Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sometimes, My Gallows Humor Gets Me in Trouble

We had a Superintendent's Conference Day in February. These days are full of meetings and work sessions and things that are generally good for the order but not especially exciting.

The exciting thing is that we get to go out to lunch, which is a huge novelty for teachers. I rarely have time to eat my entire lunch in one sitting, much less go somewhere outside the school. So, when we have these kinds of days, we savor them.

We went to Wegman's, our fancypants grocery store, because there's a whole prepared foods section and everyone can get something they like in one place.

I got sushi, because this past year they committed to making all their sushi with no gluten ingredients. Their soy sauce is GF, and even their tempura rolls are made with a corn-based flour. It's lovely.

I wasn't eating my ginger at first, though, and this prompted a bizarre diversion of our conversation by a part-time teacher who apparently doesn't know my story, or suffered temporary amnesia. This teacher, who hasn't been pregnant in well over 10 years, started talking about how much she loved ginger when she was pregnant, and how great ginger is for nausea during pregnancy, and how it was life-saving, and then she said,

"Because I was pretty bad at being pregnant."

And without thinking, I said,

"Yeah, I'm REALLY BAD at being pregnant." And snickered.

My friends who know my story at a TMI level groaned a bit and one said, "Oh, JESSICA," but this is where I realized that this wasn't common knowledge because the teacher who was going on about the ginger as miracle cure for pregnancy woes then went on thusly, after my brief explanation that I'd suffered years of infertility treatments with no true success:

"I was told at a young age that I couldn't have children, that that wouldn't happen for me. But I refused to let it bother or define me, and so when the time came to start trying, I just ignored what they said and believed that it could happen. And it did! Now I have my two daughters."

OH HOLY JEEZUM.

This is lovely for her, but that kind of story, the "I thought it true and it happened," drives me batty. I could have positively thought up a storm and it wouldn't have changed my outcomes. Sometimes, shit happens, and you don't get a concrete reason for it...and you have to end your journey to literally save your sanity (and your body).

Now, I did feel bad being so irritated because later a friend let me know that she had had multiple miscarriages between her girls and had been through quite a hard time herself, but then she said, "But she has two children. Not that that changes things, but she does have her family." And I didn't know how I felt about that...does it make it better to have come out the other side with children? Does that eventual success lessen the pain of those losses? I don't think so, but having the "happy ending" does at times seem to give people sensitivity amnesia. I bristled big time at the philosophy that somehow she overcame her infertility through the power of thought, even if in a misguided way she was trying to make me feel better, or worse, give me hope for my own miracle. I do feel more than a little bitter that I tried, and tried HARD, for years and years and IVF brought nothing but loss, pain, and emotional turmoil. I am hopeful through the adoption process, but here I am, over six years later, and there's no miracle baby in my home, in my arms...only this ghost of a child in my heart. And it's not because I wasn't positive enough, or I didn't believe enough.

It was an interesting thing to think on: the differences in perspectives, the crucial knowledge we both were lacking regarding each other's stories. In the end, I just shut my mouth and started raving about some GF crystallized ginger cookies that Wegman's sells, since one of her daughters is also celiac. Then, blissfully, all pregnancy talk abated, and I was left with the feeling that maybe my gallows humor when it comes to our situation isn't always helpful, although it makes me chuckle. Maybe it would have been better to just bring up the cookies at that moment instead.

10 comments:

  1. Groaning and rolling my eyes on this end. I always have issues with those who go on and on about a subject, not taking the cue that it's a painful topic. Particularly those who should know better. I don't know what compels them to develop amnesia and offer horrible advice (seriously?!?!? willing yourself through infertility and RPL?), but the best thing I've come to is that there is some force in their life that has resulted in this glitch in their programming. Something broke along the way and that can't fix it without injury.

    I'm glad you made it through lunch without too much chaos, but this is certainly one of those cases where shutting your mouth and not provoking or engaging is for the best.

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    1. Thanks so much. I feel like when you think you have the answer, you don't necessarily see the cues around you that that was just YOUR answer and the topic is not really welcome. Sigh. True that opening my mouth further probably would not have been helpful in any way... huzzah for crystallized ginger GF cookies. :)

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  2. I like your gallows humour, and hey, whatever gets you through the day, or through conversations with people who overcame infertility with the power of thought *eye roll* lol...Having a child doesn't make the pain go away necessarily, but it certainly makes things better in many ways. I hope it's a perspective you share soon.....

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    1. Hey thanks! I hope to share that perspective, too. It's funny, friends of mine have shared this amnesia (but close enough ones that I could be like, STOP.), but it's so strange to me when someone feels that they have The Answer or that the power of thought is truly that...powerful. Of course that's bitter me speaking, I'd feel differently if any of my rituals had actually "worked." :)

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  3. Having had a somewhat-happy ending has changed my perspective on my own infertility and, I think, has made my pregnancy loss easier than if it had come before my live son. However, I don't think it's changed my perspective on other people's infertility. I posted about my own pregnancy only twice on FB, when I cautiously announced it and when I announced the gender, and I don't post baby pics specifically because of trying to be sensitive.

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    1. Perspective is such a funny thing. I have had friends who almost pretend their pregnancy or new baby doesn't exist, and those who immediately posted a sac ultrasound picture as their profile pic. Such a gamut! I'm sure you are far more sensitive than the ones who somehow forget, and I'm sure there are tons of people who appreciate that. It's such a fine line, sensitivity and squelching joy. I am glad for your happy ending, and sad for your loss.

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  4. I like your gallows humor! Sometimes that dark humor is what works to make it through.

    The idea that one can will away infertility or loss and/or overcome it by the pure power of stubbornness is one that gets under my skin too. It's simply not true and it's a cruel thing to say to anyone who has had to let go of a path, a dream, or suffered significant trauma/issues/losses along the way - even worse when it's coming from people who *should* know better. I'm sorry you had to sit through that conversation, ugh.

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    1. Thanks! I am a fan of dark humor. Big fan. If you don't laugh, you just cry all over the place...

      Thank you for your words about "thinking it away" -- so well put. Even though I know I did everything I could, it did make me feel like, "hmm, I just didn't BELIEVE hard enough, huh?" Hard not to feel that nugget of blame in there.

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  5. I love your humor! Some people absolutely come down with sensitivity amnesia once they get a happy ending of their own.

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    1. Thanks, I'm fond of it too. :) It's true. Not always, but it seems common enough to resent a bit, right?

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