The Crappy Comparison Conundrum

I’ve been thinking about this all week. It came to me during meditation (when my mind was stubbornly refusing to focus on the breath) and then I read a post by Belle that seemed to touch on a similar issue and I thought, huh, maybe I’m not the only one. What I was thinking about is the fact that this struggle feels so much more unbearable when I compare it to the experiences of my fertile friends, or even I’m ashamed to say, my IF friends who enjoyed surprise second pregnancies. What is it about seeing someone else’s easy journey that makes the difficulty of my journey that much harder to bear?

There are lots of time when I feel accepting of our situation, when the rational side of my brain facilitates an understanding that the day to day isn’t so bad right now and won’t necessarily get appreciably better with another child. There are times when ten months of trying doesn’t feel so horrible, when I think maybe it could all just be bad luck, when I convince myself that it’s going to happen in the next few months and we’ll be able to move on from this stagnant place and never look back.

But then I see a Facebook update or a blog post or an email and the reality of how easy it was for someone else just punches me right in the face. In the presence of others’ fertility, our struggle seems amplified; I feel way more broken and way less hopeful. This inability to face other people’s good luck–even when I’m managing not to wallow in our bad luck–is driving me to self-imposed isolation. I can’t stand to see our myriad friends that are pregnant. I don’t call my cousin whose baby is due soon. I stay off Facebook most of the time and I don’t comment as much as I should on some blogs. It’s just too hard for me to make the comparisons. And the messed up thing is I don’t WANT to compare myself to anyone, it just seems to happen, instantaneously and subconsciously, all the fucking time.

I’m not sure why it’s happening and I’m less sure what to do about it. I just really don’t know. I just hope I can stop doing it, I hope I can see my friends’ good fortune for what it is, their happy luck and not a commentary on my unhappy circumstances. I wish that every time someone easily fell pregnant it wouldn’t make me feel like something is wrong with me, like I’m failing in some way, like I’m less than. I wish I could change these thought patters but I’m not sure how to do that. Just like I’m not sure how to get pregnant. It just feels bigger than I am, out of my control.

I’m not really sure how to wrap this one up in a tight, shiny bow so I guess I’ll just sign off for now. If any of your have any insight on the comparison conundrum I’d love to hear it.

7 responses

  1. It took me YEARS, hon, to come to terms with feeling broken as it relates to getting pregnant. And honestly, I still grapple with it. I do better some days than others. Seeing pregnancy announcements, pregnant bellies, pictures of newborn babies on FB is too much for me.

    I belong to a fitness board where I log my running workouts. And some guy actually BLOGGED about his wife’s pregnancy when she “surprised him with a positive test.” He said he was “happy to announce to friends and family” that she was pregnant. She is, LITERALLY, 5 and a half weeks pregnant now? Anything could go wrong. I want to tell him “Be careful.” But I don’t have it in me. So I unsubscribed to his feed. Can’t handle it.

    And this is when I know – and accept – that pregnancy is entirely out of my control.

    So to comment on something you said here? ” Just like I’m not sure how to get pregnant. It just feels bigger than I am, out of my control.”

    YES. It’s bigger than you. If you could control it, you’d be pregnant – you’re certainly doing enough to make it happen if you DID have control over it. It’s not your failure or your fault. It’s infertility – or subfertility, whatever label you want to put on it. And it sucks.

    Hugs. You’re not alone.


  2. OH my dear…I am so with you on this one. Although you are months ahead of me in trying, I’m so frustrated at how things aren’t working this time around. I’m so envious of those women who get the surprise BFP! IVF worked the first time, why not this time…what did I do wrong? Why is my body failing me….it just plain sucks…but I agree with Serenity…it’s all about control and being a control freak this annoys the crap out of me. I hate not being in some sort of control. All I can do is everything I can to make it happen….but I can’t control the out come. Oh how I wish I could! But we can’t……thinking of you and letting you know how you are NOT alone in this and these feelings…I am right there with you…

  3. Comparison works both ways though. To get any real perspective, you have to look both at those who have it easy, and those who have it harder. I understand thAt’s not easy to do. It I compare our financial situation with the in-laws, all of wom live overseas earning big money, then life here is tough. But I have to then look at my sister, and some friends, who have it harder than I do. It makes my situation easier to accept.

    • That is very true. And I do compare myself to people who have it harder, when I’m faced with their situations. I guess the difference is that I’m faced with those who have it easier a lot more, or I’m just faced with evidence that they have it easier more than I actually see when people have it harder. Besides blogs that I read, I don’t know most people stories of struggle. I think that is actually part of the problem.

      • But you do know us. We, the bloggers, are real people. We exist. We talk to you daily. You are part of our Iives. I know some/many bloggers you read are part of your life. Why separate them/us out into a category that doesnt count?

        Again, to use the financial analogy, it’s like rich people only comparing themselves against their rich friends, and feeling that they don’t have enough, ignoring the poor people they see or pass or talk to or read about every day. I understand. It’s hard to do. But it’s that whole mindfulness/thankfulness thing that can help.

        And truly, it does help. Because if I compare my fertility journey with people I know personally here in NZ, people I see on a regular basis, then I’m the only one who suffered loss and life without kids. But if I take a wider perspective, it is easier to cope with, easier to feel thankful for what I do have.

      • I do now you and of course you are real people. And I’m not trying to belittle what you are going or have gone through. That is not my intention at all. I’m just trying to describe how it feels to me. These are not necessarily feelings that I can control or even understand. They just come to me in the moment. And the feelings of being broken when I see evidence of the fertility of others is a stronger, more visceral experience than the feelings of gratitude that I feel when I read about a blogger who has it worse than me (and pretty much EVERY blogger in this community has it worse than me, so that happens frequently). I’m not saying I SHOULD feel that way, just that I do. And I think it is different to find someone in real life who is experience what you are, or something similar, because you are faced with them more frequently. You don’t have to seek them out in a community that has been created BECAUSE of these struggles, they are just there all the time, in your every day life. I don’t know why but that seems to make a difference for me. And again, these are just the ways I feel, not the ways I BELIEVE I should feel.

      • Oh, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that you were belittling what I’ve gone through. I was hoping that by pointing the other side out, it might make it easier for you. I remember well the madness of trying to conceive, and I wouldn’t be in your shoes at the moment for anything!

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