It’s been said that as soon as you have a baby, everything changes.

That’s true in some ways. I understand now that you can love something in a completely different and terrifying way. I am perfectly okay with being woken up in the middle of the night now. I don’t think women who nurse their kids until they’re two are weird anymore. I have supersonic hearing (but only if I’m listening for a baby’s cries). And a whole lot of stuff that once seemed very important is just… well, it’s not important anymore.

One thing hasn’t changed. I wrote about it in a blog called “Anger Becomes Her” back when I was in the throes of my own infertility, right after our IVF fresh cycle failed. It’s extremely common — in fact, that blog is one of my more popular entries and gets read a LOT.

But even with my own little Peanut approaching nine months, crawling like crazy around my house, I still have moments where I revert emotionally to those difficult days when infertility was my life, day in and day out.

I can’t stop that little pang of anger and resentment from stabbing me in the gut when I find out that someone I know — a friend, a family member, or a casual acquaintance — started trying to get pregnant and succeeded really, really quickly.

(I’m not proud of it. In fact it makes me feel like an awful person.)

allthethings

(This was too funny not to share.)

Take the newlyweds whose wedding I attended in June and were pregnant by August.  (“Calm down,” I tell myself.” She’s only 25 years old, she’s at peak fertility! Of course she got pregnant easily.”) Or the friend my age that hit a hole-in-one on her first cycle off the pill. (“Grrr…. lucky bitch!”)

On the flipside, when I meet a kindred spirit — a woman who’s struggling, or a man whose significant other is having trouble — I am excited to welcome someone new into the fold.  I don’t wish infertility on anyone. But when a friend is having trouble and comes to me, I love trying to help — by sharing my story, offering advice, recommending a good doctor, or giving the heads-up on what to expect with IVF.

I try to think of a good analogy, and I can’t. A bad analogy is the best I can do. It has a few vague similarities to teenage acne (I said it was bad, shut up). Remember your best girlfriend in 8th grade, and her flawless creamy complexion? Meanwhile, you were covering your face in green goop (which went under your foundation to neutralize redness) and crying in front of the mirror every night.

You were envious of what she had, and how easily it came to her. Sometimes, on those nights when the mirror shared only bad news, you hated her. Just a little bit. Even though deep down you really liked her.

When a new girl started at school, her forehead and cheeks spotted and speckled like yours, a tiny ray of sunshine warmed your heart, just for an instant. You didn’t wish acne on the beauty queens of the class (okay maybe you did… I certainly did, in my worst moments). But you were happy to meet someone who could understand.

talkaboutvaginaEven after you have a baby, if you’ve been through infertility, you’ll always be “an infertile.” You might be an infertile with two children, but you’re still an ART survivor.

Infertility changes you. It changes your outlook on making babies (and other things too). It taints your feelings toward every pregnant woman you meet. You either hate her a little (because it was really F’ing easy), you envy her a little (because she tried and failed for a while, but got it done naturally in the end), or you relate to her (because she’s struggling and you know how those shoes feel).

Infertility leaves its mark. Sometimes it’s a battle scar you’re proud to show off. Other times, it’s embarrassing, but hopefully, the people closest to you can understand your need to pout a little.

And they won’t get upset if you call them a lucky bitch.

 

Why stop now? Keep reading, friend.

  • Becoming a Bitter InfertileSeptember 29, 2011 Becoming a Bitter Infertile You know that whole "don't judge me 'til you've walked a mile in my shoes" thing I am always preaching? I realized today that I am really, really bad at following my own advice.
  • Chapter Five—He’s Just Not That Into It: Bringing Your Spouse AlongDecember 1, 2016 Chapter Five—He’s Just Not That Into It: Bringing Your Spouse Along It's hard enough deciding to donate your embryos. Many women—myself included—feel like they're doing this horribly hard job all alone, because their spouse is totally checked out. Here's how to cope.
  • Package DealJuly 5, 2012 Package Deal Nothing makes me angrier than when someone relegates their dog to second-class citizen the moment Human Baby arrives. Or worse yet, gets rid of it.
  • No Tears to ReportOctober 29, 2012 No Tears to Report I knew Peanut's first day at daycare would be hard. All my mom friends warned me that I would cry. So I feel the need to explain the very good reason why I didn't.
  • Everybody Hates YouApril 29, 2016 Everybody Hates You I have an inner voice, and she's a Mean Girl. She tells me lies, makes claims without proof, and seems to know everything. I call her Regina George. Here's some of the bullshit she whispers in my ear.