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.