Yesterday I felt like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I found myself in a dilemma, one I hadn’t experienced before, and the whole thing was rather disconcerting.
It started out like a regular Monday. It was my day off, I had just finished taking my weekly Pound class and, feeling pumped, I was off to do some shopping before heading home to power clean. Oh yeah, this was a day of achievement! A day when things would get done!
After grabbing some staples at the grocery store, and bbq worthy food from the butcher, I headed off to find a shower gift.
Not a wedding shower, a baby shower.
I see you shudder out there – we’ve all been there, felt that pull between the emotions: jealousy, happiness, sadness and rage (to name but a few of many) – but today was different. And that’s where my dilemma really began.
I was walking into the baby section, chatting along amiably in my head, as you do, and all of a sudden one thought popped into my head, loudly and clearly, blocking out the litany of shopping needs, lists for work and people to connect with, just one little thought –
“I’m ok with this”.
What? I’m ok with this? When did that happen? When did I become “ok” with shopping for another woman’s soon-to-be-born baby? When did I stop bawling at the thought of another woman holding her baby in her arms? Smelling its head, looking at its adorable wee face, watching it like a hawk for growth, movement, breath…anything. When did this all of a sudden become ok? And why hadn’t I noticed?
When was the last time I’d had that longing inside me? That need to hold a baby in my arms? Had it slowly diminished over time or had it said “enough!”, packed its bags and left suddenly one day with no forwarding address? I couldn’t remember. I remembered holding my friend’s daughter a few weeks after she was born, enjoying her smell, softness and the circle of women who cooed over her. I remembered the love in that room as our book club welcomed its newest member. And I remember it being a pure emotion – just the happiness, the love. It wasn’t tinged with jealousy, or regret, or sorrow.
It was nothing more than it was – joy and celebration.
Wow! I mean don’t get me wrong, I have always been happy when a friend has welcomed a new soul into their lives, but it’s often been tinged with a bit of sadness for me, as I am sure it is for anyone battling infertility. But this was new. This feeling of “alrightness”. This feeling of happiness for someone else, without any self pity, this was new. And I liked it.
I think at the time I had put this feeling down to that fact that it was a friend who’d had a baby, listen, I’m not too proud to admit that I’ve felt stronger, more negative feelings when someone I don’t like has had a baby. “Why her?” “But they’re bad parents” “He’s got how many kids?” “They’re how old?” This kind of crap had come, unbidden, into my head before. And I’d justified it. I’d allowed my infertility to embitter me, to make me judgmental, critical and mean. Why? These were the opposite of what I wanted. I wanted to be warm, nurturing, accepting – a mother. Not this bitter person who crumbled at the sight of a pregnancy announcement or baby shower invite. Not this shell.
But I think I had allowed the negativity to take over. I had allowed myself to wallow for too long. I had thought that I was “healthily embracing my infertility”, and I was, at first, but after a while I had begun to change. To let myself make excuses for the pain I was causing myself by blaming my infertility for everything.
But here I was, in the baby section, not dying inside, not feeling empty or angry or sad.
I was ok. In fact, I was enjoying myself. Picking up onesies, rompers and the cutest little girl’s tutus that I’ve ever seen – and it was ok. I just wasn’t sure when, or how, I had gotten here and it threw me a little.
But just a little.
I took a deep breath, looked around me and felt a growing calmness.
It is ok. I’m ok with this.
CeCe VanderMarks, cecevandermarks.weebly.com