It’s Not You, It’s Me.

This phrase has always been thrown around as the ultimate, break-up parting salve.  I think I’ve been on the receiving end just once, but once was enough.  What it said to me was, “it is most definitely you.” Seeing as how that is my one and only personal experience with this phrase, I tend to look askance whenever I hear it and translate into my own personal version.

As I have gotten older (and hopefully a little wiser), though, I’ve come to understand that there are some situations where this sentiment, “it’s not you, it’s me” holds true, when the person genuinely has issues far and beyond what the other person is dealing with and so they are genuinely “it’s me”. 

I’ve been having some “it’s not you, it’s me” moments recently, moments that I think all of you can appreciate at some time or another. What is that I speak of? Allow me to explain, albeit in a rather circuitous manner.

Starting Down the Path

All of us in the IF community start out working toward one goal and one goal only – to have child, by hook or by crook.  Some make it, some don’t, some take the paths less travelled, that may or may not involve children.  No one path is the right way, by the way. And, I’d like to think that everyone, at some point, gets to a conclusion, whatever that conclusion may be.  

But, even for those who do end up winning the beta lottery, not everyone gets there in the same time, and there is no merit system or seniority.  Some don’t welcome their bundle(s) until years after they started down the path, others have better luck.  And while those who win are understandably and justifiably thrilled, there is the bittersweetness to it because of all those who are left behind, who may have had not had their lottery dreams fulfilled and are left looking at an empty (fill in here) _____________ (a) room, b) heart, c) uterus, or d) all of the above).

Recently, several of the blogs that I follow have featured very poignant and existential discussions as to their purpose since the writers have moved on – one is pregnant and the other recently adopted.  Both are no longer “infertile” in the classic sense, but both are having growing pains, for the lack of a better word, about where this leaves their readers.  Bless both of them for having the temerity to even broach this topic, which I think is much thought of, but not very much discussed in the IF blogging community.  And bless both of them for remembering that there was a time when they both had difficulty reading blogs such as theirs have become, and for recognizing that there will be those who have followed their stories but now can no longer follow the journey because it is just too hard.

I admit to being One of Those People who (sometimes) just stop reading once someone gets in a family way because it is still painful, but I think more importantly, I can no longer really relate to this person’s experience.

It’s not you, it’s me.

But, what of the “read and support” credo?  In response to one of these posts, Ms.Prufrock said,

It has always confused me how some bloggers are abandoned when they get what all of us infertile bloggers want. Isn’t that the point? Why do we bother supporting each other through treatment, loss, the adoption process, etc, then jump ship when all that hard work pays off? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

I’ll admit it, I was very bothered by certain people who were there for me throughout my IUIs and IVF, then decided that it was all too much once I got pregnant. It isn’t fair that not everyone is going to get what they want, but nor is it fair to withdraw support because it’s all too hard for one to cope with. It’s an unsympathetic view, I know. Guess what? Raising a kid is hard too, support and love might just be required then as well!

I see the logic – we should be there for each other through thick and thin, pregnancy, miscarriages, positives and negatives. Unfortunately, I cannot practice it, at least not all of the time.

Where You Go, I May Not Follow

I cannot opine for other bloggers who do this, but I can explain my prediliction, in the form of a handy SAT-esque analogy. 

When I was a junior in high school, I was friends with a lot of seniors.  I had lots of classes with them and found them to be infinitely more interesting than the people in my own class.  I followed them and supported them in their quest to find the ‘perfect’ college and marveled at their accomplishments.  I wished them well upon graduation and tried to stay in touch.

But, when they went to college, they had moved on to a place and time in their lives for which I had no frame of reference or ability to even relate.  They were in college, dealing with issues like snotty roommates and oversleeping for their 8am class.  I was sweating AP tests.  They were trying to decide if living on campus was really the way to go. I was trying to stay up and listen to my music without waking up my parents. 

I couldn’t even begin to offer them any support.  To be sure, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to support them, it was that they were in a phase of their life that I knew nothing about.  I could not relate, understand or really support them because I had no personal knowledge of what they were experiencing.  Since I couldn’t relate, I couldn’t offer what I considered to be meaningful support.  (And, there was a teensy amount of jealously because I wanted to get to college AQAP.)  

The same holds true sometimes for those IF blogging ladies who go on to have a successful pregnancy or parent.  They have moved onto an experience that I really can’t relate to, and in some way reminds me of all that has happened, or not happened, as the case may be.  And, so for personal preservation or just plain selfishness, I must wish you well on your journey, but let you know that I may or may not be ‘present’ on the way. 

It’s not you, it’s me.

11 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s Me.

  1. What about bloggers who were “familied” before you knew them?

    Did you eventually “catch up” to your college friends and resume friendships after that year of different experiences?

    Don’t know why I’m overusing “quotation marks.”

  2. I like your analogy. sometimes I read blogs about babies and parenting, and sometimes I just can’t. sometimes I can find beauty and humor in other people’s child-related posts, and other times I just can’t identify or it is simply too painful.

    it’s the same with treatment and adoption. no matter how much empathy you might have for someone else’s situation, it can be hard to identify when the journey or outcome is so different.

  3. This topic has always perplexed me. And because my badge is “secondary infertility”, I think I experience it much differently. In many cases I feel like the toddler sent to the corner for “time out”… I don’t fully belong to the throngs of Moms because I am broken, and I never really felt truly accepted from some of the primary infertiles.
    So I befriend everyone (it’s my nature anyway) and do at times feel crushed when I am judged for being “selfish”.

    The fact remains that I am going on year #4 for treatment. I’ve dabbled in every form of A.R.T., I’ve had 5 losses, but sadly I do have a hell of a lot less followers and supporters than most because of my unique situation.

    It boils down to this… I can relate to everyone, but not everyone can relate to me, and I’m coming to grips with that.

  4. There was a time before I became pregnant that I couldn’t read parenting blogs. I really had nothing helpful to chime in. Now that I have a child, I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has stuck around and new folks who have popped by to offer support and advice, because this stuff is hard too, and parenting after IF has its own special bag of worms. I thought my days of clicking away from blogs out of pain was over, but after a disastrous breastfeeding experience, I find I am once again unable to face blogs that talk in glowing terms of the babies they are still nursing. I guess it really never ends.

  5. Well-said, Mrs. X. I’ve had the same feelings and had to turn away from some blogs. And now that we have had a bit of success, I’m not sure how to handle the issue even with myself since I am not the one experiencing the pregnancy.

  6. This has been on my mind a lot lately. Let’s face it, about half of the women I used to read regularly are now pregnant. And I’m still not.

    I’ll go one step further than you, though. It isn’t just that I can’t relate to the IFers who have babies, it’s that it just hurts too much to follow along. I’m not out of touch with their feelings, I’m overwhelmed by jealousy and bitterness.

    I’ve kept reading the blogs of a few girls, those who I felt particularly attuned to. But some of them had to go. And honestly, if they can’t deal with that, I don’t know what to say. I know that if I get pregnant, and actually manage to STAY pregnant, I’ll lose some bloggy friends that can’t deal with it. But I can’t believe I’d blame them.

    One of the nice things about the IF community is that we understand, more than anyone else I know, that self-preservation is key. I don’t go to my closest friends’ baby showers, and, for the same reason, some blogs I just can’t read.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

  7. For me personally, it really depends on the personality of the blogger. I really enjoy reading thoughful posts by women who happen to be pregnant (especially if they are about more than the usual mix of complaints, doc appts, weekly development updates, blah blah). I wouldn’t want to read ME writing about the mundane discomforts of pregnancy and childrearing, but there are women out there who’s perspectives I cherish and who don’t seem to rub me the wrong way.

    Just as in “real life,” we get close to some people because we share a bond. Sometimes that bond is circumstantial–we’re both in this shitstorm–and sometimes it is a deeper connection.

    I want you to know, Mrs. X, I will keep reading no matter what because you’re the coolest.

  8. Thank you for this post, Mrs X.

    I think that it is hard to accept that, as you begin to move – however tentatively – over to the ‘other side’, there are those who will stop reading and commenting. It can be a struggle to remember that this isn’t a rejection of you personally, but rather says more about where the other person is at that moment.

    As I wrote on my own blog recently, this community is necessarily a fluid one, and our position within it shifts and evolves over time. Sometimes we may find ourselves in a very different place from someone with whom we had previously shared a lot of common ground.

    But I hope that – at least some of the time – we can continue to reach out to each other, and to learn from each other’s experiences. That is certainly my aim in continuing both to write and to comment even after achieving that elusive BFP.

  9. I’m with you on this one. And I’ve decided that it’s ok. I’m in a place where I get to choose what I need, what I can handle and what I can’t. Though I am truly happy when anyone in our community gets the good news, I’m not at a point where I can follow along on the day to day journey of pregnancy, particularly because my chances of getting there are completely up in the air. And I’m ok with it. A certain amount of selfishness, ok a lot of selfishness, is exactly what I need right now and if that means I can’t be an active participant, so be it.

  10. I’m with Shinejil. It depends on the personality of the blogger and whether I’ve connected with their writings. I can be over the moon that someone in our community has moved onto parenthood (whether by adoption or by winning the “beta lottery”) , but unless I’ve developed some sort of deep bond with them … I might not be able to relate to them as much.

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

    Oh, and by the way? I’ve come to the conclusion that I should have graduated in 1988 … because THAT’s the list of songs that I can relate to most!

  11. It’s a relief for me to come here and see that no one is burning me at the stake, so…phew.

    When I was going through IF treatment, I tended to avoid bloggers who were pregnant or had children. Sometimes it was because it was too painful, but it was mainly the issue you’ve brought up – it was such a foreign concept to me that there was no basis on which to relate. My issue on this matter is, and always has been, that I object to support being suddenly withdrawn. I’ve been on the wrong side of that, it’s hard to not take it personally.

    Thanks for discussing this. It’s always interesting to hear what people have to say about such a sensitive issue.

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