Friday, June 7, 2013

wonder(s) of pregnancy

"Do you still see pregnant women and wish you'd been pregnant?"

I get this question quite often, mostly from other infertility sufferers who want to know if part of me still feels that painful stab to the heart when I see a woman who is pregnant.

My answer is complicated.

Do I still want to be pregnant or do I regret not getting to experience pregnancy? The answer to that part of this is no. I think I was afraid at the beginning of our adoption path that I would regret not experiencing a pregnancy. I thought that, by not carrying our child, I would be missing out on a crucial part of motherhood. I thought that part of me would always have this missing space in my heart where activities like feeling my baby or nursing my child should go. Yet, that's not the case. I do wish that I could have felt K kick in the womb, as much as I wish that I could have breastfed her. However, it doesn't leave a void in me. I don't feel like less of a mother because of it, and I certainly don't feel like my connection with her is any less significant because of this. Caring for her every need since birth was enough to make me feel complete.

The second part of this is a little more complicated.

I still pause for a moment when I see a woman who is pregnant. I don't want to be her. I don't want to experience what she's going through. I don't desire to have what she has in the physical sense. Instead, my mind instantly wonders whether it was easy for her.

I can't help it. I wonder if she and her husband had a night of passionate sex, she missed her period, she peed on a stick, and BAM - their lives were instantly overcome with joy. I wonder if she surprised him with a onesie or a cake. Then, I wonder in what creative way they decided to tell their families the good news, or if they held a gender reveal party.

It's ridiculous, right? I'm a mom to a gorgeous baby girl, I have zero urge to be pregnant, and yet I can't help but automatically wonder if every other pregnant woman on the planet somehow had an easier go of it than I did to become a mom. The truth is, my conclusions might be incorrect and maybe a little immature, but I know I'm not the only one who thinks and feels these things. It's sort of like when you are the last of your friends to get engaged. You notice women everywhere with gorgeous diamond rings and wonder how long they had to wait for their boyfriend to pop the question. I see pregnant women, and I wonder whether how they got pregnant: was it after a nice bottle of wine or was it with two doctors and five nurses in the room?

Again, this doesn't mean I desire to be pregnant. It certainly doesn't mean that I resent our path - how long it took us to become parents and the way we went about it - because I don't. I think that, in hindsight, all of this happened for a reason. It sucked when we were in it, but I'd go through it all over again for K. I'd endure every heartbreak, every tear, every tough choice we made if it meant that I had her sweet face waiting for me at the end.

Yet, all of this doesn't change the fact that I don't think I will ever stop pausing to wonder how it went for others. I will never look at family building the same way again. What about you? Do you find yourself looking at pregnant women (or other families) differently now that you've experienced infertility?

11 comments:

It Is What It Is said...

I just want to say, that I often write thoughtful comments to your posts, forgetting that you require a Google Account (and I have two and am always signed in to Google Reader as myself), so that when I go to publish my comment, and if I have to switch accounts, my comment is lost as just happened to my comment to this post. It'd be great if you would allow readers to comment with their URL/email.

Jin said...

YES, I look at it differently. I wonder if it was super quick and easy, or unexpected, or if it took some time - with our without medical help, or if there were losses before/between the pregnancies/kids. All. The. Time.

Kinda throws friends that are just now starting to TTC who think it's so easy for a loop when they ask me.

Katie said...

@It Is What It Is - Hmmmm. I do have it set up this way, so I'm not sure why it isn't working. I just changed it so that it's now open to "everyone" - though I can't be sure I'll keep this, since that allows anonymous comments. Which, in turn, opens the doors for trolls.

gailcanoe said...

Yes, I definitely do. I have got to say that I basically blocked out the part about giving birth when we were going through treatments. I knew that the purpose of treatments was to get pregnant, but I hadn't put two and two together that getting pregnant would mean having to give birth. However, I recently went through a rather nasty issue that involved surgery (while awake) on an infected cyst that was located very close to my bikini line. I have never experienced pain like that and it made me realize that I am almost kind of glad that I wasn't able to have a baby biologically because I don't think I could have tolerated the pain.

So, I often see pregnant women now and wonder just how much they've thought about the birth process. This is especially true for friends that are having a second or third (or more child). I wonder how they ever got past the pain to even consider it again.

But, I think a lot of that thinking is clouded by my recent surgery which happened only a few days ago. Otherwise, I often wonder whether pregnant women are even aware that some others aren't able to do that and would give anything to be where they are.

S said...

Do you find yourself looking at pregnant women (or other families) differently now that you've experienced infertility?

My answer to this question was different pre-pregnancy and pre-children than it will be now. Pre-pregnancy/children, I definitely looked at pregnant women with envy. They had what I did not.

Now, I definitely don't envy pregnancy women. . . in large part, because my own pregnancy was so miserable (physically). I actually find myself feeling sorry for them, more often than not, because even if their pregnancy is planned and their child is wanted, I know how awful the experience of being pregnant can be.

Rach said...

I Still Hate Pregnancy Announcements. I Always Roll My Eyes And Think, "It Must Be Nice" But Otherwise, Im More At Peace With Not Experiencing Pregnancy. I Wouldn't Trade Ava For Anything

Geochick said...

I tend to do the same thing when I see pregnant women...wonder if it was easy.

Kechara said...

Yes, I look at it very differently than I used to, or than I did at different points in my journey...my boyfriend was just looking over my shoulder and asking if I look at it differently now than a year ago, when I left my husband, and the answer to that is also yes. And I felt differently 2 years ago when I though I would be cycling.

I very definitely still feel that stab of envy and pain every time I see a pregnant woman or a baby, although it's not as bad as it was when I was with my ex and we were trying and then trying to be able to have treatments.

I'm not a mother, and I still don't know if I ever will be a mother. I may become a stepmother, but that's VERY much less. I feel like less of a woman, and I'm trying to not feel like I'm nothing. I know I'm not nothing to my boyfriend, but that's different.

What I'm struggling with and may always struggle with is wanting/wondering if I will ever have a child of my own, that I don't have to share with anyone but my then-husband. He thinks we'll be able to conceive, maybe without treatments or maybe with (we've talked about the fact that we may need them, but we don't know since my IF was unexplained), but I'm afraid to even consider hoping, considering how much pain came from hoping before. But it also hurts to not know if I'll ever be important to anyone in that way, have anyone see me as their parent.

someday-soon said...

I have been SO lucky to have been pregnant twice now and I still wonder how other's got pregnant. And I will admit that every time I see a mom snap at her child or treat it badly I assume they got to parenthood easily, or even worse accidentally. And then I feel like a horrible person. IF sticks with us, in one way or another...

2dognite said...

I'm in the midst of infertility and I wonder whether expectant and new moms "earned" their babies constantly. I feel the need to be pregnant waning - just hand me a baby! But I think I will wonder about moms on the street long after I have children of my own.

Mellow MW Mama said...

I'm the same way. I always wonder if they had losses, went through IF, or just had an easy go of it all like some. I think after going through IF our ideas of how building a family goes for some have definitely changed. It's going to be interesting watch my friends try to start building their families and I told C the other day I almost wish we would have started trying later so we would have less time knowing that we were infertile and less time being upset or shocked at how easy it is for others.