I am a horrible person

…or at least that’s often how I feel after dealing with situations that directly confront my infertility.  Take yesterday.  We attended the Baptism of my niece and nephew – my brother’s children.  I can honestly say that no-one, not one single soul said anything hurtful to us.  The ceremony didn’t even mention the “blessing” that children are to a marriage.  And yet I dissociated.

After the service we were meant to be going back to my brother’s house for what I thought were light refreshments.  Because my brother works at the church we actually ended up having to stay with the rest of the congregation to  have morning tea in the little playground behind the church with all the kids running around.  This meant that we didn’t get to B’s house until later.  We stood in the front yard, again with all the kids running around, and talked with a  lovely young guy for an hour or so.  Eventually conversation ran out and DH and I wondered if we  could leave yet.  My B and SIL hadn’t yet appeared. They were still preparing things in the kitchen.  I had wondered about this because I thought that celebrations we just going to be morning tea and a cake after the service and we were already at the two hour mark post-service with no sign of any “celebratory cake cutting”.  DH and I had previously decided that we wouldn’t stay more than an hour and so had already exceeded our limit.   My back was killing me from standing up for so long and I had my period so I felt doubly shocking.  We decided to leave even though we hadn’t talked to my B or SIL at all yet. 

We walked into the kitchen to find them preparing lunch.  Lunch?  Had we been invited for lunch?  I started to feel guilty about leaving, and then a bit annoyed that we hadn’t been told it was for lunch, because if we had been told we could have prepared ourselves mentally, or had a break between the service and lunch and not stood around limply in the kids playground after the service.    My brother seemed sad that we were leaving and I felt even more guilty but I wished he had communicated the plans for the day more fully to us. 

We walked back to the car, relieved to have left, but full of the sadness and hurt and anger at our situation – emotions that we’d just spent 2 hours hiding underneath polite smiles and small talk.  DH suggested that we stop into a little coffee shop nearby.  I agreed as we needed time to just sit by ourselves before starting the  1 & 1/2 hour journey home to our empty house.

At the cafe I ordered a “T2” (good brand) pot of tea while H ordered an extra strong coffee.  I was served a cup of hot water with a lipton tea bag in it.  “Great!”, I snapped, “What I really need now is another cup of crap tea!”  And with that my face crumpled and I began to cry – in the middle of the cafe.  Luckily it was not the sobbing kind of crying.  It was the kind of crying where tears just stream down your face.  After some moments I collected myself.  I was suprised that I had cried – I had thought I was doing ok.  Just 10 minutes ago I had managed a false smile and lively chit chat.

DH and I talked about what was happening.  About how, even though we had managed the situation quite well, it is impossible to guard against the sneakiness of grief.  About how DH had been unable to look at the children as they played around our feet.  About how it would have been better if we’d known that we were meant to be there for lunch as we could have prepared ourselves mentally and emotionally.  About how people with children possibly just expect to stay a long time when they arrive at friend’s homes, (after all they’ve just spent so much time and effort packing up and getting there and the children were playing well together so it would make sense to hang around for a while, wouldn’t it?).   About how we have no idea if the previous statement is true and it’s probably really stupid of us to try and think like fertile people.  About how we feel like outsiders, observers, imposters, stealthily slinking around the edges of other people’s lives.  About how angry we feel at having to constantly pretend to be OK infront of others.

We drove home still talking.  We had brunch on our balcony.  We spent some time apart. I drove down to the ocean, which was churning and thrashing. I cried.  I came back home and we settled down for the night together.

This morning I read the invitation that I’d stuck on the fridge.  It said, after the formal invitation to the baptism, “please join us for a light lunch afterwards”.   I hadn’t read it properly.  I had obviously skimmed over the invitation, as I do when I receive any invitations to baptisms, baby showers or children’s birthdays.  I had replied in the affirmative without even realising what I’d agreed to.  No wonder my brother seemed a little hurt and confused when we left before lunch.  It was my oversight, not his.

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One Response to “I am a horrible person”

  1. Angry Infertile Says:

    Ok. This situation sort of just happened to me also. I can completely relate. I just went to my nephews baptism. They asked my husband to be the godfather, which was heartbreaking. I thought, “That’s already more of a father than I have ever made him.” Then I sat at the service and watched my husband’s (little) brother and his wife christen the baby with my husband. I started crying when the preist said that babies are a blessing to families. I was completely tore up on the inside. My SIL told me I was being “antisocial” to people at the party afterwards.

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