I can’t believe what just happened. I was just subjected to the most offensive two minutes I’ve ever experienced, from someone who pretends (or maybe even thinks) she is my friend.
A little background: My co-worker C and I were kind of close a few years ago. Not super-tight, but I’d been to her house with other girl friends a few times, and she and I talked about personal stuff. In June 2005, I told her that J and I had been trying to get pregnant. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she also had just started TTC. Five months later, she told me that she was three months pregnant. “I thought it NEVER was going to happen!” she confided in me.
Since then, on one or two occasions, when I’ve let me guard down, she and I have had conversations about my infertility. On both occasions I have been stunned by her insensitivity to my plight.
But all that is important is this: C has a 2-year-old kid, even though she started TTC a month after me. She knows this. She knows that I have been doing IVF for at least a year. And I’m almost positive that she knows at least about my first miscarriage, if not more.
Cue the curtains:
My good friend L (not a big fan of C) and I are hanging out in my office, right before lunch. C walks into my office and flops down into one of my chairs.
“Oh my god, I’ve been meaning to talk to you!” She always talks like this, high drama with great big exclamation points. “I am SOOO PREGNANT!”
I glance at her belly, and indeed, she does appear to be pregnant. These things tend to show when you’re a size 2.
“Congratulations,” L and I duly reply, without much enthusiasm. I desperately want to look over at L to see what she thinks of this display, but to catch her eye would have involved too obvious a head turn, so I keep looking at C.
“After this baby, I’m SO getting my TUBES TIED!” she exclaims. “I don’t care if I’m divorced, I’m still getting my TUBES TIED. This is it for me!”
I’m try to keep my mouth from hanging open. I’m pretty sure that, in some societies, whining to your infertile friend that you must seek surgical intervention to halt your rampant fertility is considered somewhat impolite.
She goes on, undaunted by the stunned silence coming from both me and L. “I’ve been SO SICK for the last three months! I mean, my FIRST PREGNANCY was horrible. And this one has been even WORSE!”
Of course, I am not to be spared any detail. “I even had some BLEEDING,” she announces, “I had to go to the EMERGENCY ROOM when I was in New Jersey because I was BLEEDING!”
My heart is pounding, but more from astonishment than true anger. I guess it’s hard to be hurt by something so ridiculously rude.
“And you know,” she adds, “the whole pregnancy thing is so much WORSE when you’re OVER THIRTY-FIVE!” Oh yes, I think sagely, thirty-five is definitely way too old to be trying to have a baby. “I’ve had to go through genetic screening, and these AWFUL TESTS!” Awful tests? Really? Can’t imagine what that must be like.
But she saves the best for last. “But at least with this baby, I’m finally going to have a FAMILY!”
Take a minute to let that gem sink in. I’ll wait.
Now, perhaps it’s arguable that, with just me and J and the cats, I don’t really have a “family.” Not that I would ever say that to anyone else in my situation, but that’s pretty much the way I feel about it. But to suggest that it’s not a real family until you’ve had TWO kids? To someone who if lucky will end up with one? Can anyone out there join me in a rousing what the fuck?!
And then she was gone. She just popped in for a little, two-minute, fertility-flaunting chat, and then she was done, blissfully unaware that she was leaving only shocked silence in her wake.
After a minute, L closed the door to my office softly.
“Wow,” was all I could manage.
“Wow,” she agreed.