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On a serious note

March 20, 2013
Logo design by Christine Hepner

I’ve struggled with this blog post for almost a week now. I usually try to keep it lighter, but I feel like I need to make it clear that I know how lucky we are, I constantly think about how differently it might have turned out for us, and I do remember when becoming a mom seemed impossible. The following paragraphs are just some of the random thoughts running around in my head, seemingly preventing me from getting back to my more comfortable persona, that of a snarky, old smart-ass mom with a blog.

In the 18 months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve gotten to “meet” other bloggers who are suffering through infertility and its effects or treatments. I think maybe some readers have either found or been directed to my blog because of the underlying message of “it may not be too late.” However you’ve gotten here, I hope I can at least give you a giggle occasionally. Or a ray of hope. Because infertility sucks.

Here are a couple things that really upset me before and during my pregnancy.

Never assume

When I began to show, a few people seemed to make an assumption about me as an obviously older expectant first-time mom: that I’d endured years of infertility treatments and disappointments. I had a few people regale me with stories, never their own, about couples they knew who went through years of IVF. These stories almost never ended with the happy arrival of a baby. This just wasn’t the case with us. We had two cycles that were cancelled midway but before any fertilization or transfer took place, and one cycle that resulted in F’s birth. Hearing these stories, told to me I assume to show sympathy with my situation, made me so guilty and sad.

On the other hand, I know or know of much younger women who suffer from infertility and have to answer thoughtless questions all the time like, “When are you going to have children?” Or older pregnant women who didn’t go through IVF, thank you very much, and got pregnant the old-fashioned way.

I never minded sharing with anyone who asked me “how” I got pregnant. I did have a few women approach me because they’ve had their own difficulties becoming moms and wanted to know “my secret.” I was always glad those women felt they could approach me.

Older parents mean older grandparents

There are things that younger parents may not have experienced in life yet that older parents have, e.g., having to care for parents or even grandparents before caring for children. A friend of my husband’s was teasing us when F was only a few months old. His son was eating solid food already and he warned D that the diapers start to get really gruesome once solid food is introduced. I almost said, “Well, I’ve changed diapers for an adult, so worse than that?” but I realized that the friend wasn’t condescending or trying to be anything but funny. He couldn’t have known that as I changed diapers for this older person in my life a few years back, I cried not only because of the unfairness of what was happening to my loved one, but because I didn’t think I’d ever have the chance to change my own baby’s diaper. He couldn’t have known. Because we are expected to suffer in silence when the suffering stems from infertility. Or maybe it’s bigger than that even. Maybe we are always expected to keep it to ourselves and not make anyone uncomfortable with our suffering or pain.

New rules for showers

For years, I was the one going stag to my friends’ weddings. And soon after that, the first round of baby showers. Then I even moved into the second weddings for a couple of them. More babies, more showers. I did always try to celebrate and be happy for my friends without making it about poor little me, but it got really hard when I started getting invited to the weddings of my friends’ children, and then even the baby showers for the grandchildren on the way. When my own turn came at long last and against all odds, I turned down the very sweet offers from some of my best friends to throw me any showers, bridal or baby. I remembered how it felt.

Maybe there should be an exemption for showers and weddings: Single women need not bring gifts. Wedding gifts seem especially cruel. You’re asking a single woman to give you a gift or money on the day that you’re gaining not only a life partner but a second income, presuming that you’re not marrying the Big Lebowski or someone like that.

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, maybe I can get back to trying to be less of a bum-trip dropper. Thanks for bearing with me.

Next time: Let’s hope my writer’s block is gone

© copyright 2013 grayhairedmom.com

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