The frustration of not having a baby is an equal-opportunity antagonist. You could be anywhere – the treadmill, at your desk, in bed with your husband – and you see it. Another friend is pregnant. This is it. You’ve hit a wall. You just can’t take it anymore.
You’ve been to three baby showers in the past month. You’ve liked at least 20 pictures of baby bumps, “It’s a girl!” messages, and sonogram pictures in the past three days. You swear that if you have to see one more picture, read one more status, or hear one more story, you are going to lose your mind.
It seems as though everyone but you is pregnant. They are in this joyous club of impending motherhood and you’re just standing on the sidelines, assuring them how happy you are, despite your exclusion. And you are happy for them, but you can’t quite escape the gnawing feeling that maybe you just aren’t as happy as you keep claiming to be.
Isn’t it ironic? You’ve spent so much of your life trying to prevent pregnancy from happening. You made doctor visits, spent money on contraception, and even had a few scares. Remember going to the drugstore to pick up a pregnancy test? You hid it among other products you didn’t need but purchased to distract from the fact that you think you are pregnant?
Now, pregnancy is the only thing you wish for. Each month you plan, test, and schedule your life around that holy week of ovulation. You read countless articles and take all the advice people suggest, no matter how silly, for the small chance it could result in those two pink lines. But just as hope seems to muster its way back into your heart, you get your period again. No baby for you. Instead, you get the sadness, anger, and frustration of another futile month. It doesn’t seem fair.
How is it so easy for everyone else, but you struggle month after month?
Then there’s your nagging mother-in-law, throwing out comments of “Oh did you hear, so and so is pregnant? Her mother is so excited to have grandbabies,” like you’ve wronged her in some way by not being able to conceive. My own mother-in-law likes to add in, “Well this will make more sense once there are grandbabies,” just for good measure. Ok, I get it! What do you want me to do? I’m trying here lady!
While they may not realize they are doing it, they’re just making matters worse with these hurtful statements. You’re already beating yourself up about not getting pregnant, you don’t need any help.
You know when you want a new car, and then suddenly the only car you ever see on the road is that exact car that you were thinking of buying? It’s everywhere! Wanting to have a baby is basically the same. Except instead of the interstate, it’s Instagram. Some nights when I’m scrolling through my feed, I begin to tear up over all the cute baby bumps I wish I had. I see announcement after announcement of new additions on the way. There’s just no break from all the pregnant women!
Being bombarded like this only amplifies all my feelings of jealousy. This jealousy then leads to anger. I don’t want to be around them, I don’t want to congratulate one more person. I even start to convince myself that they won’t notice if I don’t say anything.
These emotions build to a terrifying crescendo. You find yourself fighting with your husband about who’s at fault. He better be cutting down on his caffeine! You’re angry at your sister. Does she really need to tell you every last detail of her pregnancy? You RSVP no to the baby showers. Enough already! I don’t want to ooh and ah over baby clothes! You stop being friends with the friends that have kids. You don’t even have anything to talk about with them anymore anyway. You avoid your mother-in-law. I already saw on Facebook that your niece put up more pictures of her baby, why do we need to talk about it?
Yet, none of this makes you feel better. In fact, you feel worse. That nagging feeling comes back. You should be happy for them. It’s not their fault that you haven’t had a baby yet. Wouldn’t you want them to be happy for you?
I can’t say it enough – you’re not alone. Know that your feelings are normal, and that no one can tell you otherwise. If you feel that you need to avoid baby showers for a month or so, just do it. Go easy on yourself. You’re only human. Things happen and we don’t really know why. There’s nothing you can do to change that. The only thing you can do is control how you handle the hurdles life throws in your way, and look forward to the day when you’ve leapt over the last one.
BY PIPER KROTKI