Friday, August 8, 2008

My Generation

There are 7 of us in my generation on my dad's side of the family. I have one brother, 6 boy cousins and I'm the only girl of the generation. Of the 7, I fall somewhere in the middle-4 are older than me and 2 are younger. When our generation first started having kids, I was nowhere near ready to even think about kids. My oldest cousin had the first kid of the next generation and that kid is now 10. Ten years ago I had just graduated from college and was about to start my first job out of school. I was still dating my college boyfriend at the time.

As time went on, the rest of the cousins started having kids, as did my brother. That isn't to say it was easy for all of them (although it seemed that way for many of them). I know there were some definite hardships along the way. There were two more babies born this summer, one just this week, along with a new pregnancy announcement this week. My grandmother now has 9 great grandkids with three on the way (including Apple and Banana). I am now the only one of our generation who still isn't a parent. It is a weird place to be.

It is definitely easier to stomach knowing that Apple and Banana are growing more each day, but once an infertile, always an infertile. I think this concept may be one of the most difficult things for people to understand about the infertility world. I don't think many people understand how permanent the wounds are if they haven't been through it. I'm not trying to sound exclusive about this (and who would want to be a part of this exclusive club anyway?), but it is just difficult for people to understand. Infertility isn't a wound that heals over once you see those two pink lines. It is a wound that keeps re-opening again and again. Over time, maybe it heals over and leaves a scar, but it is still there. Always. It becomes a part of who you are, for better or for worse.

For a long time now, I've heard happy news of pregnancies and births in my extended family and experienced a wide range of emotions. Excitement, happiness, loneliness, bitterness, desperation, anger, hurt, you name it. I had hoped that once I was safely pregnant the negative feelings would go away and I would be left with only the excitement and happiness. And it is ugly to admit that I still feel the rest of the feelings along with the good when I hear these announcements. It is ugly and selfish to admit that I can't focus entirely on the positive when a member of my family, who I love, gets the good news that they are expecting or when they welcome a new addition to the family. Emotions are funny like that. You can know all along that they are wrong and that you don't want them, you don't want to be that person. But you can't control what you feel, it just is. And you can't deny that you feel that way (not for long anyway).

I hope that by putting this out there, I'm not offending any of my family. (I've been sitting here now for 10 minutes with my mouse hovering over the "publish" button). That isn't my intent. I am honest about how I feel about things, almost always. They know that about me. Maybe those who read this will gain a better understanding of how this experienced has changed me. Or maybe they'll think I'm a selfish ass. Either way, it's out there and it's honest.

I can only wonder at this point if I'll feel differently once Apple and Banana are born. Maybe the scar will completely heal over at that point, but it will still be there. A daily reminder of what we went through to bring them into our family.


s.e. said...

Your resentment and negative feelings are definitely understandable. I appreciate you sharing and making me aware that even if I find success that the same feelings may still remain. I admire your honesty and don't worry about how others may judge you!

momofonefornow said...

Obviously not everyone is the same, but in my experience having a living breathing child doesn't actually make the pain of infertility go away. I think it serves as a good distraction most of the time but all it takes is one insensitive comment or something that triggers a memory and I find myself right back in the ugly place.

Sorry, I know that is not exactly sunshine and flowers. However, in my opinion, it is the honest truth.

BB and MTB said...

I hope you are able to escape these feelings more and more.

Antigone said...

With everything you've been through, I think it's a natural struggle to ignore the inherent unfairness of it all.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the pain will lessen as time goes on. Hopefully holding your little ones in your arms will make up for the suffering you've been through.

I think I have only one cousin that hasn't already had a child (or three). My twin brother even has an almost 11 year old (oops) son. I can sympathize with some of the emotions you've spoken of towards family members.