Panic! At the Bunco

Monthly Bunco has been a relatively safe outlet for me. I can meet up with lots of women, enjoy girly conversation and not be worried about surprise pregnancy announcements or bulging bellies since all of the women are the parents of at least teenagers and are much more interested in discussing what the people down the street are doing (or not doing) to their lawn.  Monday night, I presented myself on the steps at the appointed hour for our monthly get together and greeted friends right and left. It was shaping up to be a typical low-key Bunco affair.

I made my way to the kitchen and commenced dishing with my neighbor down the street about something really trivial and stuffing some awesome cheese into my mouth.  I was simultaneously eyeing up the bar and debating if I wanted a red-wine hangover the next morning. 

This train of thought came to a screeching halt when something waded into my peripheral vision, that looked an awful lot like a large, swollen beachball of a belly.  It broke the waves ahead of its owner.  It had that slow movement favored by people carrying a lot of weight in the front.  Sure enough, it was a pregnant lady. At my bunco. WTF?!

If you could have taken a picture of me, the imge would be me with very wide eyes, with hand bearing cheese on cracker frozen in place on trajectory to meet open mouth that is now open for another reason.  In other words, I looked like a freaking deer in her very ample headlights.

I unfroze, ate the delicious cheese, and headed out to the other room away from this paragon of fertility.  I debated for about 20 seconds if I could excuse myself from the festivities.  But, I decided that this was a good challenge: could I stick it out, have a good time and manage to avoid her?  I was going to find out. I decided right then and there that neither this interloper nor her giant stomach were not going to run me out of my bunco night!

But, she kept following me, being introduced by the Judas of a neighbor who brought her along to meet the girls.  I developed a sudden interest in the backyard, answered the door when the doorbell rang and tried to get the hell away from her.  I got trapped in the kitchen , though, with her and some of the ladies where the first question asked of her was, “So, when you are due?!” Ugh. Preggo declares herself to be 7 months along but, “huge” – her words, not mine.   This started the ladies who had popped babies previously to chime in with their stories of being huge and ending up with twins.  Preggo dispels any notions that she is carrying two – “We only saw one heartbeat!”  Double ugh with knife stabbing. 

Not a moment too soon, it was time to go to the tables. Mental notations of where Preggo was heading were made and I went into the exact opposite direction.  I proceeded to eat too much chocolate while beginning what would turn out to be a spectacular losing streak (10 out 12). 

Losing on the fourth game at a given table means that you have to move to another table. Winners get to stay.  Needless to say, I lost the fourth game and headed to my second table where I breathed a huge sigh that Preggo was at the other table, at least for the next four games. 

Luck, that bitch, ran out on me again, and I lost the fourth game meaning I had to go to the third table where, you guessed it, she was sitting, enthroned.  This was easily one of the hardest things I have had to do in a long time.  I sat at the table and actually conversed with a very pregnant lady who I am pretty certain got that way the way most people do.  And you know what?

It wasn’t that bad.  We had a decent conversation. She made a few gratuitous preggo references, but all in all, it wasn’t terrible.  I am at that point in my infertility journey that I have a very visceral, usually negative reaction to visibly pregnant women, but sitting there with her, I was able to see her as someone I could relate to, even if she is pregnant and I am not. I was so proud of myself that I stayed there, I talked with her and was able to forget that she had what I did not.

And, I realized, walking home that night, that it hurt to be near her, but it was a self-inflicted hurt. No one else was involved.  She did not come to Bunco to flaunt her luck in my face. Even my neighbor who invited her (and knows some of our IF history) didn’t invite her to make me feel like shit.  And I felt such relief at this realization.  The power of the Preggo on me is only that which I give her.  And, I didn’t give her more than a centimeter.

I enjoyed my evening and I enjoyed meeting her.  I enjoyed deciding that my evening was not going to be ruined by her and I was going to have a good time even if she was there.  And I did.  I was a winner after all.

12 thoughts on “Panic! At the Bunco

  1. Wow, I am so blown away by your conclusions at the end of the night. I’m glad you realized that and I thank you for sharing it. I will remember.

  2. You are a winner. I know how hard that was for you. It’s awful to feel like you’re in a safe place and then to have that comfort unexpectedly ripped away. I like to prepare myself ahead of time and hate being surprised like that. Although maybe if you had known she was going to be there, you would have avoided the situation and not learned that you’re stronger than you think. I’m glad you learned that about yourself and I hope she never comes back to Bunco again. 😉

  3. I totally get ya – the self-inflicted hurt. I’m glad you realized it. I did too, but not until I pouted for 2 days after receving a birth announcement from a friend I didn’t know was pregnant. Maybe this girl will be on maternity leave the next time bunco rolls around so you won’t have to deal with it – howefver it sounds like you came out of it just great! How was the wine?

  4. Bravo!! You’re right, 99% of people absolutely don’t realize the agonies we put ourselves through. “Put ourselves through” being the key words. They only have the power that we confer on them. I’m glad Ms Preggo didn’t totally ruin your evening.

  5. I’m glad you found a way to salvage the evening for yourself. It takes a lot of mental discipline to decide not to give into those terrible, almost physical pangs.

    On a very stupid, only vaguely related note (one I hope will make you snicker at least), here in Hippy College Town, I can’t tell you how many times my hackles rose at a protruding belly, only to realize I was looking at a rolypoly coed sporting a peasant blouse and a muffin top. In fact, if you want to win the blubber or bump game, come here. Odds are totally on your side, Mrs. X.

  6. I ruined a family gathering once by playing the is my cousin pregnant or fat game. I avoided her the whole time because I didn’t want to hear her announcement.

    She wasn’t pregnant.

  7. You are so right, and when you discover this powerful realization life becomes a whole lot easier – doesn’t it? I realized a while back that it’s my drama, not theirs, that me being upset about their pregnancy is like someone who has cancer hating me because I don’t… it simply makes no sense (but that being said after our recent losss I went to extremes to avoid childern/pregnant people). So proud of you!

  8. i’m so proud of you mrs. x! it often physically pains me to be near preggos (and being an elementary school teacher, it happens often!). i wish i could be as courageous as you!

  9. It’s so hard struggling with infertility, and feeling all alone. As important as it is to let ourselves be angry, it is equally important to reconnect with the world when we are able. This is such a great example of that. Right now I’m having a hard time being happy for everyone else with their pregnancies and families. I am happy for them, but when do they feel sad for me, as I have felt happy for them? I hate to generalize, but it seems that those, with the exception of women struggling with infertility, are very uncomfortable talking about this issue. They don’t want to hear about it. It only increases your sense of isolation when you are the only person experiencing infertility in a circle of friends.

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