Monday, August 25, 2008

The other side

Our culture is full of subgroups and clubs. You're gay, left-handed, Asian, Muslim, from another country, into pony play, a Mac user, whatever. When you meet a like-minded person, you might find a connection that others lack.

That's how it works among infertiles, too. We bond -- especially online -- over the months of disappointment, the dashed hopes, the miscarriages, the insensitive comments of family members, the fights with insurance companies, the misery at others' baby showers. We use cryptic acronyms, mourn the arrival of Aunt Flo, and send sticky vibes to one another.

But then some of us -- too few, it seems -- graduate or evolve or escape or something -- from our in-group. It's not quite like Susie Bright turning semi-straight, or a Jew going for Jesus, but it sometimes feels in the same ballpark. We are, now, one more poke in the eye of a person trying and failing to get knocked up.

That's how I felt this weekend, when I ran into a friend who's been trying to get pregnant for probably as long as I did. There we were in the supermarket, me with my Baby in a Bjorn, her with her husband and a slim waistline, looking at each other with much left unsaid. We talked of having lunch. Perhaps we will and she'll ask me for tips, or maybe she'll find the whole prospect too difficult and won't call. Who could blame her?

I've realized that I'm now on the other side. I'm done with my infertility supplies -- my speculum, my copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility (great book) and Fertility Wisdom (skip it), any ovulation predictor kits that may be lurking in the depths of the bathroom cabinet. That's because if I decide to have another kid -- and though I always wanted two, lately I look back at the two years of struggle and am tempted to quit while I'm ahead -- I'll go straight to IVF and skip all the tracking/IUI crap. I used to consider friends who'd had miscarriages and went on to have healthy children as a beacon of hope. Now somehow, improbably, I'm that person who struggled mightily to get and stay pregnant and went on to have, keninah horah, a healthy child.

So I'm in a new club -- the club of new moms. We get together and go for walks, talking about sleep training, vaccinations, breastfeeding. We complain about our weight and exchange tips on the best Mommy and Me yoga classes. We do not, however, discuss our antral follicle counts or FSH levels. In fact, we don't talk about getting pregnant at all. Maybe some of these women had trouble conceiving; statistically, that has to be true. Maybe they look at their babies with the same amount of awe and disbelief and wonder and humility that I have when I gaze at mine. Maybe, like me, they tell their babies how very wanted they were, sometimes with tears in their eyes. Either way, they seem to have quit the infertility club, and for now, I have, too.

2 comments:

Shelly said...

It's weird isn't it? I feel this way too, although I've gotten pretty used to it now, being in the Mom group. I don't have real life friends who are struggling with infertility although I did meet a mom in my new Moms group who went to the same RE as me and we totally bonded and spent about 30 minutes hashing out our journeys with each other (and a shared love for that particular RE.)

More Beans Please said...

Hmmm, really interesting and no doubt quite challenging identity wise. Your story is really important though - it gives hope to those who are still trying (like me) after a couple of years and those that have lost babies or those that are in the midst of bringing them home. Your contribution as a new mum is just as valid to we 'still waiting for fertile land' - because it is a reminder of what is possible. Stay blogging and keep up your posts. Hope you all keep going well.