** I preface this long ass post by noting that, despite how it sounds in the following novella, Partner and I have NOT yet made any decisions one way or another about trying advanced reproductive options. **
Today was not my best day ever. I did a damn good job of being a pretty awful human and all I can think about, when it’s now actually 5 AM the next morning, is that I’m stuck doing an impression of Edvard Munch’s “Scream.” I’m screaming, silently and through the tears, about the injustice, pain, karma, fear, anger, and brokenness I feel. I’m screaming about the cosmic joke God has played. I’m screaming about the secrets I can’t tell. I’m screaming about the irrelevance my psyche feels. I’m screaming for the guilt I feel at being a terrible daughter/sister/wife/aunt.
We had a family birthday party to go to today… well, yesterday I guess it was. I’d been having anxiety and nightmares about the event all week previous, my counselor advised I NOT go. But… I’d promised WEEKS ago to get over myself and continue to participate in our wider family life- though all I want to do is disengage and distance myself. “Self-care” was what my counselor said it was about. I thought self-care would be more successful if I didn’t have the guilt of bailing out on another family activity.
If it’s not clear, if I haven’t said… This blog, our fertility test adventures, my current mental state, has been precipitated by a flood of pregnancies and child rearing going on around me. A dear friend, the mother of my god sons, announced her fifth pregnancy the same weekend as my sister-in-law shared about her miracle. Shortly after, I learned that two cousins were also newly pregnant. I have a niece who regularly carries pregnancies as a surrogate and she’s in the third trimester of her current gestation. Partner’s sister has two kids, nieces, who we regularly see and celebrate milestones with. A coworker’s wife is expecting their second child in late winter; we’re a very small business. This summer has been a perfect storm of jealousy and pain. Christmas is usually a very special time for me… I’m DREADING it this year.
Insult to injury, if I may be so selfish as to say that, is Sister-In-Law (SIL) had her own struggle for 28 months to conceive… she now gets to use phrases like “dreams DO come true.”
I hoped… counted on… the idea that giving it one more “good try” would be the cure for what ailed me. That I could get answers, exhaust options as we hadn’t before, and move forward with or without a child. I thought that if we were finally diagnosed as incurably infertile, that I’d be able to properly grieve and be done- get back to the business of living since I had my answer. I’ll concede that I’ve not had enough time to grieve since getting our SA results this past week and probably expected too much of myself. But damn, I wanted to do better today.
Niece turned 11 and there was a party. I thought I’d be safe to go and celebrate her, leave my fresh wounds at the car and go have some fun at her party. I thought I could be grown-up enough to last a few hours with a smile pasted on my face… I couldn’t look SIL in the eye and I wanted to slap her husband who thought telling me his plans for a new father/parenting blog was an appropriate conversation to have with me. I swear I heard every.single.fucking.thing. said to her in joy and jest through the day in reference to her cute little pregnant belly. “Don’t carry that, take care of my grandson in there!” “I dunno, I think he’ll be small… I haven’t gained a pound!” “What will you call him?” “You’ll have the best Christmas present!” Shit, I’m crying again.
Then, there were the other adults. I tried, I swear. I seated myself at the perimeter with a drink in my hand and a mild look of curiosity on my face, a mask. The mother of one of niece’s friends sat next to me, we made small talk about the glorious weather we were enjoying, I thought this would be just fine. Another mother came and seated herself to my other side. They engaged in conversation with me briefly until it turned to talk of school starting, hair cuts and raising daughters. These are conversations I can’t engage in, they literally talked OVER me as I was unintentionally in the middle. Having exactly NOTHING to add to the topics, I excused myself to go find Partner.
From my perimeter, looking for Partner, all I could see was a huddle of women centered around pregnant SIL and chatting about changing tables and maternity matters (or so I imagined); mothers actively sharing in the entertainment of their daughters and a gaggle of pre-teens that were absorbed in their party; the circle of middle aged single uncles, fathers, grandfathers, talking sports and beer; more topics of which I know next to nothing. The ocean blocked me one way. A hillside blocked me to the other. I had no where to escape and, worse, no where to fit in.
I’ve never felt so irrelevant in my life. I had an ugly cry back in the car.
I was so cold to SIL. I don’t hater HER. I hate my situation. I know she wants us to remain friends… but I don’t see how. I told her weeks ago… the chasm of experiences we won’t share is growing moment by moment. Her world is separate from mine now, she’s in a place I can’t follow to. I’d told her that I’d behave, that she does not have to tip toe around me or worry about my feelings. And she SHOULDN’T. This is her story, her joy. I can’t steal it from her by asking her, and everyone else in the family, to pander to my tears. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t marshal my emotions and fake it, after all.
I’ve often felt that jealousy is the demon inside me, the one I’m battling my whole life. The one who I just can’t seem to cut down and keep free of. Today, the demon loomed large and I’m ashamed of my actions, reactions.