Guest Post by Angela
Tonight I am reminded that I need to ‘shine up my armor’ for the constant battles of infertility. I am more emotional than usual due to my taking fertility drugs for an upcoming donor egg cycle. My honey and I were just finishing dinner when we heard a commercial for the movie, What To Expect When You’re Expecting. He tried to turn the channel quickly… but it was too late. He’s used to the irrational reactions of my chemically laden blood stream, but sometimes there is no preparing for the storm.
Lately, I have been socked in the face by women and couples who are expecting. Anyone experiencing the pain of infertility knows all too well, that you can’t even open one eye in the morning without being bombarded by baby gab. It’s not just Hollywood that has jumped on the toddler train… it’s the morning news, commercials, Facebook, Twitter.
All the modern communications strike a chord in our empty nest, not to mention just looking in the mirror can be difficult. There are emotional scars as well as physical scars.
With all the hype of this movie coming out AND the fact that I received my third baby shower invite this week, I decided it was time to remind myself how to cope with the world that constantly rears its fertile head.
The best advice to me and my online friends is, #1: do what feels right for you, and #2: be prepared! Have a repertoire of responses prepared and memorized for the barrage of emotionally charged encounters you will inevitably have to tackle. For me, that means respectfully declining the shower invitations and sending a gift card so that I do not have to go into the baby section. When the inescapable “I am pregnant” is announced in the staff lounge, simply “insert response here” and walk away. Walk away quickly and think about whatever happy thoughts you have already chosen. You have to make this an affirmation… be prepared, know your responses!
For me, it sounds like this: Fertile says, “I’m expecting!”; I say, “How exciting.” My eyes are ridiculously wide, glossed over and I leave the room. The gloss-over initializes the glitter and unicorns that dance in my head as I quickly make for the exit.
It’s not rude or insensitive, it’s survival.
My emotional state is more vulnerable than most in the room, and everyone else will still be cooing over “Myrtle” while I am safely back in my office. There is no right way to mourn or deal with loss, there is only your reaction that avoids mental meltdown.
No matter what plans you make, life does not always deliver what’s expected. This is a universal law and it applies to the infertile world as much as it does the fertile world. Not one journey to motherhood is the same. Hope may keep us on the path, but it’s a “survival of the fittest” mentality that keeps us resolute.