We were at my SIL’s this weekend for supper, and while sitting there digesting, SIL’s daughter asked her mom if could have the bunk-beds that were in the spare bedroom.

. . . Just in case they “decide to go for a third one”.

Wouldn’t you know? Hearing how easy it is for most to manage their family size when they do nothing more than think about it is still like a punch to the chest.

I use to try to be magnanimous and would say that I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through what we did, but you know what? I wish it was more difficult for the average couple to conceive and deliver a child.

I could gloss over my reasons by saying maybe they’d appreciate their children more; maybe there would be fewer abused children; maybe there would be fewer neglected children.

But really, the reason I wish that it wasn’t so easy? It’s so I wouldn’t have to feel so disconnected from my husband’s family who I once felt a great bond with, in the beginning, before our first miscarriage.

It’s immediately apparent to a couple when there’s a miscarriage or a failed cycle what is gone, but I think the hardest long-term loss has been the repeated sense of not being normal, of not belonging.

That painful rock had settled to the bottom of the pond long ago, but I still feel the rippling effect on my heart almost every day.


12 thoughts on “NOT SO STILL WATERS”

  1. I’m pretty frank with people about my infertility and the challenges we faced conceiving our daughter, and in response have been surprised to learn how many of my friends and colleagues have also struggled to have kids.

    As a result I have come to think of us as *also* normal. There’s certainly enough of us around.

    It’s true, though, that those who conceive easily have a hard time understanding how infertility affects your relationship with your body and your very identity as a woman. In turn, those of us who struggle but manage to have kids probably don’t fully grasp the pain of those who are simply unable to conceive. Being an ‘aunt’ yet again is hardly consolation!

  2. IF doesn’t help. My SIL is infertile, had to wait ages for #1, so on. Still, she gave us a bunch of clothes with the caveat that she needed them back (when grown out of) for #2. You know, she’s sure she’ll have a girl at some point. I want to tell her not to count her chickens, but to each their own. She’s in the IF closet, maybe that has something to do with it.

  3. You hit the nail on the head: normal.

    IF has the undeniable ability to make us feel completely abnormal, less than female. Isn’t that what makes us truly women? Our ability to bear children? It sure the hell is what we hear from birth forward. And those of us who can’t seem to do it? We’re somehow never truly “women.” And the sad part is that it’s other women who are the most cruel about it.

    To this day, I still spend every minute in the waiting room of the Ob/GYN biting my lip so as not to cry staring at all the pregnant women in the room. It’s been 15 yrs since I started going. I’ve yet to make it through a visit without crying.

    Thankfully I don’t have much of an extended family. I don’t think I’d survive a weekly barage of who’s pregnant now…

  4. I’m going through similar feelings with an aquaintance on FB. Our boys were due within a week of each other last year. We both had our boys and then her husband went to Korea on a remote tour. He came home for 4 weeks of leave and she got pregnant while he was home. She’s 38, this is her 4th baby and every update she posts is lamenting how horrible she feels. She is like 3 minutes pregnant and all is woe. Even though she wanted to get pregnant. It makes me want to pull my hair out.

  5. Oh yes. One of my feckless cousins who is busy sponging with her husband off my aunt and uncle has just announced that the 2nd is its way less than 8 months after the first. Made me cross for so many reasons.

  6. Yeah, it’s the questioning of why we have such a large gap that gets me, and to be honest, sometimes other IFers who have said to me that I’m not really infertile because we were abler to have kids in the end, and their treatments didn’t work.

    (No, no one in the blogosphere, real life.)

    But yeah, you know I do believe that infertility is the gift that keeps on giving.

  7. Yes.

    I’m content with my family size (one child) but I still feel like I have to justify myself when people ask if we’re planning to have any more. I want to say, “Seriously, it’s not like we can just decide, and then it happens.” But people are just making conversation, and don’t want to hear that. Sigh.

  8. “I think the hardest loss has been the repeated sense of not being normal, of not belonging.”

    This is so well put. Because until right now I never thought of it that way.

    But you are so right.


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