Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Pregnancy Club

Before my friend miscarried, she pointed out that she could already tell there is a "pregnancy club" that she has become a part of since becoming pregnant. You know, the special hugs, the swapping of pregnancy stories, the symptom talk, etc. among other women. And when she said that, she said she got a glimpse about how hard it was for me for these past few years being "excluded" from The Club.

But now....well, now I am a bona fide member. I guess it happened when I conceived, but it certainly didn't feel like I was a member then. I had such a long way to go through the first trimester, and even then it took longer for my head and my heart to catch up and actually comprehend that I was pregnant. So I think it has been a gradual process to actually count myself as pregnant, and a legitimate member of The Club.

However, I also still resent The Pregnancy Club. I can still feel the pain of being an outsider in the club, and I hate that my friend who miscarried is now an outsider looking in with pain and longing, too. In The Club's defense, I know it is not a formal group and that women don't intentionally seek to exclude others....but sometimes the members do lack compassion and common sense about how to talk to others inside and outside The Club.

Even though I am a member, I find myself resisting membership at times. This weekend I went on a Girl's Weekend getaway with a group of eight friends, and had a wonderful time. But I was amazed at just how much pregnancy, baby, and kid talk occurred over the weekend...it's like you get women together that is the main topic of conversation. And on some level, I enjoyed the opportunity to talk about my pregnancy - it is such a joy to me that I DO want to talk about it a lot - but, I also shied away from talking about it and found myself trying to change the subject. My friend who miscarried was there, as well as two single friends who would also love to be married and become mothers....my heart hurt for theirs.

Another example is that a group I met with weekly in college to pray together is pregnant - all five of us (well, the first one just had her baby a few weeks ago). January, March, May, mid-June (me) and late June. I only keep in close touch with a couple of them, but it is pretty neat that we are all having babies. However, one of my friends keeps sending emails with things like, "I can't believe we are all pregnant! What made us all drink the water? Was it turning thirty?" over and over....and I just don't feel like I am part of that. I didn't drink the water - I had been trying to drink it for almost 4 years - but this is simply God's timing in my life. Maybe the rest of them turned thirty and decided to go for it...but I resist her grouping me together with them.

And then there is this blog. I don't think I have written about this tension here, and perhaps some of you have resented that I jumped into The Pregnancy Club so quickly and easily. And despite the examples I listed above, once I gradually understood that I am indeed pregnant, I did become a member to some degree. I still experience the tension and remember the pain, but I also wanted to let go of that and enjoy this pregnancy to its fullest. I have a profound sense of what a brief but amazing gift this pregnancy is, and I did make a conscious choice to thank God by experiencing the joy of it. I didn't want to spend these nine months clenching onto pain, jealousy, and all the other negative feelings that came with infertility. I also wonder if it was a little easier for me to "join" because I had already somewhat removed myself from infertility - and had accepted never being pregnant - by moving towards adoption. I had already experienced much healing and was feeling much joy about adoption when I had gotten pregnant, rather than in a "last ditch" IVF cycle or something.

Either way, I know we all experience infertility differently, and we will all experience pregnancy after infertility differently. To those of you who are able, thank you for sharing in this joyful season with me. And to those of you who are unable, I completely understand and pray your joyful season is just around the corner.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have felt that weird mix of happiness to finally be included and resentment at not having been included for so long. Part of my not being included was due to me, avoiding those conversations because they were painful or annoying. But after announcing we were finally pregnant at church, I've been surrounded by women who want to chat about all things babies. It's hard not to compare that to the Sundays I sat alone in a pew waiting for my husband to finish chatting and feeling unable to break into any of the conversations happening between women scattered around the sanctuary. There is a club, and I totally understand resenting it and being thrilled to be part of it, finally.

Life Happens said...

I totally understand everything you said. My baby just turned 1, but I still remember how painful it was everytime I got together with other women (who were already moms) and the topic of conversation was ALWAYS kids or pregnancy and I would just sit there silent because I had nothing to offer.

Now that I am finally a mom and can actually contribute to the conversation, I try to be sensitive to anyone who's part of the conversation that may not be able to contribute to the topic.

Being part of the club is a love/hate relationship. But in the end, you should be able to enjoy it without feeling guilty. We've all had a long journey to finally join the club. I think that makes us appreciate it more. :)

jessica56 said...

Your words have been my exact thoughts. I too had such a hard time being part of a club that for so long I prayed to join but then felt like I didn't really belong. It took me until about the 32-35 week to feel like a real pregnant person! ha! Enjoy this time for what it is- a MIRACLE! And just to warn you- motherhood is the same kind of club- and I still pinch myself that I am here! Congrats to you and your husband!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this - I adopted but am still not part of the club. Even though we all talk babies, they all talk pregnancy & childbirth.....

God is good and He knows our hearts, even the blessing of motherhood still rings with the emptiness of IF....

Meg said...

Now I get the question "Are y'all done having children?" I don't get to choose if I'm in the "Done Club" or not. Infertility continues to make that choice for me. But like you mentioned, I choose to be thankful for my little blessings and choose to show fertile women who ask these questions lots of grace.

I love how honest you are on your blog. You have a way with words that's always encouraging.

Jess said...

I loved this post.

Anonymous said...

Great post! It always seems there is a struggle with infertility for me, even after the baby arrived. People then start asking when the next one is coming, how many more kids do you want, how long are you going to wait, etc. People would tell me (not knowing about our infertility) that you are most fertile after having a baby. Well, great, but I'm sure that doesn't affect DH's infertility even if that was true for mine.

Being a Mommy has truly been the best blessing. I love it more than I ever could have imagined. But along with that I still struggle with infertility, wondering if it can happen again (we, like you, had a miracle pregnancy after being told IVF was our only option.) I know it can happen again, but will it? Will the pain always be too much to bear? Ugh...

I'm not sure when this road will get easier, or if it ever will, but I must say that it has done two things for me. One, I enjoy my baby and being a mom way more than I ever thought possible, and I truly cherish each and every milestone and moment, because I remember all too well the longing in my soul to have these experiences. And secondly, it has made me be more thoughtful in having conversations about babies, pregnancy, etc. like you mentioned. Because for as much as I feel like I suffer alone in this journey, someone who is not a mother might silently be suffering, too. And so I always feel guarded in conversations about how much to say, how much to share, etc.

I continue to marvel at the miracle of your pregnancy, and am overjoyed that you are having a baby! :) Enjoy every second of it - every kick, hiccup, and trip to the bathroom! It is ALL worth it! :)

Anonymous said...

This post is hard to read as an adoptive mom. I still don't feel like a part of the club when it comes to childbirth. I feel special that I have my own story but letting go of the idea of being a club insider is hard.

I found your post interesting... as an outsider looking in, it was eye opening to realize that you'd still struggle with the "club".

Westsidebee said...

Thank you for praying for me.

Sarah B said...

You sound like such a thoughtful friend.

I turned to ART long before most of my friends started having babies, so I guess I am fortunate to not have had to torture myself with the Pregnancy Club (but then, there is always some club we want to be in, but aren't...)

Caitlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caitlin said...

Hi Hilary,

I found your blog as I was searching for other women who have struggled with infertility. Seeing that you have a miracle of your own gives me so much hope for my future. Congratulations! And you deserve to enjoy every minute of being in the pregnancy club :)

I just started my own blog to record my TTC journey--and I'm looking forward to following your's! God bless!

Hope said...

Calling it the pregnancy club is perfect. The first time I was pregnant (pre miscarriage) I was amazed at how different people treat you once you're pregnant. It's like all of a sudden you have knowledge you never had before, which I guess is true in a sense. But just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you don't understand love or the human experience. I try really hard to never do that to friends who don't have kids.

Matt and Lindsey said...

Wow. I can't even tell you how much I love this post. As a person who is still not in the club I can say I know exactly how you felt by not being in the club. I just hope some day I will be a part of the club.