Lately, it seems like there are more and more ladies in the infertile community crossing over into the new and unfamiliar territory of pregnancy. With this transition comes so many wonderful emotions and feelings but there are unexpected emotions as well. Almost everyone I know that has gone from infertile frustration to pregnant elation has dealt with some type of guilt in the process. Everyone remembers the hurt they felt after a BFN or pregnancy loss when someone else around them got pregnant. Having dealt with that pain ourselves we hate to think we could be the ones unintentionally inflicting it on others. I have read many blog posts this year from women who are feeling this way and want desperately to reach out and let others know they care while still honoring their pregnancies and cherishing them.
I of course, being newly pregnant again after years of struggle, thousands in treatment and the loss of my 1st pregnancy, have dealt with these emotional struggles as well. I love and adore the women that have supported me and cheered me on through twitter and my blog and I want to continue to support each of them as they continue their journeys into motherhood and beyond. I understand, though, how hard it can be and do my best to be sensitive to others. But I also know that there may be some who need to protect their feelings and will choose to avoid my blog or tweets and I respect that.
Recently though I have feared inadvertently hurting someone who will have no way to hide from my pregnancy and it breaks my heart to think of it. My husband and I live a neighborhood with shared garages. The neighbors we share ours with moved in when the wife was about 8 months pregnant. They were so excited and positive and couldn't wait to be parents. When their little girl was born you could tell they were overjoyed. When we passed them coming and going they always commented on how wonderful it was have their daughter home with them.
Then at about the time I did my 1st IVF transfer, about 6 months after their daughter was born, we stopped running into them. Their car was never in the garage and we never saw them coming or going. To be honest we were pretty distracted with our IVF and subsequent miscarriage so we didn't think too much of it, but then we learned the awful truth. I am good friends with the woman who manages our property and she let me know that they had planned on moving early because their baby girl had passed away. My heart shattered into a million pieces when I heard this. I know how painful my pregnancy loss had been, I couldn't even imagine how devastating losing your 6 month old child would be.
I completely understood why they would want to move and didn't expect to see them again, but suddenly one day they were back. They were as nice to us as they had always been, smiling and saying hello when we'd see each other and leaving plenty of space for our car when they parked. I didn't want to pry or tell them what I had heard so I never stopped to ask about the baby. Stopping them as they got in or out of their car just didn't seem like an appropriate way to approach them anyway.
But then they came home one day with a remembrance decal on their back window and I saw that their little angel's 1st birthday was coming soon. So I told Chad and we immediately agreed that we should do something to let them know we were thinking about them. Just hearing those simple words meant so much to me after our loss, and I wanted them to know we cared. So on the baby's birthday we left a potted plant with little yellow blooms on the front porch with a simple note saying they were in our thoughts and our hearts.
This was over the weekend. Last night, we were walking out of the garage as they pulled in and they stopped to thank us and say how much it meant to them. Chad and I both got teary as they said they had wanted to say something to us sooner but it was hard for them to talk about it. Then they suggested we all get together sometime, which we wholeheartedly agreed to.
As we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, I cried again. I cried for their heartbreak and loss and for the fear that I will soon be a source of more pain. The day will come when my pregnancy will be visible and I can't imagine them having to be parked next to me every day never knowing when they might run into me and my bump, then one day running into me and my baby. I just can't imagine hurting either of them like that. It is the last thing I want to do. Chad and I talked and agreed that if we do actually have dinner or something with them in the near future, we will tell them our story and our situation so that they are prepared. Nothing is worse than the shock of not knowing or not being told and being surprised by the news later.
I still don't know what happened but really that is not important, what is important is that they have suffered an unimaginable loss and I want to be as sensitive to it as I possibly can. I am crying now just writing this, for them and anyone else who has ever lost a child as well as for those struggling to become parents. Both are a deep source of pain that no one should ever have to endure and my heart hurts for every unsuccessful cycle, adoption wait and loss.
Pregnancy after infertility feels a lot like survivor's guilt. Why should I be here while so many others still hurt and struggle? Why me and not them? Of course I love Snow Pea with all my heart and wouldn't trade this pregnancy for anything, but I still find it so unfair that so many wonderful people are still struggling with infertility and loss. I hope and pray that I can not only avoid causing anyone any hurt but that I can also be there to love and support those who need it.