Monday, July 26, 2010

Other People's (IVF) Babies

Today, I went to visit my friend EAM at the hospital. She delivered two beautiful baby boys on Friday. EAM and I have known each other for nearly two decades, but I think it was over the last couple of years that we have grown even closer. As I've said before, for better or for worse, infertility changed me forever, so when she told me three years ago over lunch, "We've been trying for a while, but nothing yet..." I immediately shared all of my IF-wisdom and told her to get checked. I basically walked her through a lot of the same things I talk about here. It's become instinctive now. I know that something is going on even if a friend tries to hide behind her silence. In those situations, I will in no uncertain terms announce that we had trouble conceiving, and then I'll keep the door open for them to open up if they want. And without fail, they always do. And the first question always is, "How did you know that we are going through this?" Like I said, it's bigger than me now. Some have gay-dar, I have IF-dar. I just can't help myself.

Well, it took her a few tries, but EAM is now a proud mama: the joy, pride and raging hormones included. Seeing her babies reminded me of how strange it was (and still is) that I never felt jealous or resentful when my fellow IVF friends (real or virtual) crossed the threshold and became pregnant (and eventually mothers). Somehow, knowing that they had a tough time getting there made it ok to finally bask in the glow of motherhood. In fact, walking the streets of NY and seeing the double strollers, I would immediately proclaim "Ah, IVF-babies!"as though it made it ok that these moms were parading their kids around me, reminding me why I was sticking myself my countless needles ever day. Even today, mothers of multiples have a special place for me. Last week, I met a mom at the toddler gym. She walked in with her twins and somehow, I instantly felt connected to her. So strange. I mean, we probably have nothing in common, truly. And yet, the pervasive bond of IF is immediate. This mom, of course, has no clue of our "bond." And who knows, maybe we'll never discuss it, but I silently will nod with approval, "Yeah, you're one of us!"

Now I wonder, during my years of coping with IF, was I unfair to mothers who had singletons? With singletons, it's not as obvious to tell whether the parents struggles to conceive or if they were a result of a fun night of good old fashioned sex. Maybe some had also struggled and were also deserving of compassion. And today, perhaps, perfect strangers around me are shooting darts behind my back when they see me with my son -- completely oblivious that if they simply said "We've been trying for a while, but nothing yet..." I would drop everything, listen to them, share what ever information I have (heck, I'd even take them to the RE myself) and most importantly tell them that I know how they are feeling.

How do you feel when you see IVF babies around you?

P.S. As more IF-friends around me become new parents, I think I'm inspired to start writing a second blog about parenting after infertility. I'll keep you all posted.


Baby bump bound said...

I too feel like the double strollers are an indication of IVF babies - I don't know if it's judgement or a need to try to make myself feel better. I vacillate between angst and happiness for my IF friends that have made it through to the other side. I want to be on the other side too!! I sent you an email~ hope to be in touch and thanks again for the award... very sweet!

Secret Sloper said...

I do feel a little less angry or sad when I see the double strollers. And I never, never mind spending time with our dear friends K+T, who finally had their son two years after miscarrying their first pregnancy. Even though I know we don't earn babies-- they earned theirs in my book. They get it.

InfertileNaomi said...

I sort of want to ask the mom if I could have one of her babies.. Don't worry I didn't. :)

Sandie said...

I would very much love to read a blog by you about parenting after infertility. I am currently 12 weeks preggo after struggling with IF for over 2 1/2 years. Proud IUI baby on board.

But I'm having a hard time getting over the anger. I still get so jealous when I hear of woman getting pregnant the old fashioned way. The pain never really goes away. I can only imagine this will bleed over into my parenting as well. IF made me who I am today and will make me a much different mother.

Rachael Lynn said...

My fellow infertile friend just gave birth to twins, and I cannot lie, it made me angry. I was so jealous, just as I am when I see any of my friends become a mother, because I am no longer connected, and I usually end up losing the friendship. If you'd like to visit my blog you can see how I handled this last pair of IVF wasn't pretty...

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