1.13.2010

It's Everywhere

When I wasn't trying to have kids and even after I had started trying, but before I knew there was a problem, the world was a rosy place full of potential. Once I began to experience infertility, the world became a horrible place that turned against me. Everywhere I went, I would see pregnant, happy women without a care in the world. It seemed as though everyone who wanted to was able to have children, except me. Friends and family got pregnant easily and seemingly as soon as they started trying. Others got pregnant when they had not been wanting or trying to. Meanwhile, I was going through the monthly emotional roller coaster. Resignation and frustration, followed by acceptance and a willingness to try again, hope that I tried to reign in to keep from being crushed, a two-week wait involving an obsession regarding temperature and every possible bodily symptom that might signal pregnancy, only the be followed by hurt and despair, until the resignation set in again. And I couldn't help myself. Every month, try as I might to be detached from the outcome, I got crushed. I would tell myself not to get my hopes up, but it never mattered. I always did.

When I found out friends or family were pregnant, it wasn't as though I wasn't happy for them. Truth be told, I was elated that they did not have to experience the monthly hell I was living. But, it was difficult for that happiness to shine forth through my own sadness and frustration. So, there were times I would stay away from the real world to try and avoid all of the happy pregnant women. [FYI: Mother's day is a particularly traumatic time!] It didn't work.

Television is full of pregnant women--celebrity baby bumps; reality stars (some of whom couldn't possibly make good parents?!); women with more children than they can possibly raise by themselves. And movies are full of accidental pregnancies: 9 Months, Saved!, Juno, and Knocked Up, to name a few. Sometimes, titles or characters are a dead giveaway. Television shows such as Private Practice or Accidentally on Purpose, for example, are abundantly clear in this regard, so that I can steer clear or subject myself as I decide. Others are not so obvious. I did not expect a pregnancy reference in Family Guy--Something, Something, Something Darkside. Then, there are the references to infertility that hit me upside the head out of nowhere, when I least expect it. I came upon these most recently in Up and Julie & Julia.

Books, I discovered, were no better. I would carefully read the plots on the backs of the books and there would be no indication that pregnancy would be involved, only to discover in the last 3 pages of the book that someone was pregnant! I simply could not find a single activity that would not force me to come face to face with the one thing I could not achieve, no matter how much I tried. Speaking as a control freak and someone who has never found anything I couldn't stubborn my way through, I most wanted to avoid coming face to face with pregnancy because it made me feel like a failure. Over and over again. Why is it that this simple, basic, biological process that everyone else seemed to be able to do, is beyond me? Why am I broken?

I probably won't ever have an answer to these questions. But, there are two things I can do. First, stop feeling like a failure. I'm still working on this one. The second is much simpler. Regardless of whether it's simply in my head, or whether there really is a huge spike in pregnancy and infertility plotlines in modern media, I simply assume that every book I read, or show or movie I watch, will contain pregnancy or infertility in some way. I simply expec to find it everywhere. That way, I am not caught off-guard and left an emotional wreck when all I want is to escape.

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