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.