Friday, June 30, 2006

The Complaining Complainer Who Complains

I recognize - when I write posts like yesterday's - that I'm a big fat whiny complainer.

I realize that some women would give anything to be nauseous and gagging and puking their guts out if it meant they were pregnant. There are women who would love to trade positions with me.

Before my brother came into their lives, my parents tried desperately to have a baby. (There's more about my brother in this post.) During this period, my mother attended numerous baby showers for others, all the while wishing she had good news of her own to share. My mother once told me that during a party for my newborn cousin, the other women cajoled her into holding the new baby. She wanted a baby of her own so badly that she could barely look at her sister-in-law's infant. She didn't describe the feeling as jealousy, but heartache. She couldn't bring herself to cuddle the baby, and didn't want to touch him. She laid my cousin in her lap for a polite amount of time, then handed him back to his beaming mother.

She said that for the entire time she held him, she wanted to push the baby off her lap.

My mother remembered that urge with horror and disbelief. She loves children, especially babies, and always has. She'll snuggle and coo at anyone's offspring, and will spend hours chasing and rolling around on the floor with a toddler to whom she's just been introduced. But she was filled with such longing for a baby of her own that she couldn't enjoy being with her new nephew.

I think of my friend in L.A., who has been eager to have a family since she got married in 2002. After one miscarriage, she and her husband have not conceived again.

I almost dread sharing our news with them. I know - because they are warm, wonderful, unselfish people with big hearts - that they will be happy for us. But I can't help but fear our joyful news will hurt them, her especially. Each month, her body betrays her and she is left feeling defective in some way. "Two!" I imagine her inside-the-head voice yelling, "Two babies! Lumpyhead's Mom will have two babies and I don't have one. It's so unfair."

And it is unfair. Because my L.A. friends will be great parents, whether they adopt, conceive, or simply continue to lavish attention and love on nieces and nephews and friends and pets. It is unfair because she would gracefully handle the trials of pregnancy and not bellyache about feeling tired or throwing up or being denied a martini.

Or maybe she'd be just as pissy as I am, but she would be giddy with happiness about being pissy.

So yes, as I write complainy posts, I know I should be grateful. I know I shouldn't be such a huge grumbling shithead.

I know.

Whatever. Bring me a damn popsicle.


Auntly H said...

Strawberry? Or would you prefer lime today?

nonlineargirl said...

Thanks. I was one of those women for a long time, and your mother's reaction resonates with me. Days before I had IVF a good friend called to say she was 3 months pregnant. I was simultaneously happy for her and despondent that the IVF would not work. Even though it did, I appreciate that there are women out there who recognize that their happiness can be hard for people who want what they have.

Onetallmomma said...

Yeah, I did the whole infertility, I think I going to lose my mind if I get my period, do not ask me to hold your baby, insanity. It is very, very hard to be on the other side.

As far as your feeling like crud, Hang in there sister. That too shall pass.

I'm new to your site and I can't even remember how I found my way here.

Onetallmomma said...

Whoops, my link didn't work...darned Blogger.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I don't know how I missed this post before, but I've been on both sides of this feeling. After I miscarried I hated all pregnant people and couldn't believe that single mothers had the nerve to complain about anything.

Then I got pregnant again, and this time there were two babies, and then I felt guily even telling my friends who were having trouble getting pregnant.