Recently, I had an eye-opening experience.
A friend of mine, who also dealt with infertility, is pregnant. I was told that I would not be invited to her baby shower. The reason was incredibly sweet and heartfelt. She knew that if I were to be invited I would feel obligated to come, and she knew first-hand what it was like to go to baby showers when you're dealing with infertility. So, she took that dilemma upon herself and decided not to invite me.
I was impressed with her compassion and insight. I will admit, deep down, that I kind-of wanted to go. She has been through so much the last few years, I felt this baby shower was a celebration! I made that argument, but still no invite. I guess it's probably for the best... it's impossible for me to know how I will feel on any given day and, as good-intentioned as I am now, who knows how I would react to the ooohhing and aahhhing inherent in baby showers.
Which brings me to my enlightenment. In the middle of the baby-shower-invite negotiation (as I was making the "I wanna be a part of the celebration" argument described above) something dawned on me. I was so concerned about how I would be feeling at the shower, I hadn't thought about how me being there would make her feel.
She knows how it feels to battle infertility, especially when it seems everyone around you is pregnant or has children. If I came to her baby shower, and she spent one second wondering how I was feeling rather than simply enjoying her day, that would be awful. Not to say it would happen, but it could. That's when I realized that I am a liability.
I wonder if people censor what they say around me because of my infertility. Would they talk more openly about pregnancy, or babies, or children, if I weren't around? I pray that I have never taken away a moment of someone else's happiness because of my situation or, worse, because of my depression or bitterness. The thought of that crushes me.
Needless to say, this realization has opened my eyes to my selfishness. I was so wrapped up in my own feelings that I didn't even think about the fact that my very presence, or my attitude, could take away joy or make someone uncomfortable. If that has happened to anyone, I am truly sorry.
It's just another way that I am different. Can I just say, I hate being different. I long to be like all the other married women my age: to attend playgroups and complain about diapers, to be able to walk up to a group of women at church and join the conversation, to get an invitation to a baby shower and have the only question be which gift to buy.