I don't know if I am unique in this, but I tend to think much less about my inability to have a baby when I'm not actively trying to get pregnant. In the early days of TTC, when I was checking my temperature and cervical mucus/position daily, or later on when going through a cycle taking fertility medications, thoughts of our infertility have at times been darn-near all-consuming. Now that I no longer bother with daily temperature-taking, in a cycle like this one, when I've taken no medications designed to "help" us conceive, I can mostly put our TTC struggles out of my mind. I think that is quite an accomplishment after 18 months of TTC without success.
And yet. I notice that random things which would have occurred without my notice two years ago can now make me almost irrationally angry. Sometimes when I start thinking about things that MM and I would like to do in the near future. . . . say, a trip we'd like to take in spring 2010. . . . I think about the fact that we really don't know if any plans we make that far in advance can come to fruition. If I'm not pregnant by then, we will likely be doing some type of treatment that would preclude going out of town. If (hallelujah!) I was pregnant then, it might be a safe time for me to travel. I will admit: this makes me mad. I feel in some ways that I have lost control over my life.
(When we were on our recent vacation to DC and northern Virginia, I thought fleetingly about the fact that when we scheduled that trip in early April, I had high hopes that I would be pregnant by the time we went. Clearly that didn't happen.)
I can hardly stand to hear about child abuse anymore, even on the news. Sure, this is a topic that no one really ENJOYS hearing about, but I've been working with abused and neglected kids in foster care as a volunteer for over seven years. Before I was TTC myself, sadly, I had grown somewhat accustomed to hearing about all but the worst cases. Now? I get really, really upset.
One of the hardest situations, simply because it is so frequently occurring: now, even when a friend or acquaintance who I know will be a good and loving parent announces her (or his wife's) pregnancy, my initial reaction is seldom happiness: it's anger. Double that anger if it's not their first child. For friends and acquaintances' pregnancy announcements, the anger is usually quickly overshadowed by my happiness for the couple--how quickly being somewhat related to how close I am to the parents-to-be and whether the child is their first--but the anger is never NOT there, even if it's only for a split-second. "Why her and not me?" now pops into my head EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.
And don't even get me started on how I feel when I hear of people's "accidental" or unwanted pregnancies. Thankfully, being in my late 30s and working in a law firm, I don't hear about these as much as the average person, I'd suspect. (Although my husband, as a probation officer, hears about them quite a bit.) Talk about "Why her and not me?"
In our extended family, my unemployed, uneducated, poor, country relatives reproduce with ease while I continue to wait, month after month, for it to be "my turn." Just in the past month, my mom has informed me of one (unplanned, out-of-wedlock) birth to a second cousin. A great situation, as the "baby-daddy" apparently skedaddled long before the blessed event. She also told me that my 23-year-old second cousin who has a toddler is due again in December. Oddly, my mom also decided to wait to tell me about cousin #2's pregnancy. (I don't see this cousin often, so I likely wouldn't know unless Mom told me.) I don't know how she thought THAT would spare my feelings; maybe she misguidedly thought I'd be pregnant myself before I found out about her second baby.
Even well-meaning advice from people can really chap my hide. My father shared with me last week that he knows a woman in his church who is having her first baby at age 42, saying "so there's still hope for you." Ugh. I love my parents, but they are both absolutely clueless when it comes to talking to them about infertility (and Dad is on limited information status anyway).
I've long struggled with my temper, and I am by no means a patient, calm person. With time and effort, I have learned to control my anger in most situations and circumstances. But I have never before experienced these random flashes of anger. . . . anger that flares suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere. Anger that I must swallow and control.
Yet another awful thing about infertility.