Comparison is the thief of joy. That’s why I do very little comparing myself to others. As far as my issues with infertility, it’s really no different. When I hear that someone I know is having a baby, I’m genuinely happy for them. I’m aware that there’s no fixed amount of babies allotted for the planet and they didn’t get the last one. Sometimes there are little pangs of sadness, but those come just from being reminded of what I’m going through when I’m trying not to think about it. I tend to keep it all under wraps until I’m in front of my computer blogging about it these days (ignore my meltdown 2 nights ago). So I keep it together, but there are reminders everywhere. And I’ll feel those sad pangs of “oh yeah” and let myself feel it for a second, and then wrangle it back down again.
I feel the exact same when I hear about other women getting pregnant or see pictures of their babies as I do when I’m shopping and walk by the diaper isle or a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Vlasic Pickle stork. It’s just a reminder of what I’m going through. Nothing more.
But I guess in life you can’t help who is out there comparing themselves to YOU. And I am very used to this concept. Insecure people tend to see the world as eat or be eaten and feel the need to constantly compete. Unlike most of you probably sane ladies, I’m pretty sick, so I get a kick out of it. It tickles me in a very naughty way. Not the really good kind of naughty tickle, but still.
Now I’m starting to realize there’s apparently another event in the Tournament of Lives and it’s even more obnoxious. It’s the emulation of struggle. I’m really beginning to understand the old saying about someone that needs to be “the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral.”
A person close to me recently started telling people that she’s having “infertility problems” just a few weeks after hearing what we were going through. She has only been trying the last couple months and hasn’t even been to the doctor about it. Now, that’s none of my business (insert Kermit drinking tea meme) but I can’t help that the lesser evolved portion of my brain feels a little bit highjacked. Especially since she knows every detail of what we’ve been going through and how painful it’s been. Apparently she’s pretty vocal about her pretend prognosis and I feel like it trivializes the real thing. This is why is the infertility and tttc forums (that I have become very involved in through this) when someone who has been trying for less than a year posts or chimes in they a-l-w-a-y-s get dragged. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Another good friend of mine was dealing with infertility a lot longer than I was, and way more of it. Many failed IUIs, full rounds of IVF, too many years and a sickening amount of money. She had just about the same thing happen to her. After letting people in on what they were going through, a good friend of hers started posting on FB about “not being able to have a baby” after trying for maybe 2 months. Also, nothing medically wrong with her. Thank God my friend and I weren’t crumbling like that after 2 months, we never would have made it this far. Maybe they don’t mean any harm by it, but it just shows their inability to see past the nose on their own face.
After talking to more women and reading more blogs, I’m finding out that quite a few of us have similar stories. That’s weird right? I feel like it needs some kind of special term, since it’s seemingly so common. Just like “Catfishing” has now become a term for something that seems like it should be obscure. But it’s now SO common I guess they need a word for it.
I’m only human, and obviously not completely immune to being hit by the shrapnel of pettiness, but I found a way to have peace with it. I remember why it is that my husband and I are putting ourselves through all of this. And it has so much meaning that the petty stuff simply can’t touch it. People tagging themselves onto what we’re going through without actually having a clue about it just aren’t even in my peripheral. I think about how much we are going to love our future baby and how every person’s struggle is different. People with problems that may seem small to you, don’t see their own problems as small and I’m learning to find compassion for that (while simultaneously giving some serious side-eye).