Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The 'Mommy' Club...*BARF*

With each step of this journey through infertility, I am never quite prepared for my reaction to what eventually lies around the corner. The same is true for this infertile pregnancy. We have recently 'come out of the closet' about our pregnancy to most people (not infertility as I'm fairly certain I might still strangle someone for saying something completely ignorant). First, I was amazed that rather than feeling complete joy over finally revealing why I haven't participated in my usual booze fest at important parties, I felt like I was...lying.

Blood tests, ultrasounds (many, many ultrasounds): how much more evidence do I need to prove that this is real? And yet still I have walked around feeling as if I wasn't sure how I was going to cover up this enormous lie once November comes. On top of that, I discovered something that I've heard spoken of, but have never truly grasped until I experienced it: the instant inclusion to the 'Mommy' club. People who wouldn't have given me the time of day before are now somehow my self-appointed best friends. And it PISSES me off.

Almost every fertile woman over child bearing age would swim through shark infested waters to get to a pregnant chick on the other side just so they can talk birthing plans, breast feeding and crib choices. How I longed for this inclusion before and through no fault of my own, I stood on the outside looking in for years, wondering what it would be like once I got 'inside'. Now that I'm here (well, somewhat), I resent it. Although I longed for motherhood and toiled for my yet-to-be children as much as any Mother would do, I was never considered until I was "successful".

Today, as I sat in the OB's office surrounded by pregnant women and their partners, they all fell into a conversation: "Do you know the sex?", "when are you due?", and so on. Of course I was automatically included. I looked across the waiting room at a few women without their partners who were likely not pregnant and knowing that the OB also specializes in less intrusive IF treatment (diagnosis, IUIs, etc.), I wondered whether they were some of my infertile sisters. I noticed that one of them was staring downward as the happy pregnant chatter proceeded and I immediately resented 'the Mommy club' even more and found myself unknowingly fiddling with my infertility awareness necklace.

It's like this stupid exclusive clique in high school for girls who can only afford a certain brand of jeans. It is not based on deserving or merit, merely on whether you're lucky enough to come from a family with enough money to purchase this item. And if you just happen to scrape up enough to buy a pair one day, they all of a sudden invite you to all of their parties. You find yourself on the inside, but look around and realize that all of your girlfriends who you've left behind and are still working hard at gathering enough money just to buy one pair of jeans are far more deserving of this inclusion than any of these new friends and you suddenly begin to feel less enthusiastic about the whole 'instant inclusion'.

Perhaps it's a flawed analogy, but in many ways, it's how I feel. It's a combination of survivor's guilt, loyalty to my infertile sisters who are still struggling, and fear of embracing this new stage. I am not consciously trying to deny myself any joy in our little one, but moving from one land to the next is just not an option yet. I'll say it again: pregnancy after infertility and loss compared to 'fertile' experiences will never be the same. And yet still, after 5 years of hell, I wouldn't trade where I've been and most of all, where I'm going.


Hope2morrow said...

Wow- do I ever understand this or what! I am happy about our pregnancy, but I cannot forget where I came from, nor the deserving ladies still wanting and waiting. I consider myself "infertiley pregnant" and often have a hard time when I find myself in baby-related conversations. I think your analogy was perfect and I'm glad to know others are still struggling, despite their pregnancies. Thanks, Shelby, for describing this so well.

Claudia said...

Thanks so much for writing this - it's incredibly interesting! As a (hopeful) adopter, I don't think I'll ever really be in the Mommy Club. That does make me sad. Maybe it shouldn't!!!

Tara said...

I am sure the transition is a strange one...but, go ahead and enjoy it! Gush about your birthing plan and think about those things. You'll always carry this IF journey with you, and you should, but don't deprive yourself any happiness. You deserve it all, sister!

banditgirl said...

I actually never really imagined wanting to join those clubs because it always seemed a little too over-consuming and obsessive and not inclusive (of partners, or childless or partnerless individuals). After reading your post I imagine I will at some point want to be included even less. It's especially insenstive in a doctor's office who also treats/sees infertile couples. I am so glad that where I go, one floor is for infertiles and the other one is for (infertile, visible) preggers (who, nevertheless, one still occasionally bumps into but then quickly moves on to their own respective floor).

Thank you, again, for making me/us feel normal and not crazy weirdo.

Angie said...

I totally get your analogy. I often think that fertile vs. infertile feels like high school all over again. The desire to fit it and all that. I have been pregnant and am now a mom but i am still infertile. I will always feel like an outsider to the fertile group even though I have had a child. They wouldn't see the distinction but I certainly do.

Anonymous said...

I never did wear the right kind of jeans in high school. I think you analogy is perfect.

Sarang said...

Your writing never fails to touch something inside me. Thank you, M-sis.

I can't wait for you to finally, finally get to The Place "where you are going". A place you so, so deserve like so many of our IF sisters. I got a pang when I read the words "survivor's guilt". You have nothing to feel guilty about. This is all of our deepest *WISH* for you.

I hear you on the Mommy Club, but I have to say, I think it can serve its practical purposes. Years ago, I urged a pg friend to join a Mom's Club who was very reluctant to this idea. She had no pg friends and no close family in the area. And though to this day she says she is only half-heartedly "friends" with some of these women b/c they watch her kid and she watches theirs -- the saying "It takes a village" really is true. And her kid truly is best friends with the other women's kids. It's touching to see now, 3 years later.

Hmm. Maybe you could form an IF Mommy Club! Hopefully I can sign up for that one soon, too.

Though I know you have awesome family in the area.