A few years ago, I felt like such a failure. S and I had just gotten married and my new family – his family – are breeders. His mother has four kids and at the time, his sisters had five kids between them. Our fertility struggles made me feel so absolutely inadequate that the idea of family get-togethers sent me into sheer panic mode. Whenever he said something about a picnic or birthday party with his family, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I loved playing with all the kids, but I dreaded the inevitable questions about when we were going to start a family. And more than that, I dreaded one of his sisters announcing another baby was on the way, before I’d even had a chance to have one. During the 3+ years we were TTC, that happened twice, though thankfully the announcement weren’t made at family parties. They had S tell me when we were alone at home. I cried my eyes out the first time. It was pitiful. The second time, I just sighed. Of course she is.
Right after sister #2 announced her pregnancy, she asked me to be godmother to her 4-year old, who they had just decided to get baptized. I was torn. I absolutely wanted to do it because I love this little boy and was honesty honored that they’d chosen me to be his godmother. But on the other hand, I wanted nothing to do with spending the day with his pregnant mommy, sneaking envious glances at her little baby bump. But I decided to do it, mostly because I really wanted to and also because I didn’t want anyone to know how much the baby struggle was affecting me.
I knew agreeing was a huge gamble. I was about to start another IUI/injectable cycle which would be coming to its conclusion right around the day of the baptism. As it turned out, I was 13dpo on baptism day. By that Friday (11dpo), I was officially freaking out. I’d been going back and forth between test/don’t test for days. If I tested and it was negative, I might cry when I see the pregnant sister. If I didn’t test, I’d be wondering the whole time and be completely distracted. And I’d probably still cry when I saw SIL. What if I tested positive, but started bleeding before the baptism? Then I wouldn’t be able to force myself to go…
In the end, I bought a test because I was completely convinced I was not pregnant and I thought if I knew that on Friday, I’d have two days to get used to it. That way, I could prepare myself for the belly encounter and (hopefully) not cry. I went to the grocery store and bought a FRER and a salad. I got home, peed on the stick, and sat down at the computer desk to eat my salad while I waited for the dye to run across the test. I glanced at the test and it was negative. But as I stared at it, the faintest second line started to appear. It was not negative and I started shaking. I couldn’t even finish the salad.
So I went to the baptism and the first thing the sister said to me was that I looked different, but she didn’t know why. Seriously, she said that! And justlikethat, I was in the club. An outcast no more…
Wrong! When I entered the Mom Club, I alienated myself from the rest of the family – my side. I spent a lot of time during that 3+ years worrying that my brother and his wife or my cousin and his wife would beat me to the baby. I was so sure I’d get a call from my mom, sympathetically telling me that my brother’s wife was expecting and please try to be happy for them because they would be happy for me…but that call never came. Nothing from the cousin either. As it turns out, I was worrying for nothing because none of them even want kids.
My mom had a family party yesterday and invited all these people. They sat around drinking and talking about their cool jobs and all the traveling they do and how they (yuck!) never want kids. And once again, I was the outcast. I was chasing the twins around, then trying to put them down for naps, then feeding them dinner and I heard someone say with total sarcasm to my cousin’s wife, ‘Come on, you mean you don’t want one of those?’ She got this look of horror on her face like she’d rather rip her fingernails out one by one.
And you know what? I was a little bit jealous of all of them. Not because I wish I didn’t have kids – I couldn’t be happier to have these two! But I put some things on hold when I got married (because I was distracted and lazy) and I just never went back to them. I looked around and out of the six cousins sitting there, I was the only one who hadn’t finished college. I was the only one who never made the leap from ‘job’ to ‘career’. And I was the only one who hadn’t taken a vacation in about 4 years because we spent all of our money (and then some) on fertility treatments. They are all doing these great things and what am I doing? Well, I’m raising kids, which is exactly what I wanted to be doing, but I feel like I should be doing a little bit more.
Which is why I have to stop writing this and finish the college application I started filling out a few weeks ago. Yes, at 34 years old, I’m finally going to finish school and then (hopefully) get a real grown-up career. I really wish I’d finished before, when it would have been easier and more convenient. But I guess it’s one of those ‘better late than never’ situations.