I guess the next point to address is how to cope with this mental trauma. How do you deal with the outbursts, the meltdowns, the hurt, the anger? It’s a question that doesn’t really have an answer. Or maybe it has too many answers to be of any real use. Personally I have become a bit of a recluse. I’m not sure if everyone goes through this or if I’m some strange oddity. Is this it for good or is it just a phase? I’ve never really been a ‘life of the party’ type person but do like a good night out and I love hanging out with my mates eating, drinking and gossiping. It seems though, the longer we progress along this road of infertility, the harder and harder these sessions get. I have less to say (especially now the talk revolves more and more around pregnancy, babies and kids), less to contribute and, while not necessarily true, less in common. I feel like an outsider, a guest in this group of fabulous people with fabulous lives. Don’t get me wrong, I know many of this group have had struggles of their own, not necessarily with pregnancy or kids, but they have definitely had things happen in their lives that I would not wish on anyone. I guess the one thing many of my friends have in common is their kids, so naturally that’s where the conversation gravitates.
I find birthday parties the worst. I have to go to them and I WANT to go to them, I love my friends and I love their kids, but a few hours with a selection of beautiful toddlers and children serves as a constant reminder of what we’re missing out on, and of what we may potentially never have. I struggle to hold a conversation and often hole myself up in a corner watching the world move on around me, eventually making a dash for the door when it all gets too much. It sounds pathetic I know, and I should just make an effort, involve myself, distract myself, but the longer we go on Bumbleless the more it hurts and the harder it is to pretend everything’s fine.
I used to have an ally at these events, someone who had been trying longer than us, with whom I could chat about the difficulty of the situation and the stage we were at. She’s now six months pregnant and we’re officially the ones who have been trying the longest. I was so happy for her the day I found out, it gave me so much hope to know that someone who had been trying longer than us had defeated infertility, maybe we had a chance! It affected my husband in the opposite way. He who had been so strong through every other announcement, through every other birth, was suddenly visibly upset and dejected. While this was an awful moment for him, it was nice for me to know that he’s feeling the same way I am. He’s always been so good at looking on the bright side of things and finding the positive that you never really see the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that are hiding underneath.
So I’m a recluse. As well as the fact that I can’t step outside my door without bumping into a bump, a stroller, a toddler or child, I’m also trying not to drink as according to both acupuncturist and naturopath this is not going to aid our attempts. In a culture which prides itself on having a drink with mates it’s awfully difficult to venture out for a night without getting a hundred and one questions. I spent a night out with work colleagues recently and not 10 minutes went by without one of them questioning me about why I wasn’t drinking or trying to bully me into having something. I’ve got a pretty thick skin when it comes to that kind of thing and can be extremely stubborn but even so, I was ready to go after a couple of hours and ended up home in bed by 10pm. Even on enjoyable nights out with friends I still feel odd. Out recently, sober driving, I watched the group get more and more chaotic around me. I had a great time but again left early as I felt so out of place. It was like I was on a different planet. As my husband points out I’m just in “a different life phase”. Nothing like getting old and changing priorities to make you feel like a leper! But I guess this is my life for the next wee while.
Bumps, babies, booze, and bullying, it’s enough to make one stay indoors!