Although the blogging world is enormous (what are we-6.5 million, the last time I saw? More? Less? Who cares?) it doesn't mean that everyone in blogging agrees. Hell, when I get my team together for a lunch meeting we can't even get a consensus on what kind of topping to have, and we're only talking pizza for Christ's sake. My other blog once blew up in my face when I dared have an opinion about something political so I stay away from politics now. Similarly this blog, this site, is here to discuss where I am in one area and one area only - fertility treatment and now pregnancy.
There are a lot of fertility blogs out there. At any given moment someone is pinching an inch of skin and sticking the needle in. As I type this a hopeful woman is waiting to hear back about a blood test. And you never know-as you read this, it's likely that someone is peeing on a stick and offering up prayers to whatever god they claim.
This does not mean that all of us in the same boat row working with the same paddles. While there isn't a single infertile blogger that I actually hope doesn't succeed, there are a few I don't really get excited about. It's the way it is, they're the pepperoni to my vegetarian cheese pizza. Maybe I have a problem with a blogger who put back 6 blasts and is actually hoping for sextuplets, maybe I have a problem with another blogger whose religion seems to me to be enough to raise the E2 levels. There is a medium-sized infertile blogger whose writing bugged the shit out of me, so I just stopped reading her. I don't wish her lack of success, but I don't particularly feel very sympathetic either.
But there's a theme I've noticed in infertile blogs. A division, a Mason-Dixon line, that line you do not cross in the sand. It is the haves against the have-nots (not how I view it but how I feel it's viewed. Am not making judgement calls here). If you get knocked up you become a have. If you get knocked up and miscarry, you fall back into the have-nots. If you have a baby? You're a have-r. No baby? Failed cycle? Your ovaries crawled out of your body and making their way down the Interstate? You've urinated on anything remotely resembling a home pregnancy test (including bic pens and corn cob holders) and still no double line? A have not. This is how I feel the situations are presented.
I think this happens by the very nature of what we're all doing-you're either going to succeed or you're not. There's no third option here. If you're in infertility treatment it's black or white. While the results of the treatment may vary - children, childlessness, adoption, fostering, etc., the process itself has one of two ways of ending. It would be nice to know that we're all going to be a team together while we get there, but that's not possible. After all, how am I supposed to get along with the stuffed crust gang, what with me being a pan crust kind of girl?
Maybe it's human nature.
But there is a harder edge to the infertile crowd I think. A line of rawness that's too much to ignore, the very nature of our vulnerabilities a little too easy to be ok with being a have not about. I know you're probably saying It's easy for you to say all this, you're pregnant. Yes I am. But for many years (and many cycles) I wasn't. I felt huge bitterness. I couldn't read blogs of women who succeeded around the time that I did. I couldn't bear all the pregnant women that appeared when I miscarried. I was hugely raw inside.
I saw the bitterness when we got pregnant and found out it was twins. Twins, of course, being Aidan's worst nightmare, and it's right there on our doorstep. I had women emailing me and blasting me. I had comments zooming me into the stratosphere. I had some even tell me their marriages were the least of their priorities in all of this, and how dare you, you ungrateful cow! At least you HAVE a baby, said the women in treatment, what the fuck do you have to be upset about?
There is more than one line in the sand, then.
I see the battle lines everywhere. Bloggers who were infertile and went on to have a baby are really apologetic and embarrassed. I'm really sorry to blog about this, but my kid has diarrhea coming out around her ear holes. I know. I have a baby. I shouldn't complain. I'll shut up now.
I see them amongst those of us who are actually pregnant now. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but pregnancy is really hard on me. I swear I'm not complaining. I am so thankful.
But Jesus-you just moved on in the process, it doesn't mean you can't bitch about things. When we were all going through the IVF cycles, it never crossed our minds to not complain that we are swollen or moody or tearful or any other host of horrible ailments the treatment brings on. Complain away! You earned it!
But it's always with dismay that I read when someone who has gone on to have successful treatment gets turned on. Take the Redbook Infertility Diaries debacle, the one where apparently motherhood means you no longer get to be part of the Infertile Fan Club (it's a fun club. There's a secret handshake and everything. I can't wait until we get our matching T-shirts.) One of the hosts had successful treatment and now has twins, so clearly she has no right to associate with being infertile, right? Right? She's now an ungrateful bitch, right? She's a have-r, so she should meekly attempt to inherit the earth, yeah?
WELL, SCREW THAT.
She had the needles. She had the tears. She had the extractions. She knows. Just because she's a mother now doesn't mean she's forgotten how she got there. What, something bursting out of your loins means you're suddenly fertile? Is that how it works? Because if so, I would've used a lot more tampons in my life, my friend. If you were infertile and had a baby through ART, then you are a successful infertile Mom. Simple as that. The labels don't change, the PCOS doesn't disappear, the endo doesn't vanish, the tubes don't reconnect. You succeeded, yes, but after you have a baby you couldn't have another one naturally if you spent the night at a Navy ship that'd seen 16 months at sea.
I for one know that even once I have my babies - despite the sleepless nights, despite their giggles and laughter - I will never forget what I went through to have them. Never. I will never begrudge them or remind them of it either. But I will know just what it was like to get from A to Baby. I bet that's how it is with every woman who finally gets a positive.
Yes, maybe if you just had a failed cycle the last thing you want to read about is a mother coping with IVF twins. If that's the case, click off the page. Same with my site, or Barren Albion's, Karen's, or anyone who has two pink lines. But here's the thing, the thing maybe I should've thought about when I was clicking off pages of knocked up people after one of my failed cycles-the person I'm reading knows what it's like to feel like I do. If someone cycling wants to email me and vent about it, I'd love to talk about it, listen, help, whatever. Because one of the things I've been learning (and I admit, I still suck at) is it's good to have a team of people around you of all shapes and sizes and cycles. If you're cycling and need support, I'm here. If you have cankles, I'm here. If your baby has colic, I'm here. If you got pregnant naturally and just want to talk, I'm here. Hell, if you've decided to start the new Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, I'm here. Isn't that the way things should work? We need different people at different times, but why cross someone off as the enemy during the times you don't need them?
The infertile world, man.
More clique-y than Sweet Valley High.
Maybe we should sit down and agree to order breadsticks if we can't decide the toppings. At least that way, we'll know that we're not alone. None of us are, no matter where we are in our cycles.
(Sorry if this comes across as very harsh. I'm back in that "I'll be there for you if you'll be there for me" stage.)