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A Thin Green Line
a blog by S.I.F. September 27, 2010
I have never been a jealous person. My entire life, I always figured that on some level people had earned everything they had. And even if they hadn’t, I still assumed there was nothing I couldn’t work hard enough to get for myself.
Then I became infertile, and I discovered a prize that wasn’t exactly within my control to win. I learned about the gut wrenching pain that occurs when faced with yet another baby bump or pregnancy announcement.
The knowledge that it may never be you.
And the guilt that washes over immediately after, not wanting to be this person who resents the joy of others.
We all recognize the right of infertiles to bubble over with anger simply thinking about the unfit parents. The drug addicts, abusers and Lohans of this world who never should have been given children to begin with.
There is an obvious injustice in that.
But what about when it’s someone you love? One of your best friends? Or even one of “us”?
What happens when it’s someone you should be happy for?
The first time I heard about women dropping pregnant Facebook friends (or refusing to go to any and all baby showers), I’ll be honest — I scoffed.
I couldn’t fathom ever being one of those women. Couldn’t comprehend a complete and total inability to be happy for the people I cared about.
But then I had an unsuccessful IVF. I felt the superior blow that goes along with throwing everything you’ve got into getting pregnant and failing.
Shortly after, the first pregnancy announcement came through, and I lost it. I couldn’t stop crying. I was overtaken with grief and incapable of being happy for this person I loved.
I had become the bitter woman I always said I would never be. And as much as that realization made me angry at myself; I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t change how I felt.
It took a few more announcements (and many more tears) before I realized that it wasn’t bitterness, it was jealousy. I was jealous. I wanted it to be so easy for me. I wanted those two pink lines for myself.
It wasn’t that I wanted them to not be pregnant. It was just that I wanted to be pregnant with them.
And it was in that realization that I was able to start feigning happiness again. Able to hide my tears and do my best to pretend that the news didn’t sting, at least until I could cry in private.
It’s a thin green line between bitterness and envy, one that I’m not too anxious to cross. Because as much as it may seem simpler some days to push away anyone who could ever even possibly beat me to the baby making punch; who would that leave to celebrate with me the day I finally get my good news?
I don’t want to be standing at the finish line by myself, simply because I was incapable of staying behind that thin green line. And I don’t want those I love to feel as though I’ve lost my ability to be happy for them.
So in the interim (between now and my own two pink lines), I pretend. I slap a smile on my face, and I rejoice in the joy of others.
Hoping to fake it ‘til I make it.
At least until my turn comes around.