Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In the Trenches

Yesterday, we had some friends over to meet their one-month-old little boy. It was also the first time they'd met Lexie.

Their little guy is pretty much the same size as Lexie, who is now over five months old. But he was over 10 pounds (!) when he was born (vaginal delivery!), and Lexie didn't hit 10 pounds until last month.

We'd lost touch with these friends for a couple of years. When I heard they'd had a baby, I sent them a congratulations email and gave our story in a nutshell. My friend wrote back with theirs. They'd lost their first baby, a boy, at 22 weeks to a devastating heart defect, and that pregnancy was followed by another miscarriage before they finally succeeded in having a baby.

Somehow, hearing that they'd had trouble too -- that they hadn't sailed easily into parenthood -- made me feel that we were allied with them, like we're together on some big IF team. It's the friends who've had difficulties that I find it easier to relate to, easier to keep in touch with.

I'm sure that, over the years, the whole painful process of becoming parents will recede into the haze of the past, but right now, it's very raw, and when I'm with those friends, I know we won't find ourselves inadvertently smacked in the face (metaphorically) by some remark made in total innocence by those who haven't been on the IF rollercoaster. Even questions about whether we want to have more kids would have to result in a long explanation.

I could always use the generic response of "You'll be the first to know." But frankly, I'm already tired of using that one from our pre-baby days.

I don't know -- I'm having trouble really expressing my feelings about this. It's not fair to pull away from some friends just because they had an easy time having a family. But then, life's not fair, right? For now, it's nice just to stick with the people on my team.


Mijke said...

I feel the same way. It's easier to be around people that have been through IF. No need to explain yourself over and over again, or to excuse yourself when you suddenly feel sad for no apparent reason. It's also safer: less hurtful questions and stupid remarks (although we can usually avoid the "When will you have another child?" question because people tend to think that b/g twins equal "One of each? Okay, Done!").

It's a "club" I never dreamed I'd be a part of, and one I don't wish on anybody else, but I'm glad it's there. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'm glad there's people that understand...

Same goes for people that have had a premature baby. You just don't know what that means until you've been there yourself.

Tulips said...

I struggle with some of the same conflicted feelings.

It does come easily to so many people, and they can't understand what it is like to struggle to have children.

As the poster above said, you don't wish it on anyone, but it is good to have people who understand what some of what you've been through.

Michelle said...

Thanks for visting my blog! :)

I can relate to you so much. I feel so much closer to my friends who take my husband and I for who we are. They don't sheild things from us and they include us. I'm having trouble with "friends" backing away, because they feel sorry for us. It's so annoying!

dcpeg said...

I cannot imagine how people can ask such personal questions! Procreation is private and no one else's business. Spouse and I were not able to have children yet I'm always wished happy mother's day and asked how many grandchildren I have. . .*sigh*!! I wish folks would just stick to discussing the weather.

Wade and Ericka said...

First - thanks for your comment on my blog - I hadn't heard that they stopped filming - it's about dang time!!

Ya know, I have always thought that *everyone* has their "thing." That thing that rocks their world and will never ever go away. I guess I never thought about what my thing was - maybe my parent's divorce, but after going through IF I know this is and will continue to be *my* thing. And I'm okay with that. Now.

A lot of what makes it easier is what you're saying about being around people on the same "team." There is absolutely no reason to apologize for that, or feel bad that we wanna deal with it by pulling back a little from people on that *other* team.

My mantra is sorta, ya gotta do what you gotta do to stay sane and guard your heart.

Congrats on your little one, I'm hoping I can share good news about mine being born THIS WEEK!!!

Danifred said...

Even as a secondary infertility sufferer, I found that many people who knew about our difficulties were insensitive and sometimes downright rude. I think it's totally natural to gravitate towards people who can understand, relate and offer support, even once it's all said and done.

WiseGuy said...

Well Nutmeg, First of all, from the pictures, I can tell you that Lexie is a beautiful kid!

The haze of bad fertility history always hangs around in the subconscious....


caitsmom said...

Those innocent questions are the most difficult to deal with, I think. Because it's hard to come back with a snappy comment, when they have know idea what emotional turmoil their statement/question made in our hearts. So, I'm with you, life isn't fair, and sometimes we have to protect ourselves. Peace.


Julie said...


I agree-
We kept our IF pretty quiet among friends but we told one couple (they had had 2 m/c while we were not getting pg) Her and I talked a lot about IF and pg struggles and was really nice to have someone else who "got" it.

Nicole said...

I so hear the 'one day at a time' thing...that's the only way I've gotten as far as I have in all this. I hope you find it a bit easier to hang in there as time moves forward.

Good luck and happy ICLW (thanks for the comment!)

Michelle said...

Thanks for entering my giveaway....having adopted rather than birthed, I felt the same way with my first child...sure, my friends and I may have had kids about the same age, but it was so different. In my experience, it does get a little easier with time. Glad you have friends you CAN relate to!

caramama said...

It really is easier to talk to those who've also been through IF difficulties. I remember when we got pregnant with Mason, so many people commented on how close together the kids would be (2 years and 3 months, which I don't think is too close). To those who knew of our difficulties, I would outright say, "Well, we had no idea how long it would take to conceive this time. It could have taken another 3 years and who knows if we'd have another miscarriage or how many fertility treatments we'd have to go through." But I didn't say that to everyone. So many people just don't understand.

I'll never forget a quote I saw in someone's signature: "Infertily--looking from outside in, you can't understand. Looking from the inside out, you can't explain." It's really so true, and why I find it easier to talk about all things fertility with those who have been through it.

K.T. said...

Thank you for your note on my blog. As many others have posted to you, I completely agree. It seems like it is so much easier to answer the phone calls and e-mails of the people who have had a hard road getting pregnant as well. It may not be fair, but it is the way it is. The problem for me is that I don't think my non-IF friends have figured that out yet.

Lisa RM said...

My husband and I purposely chose to only have one child (ecologist here, having one was a hard enough decision to make). We still get plenty of the "when's the next coming?" and "how many will you have?" and I still find them difficult. Just because we waited to have our dude, and are happy with just one, doesn't mean either of us have a third eye growing out of our nostril or something. Different strokes, different situations, different people- they're all OK.

Melissa G said...

That makes absolute sense that you would be closer with them. Their story is just as heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this. I haven't made it to the other side of IF yet, but I was sort of glad to get the heads up about the question of whether we'll plan to have more.. That never occurred to me.

Ugh. As much as IF sucks, I don't think I would change our struggle. It has taught me so much, in addition to making my marriage stronger. So while I am grateful for the strength it has given me, I'm a little disappointed to realize that the heartache never really seems to go away.


Beautiful Mess said...

With friends who've had no trouble conceiving and had an easy pregnancy, I find myself envious of them. I also have little in common with them. I think as time goes by, the wound heals. For me at least. Glad you have some friend on "your side" to talk with and not be taken aback by innocent remarks.

Queenie. . . said...

I think it's all about what you can deal with. There are lots of other reasons in life that I've pulled away from friends or they've pulled away from me that have been a lot less trivial than dealing with IF. So, if that's what you need for now, don't feel bad about it. It's all about getting through.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

I agree with many of the prior comments---I think people naturally gravitate towards those they have similarieties with. IF defintitely bonds those who have been through its trenches.


Jason said...

10 lb? ouch!

My baby was 7.9

And that still hurt my wife. Naturaly

Mo and Will said...

I totally get this. It's the same for me too - those who've "been there" are so much easier to relate to for me.


sara said...

Just saying hi and that I hope you have a great fourth! Kiss that beautiful little UU baby for me, OK?