Thus far in pregnancy (18 weeks and a few days), especially now that I'm showing, obviously, through sweaters and winter coats (who knew?), one thing has continued to be impressed upon me. And that is just how clueless people are to the suffering of infertility.
Most, if not all people who know or "discover" I am pregnant have either already known about our years of infertility and inability to adopt, OR are promptly told by Mr TCIE all about it :) (He's so proud, it's so cute.) But it is particularly the ones who stood alongside me, watching from a very distant sideline as I kicked and splashed and gasped for air, trying daily not to drown in my childlessness, who surprise me the most in how they respond and communicate with me in my pregnancy, now.
Most of the comments are from "knowing" women who have been pregnant, before. Now, suddenly, they have something to share with me in an effort to commiserate. "Oh, I've been there, so let me tell you about x, y, or z!" "You think *this* is hard, just wait, you have NO IDEA!" and general commentary or implications of how I *must* be feeling, are the most interesting, to me. Mostly because, the fact that they think they are commiserating, at all, is so far off base. Misery? Pregnancy? To me, those are opposite sides of the spectrum. Sure, there are unpleasantries, even physical sufferings, but ohmygosh, just how FAR they are from the sufferings and misery and sorrow and sadness of infertility and childlessness!! Where before I was sputtering and fighting not to drown in the middle of icy ocean tides, now I am floating serenely in a still, peaceful, heated pool, sipping lemonade. And I'm being asked how annoying it is that my toe keeps getting wet because my flotation device is *just* a little too short, and how irritating it is that I have no cup holder for my lemonade.
I get that most people haven't been in the middle of that icy ocean tide. I also get that most women my age and over *have* been afloat in that pool. I get that they want to share something with me, and for 8 years, they felt they couldn't share it, and now's their chance. I really do get that. And I welcome it, and I even enjoy it. But it did drill home the lesson that unless someone has been in that ocean near-drowning, they are absolutely clueless.
It also highlighted for me how infertility can be a very compassionate place. While in the middle of that freezing ocean, you may see others struggling right alongside you - and they will very often offer words of encouragement, messages of hope, helpful advice and support, or simply a look of "I understand." It's commiseration, yes, but not based in the misery. The misery is acknowledged, and immediately followed with something helpful, when you're in the ocean. In the pool? Not the same. Not the same, at all.
I find myself drawn to that deep, dark ocean, not because I feel I belong there. I know my place is now in the pool, and I cherish it. But, moreso because I don't want to become an everyday pool lounger, oblivious to the world's oceans and deserts and sufferings never discussed poolside. I want to stand on the shore, and walk alongside my sisters carrying their crosses, still in the ocean.
So, yes, I do have to pee all the time. Isn't it glorious?
No, I'm not sleeping well at all, I wake up constantly and can't get comfortable. Isn't it divine?
Yes, I dislike getting up early for appointments at the office (but it is EXPONENTIALLY better than waking up daily at 5:30am to drive to my first of 3 jobs... CHILDLESS). Isn't it great?
No, I'm not having two, I'm just showing a LOT pretty early, and Yes, I'm sure I'm due in April. Isn't it the best thing EVER??!!
I will take my wet toe and glass of lemonade sweating all over my hand any day.