Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Topic of Conversation

Since we started telling people that I'm having a baby, I've been taken aback by a few things that I didn't expect to happen. Sure, I knew I'd get bigger, and I was absolutely expecting to throw up all the time (though throughout the first half of my pregnancy notsomuch). But to become a centerpiece in every discussion and suddenly have to discuss with everyone and their mother the inner workings of my reproductive system? Um, no.

I'm really struggling with keeping my tongue in line. My first instinct, when someone starts asking me questions like, "Was it planned?" is to respond with, "None of your damn business." Even for as far as our parents, I really feel it's no one's business but our own. I'm a walking contradiction, because on most topics I consider myself an open book. For this, though, it's really a matter of discussion between me and my husband.

Now that I'm having a baby, suddenly everyone wants to know if it was planned, which is a really personal question. If I say yes, suddenly I feel like I'm walking away from all my friends who are dealing or have dealt with infertility. If that's a thought that hasn't crossed your mind, you have some reading to do! I have a surprising number of friends that have dealt with wanting a baby and not getting one--believe it or not, it's not always easy to get pregnant, even if you were able to get knocked up in the first round.

Then again, if I say, "No, we were totally surprised!" I feel like it makes us look irresponsible and ill-prepared. Truth is, I've only known one person who was totally prepared to be a mom, and I've known a lot of pregnant people. I don't know anyone else who found out she was having a baby and wasn't totally ready to hand over her life to a baby.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle of all that. And that's all I'm telling you.

It takes a lot of my inner strength to NOT say, "This is really none of your business." It's interesting to note exactly how many people have asked me if this was planned or if we were trying. I feel like reproduction and sex and babies is one of those "taboo" topics (to me), almost like money. You don't ask how someone is managing to go on lavish vacations or spending sprees when it looks obvious that they're living paycheck to paycheck. You can wonder and discuss it over coffee and gossip with your friends, but to just outright ask is rude.

What really gets me, though, are the repeat offenders: people who keep asking, hoping for another kernal of information either for their own sick curiosity or because they've convinced themselves of the reality of our situation and they need confirmation. I've had a few people ask me over and over again if we were planning or not, and I'm really short-tempered by now. If I didn't tell you before, what makes you think I'll tell you now? Only a select few friends--the people I'm closest to--know exactly what happened. Why do only a few people know? Because I can trust them completely.

Think about it for a minute: pretend you WANT a baby (or don't pretend if you're in that camp). You've been trying for over a year and can't get pregnant. It tears you apart and you silently resent every pregnant woman you see, even your friends, because they have something you can't get. Would you actually want people to keep asking, "When are you gonna have a baaaaaaaaaaaby?" and "When are you going to make your mom a grandma?" or worse, "Don't you guys want kids?"

Asking questions like that is basically a kick to the ovaries. I hated and still hate seeing that look in a friend's eyes when she looks at a baby bump or a baby. There's a pain in there you can feel, and you can't even imagine what it feels like to be on the other side of that. I saw my friend's eyes ache so badly for a baby that it brought me to tears right then and there. Few people would intentionally inflict that pain on anyone, but asking a "simple question" can bring up a ton of emotions no one wants to touch.

For me, asking questions like, "Was this a surprise baby?" and "Were you planning?" is just as hurtful. It reminds me that my body doesn't work the way it's supposed to--that it has let me down in the past, and that it could still reject the pregnancy. I know people are curious and want to ask questions and feel like they should, but those questions sting. They remind me that I've got to be a little cautious at all times and enjoy this as much as I can for as long as I can because it could all go south quickly. My reproductive system and I haven't always gotten along and most times it's come out the winner.

What's it matter to anyone else? Regardless of whether we'd pulled the goalie, were actively trying, were trying but not really, or were totally taken off guard doesn't matter at this point. What does matter is that this baby will be loved. We're bringing it into a loving home, and not a situation where we're trying to rescue our marriage with a baby, or worse, where we're just about to fall apart financially. We've been really blessed throughout our marriage and I hope those blessings continue throughout the baby's life.

Just keep that in mind the next time you start asking questions--unless you're truly prepared to deal with the crying and anger and frustrations that will come out of that conversation, that is.

Infertility Reading:

Three Cheers for Babies

You vs. Me

Cleansing My Heart

Thoughts From the Mind of MayDayGirl

Will They Have His Eyes?

Em & Joe

Busted Babymaker

3 comments:

  1. I so get what you mean about asking if your pregnancy was planned or not. Why not just come out directly and ask if you're having sex? What business is it of anyone else's? Uh, none as far as I'm concerned. Just stand your ground, Angie.

    I also have a close friend who has tried again and again to get pregnant. I can't imagine all of the money they have spent on testing & many invitros(sp?) they've had done. But, still, my friend was unable to concieve. It was soooo hard to tell her I was pregnant. And, there's no easy way to tell someone in that situation. It felt like I was stabbing her in the heart. But, two years ago, they had adopted her sister's baby. He's a cute litte boy with lots of spunk!

    As far as the infertility issue goes, I can partly understand how those parents feel. I remember the first two times I got pregnant only to lose my babies, wondering if there was something wrong with me. I remember lying on the operating table waiting to go under before my last D&C and my current OB/GYN promising me she would help figure out why I couldn't carry a baby past the first trimester. Even now, my eyes fill with tears as I think about my first two babies, now in God's hands, waiting for their mama to see them when I get to Heaven.

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  2. Couldn't agree more.

    People are idiots. And have no fucking clue what is going on life.

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