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.