Monday, May 16, 2011

Pregnancy Envy

It's funny... Sometimes I think I've dealt, rather effectively, with my infertility and my pregnancy issues.  I can joke about my body, as Sarah calls me, 'the little oven that couldn't' (a play on 'the little engine that could').  As someone who doesn't deal well with failure, I've tried to accept that I can't control the world and that this get-pregnant -stay-pregnant-thing is something that I, unequivocably, suck at.  And, usually, I'm good.  I am 100% happy for friends who announce pregnancies (especially when they arent saddled with infertility, too) and, although I've never been a shower-happy kind of girl, I can do the whole baby shower thing without trepidation.  Bobby and Maya have helped with a lot of that, but I've grown over the last years as well, and that helps too.

But, sometimes, this stuff hits you in the uterus and you want to double over in pain and puke your guts out.

(Good image, right?)

My sweet, sweet niece (who is Bobby and Maya's godsister if not my biological niece) received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday.  I was thrilled; I cried.  She's a beautiful girl... In EVERY sense of the word and I could not have been more proud than had it been one of my own kids there.  In addition, another sweet girl who is close to my heart was also receiving Confirmation, and I was just in a nice, happy place with these 2 young girls who have touched my life so much in such a great celebration of Faith.  Because the Mass interfered with naptime, we knew we'd need to take the kids out for walk abouts every now and again.  And that was okay. 

And what was extra fun?

The half dozen VERY pregnant bellies I encountered in the span of 90 minutes. 

Now, let me preface this: we're Catholic.  There are usually pregnant bellies abounding.  And I'm okay with that.  It's beautiful.  It's great. 

It wasn't great on Saturday.  The first, okay.  The second, okay.  By the third, very pregnant and about to burst belly, I was starting to feel that deep pull in my chest.  By the fourth, I wanted to cry.  By the fifth, I was looking for an escape route, and by the sixth, I was fighting back the tears.  These women were ready to pop.  And it wasnt so much the "they are pregnant" thing.  Because, truly, I have no idea if they struggled with fertility or if they've lost children,  and, even if they havent, I dont begrudge them their pregnancies.  But the thought that came?

That will never be me.

Because even if I got pregnant again and carried past the first trimester... Even if I had a cerclage placed and made it into the second trimester... Even if I didn't pPROM or go into PTL... I'd never be that pregnant and out.  I'd be in bed or, most likely, in the hospital, taking different concoctions and hooked up to different monitors to try and stay pregnant as long as possible.

And, damn... That hurt.  That thought really, really hurt.

I did my best to focus on the beauty of the day and when L came running and hugged me and was gorgeous and perfect and newly confirmed, my thoughts and heartache went away and all was well.  We celebrated with a luncheon (where Bobby acted like we dont feed him and ate 10 meatballs and 2 meat pockets (meat filled yeast rolls- delicious) in addition to cake and heaven knows what else) and then took the kids to get them a nap.  It was a good time.

We needed to go by the farm and bakery and supermarket, so after naptime, we did our running around.  And, once again, the Universe aligned itself against my mood.  In the supermarket I saw another half dozen VERY pregnant women.  And, again, the thoughts... The sadness... The pain...

I was okay and got out of there as soon as we could.  And I was okay at home.  But, as the kids played, and Peter and I prepared food together, I lost it. 

I'm so damn tired of being a bloody statistic.  I'm tired of being infertile.  I'm tired of having multiple miscarriages.  I'm tired of having preterm labor where my babies either die or have to rely on weeks in the hospital to live.  I'm tired of not being able to get and stay pregnant.  I'm tired of being told how strong I am, or how I'm an example of faith to someone, or how they couldnt do it.  I want to scream "I DONT WANT TO DO IT!  I WANT TO HAVE A DIFFERENT CHOICE!!!"

But do I?  I know I wouldnt choose differently.  I wish, so much, that this wasn't me.  But, if given a choice, I'd do the same over again because it brought me my children and there is nothing that would ever make me want to change that. 

But still, it hurts.   Even when we think we are over it... Even when living children have numbed some of the pain...  Those scars are still there and it takes so little- especially when we expect it the least- to open them up again.   


St Elsewhere said...

What is the Sacrament of Confirmation?

Sending you lots of positive vibes and the kindest thoughts...

Sophie said...

Sending big hugs your way. xx

Michele said...


Jen said...

I've had a hard time dealing with pregnancy envy since my hysterectomy so I'm as sterile (not just infertile) as they come. Some days, I'm good but other days, it still hurts that I'll never feel a baby move inside me again.

Prayers for peace for the both of us!

Shell said...

I am working with a woman who is due this September. She is pretty good and doesn't make too many comments. I finally asked her on the fifth day of working with her when she was due and if she knew what she was having. Of course it was a girl. It took all I had to just get through that conversation. I keep telling myself I only need to make it to this upcoming Thursday (her last day). Pregnant women never bothered me before but now that I've experienced and may never in the future it REALLY hurts.

Terri Jones said...

Love & Hugs!

Deni said...

Beautiful post and oh so true! The scars from before are still scars! Sending love!

ccc said...

I will have to admit that I have been envious of you. I have children and recently have had my fourth loss in a row. This time it was twins. I have always dreamed of having twins! Now, I feel a deep pang whenever I see twins. Don't get me wrong--I am so so happy for you and love seeing pictures of your twins.
I guess we never really do know what one is thinking or going through when we see them at church or elsewhere.
Take care and God bless

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about this same issue when two people in my online life gave birth to twins, one at 35 weeks, one at 38! I felt such an ugly ugly envy of them. I felt mean and 'small' and begrugded them their worries. Not pretty. Since my twins were born during the winter, we can't take them out very much (also because of J's lung damage), and sometimes the invisibility of my motherhood feels so heavy. Recently my fibromyalgia has come back with a vengance and I'm going to have to stop breastfeeding both because of pain, and because of medications, and again I feel an ugly ugly envy. Oy. And yet, I am SO grateful for my dear little boys. And so grateful that I had twins, albeit early, because given how my body has dealt with the sleep deprivation, I would likely not be able to have another. Oy.

Catherine W said...

Oh Michele, I think it is totally understandable. I have not been through infertility and I have now had a full term pregnancy and I STILL have pregnancy envy. Which sounds very strange and ungrateful but there it is. No pregnancy will ever be as simple and happy as my first and I can't help but wonder why I was not to be granted a 'normal' experience of pregnancy and childbirth.

I think if you have had difficulty getting pregnant, have lost a child or given birth to your children prematurely or any number of a whole host of circumstances then a seemingly happy, trouble free pregnancy will perhaps always bring a little sting of envy, no matter how much happiness that same pregnancy may bring us.

As ccc says, nobody can ever tell what we've been through simply by looking at us. Nobody knows, on meeting me for the first time that J could have a twin sister here with her, that she was so terribly ill for so long, that I spent my pregnancy with R terrified. I just look like a happy lucky mother with two children, sometimes I wish I could have an identity band so that others would know that it hasn't been as straightforward as it might appear.

I wish that you could have a different choice and I'm sorry that it hurts you so. I truly do.

And it did make me laugh that Bobby ate as though you never fed him at the luncheon. J is the same and frantically gathers up all sorts of things as though she was half starved at home.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be an upcoming post for me. I am going through some pregnancy envy myself. *hugs*