Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Infertility is Inconvenient for My Mother

I am pissed.

I don't understand what is so hard for my mother to understand.

Last night she asked if I was ever going to hang out with my cousin and his wife who just had a baby. I barely know these people. Yes, I went to their wedding last year, but I've seen my cousin two or three times in the last ten years. They live far away in another state. I wish them well and I'm happy for them, but, no, that is not a relationship I'm going to cultivate at this time. I told my mother, "No, not any time soon."

Then she said, "Well, I lost my mother, but I still hang out with other people who have their mothers."

Are you kidding me?? That's not even the same thing at all. And that's what I told her.

I said, "The two situations are not even comparable. You had your mother in your life and you have lots of happy memories with her. She lived a full life and died in her 80s which is quite normal."

I continued, "I am feeling judged right now. You think it's sad that I don't want to go hang out with some cousins? Well, that doesn't even compare to the sadness of losing my children so I don't even care. I will continue to take care of myself and do what I need to do."

Ridiculous!!!

I wish I hadn't, but I woke up this morning still mad at about it. I wish I was better at letting things go. I texted my best friend, who has heard a lot about my mother over the years, and told her my mom said some insensitive stuff last night but that's to be expected. She replied, "That's a great way to view her."

I want my mother in my life, and I choose to have my mother in my life. But, damn, it is hard a lot of the times.

16 comments:

  1. I've got a story about my mother using a terrible analogy too. After I'd been released from hospital (where I spent a week) for my second ectopic pregnancy, I mentioned that I had found it hard being in a ward with people and their babies (both patients and visitors), and had fortunately been moved to a private room. "Oh, I understand," my mother said. "When I was pregnant with you girls, I hated being in the ward waiting to have my baby, when all the other women already had theirs."

    "No, Mum, it's not the same. Quite the opposite in fact!"

    Actually, it was such a bad analogy, I had to laugh. I still laugh about it even now.

    I think a good response to your mother would have also been, "I never hang out with them normally, so why do you think I should I hang out with them now they have a baby?"

    But I'm glad that you said what you did, as it might make her think, and help her understand.

    Finally, just a thought. Maybe your mother is hoping that, by hanging out with your cousin (in another state!), it could be a sign that you are feeling better about living a life without children. So many insensitive and judgemental-sounding comments are made because people want us to be okay, to be happy. They don't realise that at the time, it seems as if they're dismissing our grief.

    Sending hugs.

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    1. What?? That was a terrible analogy from your mother.

      I like your suggestion about saying I never hang out with them now so why would I start.

      I would like to give my mother the benefit of the doubt and I like your idea that she is hoping I am feeling better about living a life without children, but I had just told her how well I'm doing and how proud of myself I am. (Instead of the other way around- her telling me how proud of me she is, oh well) She just doesn't get it and never will. I've decided to not talk about infertility with her anymore.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. :)

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  2. I know...
    It took my mother a full decade to understand that I am interested in hearing stories only about my 2 nieces and of my cousin's two children. I am so not interested in all the other people's children.

    I can understand that your mother thought it was a good example - but I agree with you - it is completely different! And I am glad that you told her.

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    1. I am sooo not interested in hearing about other people's children!! My close loved ones' kids, sure. But there's a million babies out there and I just don't want to hear about all of them. There are so many more things to talk about than that.

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  3. I find this post relatable on so many different levels.

    I'm sorry that your mom doesn't (and doesn't try) to understand what you've been through. It's hard.

    I think you're making a great call to not interact with this particular cousin at this point of her life.

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    1. I am sorry that you can relate. <3

      And no, my mother doesn't even try. There are so many books she could read or websites she could google. But instead, she expects me to do all of her emotional labor. I told her that it gets tiring for marginalized populations to constantly educate the masses and I wasn't going to do her work for her- I'm busy doing my own work.

      Oh and these cousins are the exact kind of fertile people you don't want to be around. Lots of "I never knew love before my daughter" and "As a parent I now know.." statements from them. I had to hide them on social media as soon as they announced their pregnancy and began posting about it incessantly.

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  4. Oh my god I'm reading these analogies (Mali's too) and my jaw is on the floor.. Mums can be total cretins. I've no idea how sensitive my mum would've been; I imagine she would have evaded the subject of babies entirely. Her surviving sister, my aunt, who I was previously very close to before she got grandkids, is very tactless. She says things about her grandkids like "What else is there when you are my age?". In recent years one of my cousins (her son) - who I have no relationship with at all - met a woman and they had babies in quick succession. She was late 30s, older than I was when I was told I was infertile, so I didn't have any interest in trying to forge a relationship with them (I'm still a bit bitter when a 39 year old in the family drops her second baby at the drop of a hat). Anyway when I visited my aunt she wanted me and hub to make a long detour to call on this cousin and the wife who was currently 8 months pregnant with the second one (the first was about a year old). I just felt like saying, 1. I barely know them and he's a monosyllabic neanderthal and she's heavily pregnant (I mean really, does anyone enjoy socialising with heavily preg women they hardly know?); 2. You know I failed IVF when I was younger than her and have no kids to share stories about with this semi-stranger 3. Bite me. Over-sensitive I know, but anyway. When my aunts youngest had two kids one after the other I said "Wow again!" and she said "At least she is producing something!". It wasn't about me, it was about her daughter who never had kids but finally adopted at 41-ish. Yeah sometimes I think that generation are just idiots, and it gets worse the older they get.

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    1. Hahaha, oh your comment made me laugh: "monosyllabic neanderthal" and "Bite me." I love it.

      Yeah, no- I have no desire to socialize with an 8 months pregnant woman. What would we talk about? I'm sure she's extremely uncomfortable and would like to complain, but I'm not the appropriate person to complain to about that.

      I really do think there is a generational thing going on... When I compare stories with friends about their mothers, there are some similarities. With my mother, she had my oldest sister when she was very young. While she was a mother, I don't think there was the glorification of mommyhood like there is now. Maybe she wishes she had that? Also, my sisters' kids are grown. So now that my mom is the typical age of a grandmother, she doesn't have any little grandchildren to dote on and brag about. Maybe she misses that as well? Hopefully, she finds her happy place for herself.

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  5. Ugh!! My mother has dropped a few clangers... not so much directly to me (thank goodness), but I've overheard her bemoan the lack of grandchildren to a few of her friends. Ouch. :(

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    1. Whoa, ouch indeed. I am sorry. <3

      I think my mom might be jealous. Her sisters' kids are all having babies now, so they are getting to be grandmothers and do all the grandmotherly things. My mom's grandkids are grown and now I can't have kids. I know it's not the same, but there are a lot of volunteering opportunities out there. There are a ton of kids that would love having the undivided attention of an adult. I wish my mother would consider this.

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  6. I'm sorry she doesn't seem to get it. Those two scenarios are not comparable at all!

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    1. Thank you very much! I agree- the two scenarios are entirely different. I really don't get what is so hard for people to understand. I wanted kids my whole life and didn't get to have them. Of course this would be an extremely painful loss.

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  7. Wow, your response to your mother could be part of a master class in setting healthy boundaries: good for you!

    I truly think that the majority of people who have not experienced infertility or loss simply cannot relate to the feelings it engenders. I would place your mother firmly in that majority.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, S!

      I had a really good counselor for a year and a half. She helped me a lot. I told her, "I came for infertility counseling; I stayed for the boundary education." Hahaha. Believe me, I've come a looong way... :)

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  8. I'm sorry if my former Google handle was triggering and hurtful to you. Naming my Google handle that was my way of speaking it into existence. It's also the name of my ministry; which I need to rename and rebrand. I'm sorry again if the handle name was hurtful to you. I hope you will forgive me. I really like your blog. I can tell you are in the middle of grieving and I am here sending you virtual hugs as I read each post. I cry a lot during and after reading your posts. You articulate things that I have the hardest time articulating.

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    1. Not a problem! I'm not mad. :) I'm glad you like my blog. It's helping me a lot in processing the whole experience. Other women's blogs have helped me put things into words, so I know what a relief it can be to just have words to describe something. I like to think that we are all helping each other along.

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