No Rhyme or Reason

How I feel about pregnant ladies and newborn babies has been very weird, and random.

Today, I was on duty being on the greeting team at church.  Every few minutes, a big belly or a car seat with a tiny infant would come in.  I would have a big smile on my face, hand a bulletin to the woman, and say Hi to the baby.  This would repeat over and over again for the duration of my duty.  One of my teammates commented, “Wow there are so many pregnant women and newborn babies at our church! We will soon need more room in our nursery!” To which, another teammate said, “That’s a great thing!  Right?”

So how do I feel?  It depends on who it is.  Sometimes, my feelings have no rhyme or reason.  I didn’t mind certain newborns.  I actually went to seek them out.  My heart didn’t skip a beat and I didn’t feel repulsed by them.  And then, there are certain women that I am friends with.  I want to avoid them like a plague.  One of them was the friend who announced her pregnancy on Christmas morning.  She was flaunting her big belly in this adorable dress and all I could do was to say hi.  I couldn’t bring myself to ask her how her pregnancy was going, how she was doing, etc.  Then her husband approached me about 15 minutes later, gave me a friendly hug, and asked me how Bob and I were doing.  I could not tell him our painful experience a few weeks ago.  I just gave him the generic “we are good”, which we are.  But there is so much more to it and I could not share.  At the service right before sermon, this couple appeared on screen on a pre-recorded video, talking about their “storm” in their life with the birth of their second child as he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder.  In the video, she talked about the joy that was robbed of her, that her child may never attend prom or get married, yet Jesus came through and gave them hope.  Now that they’re expecting their third, she feels redeemed.  Because of her experience with her second child, she has no expectation of how this pregnancy would turn out.  I found myself tearing up for her experience as it must have been very painful for her to have a special needs child who was very difficult to take care of early on.  But at the same time, I couldn’t help but think that I still want what she has, that she has a chance yet again to be redeemed, and am jealous of it enough that I don’t really want to talk to her.  

And then I had the privilege to hold a 2.5  month old baby today during a meeting.  His mother has had difficulty conceiving.  Instead of doing A.R.T., she and her husband opted for adoption. After one adoption heartache over a year ago (with the Russia adoption ban preventing them from reuniting with their son), they were matched with this birth mom about two weeks before the baby was born.  It is a beautiful story.  I see so much love from this couple for their baby it makes me want to squeeze them tight and join in this love.  The baby is getting cuter and cuter every week I see him.  Last week I sat next to his mom during service hoping to hold him and he fell asleep.  So today at a meeting I got to hold him while his mother was hosting the meeting.  This is the most snuggly snugbug ever.  He hung out for a little with his eyes wide open.  With his strong legs and feet, he was able to stand up for a little.  After not even fussing for a little, I rocked him to sleep standing up.  Whenever I sat down, he opened his eyes again, which forced me to stand up.  Eventually, he was deep asleep and I could sit down comfortably with him lying on me.  After the meeting, a friend came by and said, You look good with him on you.  And I said, I hope one day we’re blessed to have one for our own.  I loved loved loved loved loved holding him.  His smell was so yummy.  His cheeks were perfect and it felt so nice to rub his tummy.  His little hands were so perfect.  He was just perfect.  I am so happy for my friends for this gift of life and I really hope that one day I get to experience it as well.  

I don’t know if I accept her newborn because she struggled with conceiving and the baby was adopted.  There are three other expectant mothers at church who have been known to have struggled for years before they finally conceived.  But I still can’t stand around them.  One of them is even my own close friend Anna.  She was the one who shared with me about being pregnant at 6 weeks.  She’s currently in her second trimester.  I haven’t really seen her for a while so I haven’t seen her with her belly yet.  A few weeks ago, I only saw her husband but didn’t see her.  I wrote her an email asking how she was doing.  She wrote me back a week later saying that things were well and they started sharing their news with others.  She said the ultrasound scans had been going well and she would bring the ultrasound photo that Sunday if she remembered.  My first thought was… I don’t want to see any ultrasound photo… But I didn’t write her to tell her that.  I didn’t see her that following Sunday.  So when we had our loss, I wrote her an email detailing it, and wrote the following to her:

“In light of what happened to us, I may not feel like or look like the friend that I should be for your pregnancy.  I am very happy for you, but I may sometimes not look that way.  I just want to give you a heads up.  My prayers are that I can go pass my feelings at times and be a very supportive friend.  I am working towards that.”

That was end of February, ten days ago.  I have yet to hear from her acknowledging that she has read my email about my pregnancy and my loss, or responding to what I had to say about her pregnancy.  I really want to try NOT to feel disappointed.  But I am.  I choose to be honest with her about my feelings, but I feel that my honesty and my email got lost in the deep sea.  I searched for her today at church but didn’t spot her or her husband.  I am not going to write her another message.  I will see if and how she responds.  But is it crazy that I am disappointed?  Should I be?  I don’t know…

Another girl had her baby shower yesterday.  I didn’t attend.  I saw her from afar and I didn’t go up to her or say anything to her.  She tried for years for a baby and was shocked to find herself pregnant right before they signed paperwork for an adoption agency.  She has one of those myths or miracles happening to her in her life: once you decide to proceed with IVF/adoption, you get pregnant.  I am not necessarily jealous of her, but I just don’t want to stand next to her, hug her, or do anything with her.  She is someone who struggled and finally got pregnant.  But I still can’t.

Yet there is another woman who recently gave birth to her third.  I was very surprised by her pregnancy because she already has two older children (probably in 3rd grade and kindergarten), and she is in her 40s.  For some unknown reason, I was very jealous of her pregnancy.  Later I learned that she struggled for a long time before conceiving this one. But that didn’t help with how I felt about her.  I didn’t attend her baby shower either.  Good thing I didn’t.  I saw a Facebook photo of all the pregnant ladies who attended that shower.  I just don’t think I could handle seeing all these ladies standing together for a photo.  I also saw a newborn photo shoot on Facebook with her and her new son, which I quickly clicked it away as I didn’t want to see it.

And then there is my friend Alice who gave birth to her third child on the day I got my first beta.  It’s so interesting to me, as I still have not felt any jealous towards her.  She also struggled for her number one and number three and she is also in her 40s.  But I feel very happy for her.  I loved the photo that she sent out when she announced the birth.  I also love the professional photo that was posted on Facebook from her newborn photo shoot.  That baby looked so adorable and looked so at peace.  I went back to look at that photo over and over again.  And I also texted Alice and told her that I would love to come visit and hold the baby whenever they’re ready for a visitor.  Her text said, “I am off until May 1st and welcome visitors like you anytime!”  

I got together with my maid-of-honor for a dinner.  She is single and dating so she’s not thinking about kids anytime soon.  However, her friends are all married and starting to have kids.  It has been very tough for her.  Last August, she celebrated her birthday with me and another friend of hers.  This other friend is known to be beautiful and generous.  She recently got married and wanted to try for a baby very soon.  I casually asked my maid-of-honor about this beautiful friend.  Of course she is pregnant and is due in June.  Although she had an early pregnancy loss before quickly getting pregnant again with the current baby, I found myself not having any sympathy for her loss mostly because it was so very easy for her to get pregnant and keep the pregnancy again.  Isn’t it mean for me to think and feel that way?  But I couldn’t help myself.

So I don’t know… I am sorting through my own feelings.  I am doing better and better each day with the healing part.  I still get sad at times and still mourn the loss of Clay and Eli, but I think it’s normal.  But somehow, this experience of pregnancy and loss set me back a little with my uneasy feeling and jealousy with others who are pregnant or just gave birth, sometimes regardless of their own prior struggles or losses.  I know that God is a God of healing.  I need His grace and mercy daily.  I also need Him to help me get better again with these feelings so that I can continue to have peace and be able to celebrate with others’ happiness again.  This is the journey.  There are three steps forward, then there is one step back.  As long as I am moving forward, I am okay.  I would rather acknowledge my own feelings and work through them again than being in denial about them.  Work in progress.  As long as God is helping me, I am going to be fine.  


25 thoughts on “No Rhyme or Reason

  1. Yes, you are going to be fine. I relate 100% to this post. It’s hard to know when I will feel disappointed, sad and jealous and when I won’t. It’s so strange. As far as your friend who hasn’t responded… She probably is sorting through her feelings about her journey compared to yours and doesn’t know what to say in response to you. Just know you have such a beautiful heart and being honest with people and yourself is the only way to go. Hugs to you tenfold!!


  2. I was thinking about something similar this weekend myself and was reminded of this quote, which seemed to adequately reflect my thoughts:
    “The Halloween feast was always good, but it would taste a lot better if he was coming to it after a day in Hogsmeade with everyone else. Nothing anyone said made him feel any better about being left behind.” – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
    I love that the people around me are achieving their dreams; but, but…I’d love it more if I were too.


  3. I totally have different feelings about different babies and different expectant mothers. And there often is no rhyme or reason. Most of my friends (and a sister in law) I could not deal with as pregnant women. I have one SIL left who hasn’t had kids yet and I am DREADING that announcement. You are still in a period of mourning and grief and I’m amazed that you were able to be a greeter. I would have lost my mind!! You’re one strong lady. XO


  4. We can only do what we can do when we can do it. Your doing the best you can. Its so hard sometimes to be present and supportive in others pregnancies- even friends- because of our own pain. Its confusing and painful in and of itself. Im sorry you are going through it.


  5. It is hard but I think it is wonderful that you do have the positive experiences and feelings and it shows what a big, generous heart you have. But nobody is perfect and sometimes the jealous angry feelings will be there too, especially when we don’t feel acknowledged or understood. I have had all kinds of weird feelings the past month – not even necessarily directed toward pregos, but jealous of really young women and really old women (because they don’t have to worry about any of this! also I don’t know if my baby will get the chance to grow up and grow old and that’s NOT FAIR) and also athletes and really fit people (they have confidence in their bodies that I suddenly lack). So. All we can do is work through it I guess. Hugs.


  6. I think everything you’re feeling is normal–I have the most trouble with people I’m closest to as well. I think that we see so much of ourselves in the people we’re closest to. With my best friends from college, we’ve shared so many milestones together and so many of them happened around the same time or at least in a similar progression, first jobs, big moves, exciting first dates, devastating breakups, marriage, etc. Then they moved on to pregnancy while we’re stuck. And it’s just so hard, at least for me, because I see so clearly where I should be in them. The same with my cousin; she’s year’s younger than me and up until now, I completed milestones years prior to her, but but she has passed me in this very important way. And it’s hard. For the people who are just in and out of my life, people I care about intensely for the time I know them, and who I care about still, but who aren’t a part of my everyday life, I have an easier time being happier for them because I don’t see my heartbreak so clearly in their happiness. It’s a weird thing about human emotions, I guess. But you are so generous of heart and of spirit, allow yourself to feel what you will feel without shame or guilt. I’ve never known someone so surrounded by pregnancy and infants. I would have cracked under the pressure long before now, and here you are welcoming most pregnant women and newborns with love and grace.


  7. I can completely relate! It must be our nature. A twinge of jealousy and judgement mixed with that soul wrenching desire. I sometimes wish I could wear some kind of sign or symbol to signify how we struggled to have our twins. Something other women could see to know that it didn’t come easy. That big belly, the newborn in the carrier, that child running around, is only the result of years of prayer. I think those are normal feelings and the only thing you can do is continue to pray.


  8. P.S. I’m wondering if your friend doesn’t know what to say about your loss. I’m guilty of having no comforting words and falling back on silence instead of saying something stupid or hurtful.


  9. I am exactly the same way. I can’t justify why I am ok with some people’s pregnancies/babies, and not ok with others. To be honest, I think a lot of it might relate to how people choose to handle their pregnancies around me. People who treat it sensitively- I can deal with that. People who don’t say a word to me, ever- I’m not so ok with that. People who tell me they only want a girl, or complain incessantly about their pregnancies- not cool with that either. Sadly, people who are able to walk that fine line with us infertiles are few and far between. Even some infertiles become difficult to be around when they conceive… It’s all very confusing. Anyway… All this to say that you’re not alone. And you don’t have to figure it all out- just acknowledge that it’s ok to feel the way you do, even if you don’t understand it.


  10. It’s funny how it works that way isn’t it? Like I’m so judge-y that I decide whether or not these women “deserve” my happiness or my sympathy. But it’s a snap judgement with no rhyme or reason.


  11. Acknowledging your feelings is so much harder than ignoring them, but the only way to truly heal.

    I could have written these exact words. “So how do I feel? It depends on who it is. Sometimes, my feelings have no rhyme or reason. I didn’t mind certain newborns. I actually went to seek them out. My heart didn’t skip a beat and I didn’t feel repulsed by them. And then, there are certain women that I am friends with. I want to avoid them like a plague.”

    Thanks for writing about this with such honesty as it made me feel a little less crazy about my own struggles.

    As for your friend not responding to your email… gosh, that is so incredibly tough. I think that emails can be misinterpreted and if this is close friend, you should talk or meet face to face to clear up any assumptions. Not an easy thing to do at all considering you both have to put aside any hurt for a moment to listen to each other.

    Sorry for the really long comment, but I also wanted to add that I feel you on the church and babies situation too. Yesterday at church I was completely surrounded and it was a symphony of baby noises by the end of service. Absolutely incredible.


  12. I think the adoption because you can’t conceive and then get pregnant thing probably used to happen a lot more frequently. It’s a lot harder to adopt than it used to be, and there are a lot more ART options than there used to be. I personally know two women closely who this happened to (my MIL, who ended up with two newborns, one adopted and one her own, and my aunt, who had two children after adopting due to inability to conceive due to PCOS). My guess would be that these women would successfully conceive today with ART and never proceed to adoption.


  13. Yep, I think so many of us going through infertility experience this. For some reason, I’m okay with certain friend’s babies, but not others. There is no logic to it. But I think that’s probably normal. Hang in there!


  14. I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes seeing pregnant ladies/babies just completely does me in, and other times I’m just fine. I wish I knew the rhyme and reason too!


  15. This is such a good post! I relate to it so much… I completely agree with those precious adopted babies. My friend adopted after years of trying to get pregnant and I absolutely love her babies. Other babies from fertile couples I usually dot care for too much. I wish some of the feelings I had were different, but it seems this is just another side effect of infertility. Thanks for sharing this 🙂


  16. Like you, I sometimes* don’t know why a particular announcement bothers me or not, although I think that in general, babies are easier to handle than pregnant women. Which is odd – after all, what I really want is a baby. Pregnancy is more like the icing on the cake.
    Hoping that there will be more positive than negative encounters.

    * I misspelled this first, and autocorrect suggested “womb times”. How awesome is that?!


  17. It’s really hard, and it is so variable. It’s not just the mum and the baby either- I have had to put limits on whether I see my sister and niece with family around. Certain family members manage to upset me every time- which creates unhappy feelings about my niece.

    I think it is really important to allow yourself to be sad, and to knowingly avoid situations where you are aware that it will upset you. I restrict FB, because something in their equations puts baby announcements front and centre. Obviously, total avoidance isn’t going to happen, but you don’t have to go to toys r us on the baby goods sale day either. On that level, I think that the email you wrote to your friend is both very helpful, and very tough to respond to- people don’t expect to be told that something that makes them happy may be hard for another.


    • Thanks for your comment. These days I have blocked some of my friends who are pregnant or just had a newborn on FB. I agree with you that total avoidance is not going to happen because I can’t hide at home and not go to church. Fortunately I feel fine most of the time. To me, these things come in waves. I just avoid certain people at church. I flee after saying hi to them. As for my friend not responding to my email, I guess I am more hurt about her not acknowledging or responding to the first part of my email regarding my pregnancy and my loss… Maybe I thought that with our friendship, she’d write me back right away (like most other people) to acknowledge the loss. When it didn’t happen, I was disappointed. I agree with you that it’s something tough to respond to. I will wait for her to write back coz she can’t avoid me forever. 🙂


  18. Pingback: One Victory | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

  19. Pingback: A Good Place | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

  20. Pingback: Honestly | When Why How Baby

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s