Home > Ovum Donor Pregnancy > I’m Not a Member of Their Club

I’m Not a Member of Their Club

Saturday morning there was a garden tour organised by the people who help us set up our veggie patch, etc.  Our garden was one of the ones they visited – the first one.  My husband and I were chatting to the first people to arrive, and he mentioned Sparky.  Which felt strange.  Not that I’m hiding it, but if he hadn’t said anything they wouldn’t have realised.  I don’t know why he said anything.  So the women kept asking me questions – in a totally friendly way.  But I felt very prickly.

On our way to the next house I realised I couldn’t remember exactly what words he’d used, but he’d definitely said ‘with her first child’ when referring to me.  Which I hated.  I’m sure he was just did it to short-cut the story and not drag me through Blobby’s death in front of these people, but I’d rather Blobby’s existence be acknowledged.  Or that he’d said nothing and just let people assume there was not other pregnancy because I only had a (highly attractive and sweet) dog clinging to me.  But I knew I didn’t want to get into it between our place and the next garden, so I didn’t say anything.  The next garden was fairly small, so soon we were off the garden-guru’s house where we were all having lunch.

Somehow as we were chatting and eating I became the centre of attention for all the women.  They all had to know when I was due, whether we’ll find out the gender at a scan, when our next scan was, what hospital we’re going to, who my OB was, chat about their OB (who was the doctor I started out IVF with), tell me to get used to not sleeping as I never will again, tell me that Lottie will make a fantastic big sister (she was especially sweet with everyone visiting her garden), etc etc.  It was like they were excitedly initiating me into their little fertile club, and I really don’t feel comfortable there.

I didn’t know how to respond to the woman who complained that she’s not one of those people who glows and who hated being pregnant both times.  I didn’t know how to respond to the woman so agreed and said she’s so glad she’s finished her family and never has to be pregnant again.  I didn’t know how to respond to the woman who said she loved breastfeeding so much even though it made her feel a bit like an animal.

They didn’t seem to realise that although I responded to direct questions, I didn’t participate in the chatter.  I’m not one of them.  I felt so uncomfortable.  I felt on the spot.  It felt so strange to hear these people being so relaxed and almost flippant about procreation.  It made me glad I’m fat – glad people will spend more time uncomfortably trying to decided if any bumpishness is fat or a bub.

But it make me realise that if things keep going OK, this is just the beginning.  When you’re pregnant – or I assume if you have a living child – there’s an assumption out there that you have something in common with other people who do too.  For now at least I’m only feeling how different our experiences are.

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Categories: Ovum Donor Pregnancy
  1. 31/01/2011 at 11:57 am

    Oh I definitely relate to this, it is one reason I’ve been keeping my current pregnancy on the down low at work because I’m afraid that people will just get all excited and want to talk about things like that. Things that are still so uncomfortable and odd for me, things I just can’t relate to. Its so hard. We spend so much time and effort to get to this point and then once we’re pregnant we can’t even enjoy it like the rest of the fertile world.
    Sending love your way and hoping things continue forward smoothly ((hugs))

  2. a
    31/01/2011 at 12:05 pm

    And unfortunately, you’ll never really lose that feeling. It’s like a loss of innocence – you can’t go back in time and regain that innocence. Sigh. I think that maybe people such as myself (mostly a loner, definitely solitary much more than social) have a little easier time…we’re used to being set apart from the crowd. Sometimes we seek that. So when it happens in relation to pregnancy/childbirth/parenting, it’s not unfamiliar.

  3. 31/01/2011 at 2:05 pm

    Agreed with both Rebecca and a. … I’m not sure that feeling ever really goes away. Though I am far from a perfect parent, I don’t take pregnancy and childbirth for granted in the way that other people do … I suspect it will be easier as children get older and we no longer talk about the actual getting pregnant and giving birth part so much, but my other children will always be there, coloring my reactions to other people’s comments … until the day when loss and fertility issues are no longer such a taboo topic. I think, like everything else, it’s a matter of finding your “tribe” … and mine happens to be pretty small.

  4. 31/01/2011 at 2:06 pm

    You don’t know, of course, if they are really fertility goddesses and you’re so very different from them.

    I had a really hard time when I was pregnant with Bird because people would ask me if it was my first. If you ever want to stop a conversation about pregnancy dead in its tracks, utter the phrase “Actually, I had a full-term still birth last year.”

    And yet I am one of those women who didn’t like being pregnant. I was grateful for it, but I didn’t enjoy it. And you’ll never find me raving about the wonder of breastfeeding. I don’t dislike it, and I do promote it, but I don’t experience it as spiritual. That doesn’t, I think, mean I have any less understanding of the desire to be pregnant, the need to have a babe in arms.

    I don’t talk about my loss with pregnant women because I don’t want to put that on them. A kindred spirit might have been in that group of chattering women today, but she didn’t reveal herself because she didn’t want her sorrow to dampen your joy. Many women who now have snot-nosed preschoolers (or college students, or snot-nosed preschool-age grand-children) once suffered the heartache of infertility or loss, and while we want to celebrate pregnancy and new life, if you ask for it, we can also be witness to your grief.

  5. The Crazy Cat Woman
    31/01/2011 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve wondered about this.

    I sat through a tedious anti-bullying and discrimination workshop recently and the woman running it kept illustrating her talk with examples of when she was pregnant. One instance in particular got up my nose: she said ‘Hands up who here has been pregnant and managed to do her job effectively?'(in reference to discrimination against pregnant women). How uncomfortable did I feel??? Yes I’ve been pregnant but I don’t have a baby to show for it and most people there don’t know what I’ve been through. Does a childless woman who’s had one pregnancy that ended in miscarriage put her hand up in that situation?

    To be honest I felt discriminated against and bullied by the anti-discrimination lady!!

    I’ve also wondered if I do ever conceive, will I ever feel like part of the club? I certainly didn’t during my short and scary pregnancy. I assume that maybe I will once I’ve got a baby? But maybe not. I can’t really imagine that, so I can’t predict how I might feel.

    I really hope that at some point you feel part of the club. Or if not, that it doesn’t matter that you don’t, because you have a child that you love and who loves you and nothing else matters. xx

  6. 31/01/2011 at 8:49 pm

    It feels strange for me too. There are things that I needed to get organised early – booking childcare, finding a temporary replacement at work, booking prenatal classes. When I hear those words coming out of my mouth, it still doesn’t feel real. I try to tell people that it is still early days, and that we are not making any assumptions, but all they want to do is give me advice about birth and strollers.

  7. 31/01/2011 at 8:53 pm

    If it helps, you know you are allowed to say something like “I’d rather not talk about it yet, as we experienced a difficult loss during my previous pregnancy”. You can be open about Blobby if you wish, you do not have to be ashamed of him, or hide his existence just to make other people feel more comfortable.

  8. 31/01/2011 at 11:47 pm

    i felt completely left out for ages, but in time you do get used to it, it just feels very weird to begin with. especially with a history such as your own. your husband (bless him) probably shouldn’t have put you on the spot like that, although he is just happy and proud and thats what dads do. sending love xxx

  9. Still A Guest Room
    01/02/2011 at 10:14 am

    Our pregnancies will never be the same because we’ve been through things they will never understand. I’m just glad people have a reason to chat with you about pregnancy…so glad things are going well!

  10. Anxiousmummy
    01/02/2011 at 9:55 pm

    Sorry this is so late but I totally get this post. You probably may always feel different but I don’t think it’s all a bad thing. Remembering where you came from will help you to cherish every moment, even when you are struggling with anxiety. I had to leave my mother’s group with dd as I felt like such an outsider. You are not the only one. Hope the vomiting is a bit better. Take care of you!

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