Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In This Together... Not So Much

I confided in our fertility issues with a co-worker back in the fall. She was supportive and about a month later revealed that she was having a "difficult time" trying for her second child. While we're not typically very open with one another, it seemed that there was this moment of mutual understanding and oneness. As if we were now brothers in arms.

She knew when I had my IVF procedure because it interfered with some work stuff that we were working on together. A week later she asked how we were doing and I told her, that we were waiting to see at that point. I asked how she was doing and she said that she was also waiting to see, being relatively vague.

Today, she ran into me in the hallway, seeking me out to ask how things were going. I had previously decided that I am not going be dishonest with people if they ask me directly, but I'm not going to openly tell any more people who may have happened upon specific details because of circumstance (e.g. my secretary, other co-worker, etc.). So I told her the results, and made sure to emphasize that it was still very early and that we were not at all making it public at this point.

She responded, "well, in the nature of full disclosure then, I should say that I'm pregnant too! Thirteen weeks!" As in, definitely undoubtably pregnant when she told me that she was still waiting two weeks ago, after specifically asking about my status.

She then ended up telling me about her struggles. Essentially, she began trying this past fall. In October, she had a chemical pregnancy, bleeding two days after a blood test that came back low positive and her doctor gave her the positive and negative news in the same breath as to not give up her hopes. Her doctor told her she had to wait a full cycle before trying again, which put her into December. On this first cycle back in the saddle, she conceived again and is now at 13 weeks.

I couldn't help but feel a little angry with her. Partly because she lied to me earlier, although I completely understand someone's right to keep information to themselves. Partly because it sort of felt like she stole my thunder. Mostly though, it's because it feels like she lead me on: as if she was suffering from infertility as well, as if she really did truly understand.

I know that she was trying to be supportive. I know that, in her mind, she really was struggling to conceive. Compared with getting and staying pregnant with your first child on the first month, this second time was more difficult. You had two pregnancies in four months, and two of your three pregnancies have made it out of the first trimester. That is not too far from the statistical odds of misscarriage. That is far from the stories of misscarriage I read where women are 0 for 6, or where it takes several IVF procedures to get pregnant for the first time and then only to result in a misscarriage.

I sound like a bitch. Amanda over at Genuine Greavu states it much more eloquently. There are clearly levels of fertility. As well-meaning as some people are, they just don't get it. And as appreciative as I can be of someone's support, I can still feel jealous and bitter at the same time. We are not comrades, but thank you for caring.


  1. Ugh. It's definitely not the same. I have a post coming up about this. Yup, I'm posting again. Spoiler alert: But what I didn't share specifically in my post is a friend that responded to my pregnancy announcement by congratulating me and then going on to add that they were now trying for their second child and since it took a while the first time (6 months) she isn't expecting it to happen right away, but maybe it will and our kids will have similar birthdays. WHAT!?! Thanks, but no thanks. It's not the same and why are you stealing my thunder? Of course, she meant no harm and I'm not mad at her, it's just a crappy situation. Ugh, sorry for dumping that in your comment section, but geez. People do not get it. I'm sorry you just had to experience something similar and it's a coworker that you have to see regularly.

  2. Oh, boy. Did you want to look at the woman and say "you don't have a clue, honey?" I don't think you sound like a bitch, I think you sound human. And it would have been nice if she had let you share your news (she asked, after all) and congratulated you. And that's it. She could have told you her news at a later time.

  3. This is such a great point to make, and I really like the Genuine Greavu post as well. I always try to be super aware that at 19 months, I'm still super early in the journey compared to other women and I don't want to graduate myself to "super infertile" too soon and come off sounding like an asshole. I haven't really had anyone claim they're infertile to me when it's only been a few months, but I do remember how I felt at 6 months of trying. I always wonder to myself if because something WAS wrong and it turned out to be true, if my feeling that way at 6 months is the same as someone else freaking out who is perfectly normal and will get pregnant soon...anyway I'm rambling but thanks for the post!