From a comment on this post:
It was ALWAYS the pregnant women that made me ugly.
Ah yes. That last baby-related post was all about hugs & warm fuzzies & feeling better. But pregnancy?…. well, that’s a whole other can of worms. I still haven’t conquered my aversion to pregnant women. I see a belly, & I turn away. Yet I find myself fascinated with watching them — the way they touch their bellies, the way their bellies are a part of them, yet not. There was a woman in our favorite coffee house at the beach last week. Her husband sat & talked loudly on the phone while she scrapbooked. She was piecing together an intricate design of babyish patterned paper, & every once in a while, she would absentmindedly touch and rub her belly, as if to reassure herself that it was still there. Yes, pregnant lady, trust me… it’s still there. I watched her surreptitiously until my coffee ran out. It was like picking a scab. It hurts, you know you’re gonna bleed, but you just can’t help yourself.
The pregnancies are the hardest thing for me these days. The announcements. The showers. The gifts & the registries. The naming & the nursery. I want so badly to be the one planning instead of the one listening & nodding & smiling interestedly. I gather myself before having one of those conversations because I do honestly want to be the best friend that I am capable of being. I want to say the right thing, really listen, ask the right questions, & show the appropriate excitement & interest. But I gotta say… it’s exhausting. It wipes me out emotionally — listening, asking questions, but not letting it touch me. Not letting myself go down the path of “it should be MY TURN.” Or thinking about how old MY babies would be if their hearts had kept beating. It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of self-pity & bitterness, of letting the unfairness seep in until it’s all I can feel. And that’s not fair to the pregnant women. Part of me wants to scream WHY does it matter if I’m being fair to THEM?!? They have a healthy pregnancy, they don’t need anything else. And why do their feelings rank higher than mine?! Why must I always grit my teeth & smile prettily so that I won’t upset the HAPPY people?!?
And I have been that person… the Bitter Betty who says the crushing comment, the caustic, burning remark that causes the room to go quiet & people to avert their eyes. I’ve done it in relation to my pregnancy losses as well as the death of my mother. And the problem is this — as satisfying as it might have been short-term, I always feel like a sorry piece of crap once the initial thrill of “just being honest” wears off. Because ultimately, deep down beneath all the sharp edges, I don’t really want to hurt the happy people. I just want my own hurt to stop.
So I do what I need to do. I ponder the perfect baby gift. I control my facial expressions when I’m told of yet another pregnancy, & another, & another… I smilingly attend the baby showers… hell, I might even host one. And if I do host, I throw myself into it, trying to attend to every detail, trying to make it flawless. My hope is that the amount of time, effort & money I put into hosting a shower will compensate for the occasional unreturned call or flagging enthusiasm.
And just a side note: I swear to god though, if-slash-when I ever get pregnant, I honestly don’t even think I’ll WANT the shower & the gifts & all the hype. It’s just seems so…. foolhardy. Like I would just be begging the gods to screw with me. Of course, that’s coming from a paranoid, glass-half-empty, fertility-challenged pessimist with a uterus that kills embryos on sight. So what do I know?