As infertiles, many of us suffer from certain "triggers." Pregnancy announcements, baby shower invitations, innocent inquiries (so when are you two going to have a baby?), ignorant comments (you are so lucky you don't have kids, they are such a pain!), swollen bellies in line at the grocery story, a pregnancy appearing in the storyline of a favorite television program... the events that make you simultaneously feel a stabbing in your heart, a swelling in your throat, and a clenching in your stomach.
While we are in the waiting-for-BFP phase of IF, I think many of us imagine that seeing two magical lines on a HPT will suddenly make things All Better. That attaining the goal, the sweet and precious reward of all of our efforts, will make the world look rosy and we'll shop for itty bitty clothes and share a secret smile with DH when the baby kicks and OH LAWD isn't every second of life just Heaven?
Of course, getting pregnant after IF is a wonderful gift. I don't mean to discount how much happier it is to take a progesterone supplement than a Follistim shot. It's a far, far better place.
But it's not The Cure.
(I apologize if I just got "It's Friday I'm in Love" in your head. Go listen to it on youtube.com three times, that should get it out. Click HERE for the link. Because I care.)
When I was first pregnant with Bean, the triggers for me were just as strong as while we were undergoing treatment. I remember being less than two months along, and I went to get my hair cut. I loved my stylist, she was young and fun and friendly and great at her job. On that particular day, I was greeted with a hug and the exciting news that HOORAY! SHE WAS PREGNANT! I was thrilled at her obvious baby bump, especially knowing that she had suffered two miscarriages in the past. But despite my sincere happiness that she was baking a very sticky bean, and the private knowledge that I, too, had an early life growing inside my tummy, it was a trigger for me. As soon as I got back into my car, I started sobbing uncontrollably.
But infertility had burrowed itself so deep inside of me, that just getting pregnant was not enough to erase my response to the triggers. That's me, Pavlov's dog -- just ring the bell.
Over time, the conditioning weakened and the triggers changed. After Bean was born, there were no more tears when a birth announcement came in the mail, just perhaps a slight stiffening.
When we began to look toward having a second child, I would feel that dreaded physical response only when I saw a pregnant woman who had one child with her. A baby bump alone was not enough to punch me in the gut, which I was grateful for. And my reactions never did seem as strong as they were when we battling IF the first time. Probably because our situation never got as bad.
So here I am, pregnant again. Hopefully for another eight more months. I do feel my triggers slowly -- very slowly -- losing their power. When I see a pregnant women with her kids, I am drawn to stare, with a bit of envy. I wonder if she knows what it's like to struggle to conceive. I wonder what it would be like to conceive with my husband, just the two of us, in private. To not have that heavy weight, that dark burden, that lingering question: Will there be a child, or won't there? To take for granted that there just will be.
On one hand, I can't imagine myself being a grandmother one day (God willing) and still having a reaction to these triggers.
But on the other hand, I can't ever imagine myself not.
Like the graph of an asymptotic function where the line slowly dips lower and lower, approaching zero but never arriving.
It makes me wonder. After you've lived through infertility and felt the pain of its associated triggers, can you ever get to absolute zero? When the only churning in your stomach at hearing of another "accidental" pregnancy is yearning for a bite of that yummy-looking bagel sandwich she's eating? Is it possible to achieve complete extinction from that level of IF conditioning?
Special thanks to my cousin J for the math advice and Truth Be Told blog for the graph image.
10 hours ago