I’ve been contemplating how to write this post for a while. I’ve been thinking about it but I wasn’t sure I had the cojones to actually put it out there. In the end I felt it was worth saying, because maybe, just maybe it will help someone to read it. And maybe it will help me to write it too.
So lately there have been some awesome pregnancy announcements on different blogs that I follow. These pregnancies are always the result of IVFs, FETs or IUIs. Very few people that I follow are trying without any kind of intervention anymore. It makes sense; this is an infertility community after all.
Except that I’m not actually infertile. At least not yet. And sure I’m steadily approaching the famed one year mark of trying that the medical community uses to make the initial diagnosis of IF, and sure I’m taking the (probably many, convoluted) steps necessary at Kaiser to see an RE, but I am not infertile. I don’t say that because I would be ashamed to wear that title, but because I have not suffered enough to be included in the club.
So, there have been a few pregnancy announcements lately and I’ve been watching them closely. I’ve been watching the way women announce their good news and I’ve taken note of how their readers respond. I’ve been doing all this because I want to make sure that if I ever have good news to share, I share it in the appropriate way. But recently I realized that I can’t take notes from these wonderful women because their situations are incomparable to mine. They are all IFers who have undergone treatments to get pregnant. They have EARNED their good news. If I were to get pregnant I wouldn’t have earned it, not in the way they have. I can’t share my good news like they do because I have not struggled nearly as hard to get to my happy place.
And here is the part where my dear readers–the ones who comment on lots of my posts and obviously care about me and would be thrilled if I had good news to share (even if it hurt them, and it will hurt many of them, too many)–tell me that of course I’ve earned any pregnancy I may be lucky enough to enjoy and here we don’t embrace the Pain Olympics and everyone’s experience is valid and yadda yadda yadda.
And that is all fine and good, except that it is NOT the way most women feel in this community (though I totally believe it is the way my amazing readers, or at least my amazing commenters) feel. I can say that with relative certainty because I have SEEN women reacting in a way that clearly indicates otherwise. I have seen women tear down bloggers who didn’t need medical assistance to get pregnant. I have seen others fail to include them. I’ve seen those bloggers get fewer comments on posts, or fewer followers in general. I’ve seen it over and over again. So people can say all they want about this community being a Pain Olympics-Free-Zone, but the actions of many would suggest otherwise. And actions, as they say, speak louder than words.
You see, people can say all they want to the contrary on this post, on my blog in general, but the truth is, any pregnancy that I may achieve without assistance is not as precious a prize as a pregnancy achieved through ART. Any struggle I’ve endured before seeing an RE or taking Clomid or undergoing an IUI or IVF or an FET is not as worthy as the struggles of those who have faced those hardships. And I’m not saying this because it hurts my feelings to see my pregnancy as less than. I’m saying it because it’s absolutely is true. My difficulties aren’t as intense as the difficulties that others are facing. What I have been through this year is the bare minimum of suffering, it is the foundation of the IF experience, on which all the real hurt and pain is built. EVERYONE in this community has dealt with more than me. That is just the truth of the matter.
And it’s just the truth of the matter that if I get pregnant in the coming months, people won’t be as happy for me as they would be for someone undergoing IUI or IVF. It’s understandable, I didn’t have as much on the line, either emotional or financially. My attempts didn’t require the sheer resources that IFers have to gather to attempt to build their families and so a disappointing result isn’t as devastating. My problems pale in comparison.
I notice it already. When I get a BFN a few close friends are very kind in consoling me, but I don’t get the 30+ comments of support that someone who faces a failed ART cycle receives. And I’m not saying I should, I just gave it an au natural try. Nothing special. Nothing bank breaking. I can do it again next month. But the thing it, it is only ever all I can do. I’m not allowed to try anything more yet, these cycles are the only chances I’ve got, at least for the foreseeable future. And it’s hard to be stuck in the minor leagues, not knowing what is wrong, recognizing all the while that even though it’s bad, everyone else has it so much worse. Which means I should keep my bitching to a minimum and if I do get a BFP, I should share it in as tasteful and low-key a manner as possible.
How will I share a BFP on this blog? I honestly don’t know. I don’t feel I have the right to really celebrate it. I already have a child. I haven’t had to seek medical assistance to get pregnant (at least this post is about a hypothetical unassisted BFP). It just took a long time, nothing to whine about really. So how do I share the news without hurting those who are suffering so much more than I, who have, and will continue to, suffer so much more than I, who have done way more work to earn a pregnancy than I have, and yet still aren’t celebrating one themselves? Who, quite frankly, deserve it more? How do I quietly put it out there so that others don’t feel so much pain or despair? I honestly don’t know the answer. There doesn’t seem to be a good way to go about it.
I’m sure this post is going to upset people, hell it might even piss people off. I hope you all know that I only say these things because they are true. They have always been true and they will always be true. And I respect the truth of these words, even if that truth puts my pain in perspective. It SHOULD put my pain in perspective, because honestly, my pain is not that great. What other people in this community go through is so much worse. And I shouldn’t receive 30+ comments of congratulations about a BFP I managed to achieve between my own bedsheets. My struggles are the minor leagues and when they are over I will get the minor league ovation that I deserve. My shit is not major league material. It’s not prime time sports, and it will never be treated as such.
The truth is I’m kind of stuck in this weird no-mans land. I don’t belong to the land of the fertiles where all my friends get pregnant in one or two months and get to plaster it all over Facebook when the pee stick is still wet, and I don’t belong here where people struggle for so long and through so much, grasping at fragile BETA numbers with the meager hope they might signal a viable pregnancy, many times facing the crushing reality that they don’t. I’m just someone who has a not-so-easy time of it, and when I get pregnant the fertiles won’t care that it took almost a year and the infertiles won’t recognize it as being much of a struggle and it will just be what it is. My thing. My insignificant burden to bear.
And I accept that. I agree with it really. I just want to make sure that my response and my announcement take these realities into account. And I’m not quite sure how best to do that. How do you best remind a community that you identify with, but that doesn’t identify with you, of why you don’t really belong, without rubbing the unfair disparity in their face? That is the question I have to answer and I worry there is no answer to be found.