It’s not a race.

July 25, 2008

I’ll try to make this post shorter than yesterday’s…

I realize that having children is not a race, but I have been getting lapped. When we started TTC, none of our friends around our age had children yet. I thought we would be the first. The only people we knew who were having children were at least several years older.

Since that time, most of our same-age friends have gotten married, and almost every married friend has had at least one child, sometimes two or three. Even the younger friends have had children.

The proportion of our friends who are parents went from Just A Few to Basically Everyone quite suddenly. I became aware of this transition when we heard two announcements in one week.

  • My uncle (whose kids are my age) and his new wife (who is also my age).
  • A very good friend of my husband (who has been strangely paternal since he was a teenager, and who obviously would be a wonderful father) and his bitch of a wife (the least maternal person of all time, who loves no one but herself).

The latter couple, Mr. Dad and Anti-Mom, have been married almost as long as we have. As long as they didn’t have kids, we weren’t really behind the pack. But then they were pregnant, and suddenly it seemed like we were the only people without kids. Learning about their pregnancy at the same time as my uncle and Aunt Chickie put me into the worst few-week funk I’ve had in years.

A few weeks ago, I finally met the 8-month-old baby of Mr. Dad and Anti-Mom. It occurred during my extremely brief period of pregnancy following IVF #1. Also attending the get-together were the kids of another mutual friend and his wife (who got married soon after we started TTC and then got pregnant within 2 months). Because I was pregnant at the time, it was bearable. Even when Mr. Dad’s mother (Mrs. Grandma?) pointed to the baby and said to me in a sing-song voice, “You could make one of these too…” When the whole encounter was done, DH commented to me, “If you weren’t pregnant, this would have been really depressing.”

When I stopped being pregnant, I am happy to say that the get-together did not become depressing in retrospect. It is still bearable. If nothing else, that brief pregancy got me through the get-together. (Thanks, little blastocyst.)

A few years into IF, I was bothered a lot by pregnancy announcements from couples who hadn’t even met when we started TTC. Now, at every wedding, I start counting down until the announcement. 

The only childless friends in our cohort who’ve been together as long as we’ve been TTC (6.5 years) are the one childless-by-choice couple and the other infertiles. I have given up racing against our infertile friends. Now, the race has become a relay. We can all help each other reach the finish line.

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8 Responses to “It’s not a race.”

  1. Katie Says:

    Just returning your comment.
    I hope you get what you wish for so badly.

  2. Kathy Says:

    I know what you mean… It does feel like a race sometimes, despite my efforts not to think that way.

    Though my situation is different (SIF, RPL & neonatal death), I can still appreciate many of your thoughts and feelings. My DH and I have been trying to have another child for over four years now (we do have an almost 5 year old) and meanwhile most of our friends and family have had anywhere from 1-3 children. I always thought we would be on number three right now, not mourning the death of our second and wondering if there will ever be another (while still being very grateful for our first).

    Anyway, welcome to the blogosphere! It has helped me in so many ways over the past year or so since I began. I started blogging in 4/07 in conjuction with my first IVF cycle and since have found so many amazing women to walk this journey with.

    I wish you the best and am here to support you and cheer for you in this relay.

    (ICLW)

  3. Jen Says:

    Best of luck with your TTC journey!!!!

  4. Michelle Says:

    hello..I found you through ICLW. I remember feeling this way about getting engaged/ married (I was the last one of my friends) and then the baby race commenced shortly there after. It completely sucked, and remember leaving many a family event incredibly depressed (yet happy to see so many nieces and nephews), social events with friends also went down the tubes (suddenly, no one could just go out on a whim)….I remember the pain well. I sincerely hope that you have ttc success in the very near future!

  5. Anne Says:

    It’s the whole leap frog feeling. Sure you know they’re not actually kicking you in the head when they leap past you and have that baby, but it sure as heck feels like it…

  6. Nity Says:

    I love the illustration of it being a relay instead of a race. I have to admit I’ve become upset/jealous of those people who have been ttc less than us and have kids… but anyone I know who has struggled to conceive, I’m overjoyed to hear their annoucement.

    You might do the countdown, I listen hard to hear if anyone’s sick or discover pregnant bellies. It’s hard to be left behind, but hopefully our time will come.

  7. Star Says:

    It is very, very hard not to think of it as a race. I think that probably has a lot to do with the fact that age is a factor that limits fertility, so in addition to feeling left behind by your friends, you also feel like your own hourglass is running out of sand. But it’s not a race because unlike a race, one person’s success does not imply another’s failure or even affect her chances of success (as we are defining it here). It so happened for me that I got married before almost everyone I know, so we had a head start on ttc. I can imagine that seeing everyone around you having babies must be incredibly difficult — I hope that you will be on your way very soon.

  8. Em Says:

    I have definitely felt “lapped” as well. That’s really hard. And I’ve always been really competitive, so it’s been a tough lesson for me to learn that my journey is my own, and their journey is their own. I like what you said at the end about our race turning into a relay.


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