March 26, 2009
Let’s back up.
The first meeting of the support group occurred in November. One woman got pregnant before the first meeting, and we never met her. Almost every week someone else would get pregnant and drop out. Usually after an IVF or another treatment, but occasionally without treatment. One after another, they kept disappearing. Sometimes a new member would show up, and the next week she’d be pregnant.
After the holiday hiatus, the support group leader told me that she and I were the only ones who still weren’t pregnant. There were two other women who hadn’t been able to try for a while (one post-op recovery and one husband with an extended absence). She and I were the only ones who possibly could have conceived yet did not.
She and I were also the veterans who had dealt with infertility/loss the longest, and invariably the two of us would be the ones to answer questions for women newer to infertility. Sometimes the meetings were a mix of support and information, but sometimes the meetings involved two hours of other people asking us questions. A little annoying, frankly, and not really what I signed up for.
I saw the disbanding coming. I knew that once I would be unable to attend (whether due to scheduling or pregnancy), the group wouldn’t last. I just didn’t know it would happen so soon, or in this way.
I felt a little bad for causing the demise of the group, but I felt worse having to make the announcement to her.
I tried to be gentle and sensitive, because I have been on the other side of that conversation too many times. She has experienced a great deal of loss, and so I talked about being pregnant with twins “for now” and not knowing what the future would bring.
She was really shocked. She also said that she was happy for me, but she was as shocked as I was when I heard about my first beta. She made fun of me for my certainty about the futility of the IUI cycle.
Today’s Thoughtful Thursday question: Have you felt guilty for leaving others behind in your journey? It can apply to any kind of journey: the quest for parenthood, getting married, finding a partner, losing your virginity… anything that we want and can’t necessarily achieve instantly.
I never felt guilty about meeting or marrying DH because it happened so young that most of our friends were not even looking yet. Virginity? I was on the slow side for that one.
Infertility, of course, is the big journey for me.
With my first pregnancy in 2004, I was the only infertile I knew, so I had no reason to feel guilty. I was unequivocally happy then, albeit briefly.
With my second pregnancy last year after IVF #1, I knew about the pregnancy for such a short time that I barely got a chance to tell anyone, and those I did tell were not infertile.
Now, I have the support group, a few infertile IRL friends, and the entire blogosphere. I am leaving a lot of people behind. I hope that most of them will join me soon, but I know that it will take a while for some and that parenthood will never come (at least through the method they anticipated) for a few.
Of course, I’m not sure that I’m leaving them behind. In an instant, it could all be gone and I could be right back where I started.
I also don’t feel like I’m really leaving them behind. I am not that kind of infertile — I am not the kind who forgets. Seven years makes a pretty permanent impression. I will continue to blog foremost about infertility. This won’t turn into a pregnancy blog or a parenting blog; discussions of pregnancy and (hopefully) parenting will occur through the lens of infertility. If I did forget about infertility, I would have good reason to feel guilty — but what’s funny is that if I were that oblivious, I wouldn’t even realize that I should feel guilty.
Have you ever felt guilty about succeeding while others continued to fail?
Note about the title “Ten Little Indians” to those unfamiliar: It’s a children’s song that involves counting backwards from 10, with each one disappearing progressively. There’s actually an even more racist version that I never heard as a child. There’s a similar song about Ten Little Monkeys jumping on the bed, who one by one fall off and bump their heads. In this case, death/injury = pregnancy/parenthood.