If you look up ‘bitter’ in the dictionary, you find the following definition:
bitter (bit´ər) adj. [OE biter, akin to bītan, to bite] 1 having a sharp, often unpleasant taste 2 causing or showing sorrow, pain, etc. 3 sharp and disagreeable; harsh (a bitter wind) 4 resentful; cynical 5 Mrs.X as she continually reflects on the fact that her best friend is pregnant while Mrs.X has 1 lap surgery, 2 HSGs, 5 IUI attempts, 1 miscarriage, multiple ovarian cysts, a mild case of OHSS, and lots of money out the door to show for her efforts after 2.5 years of trying.
So maybe entry No. 5 is not included in my Webster’s New World dictionary, but it might as well be. I am a bitter woman because of infertility. I am bitter that we got dealt this hand and I am bitter that we are stuck with one oar in the water turning in a giant circle – start the stims, watch the eggs grow, insemination, 2ww, pregnancy test, start again (or is it more like the undulating curve of shifting expectations?) I am bitter that there are those who have such an easier time than we do and I am particularly bitter that one of them happens to be my best friend who unbeknownst to her was supposed to have difficulty so that I could have a friend who truly understood all of this.
And now not only am I bitter, I’m selfish to boot. Is there a 12-step program for bitter, selfish infertile women? (Step 1: invest in a very large punching bag upon which you can take out your obviously strong feelings (preferably not husband). Step 2: have a glass of wine (or 3) in attempt to dull feelings of bitterness. Step 3: Cut all fertile women out of your life so that are left with either childless, childfree or other bitter infertile women. Step 4: Avoid all public areas that may have pregnant ladies. Step 5: do not under any circumstances watch TLC from 2 – 4 pm. Step 6: provide in-service to family and friends on infertility and how it has changed you into a shrew. Step 7: learn how not to ask others if they have children to avoid the inevitable question back. Step 8: ignore Dr. Phil. Repeatedly. Step 9: admit that you are a bitter selfish infertile woman and recognize that you are not inherently a bad person. Step 10: do not tell everyone that you are starting a cycle to avoid having to tell them the news (either way). Step 11: recognize that you aren’t the only one having these feelings (Hat Tip, So Close: Surviving Infertility) Step 12: repeat steps 1 -11 as needed)
I hate admitting that I’m a bitter selfish infertile woman because I always felt that bitter infertile women were weak and just couldn’t control their emotions. The karmic bus has officially caught up with me on this one. I am officially one of the gang. Or, maybe, as with most things, I am a part-time bitter infertile woman. I’m also a part-time kitty mommy, sewer, reader, thinker, sleeper, lover, walker, comedienne, bad movie connossieur, worker bee, queen bee, wife, housekeeper, trash-putter-outer, friend, blogger, photographer, artist, laundress, light bulb replacer, gardener, writer, cook, nosy neighbor, dog sitter, interior decorator, dreamer, to name a few.
We are all part-time beings. We do not have one label all of the time. Labels are like hats – they are interchangeable and each one makes you feel a little different. And, I truly look forward to the day that I can retire my “bitter selfish infertile woman” hat, however that may come about, but I don’t think I can put it away just yet.