So I just joined Facebook, along with what appears like a tidal wave of people my age. It’s been fun—touching base with people I haven’t talked to in years, checking out their photos and friends.
And of course, checking out their kids. Because pretty much every one of the people I knew in high school and college now has kids.
I could be all mopey and say that it’s really hurting me, but right now it isn’t. I guess I’m past the point where I surprised to be the last one of my peers to have children. And I really have come closer to the “acceptance” point with regard to my infertility. So seeing pictures of people I used to know playing in the snow with their adorable pink-cheeked toddlers doesn’t hurt all that much.
But it is awkward. Because while I’m pretty much out of the infertility closet with my close friends, it isn’t really something you chat about in an open forum with used-to-be-friends. My infertility is a big part about why I haven’t reached out to old friends in the past few years. I mean, what is there to say? They tell me about their kids, their new career path, etc., and then they ask, “so what’s going on with you?” And the truth is, the only thing that is going on with me is my fertility treatment. It is in my mind all the time, it’s what drives me, it’s this huge part of who I am. But it’s a conversation killer, a true dud. Nothing stops a conversation like: “What’s up with me? Oh, nothing really. Spent the last three and a half years trying to get knocked up. Had a few miscarriages, major surgery, and took out a second mortgage. We’re considering using someone else’s sperm. So what kind of investment banking did you say you were getting into?”
I actually tested this theory with my oldest friend, my BFF from high school. She found me via e-mail a few months ago. After a few nice e-mails, I came right out and told her about what we’d been through. I didn’t lay it on too thick or anything, and I prefaced it with an explanation that, based on our long history, it felt weird not to tell her. I didn’t hear anything for a few days. Then I got an e-mail saying she hadn’t forgotten me, but didn’t have time to write a meaningful response. Then nothing. I’m sure she feels awkward now that it’s been so long. (And I really do need to write to her again and let her off the hook, tell her that no one ever knows what to say about this shit.) But this certainly told me that what I suspected all along is true: infertility is a crap topic of conversation.
So while I’m enjoying Facebook, I’m back in the closet. And it sucks. I want to be who I am, and I feel kind of pathetic. I mean, if I’m still childless after 12 years of marriage, I should at least live some kind of awesome, jet-setter lifestyle, right? Or be some big hot-shot in my career? Instead I just feel lame.
And I’m developing an annoying habit of self-narrating my life in my head. “[Babychaser] is drinking her coffee while she checks her blog.” “[Babychaser] is putting up Christmas lights.” “[Babychaser] is doing her laundry.” “[Babychaser] is driving herself nuts thinking of herself in the third person.”
But what I want to write is “[Babychaser] is still infertile.” “[Babychaser] is wondering if she’ll ever have a pink-cheeked toddler to romp in the snow with.” “[Babychaser] is taking a nap, because she doesn’t have anything more urgent to do on a Sunday afternoon, because unlike you fertile assholes, she has no children.”
And I’m already fantasizing, rolling the words over and over again in my head like a mantra, what I really want to write: “[Babychaser] is pregnant.”