IT’S OCTOBER! Finally! I thought this month would NEVER come.
I have written many times of waves of pregnancy announcements–when my readers feels full to the brim with an overflow of pregnancies. I remember there being one when I was just starting to try again, when the sucker-punch surprise BFPs from fellow IFers started a trend that just seemed to gather momentum while I stood still.
There is clearly another wave of pregnancies right now–at least in my reader–and I seem to be on the crest of it. I follow two other women who are due just before me and many more are entering their third trimesters or well into their second, with a few just starting their journeys quite recently. There have been many times when I’m reading through pregnancy post after pregnancy post and I thank my lucky stars that I’m 37 weeks into my own journey, anxiously anticipating my son’s birth. I don’t know if I could have survived yet another pregnancy wave while I sat helpless on the beach.
And yet, I know so many women who are stuck on that very beach, watching this pregnancy wave as it crests and readies to break, wondering when they might get to add to the swell of others’ good fortune. I feel horrible that I’m where I am and they are where they are and there is nothing any of us can do about it.
The only thing I feel like I can do is recognize it, acknowledge it, let them know that I haven’t forgotten, that I’m watching them on the beach and wishing so much that they could join in on the celebration.
It’s hard, sometimes, being the one who gets what she wants when so many others don’t. I’m not trying to illicit empathy, I’m just trying to acknowledge the guilt one feels when they move forward while others don’t. It can be a heavy burden to shoulder, especially in this community where the stakes are so damned high. Would I rather situations were reversed? Of course not. I KNOW I’m the luckier one, that I have it easier and better. I’m not trying to say that I don’t. I’m just trying to recognize that it’s complicated and assure those who are still waiting that I never, not for a second, forget who they are, where they are and what they’re going through.
On Sunday night I met up with a woman who has a son the same age as my daughter. We both shared much awaited pregnancy news with each other last February but she went on to have a very traumatic ectopic and I went on to have a successful, non-eventful pregnancy. Not surprisingly we haven’t seen, let alone spoken to, each other much since.
But Sunday she reached out (she has a couple of times before but it never worked out) and Osita and I went over to visit. I felt so awkward, knowing how hard it must be for her to see me. I would NEVER have been able to reach out to her at this point if I were the one who’d lost the pregnancy all those months ago. I wore my most inconspicuous clothes (not that it was very helpful at hiding anything–right now my bump is not something that can be camouflaged) and never mentioned my pregnancy at all. When she asked about it–once and only once–I answered as briefly as I could. Otherwise it was not acknowledged.
I obviously didn’t ask her anything about her own family building efforts. She had to get two rounds of methotrexate shots and I’m pretty sure Kaiser recommends waiting three months for each set of shots so that means after the six month wait she’s only had 2-3 months to try again, if she even jumped right back into the TTC game. She may have been hiding some tentatively happy news but that didn’t seem to be the case. I felt for her and it was strange to be the one in the happy place, trying to navigate the sadness of the woman for whom it didn’t work out.
That night, when I got home, I thought a lot about my friend, wondering if I should reach out and acknowledge her loss and how hard it must be to still be waiting. In the end I didn’t. It didn’t feel right, I didn’t know what to say, and some wise friends counseled me against attempting to find the words. I suppose that was the right thing to do, but I wish there were a different right thing to do, ANY right thing to do, so that she knew that I was thinking of her and wishing her story had been different, that I wished we could be sharing fears and anxieties instead of ignoring her pain.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m being selfish, wanting to find the words. Maybe I think it would assuage my guilt. All I know is that if I were her, I would want my pain acknowledged–validated–in some way. I know not everyone is like that though and what might have been right for me isn’t what she needs at all.
And I suppose the same is true for this post. I know that if I were still in the trenches, trying for my second child… or my first…I would appreciate hearing these words from someone who is so close to crossing over to the other side, who will soon (if all goes according to plan) be DONE with her family building efforts.
But maybe these aren’t the words others need to read at all. Maybe I’m just pouring salt in already festering wounds. Maybe I’m making it all worse. I guess we never can know how our words touch other people, we can only do what we think is right and hope for the best.
So please know, if you’re reader is brimming over with pregnancies and pregnancy-related posts (including mine) while you wait in the wings, hoping and praying for your own good news, that most–if not all–of us are thinking about you and wishing you the best. I wish the wave could pick up all of us and usher us to our happy endings. I wish that more than I can say.
Are you ever unsure how to acknowledge your good fortune when others are struggling? How do you deal with it as a part of the ALI community?