Confession time. Sometimes I can be a real bitch. That’s over a decade of infertility for you! Sometimes I feel the old jealous, mean feelings coming back.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while and it’s probably just going to sound like a massive whine. But I keep meaning to blog more, for good and for bad, so here goes.
We are having a small naming ceremony at home for B. In our new flat! It’s going to be mainly home made stuff and a small group of friends and family and hopefully will be really lovely, but I don’t want to write about it too much on here because it’s a nice thing and this venting is not, so I’ll write it up separately.
The reason I want to vent is because I just feel hurt that it’s very likely none of my siblings will be attending. Now they all have reasons, some of which are better than others in my opinion, and I know this is all mumzilla and B won’t give a flying poop about any of it, but to me it’s about something deeper, which is the fact that I never thought I’d get to have a baby and it’s a special occasion I want to mark and none of my siblings can be arsed to attend.
This is unfair of me of course and that’s why I’m venting on here. But I’m finding it hard not to feel salty about it. Well mainly about my sister.
One of my siblings can’t attend because of living in a different country that’s very far away… Efforts were made but it isn’t going to happen, sadly. But they (sibling plus partner) are going to record a reading and try and FaceTime in to the ceremony, so at least they’re making an effort.
My brother who lives not that far away is probably not going to be able to make it with his family because of my niece’s (medical/developmental) problems. I get that it’s hard. I can’t imagine how hard it is. (Although she’s been fine when we have seen her sporadically including a few weeks ago when we went out for a family gathering – it was closer to their home though.) They seem to not want to take her out anywhere. Again. I get it. But they can go out for things they want to go out for. Just not for me/us.
I know it’s not quid pro quo but I went to her christening around what would have been my due date for PB (my first pregnancy, after IVF, that ended in miscarriage). I didn’t want to go but I sucked it up and even though I felt crappy about it, I turned up.
I probably would feel madder with my brother but ever since they identified my niece’s health problems I’ve felt all my jealousy for his perfect life dissipate. But my sister in law didn’t come to my baby shower and nor did my sister. In fact none of my family came.
My sister has point blank refused to come. My new niece was born a month ago and she says it’s too far to travel. I’m sure she has a point. It’s about a 3hr drive between us. She says that the car seat manufacturers say the baby can’t be in a car seat for more than two hours at a time and I’m like… Haven’t you heard of rest stops?! It’s not like she would be driving anyway – I always sit in the back with B and T drives us, and we have driven way longer than that and B is perfectly fine. But she’s very highly strung and she won’t hear any of it and anyway she’s really stressed about feeding and whatever and sticks to some convoluted schedule that apparently she can’t deviate from by a minute.
I also felt during my pregnancy that I couldn’t really be happy because my sister then was going through IVF (a frozen transfer not a fresh cycle) and she was completely nuts about it so I wasn’t able to celebrate it. I always have to mute my feelings for hers because she’s so prone to anxiety and depression and I’m always the one talking her down from the ledge.
She’s super demanding as well, even when it’s not convenient for us. She insisted she wanted the Sleepyhead (cot cushion) and I could have sold it locally for £70 as they hold their value (cost new £110), but instead I walked to the post office in the rain and queued up for ages so that she could have it on next day delivery because she needed it right that minute and kept asking me to send it straight away. Bearing in mind I was doing her a favour and saved them £110 and lost myself the resale value of £70! And it cost me a decent amount to send!
The thing that really upset me on top of the naming ceremony non attendance was that she’d said when she was pregnant that she wanted the electric rocker… It cost around £150 new and so rather than selling it when B was done with it, we had it in the tiny living room of our tiny flat for the past four months. Like you don’t really get how small our flat is… The frame took up half the sofa and the rocker was balanced on piles of boxes because we had to move it around when we wanted to move around! So I was pretty p*ssed off when she sent a picture of the niece in a new rocker they’d just bought. (Same make but cheaper model than the one that has taken up our living room for four months.)
When I said about the rocker she had asked us to save for them she said she “forgot, sorry.” Yeah that is fine… I mean we’ve been tripping over the damn thing for four months but whatever.
Man, I was so annoyed. I’m sure that this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back and this is just showing what a horrible person I am. I’m also really annoyed with her because all she does is complain and find things hard when she didn’t have to go through a fresh cycle of IVF (though made sure we all felt her pain), has had an uneventful pregnancy, a healthy baby and she gets to take over a year off work when I had to go back after four months. Not to mention their huge house they just bought. (Our dream house is a two bedroom apartment. Theirs is a five bedroom house!) She’s just a Class A whiner.
So I get that I’m being unreasonable, I really do, but I can’t help feeling upset about this. She had previously asked us to reschedule the naming from July or August to September so she would be able to come but then decided she didn’t want to.
I guess… I know I would have gone if it had been the other way round. I know that babies can travel. And B has always been a pretty easy baby. So I don’t have a full understanding of what it’s like to be hating motherhood or whatever because I don’t get why you’d go through everything we’ve been through if you didn’t want it. They didn’t even have half the problems we had! I know it’s not the pain Olympics but jeez.
I also know I’m feeling annoyed because we have a history (as with all relationships) and she’s always the looked after one, and I’m always the one who has to be looking out for her and making sure she’s okay, and just for one day I wanted to celebrate something good that means a lot to me. (Which of course we will still do.)
She’s having a lot harder time with motherhood and probably prone to post natal depression and of course I’m expecting too much. I’ve just spent my whole life with her being the vulnerable one, and the one who needs looking after and building up, and it feels kind of crappy that the one day where we have to celebrate B and the happiest thing in my life, none of my siblings will be there.
I also know that when it comes round to her daughter being christened or whatever that we will all have to go. I haven’t even been to see them yet as she’s weird about people visiting – didn’t want anyone to come when she was born, and said she only wanted a visit for like an hour, which is kind of a crazy expectation on a six hour round trip. Now apparently she’s ready for a visit, we are busy every weekend in September and anyway I feel annoyed about the naming and I don’t feel like seeing them until that has passed and I have it out of my system.
I keep telling myself to suck it up and stop feeling annoyed but I can’t help it. I feel super resentful. I also know rationally that I’ll have a better time without her there, because she’s super high maintenance and usually has a miserable face on her and would want to leave early and whatever.
I also know she’s trying to make up for it but its just ridiculous. Like she sent me £40 vouchers for cheese because I love cheese and I was annoyed about the rocker but firstly what am I going to do with £40 of cheese and secondly the cost of the rocker and the sleepyhead was a lot more than £40. I know she’s trying but I just want her to leave me alone until the naming is over and I’ve had a few weeks to get over it.
I think I’m just sick of being the okay one, the strong one, and I want someone to acknowledge how f*cking hard this has been and what an amazing thing it is that I’m a mother.
Most of the time I’m fine at concentrating on that and not concentrating on the sibling stuff.
So there you have it. I’m not all sweetness and light. I feel pretty bad for having these feelings. I know most people sympathise with her rather than me because people have been feeling sorry for her all our lives because she’s the one who doesn’t cope with things and I always do. I’ve always been the okay one and she’s always been the fragile one. And I know this is a total foot stamping moment on my part and I’m not proud of it.
You can’t pick your family unless you adopt them (ha!) so I am just venting… In a few weeks I’ll be fine, and anyway I want to concentrate on making a really nice day to celebrate B and if my siblings aren’t there then whatever; my friends will be. My aunt and uncle even changed their plans to come from up north (further away than my sister) so that’s nice. And our best friends will be there who know how much this means to us.
How much is an ex entitled to know about your life after you’ve split up?
Should you share significant information about yourself with the person you once cared most about in the world?
Would you tell your ex that you are expecting another man’s baby?
These are the questions that have been running through my mind ever since the arrival of baby B seemed more likely than a dream.
I have no frame of reference for this decision.
I spent a very long time with my ex – almost all my adult life – and everyone assumed we would have children. But we didn’t. It was probably one of the things that drove us apart. During our relationship, I was diagnosed with multiple problems that affected fertility. Endometriosis being the most severe. Our inability to deal with the implications of that was extremely damaging to our relationship and we split up a few years later.
When I met my partner T, we both knew we wanted to have children. As adoptees, it’s a huge thing to think that you might have a biological relative. I still can’t believe that in theory there are maybe 10, 11 more weeks before I am a mother. It seems absolutely mind-boggling. I still worry that it may not happen, that we will have another loss. That’s how pregnancy after loss differs from “normal” pregnancy. You never forget the fear.
I wonder if I owe it to my former partner to tell him. My reasons for thinking this are twofold: Firstly, I still care about him. Not in the way that I want to be with him – in fact, it seems foreign to me that we ever were together. But I suspect in some way that the information would hurt him, and I wonder if hearing it from me would be more or less hurtful. Secondly, I know that he will find out anyway. We share many of the same friends. We are blocked on social media (and anyway I have asked for a social media blackout) but it’s almost impossible for someone not to say something carelessly.
Is a relationship something that imprints upon some part of you? I believe we all carry those imprints from previous relationships, romantic or not. And I wonder how much they contribute to our ability to move on and develop new, healthier relationships. I know I took so many of the lessons from my relationship with my ex that allowed me to forge a stronger, healthier relationship with T. And I took the scars, too.
It has been a long time since we separated. A lifetime almost, even though it’s taken years for us to resolve the technicalities. I have been with T for longer than my ex and I were married, but a fraction of the time we were together. I know that now we’re no longer married, I owe him nothing in law.
But do I owe him anything morally?
(Or: To assume makes an ASS out of you at the very least)
A 3 year engagement during which Jennifer had to endure countless snarky comments about calling off the wedding (which they clearly haven’t done, choosing instead to get married on their own terms rather than sharing it with the press), an iconic ex (the only guy in the world for whom the saying “he’s no Brad Pitt” doesn’t apply) who got married to the person he cheated on Jennifer with (not to mention the collected gang of children), and a whole lotta rubbish talk about how she could have kept Brad if only she’d agreed to get up the duff by him.
This stuff enrages me. If you look at the news articles today, everyone is speculating about how at 46 she’s “too old” to have children… Comparing her with Saint Angie the Fertile (and rescuer of multi-hued adoptees) and generally implying that she’s got a poor second choice in Justin.
The Daily Mail, aka The Daily Hate, took this happy occasion as an opportunity to revisit all Jennifer’s past “failed” relationships. Because 46 year olds shouldn’t have had any other relationships at that age… I mean, what a massive ho bag, right?
Yeah, because I bet being a newlywed she’s sitting around thinking about how she totally missed out on Brad Pitt and, err, John Mayer. (By the by, I always feel bad for Vince Vaughn – who wants to follow Brad Pitt? Actually he’s way more my type than unfunny Brad Pitt, and I think he is very attractive.)
The thing that really gets my goat is the assumption that the reason why Jennifer Aniston doesn’t have children is because she didn’t want them. A quick squizz through the DM comments section (a reliable way to remind yourself that the world is full of nuts) reveals that this assumption is depressingly widespread.
To paraphrase the prevalent views:
Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston because he wanted to have kids.
Yep, it’s a shame that Jennifer didn’t permit herself to be impregnated by her cheating husband. I’m sure if she’d have done that, Brad would have been completely immune to Angelina’s charms.
Jennifer obviously doesn’t want children. She’s too old anyway.
Uh huh. The fact that she doesn’t have children definitely means that she doesn’t want children.
Let’s just examine those assumptions for a minute, shall we?
Jennifer’s 46 and she’s never had children. What if… (let’s just think on this for a second)… What if she can’t have children? What if she’s been trying all these years to have children? (Okay, maybe we can leave out the Mayer years… Surely no sane person in their right mind would choose to be impregnated by Mayer the Player; I mean, it would be like getting up the duff with Simon Cowell or something… Oh.)
Imagine for a minute how bloody devastating it must be, not only to be dumped publicly by Brad Pitt who then flaunts his new relationship in Vanity Fair and various African countries but who then goes and collects/begets five children in a few years? Imagine again that you’ve tried to have children but never managed to have any? And then for the world media to blame you for the break up of your marriage, because you weren’t trying hard enough to please the cheating cad by having his children?
I could be wrong, and maybe Jennifer is one of those people who isn’t interested in having children. (I’m pretty sure I’ve read an article where she debunks this rumour, something along the lines of “I never said I didn’t want children”.)
The point is, we don’t know. And to speculate that she doesn’t want children just because she doesn’t have them… Well, firstly, it is a completely unfounded assumption that could actually be really hurtful and secondly, it is none of our business!
Extrapolate this to our own lives. How many of us have been hurt by the assumption that we don’t want children, that we are “career women” or child haters? That we’re childless by choice? That we should be objects of pity or scorn because of our presumed barren old hag-ness, the crazy cat lady stereotype?
I’ve been told by numerous people that I am a child hater just because I’ve objected at times about how children are prioritised over everything else, or I’ve not wanted to be surrounded by children or go to baby parties where I’ll be the only barren shrivelled up female.
Nobody stops to think that it might be self preservation. That we, the infertiles, might not want to be reminded of our childlessness all the time. That we might be cut to the core over accusations that our childlessness is a choice. That all the years we’ve been childless (15 and counting) have been years of monthly disappointment and loss.
So I’m asking all of us to take a step back and help make a change in the way that women are evaluated and assumed about.
Next time one of your friends of colleagues makes a comment about how so-and-so is a “career woman” who prioritised work over kids, or a Hollywood star who is “too vain” to have a baby… Tell them not to make assumptions.
Maybe your colleague has been going through gruelling IVF treatment and miscarriages, and hearing those words is wounding to her.
Maybe that starlet has a glittering career and glamorous life, and yet all the money in the world can’t buy her what she really wants, the ability to carry her own child.
Or maybe she just doesn’t want children. And that’s okay too.
The point is, you don’t know another’s struggles. Assumptions can hurt. They invalidate people’s experiences. They make us all a little less human.
So next time, compassion. And joy for those of us who are childless but who still find happiness without children.
Do these guys look unhappy to you?