I remember years ago when someone would tell our group of girlfriends that they were pregnant and it was this joyous announcement that left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. I assumed this is how I would always feel… Oh how I yearn for that feeling of shared joy again.
It makes sense, back then my life wasn’t in a space of wanting children, so there was no comparison and it was effortless to share new baby joy. Skip five years ahead…I am married and years down the path of trying for children. Over the last two years, it feels like every single day encountered moments of hope and despair for that particular cycle. In this emotional burning state, I find a way to operate day to day that for the most part gives the appearance of a normal professional, mid-30s woman. Most of the time I am fine in public situations, but I had a moment a few weeks back that rocked me to my core – a surprise pregnancy announcement.
This blissful moment for a friend sharing gossip of another friend evoked a lurching feeling most closely resembling a kick to the gut, followed by temporary blindness that lead to immediate loss of focus and limited cerebral activity for a period of time. That moment felt like an eternity for me. To describe it, I would say it felt like I was fighting upstream in a raging river and there was nothing around me to hold on to as the emotions surged around my body and pulled me under. I was literally dazed and confused, so I smiled and got out a “Wow! Congrats!” in my most normal sounding voice and then from there the crazy self-talk started erupting wildly through my skull.
Emotional Me: “I can’t see…I can’t focus…this shouldn’t be my reaction…it’s not fair to my friend.”
Rational Me: “You’re okay, you can still see…the news just caught you by surprise.”
Irrational Me: “Great. Seriously? Let me guess – you weren’t even trying? WTF??? What about me???”
Rational Me: “Pay attention to your friend…you’re happy for them…just a little shell shocked right now”
Jealous Me: “They are so lucky…I want that too”
Irrational Me: “God is punishing me…everyone in the world is pregnant except me”
Rational Me: “Stay in the moment, stop being absurd….PAY ATTENTION…see how happy your friend is!”
Irrational Me: “If I stopped drinking and eating hormone filled meat, avoided dairy, exercised daily, only took showers, and stood on my head for 2 hours every morning… I could get pregnant too.”
Wishful Me: “I long to know how this moment feels to tell someone ‘I’m Pregnant’ too…I pray for that.”
Emotional Me: “I deserve doritos or ice cream…that will make me feel better later.”
Rational Me: “PAY ATTENTION!!! Your time is coming…this is wonderful news and you are happy for them.”
Yoga Me: “Breathe…put good energy into the universe so that we will get this moment returned to us one day too.”
As silly as it all sounds, I am not exaggerating any part of it. I literally went blind (momentarily) and my brain and emotions swirled at an insane pace. I hate that this is how I reacted, but I have yet to find a way to control it other than feel it and then talk my internal self off the ledge. I pray for the day that this reaction doesn’t overcome me as there is no aspect of this that feels mentally or emotionally healthy. My good news is that I always save myself from drowning in these thoughts and snap out of the moment fairly quickly so I can share in the special moment.
Now, I need to make a few special notes to clarify that there are circumstances where this reaction doesn’t happen or isn’t as extreme. Common themes are:
- It comes from a friend that I was fully expecting it from. They are “fertile myrtle” and I was anticipating this news any day.
- It doesn’t happen face to face. Rather news is shared in an email, personal note or text…in these moments…for whatever reason, this mode of communication is so much easier to consume. It’s definitely easier to gather my composure in private before responding with a congratulations.
- There is nothing more special than hearing the news “I’m Pregnant” from someone who is struggling with fertility themselves. I know they have been to emotional hell and back and deserve this moment. Selfishly, in this moment, there is elation, hope and happiness because it re-ignites hope within me too.
*CAUTION* For the very fertile people out there, this post is not a reason to stop anyone from ever sharing their pregnancy news. The only emotions worse than what I described above is the feeling someone purposely kept something from you…. that feels like betrayal…which in my world is so much harder to deal with than the crazy self talk. So, if you are looking for advice on how to share baby news with a fertility-challenged friend, like me, my only advice is to tread lightly (if possible). If not, I/we will survive…just don’t mind the erratic blinking and blank look on the face for the first 30 seconds.