For some of us, seeing a pregnant woman is devastating. For some of us, when we are dealing with our own infertility and know that woman has struggled, as we are or have, the visual of her rounded belly is encouraging. How do we support you, ourselves, when we live in a world where, it seems, everyone is pregnant?
I say, play it by ear. There will be times when going to a friends' baby shower will feel absolutely fine, no big deal. There may be other times where it will feel next to impossible. Why not treat each event or invitation individually and decide based on how you are feeling in that moment?
This may count as my true confession blog. The story of the baby shower I should not have gone to. I was an angry infertile woman. Very angry. Very infertile (six and half years in treatment!) I was angry at every single pregnant woman that I saw, infertility treatment or not, I really didn't care. Not throughout all of the years of treatment, luckily, but the first few, definitely, very, absolutely angry.
There was an invitation that I should never have accepted. You know the kind. Where you talk yourself into believing that it will be fine, knowing full well that it won't be. Knowing full well, because the anxious knot right below your stomach keeps reminding you.
My cousin's baby shower, right smack in the middle of an IVF cycle. In the middle of injections and blood draws and ultrasounds and anticipation and excitement and worry and wonder. How could it get worse? Don't you hate when you ask yourself that and find out the answer is that it could get worse, much worse. Worse could be that every single one of the other women attending the shower were pregnant. Every single one. The baby shower was just for our generation, so no Grandparents, and the other 11 women who were there were pregnant. A few of them with their first child, but most with their second or third.
Want to hear the worst thing? My confession that will make every one of you feel better and less guilty about whatever the worst thing is that you have done as an angry infertile woman? With twelve pregnant women at this shower, I stayed in the bathroom and cried for two hours straight. Uh huh. That doesn't sound so terrible does it? Except we were having this baby shower in a cute, little, one bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Guess how many bathrooms there were? Did I mention that there were twelve pregnant women there? That I stayed in the bathroom for over two hours?
I hope that you are at least smiling. Because, to my credit, as angry as I was, I didn't stay in the bathroom for two hours crying to make the twelve pregnant women uncomfortable. I stayed there because that was the best that I could do. And to my utter relief, that was a bottom for me. When I finally dried my tears and let those pregnant women fight each other about who was first in the bathroom, I felt better.
I cry perhaps twice or three times a year. That cry in the bathroom was one where truly there was release and comfort. Never again did I feel quite that level of despair and anguish. I was even able to see the humor in the situation.