We can’t be Pollyanna every day!

(Or: Sometimes we all need a little rant.)

Pollyanna doing a weird smiling thing

I think some of you might have gotten a slightly unrealistic view of how optimistic I am, based on some of my previous posts. I mean, I like to try and do jedi mind tricks on myself to try and make the best of things, which I like to think is a rational response to less enjoyable situations. Or in Pollyanna terms, I try and play The Glad Game.

Pollyanna’s philosophy of life centers on what she calls “The Glad Game,” an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. It originated in an incident one Christmas when Pollyanna, who was hoping for a doll in the missionary barrel, found only a pair of crutches inside. Making the game up on the spot, Pollyanna’s father taught her to look at the good side of things—in this case, to be glad about the crutches because “we didn’t need to use them!”

Source

In terms of my many years of infertility, subsequent IVF and miscarriage, I’ve tried to play The Glad Game by identifying and taking joy in the small happinesses and trying not to let this define my life. In many ways, I feel like I’ve moved on in a healthy way following my miscarriage and even though I feel like I think of it in the back of my mind almost every minute of the day, I’m able to rationalise and bring balance by repeatedly focusing on the things I have to be happy about.

The Glad Game: Infertility Edition*

  • I don’t have a baby but… isn’t it great I get to have lie ins at the weekend?
  • I can’t get pregnant but… I get to stay slim(ish) and I don’t get saggy boobs and stretch marks!
  • I don’t have kids but… I have a better job than all my friends who are mums!
  • I lost the baby but… I can drink as much wine as I want and eat cheese!
  • I had a miscarriage but… at least I know that I can get pregnant after 15 years!
  • We don’t have kids but… we can do things at short notice and go on holiday when we want to!
  • We aren’t parents but… we have great people (and animals) in our life who we love and care for!
(* I hope you read that in the slightly sarcastic British humour way it was intended!)

But sometimes…

Sometimes it’s tiring trying to see the good side of everything. 

Sometimes getting upset is a completely rational response. Really… Who can be Pollyanna all the time?

Why am I wearing this stupid hat?

I get the same thoughts as everyone else, and coupled with the British sarcasm and cynicism, I have to tell you that my friends I know in real life would be in hysterics to think that any of you might consider me optimistic! I am “blessed” with a deadpan BRF (do not click that link if your filters are strict… it stands for b—-y resting face!) and no matter what I do, people seem to think I’m in a bad mood. My dad likes to tell people about how I’m the only baby he ever met that could stop an adult from across the room just by staring at them.

I’ve learned over the years how to counteract this – depending on the situation, I force myself to blink (rather than do my special death stare) and smile (despite the fact that I just don’t feel like walking around with an inane grin on my face), and probably by being excessively wordy in an attempt to explain myself. (“I may look like I want you to shrivel up and die but rest assured I really like you, gosh, isn’t that a lovely dress you’re wearing? Will you be my friend?” type stuff… Those of you who read my blog regularly will know the blethery style!)

But… sometimes my defences are down and I have a completely emotional response to something. I’m not immune to the power of frustration and sadness over focusing on the good stuff.

And today was one of those days.

My friends in the infertility community (that club nobody wants to be in) will be familiar with this one.

Letting off steam

Sometimes I just see red and today was one of those days.

Note to self: Stay off Facebook.

So, today I was on Facebook, harmlessly minding everyone else’s business (!) and I was presented with a big advert in the middle of the page. I know Facebook likes to do this and has some sort of dodgy data scraping algorithm which decides which adverts you’re going to see. I know how the paid advertising works, because I have a page on Facebook which I’ve occasionally done some advertising for, so I know that you pick out your target audience, either by aiming at friends of people who’ve liked the page (the reasoning being that friends of people who like your product are more likely to like your product than complete strangers, and may have similar interests to their friends) or you can aim at people who like certain things – you put in keywords to do this. For example, if someone has said on their profile that they like rugby, you can target adverts for rugby related clothing or rugby matches.

Anyway, so what do I get this morning (whilst I have a bad headache that may or may not be related to some wine I drank last night) but…

An advert for nappies!

Not this advert but similar – Beaming Baby nappies

WTF. Do I really need a baby-plastered image advertising nappies (diapers to my American friends!) at this time of the morning when I have a blinding headache and I’ve not long ago lost a baby? Even worse, the name of the company is Beaming Baby which just bloody enraged me. The advert had a literal beaming baby surrounded by nappies and I just thought WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS?!

What did I do?

I wrote an extremely stroppy message to Beaming Baby.

I told them they needed to review their targeted advertising.

I told them not every over 30 year old has a baby.

I’ve just had a miscarriage.

I’ve never “liked” a baby page and I don’t have anywhere on my profile that I like babies, or am interested in baby stuff.

I’ve occasionally bought presents for baby showers (so I can understand why suggestions come up from amazon, for example) but I DO NOT HAVE A BABY!

Yup… I’m not proud of myself here but I had a slight rant. (They haven’t replied… I’ll tell you if they do.)

The thing is, there’s no button you can press to make the baby stuff go away. (With the Zuckerberg-Chan pregnancy and miscarriage announcement, you’d think there might be.)

Here’s the thing… You can focus on all the great stuff in your life, which I really do try and do, but there comes a time when you are faced with a beaming baby. And all the Glad Games in the world can’t really make up for the fact that you don’t have one.

I don’t have my beaming baby.

I should have been well into my second trimester by now. (I stopped counting so I don’t know exactly… too upsetting to focus on.) I should have been wearing the belly band which is sitting on the side still in its packet, unopened. It arrived the week we were told it might not be good news, so I never opened it. I should have been clear headed this morning because I wouldn’t have been to the pub last night. (We won the pub quiz – still not enough consolation for my baby dying, I’m afraid.) Or… I might have gone to the pub and been able to do that smug-pregnant “I’m not drinking; I’ll have a lemonade” thing, which I never got to do. I could have made jokes about how fat I was getting whilst secretly thinking ha!

But I never got my little beaming baby.  I don’t want to be reminded of this all the time. I don’t need reminding. It’s there, my loss, looming in the back of my mind pretty much every minute of every day.

(To be fair, my baby would probably be more cross looking.)

They say women are better at multi-tasking than men; I say this applies to thinking and remembering loss. I can do everything else… I can live my life… I can walk my dog and cuddle him and rejoice in how lucky I am to have the most amazing dog in the world. I can go to my job in the corporate world and talk about stuff that needs a PowerPoint presentation to accompany it. I can go out on adventures with T. I can stay in and watch tv. I can cook dinner. I can be a proper grown up. I can be silly and act like a child.

I can do all of these things because I am a woman. I am strong. I am an expectant mother. I just don’t know when my child is coming… or whether the one I lost is the only one I’m ever going to have.

So… here’s my thought for the day.

If we can put out positivity then eventually, by the law of averages, it’s going to come back. But we have no way of controlling how it comes back. I might be blessed in my life in all other areas than ever having a baby. I don’t know because I’m not at the end of my journey yet… so I’m going to keep trying, because persistence is key to success.

Being like Pollyanna isn’t about being happy all the time – it’s about choosing to focus on the things we can be thankful for. Playing the Glad Game. We, in the infertility community, who know about loss… we are used to playing the game.

But we can’t all be Pollyanna all of the time. And that’s okay.

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25 comments

  1. TryTryAgain

    I bloody LOVE this post!!!! Not only is it hilarious, but so true. I feel everything that you’re saying here, and am trying to get back a little bit of Pollyanna, as mine almost disappeared completely! You’re totally right though, we all have those days and that’s totally fine. Glad you’re feeling a little better xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Haha! I’m glad you loved it. I just read and commented on your post… It seems like our timing was synchronicity! 🙂 I hope you are feeling better after your counselling session – it sounds great. Sending you hugs x

      Like

    • Nara

      I know! It just annoys me as it isn’t targeted at all! Surely it should be targeted towards people who actually have children… You’re not going to want to buy nappies if you don’t – regardless of what age you are!

      Like

  2. marmite1983

    This post couldn’t be more spot on! I’ve been in a foul mood all day and for no other reason than I just woke up feeling crappy and am smack bang in the middle of a 2ww. I hate the targeted adverts on Facebook, Amazon, Hotmail……..I worked at Mothercare until a couple of years ago so I really do get bombarded still. Your sarcasm is very welcome and definitely made me smile (first time today!) so thank you for your post. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Ah, poor you! You must have been surrounded by it at Mothercare! I’m in a bit of a mood because of the headache so I can imagine how you’re feeling. I’ve only ever had one 2WW and I just tried not to think about things! It’s hard! I think we all need to vent (and be a bit sarcastic) now and again. 🙂

      Like

      • marmite1983

        I have tried this on Facebook a few times and the adverts do appear to have reduced a little. I think I probably need to be more vigilant and do it every time I see an advert I don’t want to see. Thanks so much for posting. Hope your headache’s gone now x

        Like

  3. libraryowl33

    Thank you for this, it is so true! It isn’t socially acceptable to complain, so we find something else to talk about. I’m always making little puns or comments to make people laugh, when really I just want to go home crawl into bed. So, thanks 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Ah, I think there is a kind of British sense of humour where we end up making jokes or sarcastic comments! I have found that when I want to go home to bed, it helps to do it once in a while. (Hopefully without getting into trouble if I’m supposed to be doing something else.) When I had the miscarriage I think I spent most of the 2 weeks off just lying about or sleeping. Hope you are okay x

      Liked by 1 person

      • libraryowl33

        I’m doing ok, I’ve just been in a mood lately where I don’t want to do anything. It’s probably a combo of BCP and anticipating my mini IVF. I slept 11 hours last night and I’m feeling a bit better. I’m just ready to do… something. I’ve gotten much more corny since I’ve been with hubby, and I make puns all the time. They just get more frequent when I’m in a funk. Making jokes and getting people to laugh when I don’t want laugh myself to is my Pollyana style.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        Hahaha, I love puns! We make punny jokes all the time about the dog. Mainly really stupid ones that nobody else gets. (There is a video yet to be made about Bonio and Julie-pet… the Shakespearean dog tragi-comedy.) What else can we do?

        I hope your mini IVF goes well and that any side effects are easier than you expect! At least you’ll feel like you’re doing something! I didn’t mind the process, for all the inconvenience and side effects, because I felt like I was being proactive and doing something. Right now I’m waiting… for the op… and then for our IVF #2 to come round on the waiting list… which is months away. Probably why I’m posting so much on here! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Public service announcement: How to deal with targeted advertising on Facebook if you’re infertile | From zero to zygote
  5. ashleykyleanderson

    Firstly, I just want to say that my post today was not in any way influenced by this, so I hope that didn’t cross your mind! I have been writing it for a few weeks now, finished it last night, and posted today before reading this. They were just general thoughts and not directed at anyone specifically.

    Secondly, the Facebook thing is so interesting to me now that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have shared their story of multiple miscarriages. I was totally blown away by their admission and the first thing that Kyle said is, “I wonder how his wife feels knowing that her husband is responsible for the website that allows people to spam newsfeeds with unnecessary baby bumps and tons of ultrasounds.” I have to imagine that (more than once) she said something to him about it about how much it sucks that there is literally nowhere to go to get away from it… she had to have at least thought about it, right? Or taken a facebook break at some point for her own sanity? I’d really, really love to ask her this!

    I have long thought that there should be a filter option on facebook. You should be able to filter out stories with words like pregnancy, baby, ultrasound, baby bump, etc. It’s so simple! Much easier than blocking all pregnant friends, oversharing friends, and friends who have been married for a little bit and will likely get pregnant soon… (I may have blocked 85% of my current friends list for those very reasons).

    The same thing goes for the advertising. There has to be some way to come up with a better system than assuming every woman of a certain age has children. I remember literally the month we got married my facebook started advertising pregnancy/baby products. At the time I thought it was funny… like they assumed it was a shotgun wedding? (we were married pretty young after all…) But later on I didn’t see it that way.

    Anyway, sorry for the lengthy comment, but I wonder if contacting facebook would be better than contacting the diaper/nappy company? Maybe they would start to listen if we, as the infertility community, pushed back on this? Or maybe not. But it could be worth a try?

    Also, I love Pollyanna, but I think in real life she would start to get on my nerves after a while. I’d probably be like “just say ‘THIS SUCKS’ for once in your life!!” So no need to hold yourself to those impossible standards. 🙂

    Like

    • Nara

      I have good news… I found out how to fix the targeted ads! I’m pretty sure it has removed the baby stuff from my feed. Well, the ads anyway… not my friends! So I’m feeling better about that. I know what you mean – I keep imagining that Priscilla was complaining to Mark about the ads. I actually wish there was a button where you could hide ALL kid stuff or at least the ultrasounds and pregnancy announcements as for me they’re the hardest. I think there is maybe an app but not sure. It’s great that they’ve sort of opened the conversation about infertility.

      And so funny about Pollyanna! I don’t think I’m really like her at all. The British way is quite sarcastic so I try to fight it and be optimistic… but it doesn’t come naturally! That’s why I always have to try the glad game / positive affirmations to make myself more positive! 🙂

      Like

  6. heatherhopeful

    Nara, this was simultaneously funny, and very real. I love your dry, British wit. I’m sorry about the ad on Facebook–that’s annoying. I’m glad (Pollyanna level gladness here) you found a way to stop those ads. Sending you big virtual hugs from across the pond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Ah, thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed my little rant. 🙂 I feel a bit bad about it now, but that said I haven’t had any response from Beaming Baby, which I think is a poor show. Thank you for the hugs… I’m sending some back at you! x

      Like

  7. Pingback: Credit where credit’s due (An update on the Facebook saga) | From zero to zygote
  8. ourgreatestdesire

    Thank you for this post! It’s fantastic!!! Also, I had to giggle about Pollyanna getting the crutches instead of a what she wanted because right before I read it, my soon to be 13 yr old niece (like in less than 5 hrs) told me she wants crutches for her birthday!!! Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with her, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Haha thanks! It’s funny, T actually wanted us to get a wheelchair “just in case”. He’s always hurting himself! When I was little I wanted crutches, but then had them and the novelty wore off after a day!

      Like

  9. Pingback: Sometimes you just need your mum | From zero to zygote
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