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Feb 6 / Caro

Another Day, Another Pregnancy Announcement

Today I heard – yet again – the news that anyone with fertility issues surely comes to dread. Another friend is pregnant.

There is no manual that tells you how to react when you hear the news. And I’ve already learned that there are as many reactions as there are pregnancy announcements. How close the person is, whether the news was foreseen, how it is delivered and what exactly the blasted hormones are doing on that day all influence the response. But I’ve also learned that no amount of practice will be able to completely erase the traces of bitter jealousy from your face. And that sooner or later, the tears will leak out.

In the last six months or so I’ve developed an irrational hatred towards strangers I see in the street with two nicely age spaced children. Or women who are pregnant with a child who is clearly younger than Thomas. I feel as though they’ve jumped the queue, that surely it should have been my turn before theirs? This kind of hatred makes me feel like I’m a nasty, slightly unhinged person, but yet I feel it doesn’t matter too much. It’s a passing expression of my sadness about our own situation, and I don’t know these people. They will never have any inkling of my thoughts, nor of their effect on me.

But when it’s people I know, the same feelings of disappointment and unfairness seem harsh and cruel. How can I, someone who knows just exactly how precious pregnancy is, feel almost resentful of other people’s good news? And especially when these people, and their happiness, is supposed to matter to me.

I suppose the bottom line is that I can’t help the instinctive reactions that I have. I can’t help the way that I feel.

And when the tears have passed, I’ve ranted about the reasons it’s not fair (often related to the fact that they didn’t even want a child yet back when we started trying, and how quickly they’ve fallen pregnant) and enough time has passed to allow the news to settle in, I always feel a bit different. Because deep down I am happy for them. I’m just equally sad for myself. And, initially at least, the negative overwhelms the positive.

I do, too, feel for the people sharing their news with me too – or at least, the ones that know how much I want another child and what a struggle it has turned out to be for us. Because there is no manual for that situation either. No guidance on how to tell someone who has fertility problems that you are pregnant.

Today’s revelation was one of the better ones. Despite the fact that I really did not see this one coming until precisely three seconds before the news hit me, I felt touched that she had opted to tell me ahead of other friends, to let the news sink in, at least a week before any scan pictures will be floating around. She also told me that she appreciated how difficult it was for me, and I really believed that she didn’t expect me to be jumping up and down with joy for her.

She also said that she hoped more than ever now that our IVF cycle would be successful so that we can be pregnancy buddies. Which was lovely. But I still couldn’t shift the lingering knowledge that her baby, due in August, would still be in a different school year to any child we manage to have. I find myself focusing on these silly details that it probably never occurs to people who haven’t struggled to conceive to think about. But I couldn’t shake either the knowledge of just how precarious conception via IVF is, and just how much can go wrong. And with that thought I’m slapped back in to the pits of jealousy, wishing that I was in that happy position already myself.

I hope, obviously, that soon enough I’ll be pregnant myself. But if that doesn’t happen, I hope that I can perhaps learn to handle the fact that other people’s lives are following the plan that I would have preferred for my own.

Or maybe just once hear a pregnancy announcement without crying.

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6 Comments

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  1. Carie / Feb 7 2014

    It’s so hard isn’t it; trying to be pleased when at the same time it feels like a kick in the teeth. Even years after my miscarriages I remember how hard it was to come up with smiles when you just want to run and howl. I’ve been on the other side too – telling family about Elma was so hard because my sister had just lost a baby that would have been due days before us and I knew that there was no way to avoid hurting the beloved baby sister that I’m supposed to protect. I so hope hope hope that soon it’s you with the good news, it never completely resets you equilibrium but it takes the edge off.

    • Caro / Feb 7 2014

      It is hard, and harder some days than others. I can already see that this journey will never quite leave me, even if we do get the longed for positive outcome. I don’t think I’ll ever quite forget how it feels. Thank you for rooting for us, it means a lot.

  2. Chloe / Feb 8 2014

    So true about the many different reactions depending on different circumstances. Sounds like a very considerate friend – there is no manual on this, but advance warning ahead of a general announcement can at least give extra time to process.

    • Caro / Feb 9 2014

      Yes, it was considerate. It will always be hard to hear, though, until the day I have my own good news – hopefully soon!

  3. Amy Robinson / Feb 10 2014

    Reading this in tears. I am having a similar experience this week. A close friend who will be due two weeks ahead of when I would have been is having her 12 week scan. I so hope that everything is ok for her, but as happy as I will be I feel equally sad for me. On some level at least, I can empathize.
    I so hope you get to share some good news with your friends and family soon. I will 100% be rooting for you.

    • Caro / Feb 10 2014

      Aww, Amy, I’m so sorry. It really is hard, and these emotions are all so mixed up and complicated. I hope you are able to share some good news soon too. Hugs xx

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