When it comes to living with infertility in a primarily fertile world, I am a glutton for punishment. Article about nesting during pregnancy? I read it. Read an on-line chat about working part-time or full-time after the birth of a baby (I would kill for this choice!!!)? Tempted. Watching the episode of House Hunters where the family is expanding (number-wise, not body-wise) so they have to find a new house? I watched the whole thing, including every single freakin’ reference to the fact that she’s pregnant. I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
So, why do I do this to myself? What do I expect to gain? At first, I thought I was doing it because I may gain some valuable information that I can use down the line. So, the article on soothing your baby seemed like a good read. Then, as time went on and we had no baby to soothe, it seemed less and less helpful. I suspect that I do it now to see if I’ve reached that point of equanimity where I can read about (fill in the blank) getting knocked up and not feel that twinge of absolute envy. I never manage to do it, though.
And, it seems as if motherhood and fertility is everywhere now- celebrities are popping out enough children to populate a small island, there is not one but two blogs dedicated to parenting and family on Washingtonpost.com, and of course, there is my love/hate relationship with articles in the New York Times, which has been documented on this blog already. The point is, it’s getting harder and harder to censor out this kind of stuff, which makes it easier to punish myself.
It is impossible to go to just about any website and not get assaulted at least once with something – even a headline – that brings that familiar ache. But, I am making progress. I have started to give myself permission to skip reading those articles. For example, the article on going back to work after the birth of a baby? Self: you are permitted to skip it. It won’t do anything except upset you, so you have a free ride to look right past it. Instead, go look at Cuteoverload. Stick your nose in the middle of a fragrant bloom and breathe deeply. Kiss a kitty. You’ll find the urge to look at those articles is gone and you’ve gotten a wonderful respite.
In the world of infertility where control is so fleeting, giving myself permission to skip the things that I know will just upset me is one little way I can have some control.