Seriously it seems like there are babies everywhere. I feel surrounded by pregnancy, talk of babies, and strangers’ babies everywhere I turn when out in public. On one hand I love it, and on the other, I hate it.
Around Christmas I was in the mood to buy a new celebrity gossip magazine but the main story on most of them had to do with a celebrity pregnancy – Princess Kate, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, etc. I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of those. Celebrities seem to be procreating in droves. Even though I am not a Kardashian fan, I have seen a few episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians and I’ve read enough gossip mags to know that Khloe Kardashian is dealing with fertility issues (is this confirmed or just rumored?). I couldn’t help but think of her and how she must feel that her sister got pregnant shortly after beginning to date Kanye, whereas Khloe has supposedly been trying with her husband for years. I’m sure she’s happy for her sister (at least to a degree), but also hurting over her own struggle. I also thought of how the magazines speculated that Kate was dealing with infertility when she hadn’t announced a pregnancy within a year of marriage. Who knows when they even started trying. I found myself hating those infertility headlines because a) if she was dealing with infertility, that’s hard to have it splashed on the cover of magazines and b) if she wasn’t, that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone to get on the conception train fast!
Over the holidays, I think I saw 3-4 facebook pregnancy announcements. I find the announcements especially hard when they are from acquaintances. Because I’m not that close to them, my jealousy overwhelms my happiness for them. With friends there’s a better balance and usually the happiness wins out. Here’s what I wanted my facebook status to say one particular night: “I can’t take anymore pregnancy announcements. I am happy for all of you, but each one is another stab to my heart.” Obviously I would never write this because a) it’s completely narcissistic (Did I forget to mention that your pregnancy is all about how it affects me?), b) even though I’m (excessively) open about my fertility problems in conversation with people, I don’t really want to make a blanket statement to all my facebook friends (I don’t want it to seem like an attention-grabbing tactic or to attract the wrong kind of attention), and c) I don’t actually want to rain on the parade of all those happy pregnant people out there. I just want to join in so badly.
I have read this time and again, but it’s true: unless you’ve dealt with infertility, you’ll never really get it. Sure you can empathize and imagine how horrible it must feel, but you don’t understand how it can take over everything else in your life, affect how you interact with your friends and family, and cause you to experience searing jealousy and begrudge others their happiness. Even though I don’t wish infertility on anyone, I wish more people got it. That they understood that pregnancy doesn’t always happen as soon as you want it to (even for perfectly healthy people), that sometimes remaining childless (especially after several years of marriage and a settled lifestyle) is not by choice, that a warning of a pregnancy announcement is appreciated, etc. But again, that’s narcissistic because it means that those other people need to think about my needs (and the needs of others dealing with infertility) while rejoicing in their own good fortune. And that’s not fair to them (although if you know a friend or family member is dealing with infertility, tact and compassion are certainly appreciated).