Monday, February 26, 2007

Kicking around my head

I think I'm recovering.

In the past two weeks, I've been able to have conversations about potential (and actual) accidental pregnancies with several friends who needed support. For the first time in almost two years, I didn't feel like crying when thinking about someone else getting pregnant without even trying. I was able to be there for my friends, to talk them through their feelings, and to keep in mind that the conversation was about them, not about me.

This is huge. I know I couldn't have done it before getting pregnant myself, and I honestly don't think that I could have even done it during my first trimester. Every day that goes by I feel more like a normal, healthy pregnant woman, and not like someone who is broken inside. I don't feel like a leper anymore. I don't feel out of place in the "normal" crowd. It's something that continues to both puzzle and delight me, but it also has less positive implications for other parts of my life.

Mel has a great post at Stirrup Queens right now about belonging in the infertility community. Her (admirable) opinion is that once a member, always a member. Pregnancy doesn't mean that your membership is revoked, and no matter how you get pregnant, your feelings while going through infertility were real and valid and should always be respected as such. I read her post last night and almost cried because I don't feel like I belong anymore. I don't know if it's the fact that I'm pregnant or the fact that I was ultimately able to get pregnant without ART, but I no longer feel like I'm a "real" member of the community.

On a purely clinical level, my issue has to do with the fact that I was unquestionably infertile before the lap but have no idea whether the surgery fixed everything permanantly or not. Am I considered subfertile? Fertile for awhile? Fertile for good? No one knows, and honestly we probably won't know until Juan and I start trying for #2. That won't be happening for quite awhile, and until then I'm just not sure where I fall. Without a definitive diagnosis (and goodness knows I'm not going to spend much time thinking about the fact that I'm back in the pre-diagnosis phase) I feel like I'm in limbo. I'm caught between the infertile and fertile worlds and not completely sure I belong in either. "Recovering" seems to be the best term for how I think of myself at the moment, but as grateful as I am for everything that's happened to me since Thanksgiving, I'm also grieving for what I've lost. I miss feeling like I belong to a group, and as much as I my head agrees with Mel that once someone has gone through the pain of infertility they should belong to that group forever, my heart isn't so sure.

Being infertile was a huge part of my identity for a long time, and I guess my ultimate question is who am I now? What emotional identity comes between infertilty and motherhood?


~r said...

If you find an answer, let me know. It's a problem I've been struggling with, too.

Hard to let go of something that is such a big part of your identity.

Hard to hold on to it when it doesn't feel like it fits right any more.

Bea said...

I'm glad you're recovering. I hope your recovery continues until you feel like you "belong" - somewhere - again.


The Town Criers said...

It's a good question--that balance in between. I also think that the infertile experience is so broad: you have those who are infertile, but entirely comfortable with the pregnancies of others; and you have people going through infertility who can't handle seeing someone else's pregnant belly. I think it's possible to belong with a foot in multiple worlds.