Whenever I feel myself falling into the depths of self-pity at what has befallen Mr. X and I in our quest to do that which comes so naturally to others, I inevitably try to remember that things could be a lot worse. I remember stories of friends’ loved ones who are battling cancer or are in need of organ transplants. Or, I remember that we are supremely fortunate that we have some insurance coverage, when so many others do not. I think about how lucky I am to even have a choice about whether to have a child. There are still many, many women in the world who have no say. I remember that while infertility sucks more than 50,000 vacuum cleaners, we are still so fortunate.
But, inevitably, I think of other women who appear to have it all and still managed to have a child with little to no fanfare. Women who did not greet the news of a subsequent pregnancy with dread remembering the outcome of the first. Women who have no concept of poking needles in unpleasant places or gingerly sitting down because their ovaries are so swollen that plopping oneself in the comfortable chair can mean spasms of pain. Women who buy maternity clothes right when they find out they’re pregnant, without a single thought that things might not progress that far to justify them, and then have a trouble-free pregnancy.
While letting the jealousy seep through and feeling the bubble of why starting to come up, I try to put myself in the position of others who have dealt with things that I have never dealt with. People with inoperable cancer, amputees, people with incurable diseases. To them, I probably appear normal and, probably worse, I appear as if I take that normality for granted. I flaunt my health, my complete set of limbs, youthful vitality and good color. I probably inspire the same feelings in them that my more fortunate friends have inspired in me, namely the feeling that this person doesn’t deserve the gifts that they have been given because they do not appreciate how fleeting and miraculous they truly are.
And, I inevitably lay blame for the blithe attitude squarely at the feet of society that preaches what is ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ and to what we are ‘entitled to’. Normal is to have a baby when you are ready, not a minute before, to have a relatively uninteresting pregnancy that allows you to design the nursery and make your birth plan, a relatively pain free delivery, nd then to have a blissful time bonding with your new baby while they instinctively figure out how to breast feed. I have to admit, that this was my idea of normal and that I was entitled to have that experience.
It was a very rude awakening and an even more excruciating process to retrain my brain to recognize that these are not in fact normal, but abnormal. People who manage to have these outcomes are fucking lucky with a capital “L”. You might say that this is my inner bitter infertile talking. This is my way of rationalizing that which cannot be rationalized. I don’t agree.
When we met with Dr. Salsa for that first appointment, he showed us a graphic illustrating the outcomes of all pregnancies. It was a pyramid, not unlike the food pyramid, which just served to crack me up even more. Do you know how mnay pregnancies out of all of those that are conceived actually result in a live infant? According to the food pregnancy pyramid, 15%. Yep. Mr. X and I were actually in the 30% of pregnancies that make it to being detected (yay us).
Recognizing just how incredibly hard it is to make a baby even without assistance has humbled me and kept me grounded, while also sparking even more jealousy for those who appear to have no difficulty doing it multiple times. Perhaps it’s enough that I know how lucky they are, even if they don’t.