Just after one of my best friends delivered her third child we got together for lunch. Her pregnancy had been totally unexpected and a complete shock to her and her husband. Her doctor had all but declared baby number two a miracle. That said, when her second child began to walk she and her husband donated their assorted newborn belongings assuming they’d never need them again. Lo and behold within a year she delivered number three.
It was bittersweet to see her gorgeous newborn girl. You see, my friend and I had finally reached a point after baby number two was toddling along where we could find a few hours each month to reconnect just us two old friends — no kids, no interruptions. She was no longer sleep deprived and with her life back under control she eagerly arranged to meet me for tea, lunch or a pedicure. We would talk about politics, books, you name it. I had my old friend back.
Enter the adorable newborn. She rocked my world, again. I had convinced myself during my friend’s latest pregnancy that the wounds from my five unsuccessful IUI and three unsuccessful IVF treatments had healed. Seeing my friend nurse her daughter during lunch was both beautiful and hard to bear. Watching tears form in my eyes, my friend understood immediately my difficulty.
We talked it out. I explained that, surprisingly, I was not yet ready to be so close to the newborn experience. Much as I wanted to convince myself otherwise, a wave of emotions had washed over me and was pulling me under. It was just too powerful and overwhelming to observe the mother/nursing newborn bond — too overwhelming and sad, I explained, for someone who knows she won’t ever experience it firsthand.
I told her it might be a little while before I could handle another get together where nursing would be involved. I apologized for not being a stronger, better person. Who knew the wounds could still be so raw? She thanked me for my honesty and said she understood. (She is a great and dear friend after all.)
I realize in reading other blogs such is No Matter How Small that I’m not alone in having the occasional hard time seeing or hearing about newborns. Hopefully some day reason will prevail over emotion.
March 12, 2007 7:43 am
Hi again. Just came back from tagging along with my husband on a business trip, it was shorter than expected, so we had the weekend away together. It was great to be away from home. I shopped a lot. We finally had a chance to talk about grief and infertility and how we were both doing. Sometimes I forget my hubby gets sad every now and then himself. I finally decided that I should go into therapy for a while. I tried to keep busy but the grief has eaten its way into other areas of my life and the wheels are coming off the bus, so to speak. I need to find my way through it all.
We went out for breakfast and the place was filled with young parents, and grandparents ccoing over the babies. The baby beside us kept looking over us in that typical bold faced curiosity that babies have. I talk to the baby, telling the parents how beautiful she is. And I mean it. But there’s a certain disconnect with my emotions. Later, we go out for some much needed laughs at a nightclub – guess what the comedian asks us – “do you have kids?” I almost shout out, “No, we’re infertile, wanna make a joke out of that?!” but I just say, no.
Before I left for this trip, a friend who already has one child, had told me she was 3 months pregnant and by the time I got home, she wasn’t anymore. I hugged her and cried a little, but we didn’t really have time to talk more. Her little girl was there and another friend with a young girl was there. It was her 2nd micarriage in 6 months. I was so stunned and saddened. Off all the people I know, her and her husband are such wonderful people and great parents.
But life isn’t fair is it? I almost wish I could tell her I knew how she felt, but I don’t. I don’t know. I’ve never been pregnant. Had 3 IUI’s, 3 IVF’s, 2 surgeries. acupuncture, Chinese medicine, etc. and for all my prayers and positive thinking, my uterus defeated me.
But I can’t say, well, at least you have one child, I’ll never give birth. Compassion must win over self -pity. I know this to be true in my head, but my heart still aches for a dream I nurtured for years.
I feel like a failure, I feel I’ve been cheated, I feel estranged from my friends who have children or are pregnant. I can’t sit through an entire baby shower, I can’t hold a baby without feeling awkward or pathetic. I dread the endless announcements from friends and strangers about the one thing I cannot experience. And if a miracle should occur, despite my impending hot flashes, I could never enjoy it because of the fear of miscarriage or fetal abnormalities.
So there it is, life isn’t always fair, for any of us.
March 12, 2007 10:40 am
Its really strange. It has been many years since I was the one that was infertile with a world of fertiles but I could feel your pain as if it were happening to me right now. Those feelings are so deep rooted that I don’t think you ever really forget.
I am glad you were able to be honest with your friend. It sounds like a friendship that will survive.
March 12, 2007 1:03 pm
You and your friend handled the situation admirably. Newborns are very difficult to be around — that total helplessness. D. has declared, quite rudely, that he “doesn’t want to see anybody’s damn newborn” so I assume he’s equally uncomfortable.
March 12, 2007 2:20 pm
Just wanted you to know that I really enjoy your blog, and I think the book you’re writing about IF is an important one.
March 12, 2007 10:00 pm
The thing I always forget in times like that is that it IS reasonable to feel the way you do. My hope for all of us is that one day, the pain and ache we feel is not so raw that we have to pull away from our dear friends.
March 14, 2007 5:02 am
Hi Pamela, The pain will of course still be there and probably will come up every time you meet another newborn, probably even once you think its gone. She sounds like a lovely friend, I’m glad she understands what you’re going through. x