Sunday, December 27, 2009

More on babies and how I don't have any.

Lately, it feels like God is slapping me around a bit in the baby department. Let's make a list:

1) Normal but painful comment#1: Lady at Bat Mitzvah, holding one of her cute little kids in her lap (number 4 or 5) asks me in front of the whole table: "so how many kids do you and your husband have?" Me, not stopping to feel anything: "We don't have kids." Awkward Pause. Awkward Pause. Awkward Pause. Me, filling in space "So are you from the Midwest or did you move here recently?" (like I give a rat's etc.) Later, my shame is exacerbated by the lady telling my friend how sorry she was that she asked me that question and had she known about MY SITUATION, she never would have.

2) Last week in shul, I said to Moriah, new to my community, in front of five of our friends, "Yonatan (her six-year old) is so cute!" She replies "You want him?" Awkward glances exchanged all around. Again, not giving myself a second to feel, I force myself to laugh. I wish people would realize how freakin fortunate they are.

3) I had some blood typing and genetic testing done. (Thank God, all good news). But wouldn't you know that a woman from shul, Ellie, works at the lab, and didn't have the grace or discretion to keep quiet about it. She forwards the results and the bill to me with a little yellow sticky note attached, saying Hello and Good Luck with the fertility stuff, Love Ellie. I wanted to just die. I immediately called my doctor and asked him to never use that lab again for any testing. I could just imagine Ellie coming up to me after davening and saying something like "great news about your estrogen levels, huh!" or "how's the husband's sperm count doing?" while we're ladling out chulent at the kiddush. Kill me now, please. The other labs charge about twice the price, but I don't care.

4) This woman's daughter, whose wedding I attended six months ago, is 4 months pregnant. Just found out on Facebook and forced myself to wish her a "b'sha'ah tovah." Her response? "Thanks. I hope you're okay with this." Shutup.

5) A friend of mine whose husband just lost his job, was very upset about it. She was crying to me over the phone. I told her that at least she still had her job, and that she was in good company because both my husband and I were now both unemployed. She screamed at me (really, hysterical) that it wasn't the same because she had three children to support, and what nerve for me to compare. I said, "Honestly Debbie, I would kill to be worried about how I was going to pay for my three kids' tuition bills right now. " Again, people don't know how lucky they are.

6) Had an initial consult with the doctor. Turns out in my age category, assuming all my chemistry turns out ok, I have between a 10-15% chance of conceiving with IVF. Super. Happily, I also found out that with IVF, they can screen out for Down's Syndrome with a 90% certainty. It occurred to me that those odds are roughly the same.

I'm not as sensitive as I used to be about baby comments and baby-related stuff. I do understand that the whole world has babies and that it is I who is the exception, and that even though these comments bite and sting, they are normal and I need to turn off the emotion. And I do, pretty successfully. But every now and then, it catches up with me and I feel like I can't bear this pain, that it's too much for me already. Then I choke it down and wait for my next test.


frum single female said...

yes, people are complete idiots. i never ask anyone if they have kids even if i havent seen them in fifteen years. i learned that one long ago. years ago i had a ran into an old friend at a wedding. i didnt know if she had kids or not. she had been married for ten years. something about the way she was speaking made me think that she might not have any. usually people who have kids pull out the billfold of pictures if they havent seen you in awhile. she did not. someone else at the wedding went over to her and asked her if she had any kids yet. well she didnt. if i didnt know this before that moment i learned it then. much better not to ask this, or other personal questions. you might night be up on the latest gossip, but you wont be hurting anyone's feelings either.
as for the lab technician friend , she could lose her job for not keeping things confidential. not that you should make this happen, but it was EXTREMELY uncalled for on her part.
im sorry that people are idiots. it really hurts. unfortunately the people who really need to read your post are probably too busy with their kids to be reading blogs. but maybe even just one of them is.

Abandoning Eden said...

wow, people are idiots. By treating it like a shameful thing don't they realize they just make people feel worse? It is not shameful to not have kids, or to have problems conceiving, it's something a lot of women go through.

If you are looking for some people who are going through the same thing, the forums at are a good place to check out.

Good luck with the ivf if you decide to go that route. Would you consider adopting if that doesn't work?

Also I can't believe that lab tech sent you a personal note, that is completely unprofessional and probably violates some hippa laws too.

A said...

One I'll never forget:

In response to a stranger making a comment about not wanting to get involved with a divorced woman because he didn't think he could handle her baggage, a divorced friend (with 2 children) said to me (single with no children) that it's not that bad if she doesn't remarry because at least she HAS kids. Guess my feelings didn't count as long as she could make herself feel better about a stranger's throwaway comment.

Anonymous said...

People can be shockingly thoughtless and cruel. It really bothers me when parents complain about their kids or offer to give them away for a day. As a 33 year old woman who just got married, I worry about my fertility and am disturbed the way some parents speak about their kids as if they were annoyances to be gotten rid of. I have a number of friends who desperately want to have children, but can't for a variety of medical reasons. Their pain is palpable. I truly sympathize with your position and hope that your wishes are fulfilled very soon.

Commenter Abbi said...

To the last anonymous- Yes people can be thoughtless, but I don't think most pple are being intentionally cruel. People, especially parents of small children, get really caught up in their own lives.

And I would imagine pple raising special needs kids, autistic or Aspergers kids are not exactly loving every minute of childraising and I don't image you, as a childless woman, would enjoy that experience every minute.

A friend of mine was recently forced to abort her fourth child because her uterus ruptured in the 12th week. If she continued the pregnancy, she would have died. How she continues to get up in the morning, care for her children and go to work, I have no idea. Everyone has their own pekalach, even people with children.

Anonymous said...

To Commenter Abbi - I didn't say that most people are being intentionally cruel, just that people can be shockingly cruel.

I am well aware that everyone has their own set of pekalach to deal with, but I wasn't commenting on everyone else's- just NJG's.

frum single female said...

commenter abbi-
no one was saying that being childless is the only awful challenge that could be dealt a person. its just that it is is a challenge and hard to deal with.

WebGirl said...

You know what? I never wanted to be given special consideration or sensitivity because we don't have kids. I don't want pity. That's not what I'm going for here. I understand that the norm is to have kids, and that most people are not mean or stupid...they just don't think that much about it in their day-to-day lives.

I guess I think people who do have kids, whether they are special needs or whatever, should just realize how fortunate they are. When I was divorced, I felt my loneliness and scarring as something very palpable. Now that I am married and happily so, I look at every day with profound gratitude. Honestly I do. Sometimes I think about where I was or what I was doing a year ago, and I start to cry. I am so damn lucky to have my husband, warts and all. It gives me a heightened sense of how fortunate I am and how not important our hurdles (like the fact that we are both unemployed) are. It gives me a special awareness of people who are not married or who are struggling with their marriages and makes me want to not shove my happiness in their faces, because being alone or making a difficult marriage work requires daily heroism. I never had this sensibility before I was divorced. I guess it is the same with having kids. Yes, it is not perfect and yes there are incredible sacrifices involved and of course, no one is being intentionally cruel. But perhaps there is a thoughtlessness here. Would any of those parents trade their peckels for never having been parents? And have they ever thought about it?

Just step back and be grateful for the blessings that you have and even for the extreme challenges that come with those blessings, and be aware that not everyone has been that fortunate. I hope that if God does eventually give us a child, that I will remember what this feels like and always carry that awareness with me.

WebGirl said...

BTW, Anonymous...I'm not NJG. ;)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, those mistakes happen late at night. Too many blogs, too many acronyms. :) :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, how did I get drug into this? ;)

I'm still around, BTW. Sorry about what you have had to deal with. I won't give you any platitudes. Just keep on keepin' on.

NJG (signed out)

MK said...

As someone who's been through it, (yes I got all the same comments, I coulda written this post for you), I know it hurts and I think you handled it very well. Just don't let it get you down, very hard to do I know.
I don't know your age or other factors, but the success rates today are much higher than 15%. There are other/additional procedures available that can increase your chances. I can only suggest you use a top tier facility/doctor that is up on the latest developments. I again urge to contact Bonei Olam, just to get their opinion.

Anonymous said...

The hardest for us was being the only non-parents amongst my siblings. Maybe we imagined it, or maybe we didn't, but we felt invisible at family gatherings, with all the attention on my parents' grandchildren, in which we could not participate.