At 40, I am the fourth youngest woman in my department. The other three run a minimum of 9 years behind me. They are in their prime child-bearing years. One woman has three children and has claimed many times that she is done. She’s my stalker.
The youngest has an 18 month old girl and dreams of becoming a SAHM. I know it won’t be long before she becomes pregnant again and I am prepared to bite back the bitterness that I know I will feel.
The third? She has a newly-teen-aged son who she became pregnant with when she was 16. She married just a few years ago a man who just turned 40 (he is not the bio-father). I remember about two years ago when she took me aside, knowing what Mr. DD and I had been through. What we had been going through. She told me that they were going to try to have a baby.
I recall that I blogged about it because I just knew she would be pregnant within a couple of months. She was only 28 then.
Instead I listened to her each month tell me that she’s still not pregnant. First I listened politely, restraining the desire to roll my eyes. After several months, I suggested she try Fertility Friend as she had been charting her temp on paper, religiously. After several more months, while her cycles were picture perfect, she was still not pregnant.
I then remember the day she stood by my desk, tears in her eyes, telling me that her period started that weekend – and her youngest sister, unmarried and newly dating, announced she was pregnant.
Since that time, her sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy. This co-worker, who I should mention is also a very dear friend, is now helping her plan the wedding. She has stopped tracking her cycle as she thinks that she is only stressing herself out. And a few weeks ago, her other sister announced she was pregnant after only three months (“OMG, I can’t believe it took so long!”) of trying.
This past Friday was a bad day for her. Her pregnant sister, now 14 wks, forwarded her a link to one of those “week by week” pregnancy sites that included what her 14wk fetus is now doing. My friend was in tears and angry.
Her mother, knowing how difficult it has been for her, pulled her aside when her second sister first announced her pregnancy and told her, and I quote, “Try not to be ‘weird’ about it.”
As part of her history, she has not yet been tested for anything, but her husband has had a couple of SAs. While abnormally high in sperm count, did not indicate that they should have any problems getting pregnant on their own, unless there was something wrong with her.
My friend is of strong Catholic faith, and when I struggled and raged and even cursed God, she would come to His defense. There’s a plan, she would tell me.
Now? I am especially self-conscious about my own pregnancy around her, even though she has repeatedly told me that my current state doesn’t bother her like her sister’s. Having been on that side (and still my mind – am still there, no matter my physical state), I know it hurts.
Friday, when she was in tears, she admitted she didn’t want to become bitter about it, but I knew what path she was already on. However, having been there, I totally felt at loss as to how to console her. We’ve all given advice in our heads (via our blogs) to those around us on what they should say, what they should do, but to have the tables irrevocably turned….I was unsure and I felt guilty for being unsure. I even found myself biting back the cliche’, “It’ll happen.” and at the moment I had never been so disgusted with myself.
Knowing how I feel with every pregnancy announcement, I have not “crossed over”, yet I somehow feel like a hypocrite. I feel like a fraud, a poser, and I wish more than anything I had the perfect words to tell my friend that would give her encouragement and hope. Even harder is finding the right words when she and her husband are rather certain they would never seek treatment. While she is struggling to get pregnant, her mindset is somewhere I’ve never been and I feel as if I should have something better to offer then just a sympathetic ear.