still Trying section, but I am desperate to find someone with a BFP. I'm not one of those nutty pregnant chicks who wants everyone to all be pregnant together [insert twittering birds and Disney-esque music here], but I am ashamed to admit that I experience a more pure form of joy (is there such a thing as "unpure" joy?) when other Stirrup Queens get their two lines. It's like I can allow myself true, unabashed happiness for them now that I'm not wallowing in self-loathing, jealousy and other such nastiness.

I'm not entirely sure why I am writing about this topic. Clearly, from the choppy nature of the post and crappy flow of the writing, it's not a sentiment that I've worked through enough in my head. But I guess I'm bringing it up for two reasons:

1) to let my friends who are still in the trenches know that it really is okay to only pretend to be happy for other people's BFPs, or to genuinely be happy but not actually as overjoyed as your half-dozen exclamation points in the comments make you seem like you are

2) to ask other pregnant infertiles if they have experienced this emotional shift as well -- from half-dreading other people's BFPs to desperately seeking them out

Am I crazy? Most definitely. Am I alone in this demented way of thinking? Probably not, but it would be nice if you guys could tell me that I'm not a complete ogre or raging nutjob. Thanking you in advance...

18 comments:

LJ said...

You are beyond lovely, and you know I feel that way about you. How can I not love someone who can procure a plastic uterus??

Waiting Amy said...

I do know what you mean. I read my bloglines the same way. I think that now that I've joined you on the other side, I just want to bring along all my other friends. I want us to stay as a group together. I know that is impossible, sadly there is always someone left behind. But I can hope so many cross over.

Glad you are well!

Delenn said...

Oh, you are totally not alone on this one. I did exactly the same thing. When I was in the trenches I was always searching for the BFNs. If it was a BFP, I would comment congrats, but it was very hard for me to follow up and watch their happiness grow. And I knew once my BFP came that I would lose some readers--and I totally understand that. And now I read everyone's blog equally commenting and sharing and trying to help everyone get through this--cuz now I do believe that people can get through this.

I also felt a special closeness to anyone I saw that was a Secondary Infertile because I could let go of the guilt I had because I already had a child.

One reason why I read your blog is that you are an older woman (no offense--I am only a year younger than you!) and I wanted that perspective too.

Great post.

Kathy V said...

I can understand why you feel that way. I still fit into the trying category. Although I am happy for anyone in this blogosphere that gets the BFP, I look for the people that are still in the trenches with me. In real life when someone gets a BFP my envy and jealousy come out a little more. This post makes perfect sense. It also explains why once you have been in this IF journey while even though you are pregnant, it still makes it hard to see other pregnant people and not remember the struggles you went through yourself.

Fertilize Me said...

Oh no- yuo are not alone on these lines of thinking at all- i do the same! and i feel myself scowling at the pregnant bellies in the same store i am in buying some of the same stuff i am - and then I remember that I am there tooo ..

Hez said...

You're not alone-- you expressed that shift very well.

Samantha said...

Still in the trying category too, and I tend to have a combination of jealously/guilt/happiness for BFPs and sadness/relief/guilt for BFNs. I feel guilty for being jealous of the BFPs, and then guilty for feeling a little relieved at the BFNs, but sometimes I feel a little left behind.

Grad3 said...

Well, I think that you are a little crazy but not for that reason ;)

I know what you mean. It's easier for me to be happy for others rather than myself- or perhaps more confident for others?

Baby Step said...

As "one still in the trenches" and having been there for over 5 years with never a BFP, you hit the nail on the head with this post!

sltbee69 said...

Amen! Need I say more? Thank you for putting my thoughts down in writing for me so much more eloquently than I'd ever be able to do.

Bean said...

You are neither a complete ogre or a raging nutjob and your comment about not being "as overjoyed as your half-dozen exclamation points" made me laugh out loud. And I love the cotton candy comparison. :)

In and Out of Luck said...

Yes, I relate. But the wish to see BFPs is also partly self-interest. I mean, being pregnant allows me to have the magnanimity that infertility drained out of me - that was one of the most demoralizing things about IF, the inability to genuinely and purely want good for others, since it's hard to come from a place of generosity when the universe is kicking the shit out of you - but also, now, seeing BFPs is proof that the world is A Good Place (meaning, indirectly, that bad things might be less likely to happen to me as well as others,) and seeing a blogger's BFN or loss reminds me that the world can be A Bad Place, which brings bad memories for me and sadness on behalf of everyone.

E said...

You are SO not crazy, at least not when it comes to this feeling. I know exactly what you mean. I'm also jealous of your bloglines organization. I read my blogs the old fashioned way - alphabetically. I'm so lame! Anyway, well said all around.

Stirrup Queen said...

You are not a raging ogre, though you are a complete nutjob, but that has to do more with the fact that you walked out of the appointment with a plastic uterus.

I think when you're drowning, you gasp for air where you can grab it. And once you're treading water or even in the life boat, you can breathe in a different way. I think you're breathing differently in your reading. The old way of thinking wasn't ogre-ish--it was a product of circumstances.

Nearlydawn said...

Well, you may be an orge or a nut job, but not because of these feelings. I know exactly what you mean - I am truly happy with no reservations when one of my blogging friends moves from TTC to BFP

Portia P said...

You aren't, so far as i'm aware, an ogre, although we haven't met and you may well have Shrek-like green skin.

I don't believe you're a nut job either - i'd love a plastic uterus too.

You are completely normal. If I was on the other side of the pg fence (which I just can't imagine) i'd also be unqualifiedly overjoyed at other's BFP's. I admit to feeling a little deflated whilst being happy for other's BFP's. It's a natural reaction. Makes me feel shitty but there you go...

Thanks for a really good post xx

Meghan said...

I know exactly what you mean. Lately I am obsessed with other people getting their positives. I think it's because I don't want to be seen as some poser...plus, this is all too damn painful for people to continue to go through. I want an end for everyone

Jackie said...

I don't think you are a nutjob at all. This situation presents us with a complicated set of emotions regardless of our pregnancy status and even on the best of days those emotions can flip like a switch.