I always thought that being p or having a baby would not erase the pain of others’ pregnancy announcements. I was right. It doesn’t erase the pain.
And I’m not talking about the announcements of total strangers, or the women in my infertility or pregnancy after loss groups, or on the blogs. I am talking about perfectly fertile people I know in person.
Last week a coworker of mine, Mike, asked me, “Are you pregnant?” He knows most of my story, but not the details and not everything. I told him no, I am not.
He said, “Selfishly, I was hoping you were pregnant.”
I said, “Why is that selfish?”
He said, “I can’t tell you that, yet.”
I said, “Oh, because you and Amy are pregnant!”
I was right.
Amy is 10 weeks pregnant tomorrow, after having sex once after she got off the pill in July. And that once was randomly in September. They didn’t find out until she was 7 weeks!! They wanted to get pregnant, and this was their version of trying. Nothing like what my version of trying looks like.
It was a hard blow and I kept congratulating him and saying how happy I was, but I had to excuse myself to cry. My friend Celeste, who also works with us, met me in the stairwell. I was freaking out about him getting to celebrate *my* 9 months instead of me. She completely understood.
It’s hard to put it into words why I was so upset, but I will try. When Mike bought a house, everyone came in every day to work and asked him how the process was going and asked for pictures. He even got free furniture from some people. A co-worker even helped him move. When I bought a house a year earlier, no one even wanted to see a picture.
When Mike got married, everyone wanted every detail – food, cake, dress, music, venue, decor. When I got married 18 months prior to him? I think people asked about the venue and asked if my husband’s family would make it from India. That was about it. I swear, everyone was really concerned about them coming from India. Oh, and they all assumed we’d be having a Hindu ceremony, even though my husband isn’t Hindu.
So now that Mike’s wife Amy and I are due 9 days apart, I anticipate my entire pregnancy (knock on wood) having to hear about Amy and their baby. Because he’s the kind of guy to advertise his life to everyone. When he got engaged, he recorded it, put it on Facebook, and then went office to office making sure everyone saw. And they had to get engaged two months before my wedding because Amy didn’t want me to get married without them being engaged. Yeah, she’s like that. While Mike is my very good friend, Amy doesn’t like his work friends so much and has made more than one snide comment to me about my preferences in all things.
So it’s hard to describe why I was upset, but I was. I just wanted this hopeful pregnancy to be ALL ABOUT ME in real life, among the fertiles. Not about them, as it always is. Celeste totally got it, so I know I’m not totally off the wall feeling like this, but it is hard to articulate.
The next morning I woke up thinking about it, so it was really bothering me a lot. The only thing I could do is confront him and tell him the truth. Not about me being p. I told him that I expect to be able to announce a pregnancy during Amy’s pregnancy, and that I really don’t want to feel like I am in the shadow of his wife being pregnant, at my job where she doesn’t even work. I don’t want comments like, “There must be something in the water!” or “Are you guys copying Mike by having a baby?” (Because we do work with people who would say such things.)
I cried a lot in front of him and I apologized for sounding selfish and he hugged me and said that he completely understood and totally agreed with me.
Somehow the act of being upfront with him (mostly, not going to tell him I am p unless this p progresses more) made the fears mostly go away. I’m not even worried about being dismissed and forgotten, like suddenly I don’t care what these people in my office think, as long as my friends know how I feel.
I am lucky that I don’t have many close friends with babies, because I barely handled this and didn’t handle it well.