Recently Cristy wrote a really important post about how those around her are eager to erase her infertile past as they enthusiastically embrace the couple’s current joy. So many people seem to insist that now that she’s pregnant, her infertility is a thing of a past; some even seem to imply that it never happened at all.
For me it is encapsulated in my FIL’s know-it-all, “See!” As if he somehow knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this would happen, that everything would be okay. Like somehow his insistence that it would all work out was more accurate than the dire diagnoses we received from trained medical professionals interpreting actual lab results. The know-it-all I-told-you-so is really hard for me to swallow.
And this is for a girl who only had to bang her head against the wall for a year of trying and then process two shitty diagnoses for a couple of months before getting knocked up the “old fashioned way.” I can’t even imagine how demeaning it would feel if I’d struggled with failure and loss for 2+ years and only got/stayed pregnant on my final attempt at IVF. If people wrote off my past then I’d be fucking furious.
As it is, I sometimes dread telling people who knew what we were going through that we’re pregnant. Not long ago, on the eve of our 6 week appointment, I called my grandmother for a quick chat and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t tell her that I was pregnant. I know how much she wants this for us and I know it pains her to see me struggle, but I also know that when I tell her it finally happened she’ll be all full of know-it-all I-told-you-so’s, quickly brushing the last year under the rug, pretending it didn’t happen and pointing out that she was right, that in the end, everything worked out okay.
And that kind of shit drives me pretty crazy right now. I just don’t want to hear from anybody that they knew it was going to be okay. Because they didn’t know. This amazing thing happened but they never knew it was going to happen. They couldn’t know. NO ONE COULD KNOW. And the fact that it did happen does not mean that the doctors were wrong or that I was over reacting or impatient. It just means that this pregnancy is a very special, unexpected gift. One that happened IN SPITE of what we had stacked against us, not because it was bound to happen anyway.
So far the people I have told have been so very excited for us. They all know how hard the past year was and how dismal our chances were. The vast majority of the people we’ve told have responded with the perfect sentiment of, “wow, I know this last year was so hard and you must be so happy and relieved right now. And I am happy and relieved for you too.” I’m so grateful that, for the most part, sharing this pregnancy has been a very positive thing.
I also know that many of the people we have still to tell we be all sing songy, I-told-you-so, and even more won’t know what we went through at all, as they quickly assume that we’re adding to our family in the same way they did (or plan to do), when the time is exactly right, not a moment sooner–or later–than what we hoped for.
I know we didn’t go through much. I know our struggle pales in comparison to pretty much everyone else’s. But it was our struggle and I feel it should be recognized in some way. I suppose I want it to be acknowledged, if only for a moment when this pregnancy is first announced. I want what we went through to mean something to the people we care about, because it meant EVERYTHING to us.
I don’t think much about the future of this pregnancy but I have wondered, here and there, how I will announce it “to the world” (ie on Facebook) if it comes to that. I know I have to acknowledge what we went through in some way, but I’m not sure exactly what I’ll say. I know I can’t force people to see this whole experience through my eyes–I could never make them understand no matter what I might do–but I also don’t want to perpetuate the myth that family building is always a walk in the park. And I want to make sure anyone else who might be struggling, knows that they are not alone.