Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Balancing Act of Self Preservation

While engaging the balancing act of self preservation in infertility, what is more painful, isolation or being surrounded by everything you can't have? For me, that depends on the year, the day, and quite literally, sometimes the minute.

For a long while (say-3 1/2 years), I mostly avoided the Mommy scene in my small town. I tried it out briefly last summer and encountered a group of unfriendly and frankly, downright bitchy douchebags and not having had any other reference point, figured that the moms in this town left a lot to be desired. So, while traveling the halls of my son's preschool post-miscarriage past the burgeoning bellies of quite a few baby #2s and #3s stung, these people were nothing more than passing acquaintances. All I had to do was endure 20 minutes of avoiding eye contact with the belly and I was good.  It was harder to deal with than my previous few years of being a shut-in, but it was manageable.

And then, by way of lots of summer activities, we landed ourselves in the lap of more than a few playdates and I figured something out. The population of Moms in my town don't suck in their entirety. Imagine that! I somehow had gotten myself tangled up with a few bad apples previously, but there are actually relatable and likable women with kids my son's age out there. However, there's one thing that stands out. They all-and I mean ALL have babies. Every. Last. One. of. Them.

Except me.

(ah, Big Bird, I can always count on you to 'get' me)

Yup. Once again, one of these things is not like the other and it's me. Yay...

I mean, it's not like I want a baby on my hip to fit in with the girls, but it's that much harder when your infertility is literally visual in the number of kids you have playing on the playground. And to make it ever-more-present for me, my kid has an over-the-top love affair with babies to the point of sometimes ignoring his peers in favor of them. And I'm sure you can guess what comments that solicits.  So, this isn't just floating around in my head-it's frequent in conversations. It's always present when I am with them.

I wanted to take a break from this damn IF game-even just a brief hiatus, physically and most of all, emotionally, and it seems I never can. It follows me like a shadow. And now, being surrounded by an abundance of fertility, it's dancing in my face. But for once, I am feeling more community than I have in the five years since I arrived here. It is both painful and relieving. At the start of my infertility journey, I would have counted myself out, favoring self preservation, but I'm tired of being alone here. I need connections and I might just need them more than I need respite from the reminder of my crappy reproductive organs and the dreams I have on hold.

I suppose I'll just take it day-by-day. But it's a balancing act. It always is.


AnotherDreamer said...

It really does follow you like a shadow.

Stupid infertility :(

It Is What It Is said...


banditgirl said...

Oh I really hear ya. I know it's different from me with twins, but the baby boom around me sometimes, often just seems to accentuate my IF. I realized recently that my way of countering it is being quite open or frank about how we arrived at our particular family. Anyway, I hope these connections will continue to grow and deepen and will give you what you need and want. It all sounds promising, and I am happy about that, happy for you.

Ann said...

It's funny (okay, not really) that I avoided all the mommy groups for the entire first year of our daughter's life to keep clear from all the talk about pregnancy and delivery and breastfeeding. I gave it a go when she turned 1 and it was great...sippy cups, walking, and toddler foods were the main topics. At 14-months one by one they all started saying they were trying for #2 or planning to start trying very soon. I know what's ahead and I'm dreading it. Not there just yet, but right on your tail... Many hugs your way.

Kate said...

I could have pretty much written this post, in terms of nearly every one we know with a kid having #2 already. My nanny keeps mentioning us having a second even though she knows about the IVF to get #1 and the failed FETs trying for #2. People at work always ask how old my daughter is and when I say 3, they say "Isn't it time for a second?" when they also all know about the IVF and years of heartache to get here.
My mother tells me to just adopt (!) when I mention how the IF pain never really goes away and that I'd love another.
And my daughter is also insanely baby-crazy too.
And I just suck, because I can't provide her with a sibling, or my nanny with another baby to look after. I'd love to be pregnant a second time and have a second child to love and watch grow up. DH doesn't care (I don't think). and isn't willing to do any more IVF treatment.
I can hardly bear to talk about my daughter's best friend's little brother/sister who is about to arrive any day now. Haven't seen acquaintances who had their first one month before we had our DD since halfway through their pregnancy with #2.
IF just sucks!

Shelby said...

Kate--yup, our nanny and her family are desperate for another, too. I finally just told her the details of our IF (she already knew the kiddo was IVF, but didn't know that I can't have any more bio kids) and yet still they won't let up! I love them, though, but if only people knew that we need not be reminded. It never leaves my mind!