A coworker caught me in the hallway and asked if I wanted to come to my former coworker’s “baby shower”. I wrote about this former coworker here. Her pregnancy announcement caught me by surprise as I knew that she was in the process of adoption after trying for a baby for a while. I am not close to her, I was happy for her, but I did block her on Fac.ebook as she showed more and more of her baby bump photos. Anyhow, the “baby shower” was actually going to consist of a dim sum lunch and then a Sk.ype session with the pregnant lady because she lives in another part of California.
This coworker does not know the exact details of our struggles, and I have never shared with her about our effort of making a baby. But people in my office are nosy. The year after we got married, I was repeatedly teased at work about having babies. Since we have nothing to show for, nobody mentions about it anymore. I am sure that it is a silent knowledge that we probably are struggling. My response to my coworker was “I don’t go to baby showers anymore”, to which she said, “I figured, but still wanted to extend the invitation so you would be included.” She suggested that I could go to dim sum only and skip out on the Sk.ype session. I declined by thanked her for thinking of me.
It is nice to have a say in declining a baby shower invitation because I was actually invited. I think that many people think that since infertile people don’t often go to baby showers, they don’t want to be invited. I don’t know about you, but I think it makes infertile people feel even more isolated. It is nice to have the choice to decide if one wants to go.
I don’t think the baby shower will take place any time soon. The following week after the baby shower invitation, another coworker shared with me that this former coworker, who was at the time 31-week pregnant, was having some problems and might give birth soon. This coworker was feeling very bad for the pregnant lady.
Here comes the part where you may find me cold-hearted. I did not feel bad for her. My first reaction was that they would all survive, even if she had to give birth 31 weeks. She will have her take-home baby. I sound cold. And I was surprised by my lack of feelings. For an acquaintance that had struggled with making a baby and finally got pregnant, I felt that I should have more feelings for her. But I searched my heart, and I don’t. I have been exposed to this world of infertility and have read over and over again other people who gave birth early and their struggles in the NICU. I feel like I have spent all my energy on my infertile friends that I don’t have enough compassion and empathy to go around for other people that are remotely related to me. Can one be desensitized about bad news in the baby world? I think so. I do not minimize the potential difficulties that my former coworker may face because from reading about my other friends, I know that her road to going home could be long. But, again, I don’t feel bad for her. Other coworkers do feel bad probably because they simply have not had as much exposure as I have for these kinds of things. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make me feel good that I feel so cold-hearted.
The next day, former coworker did give birth to her baby at 31 weeks. I was told that the baby is doing well as her weight is right where she should be and she breathed on her own for a little. I am not a prophet, but I have confidence that this baby is going to be fine.
As for me, I have to release myself from this guilt of not feeling bad for my former coworker. But I do know that being infertile for so long has changed my perspective on things in this world of making babies. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing. Maybe you just can’t classify it as such. This is my reality now. Maybe I just have to let myself be.