I wrote this about a month ago but hadn’t posted it because I was afraid. I’m going to be raw and honest about my feelings. I have read a couple of analogies about the jealousy and pain of being a loss parent with no living children, or going through infertility, or both (like me)… comparing it to starving while surrounded by people who have enough to eat. It would be pretty hard to be happy for the people who are feasting when you’re wasting away.
Another comparison recently popped into my mind. It’s more like being allowed to have just the bare minimum of food to survive, and it’s all nasty food. Earthworm stew and garden slug sandwiches, and maybe a few bread crumbs here and there. Meanwhile, most of the people around you are eating very, very well. All they have to do is snap their fingers and a delicious gourmet feast appears in front of them, whenever they desire. Many of these people take their tasty food for granted, because most of them don’t know what it’s like to have to live on dirt and slugs.
And the world never, ever lets you forget that most people are gorging on filling, tasty meals. Whenever you go out of the house, you see people eating their delicious feasts, and you can smell the mouth-watering aroma a mile away, but you’re not allowed to have any of it. All you get to do is watch them fill their bellies while you’re sitting there trying to choke down a slimy earthworm. People who are eating well start to distance themselves from you, saying things like, “You don’t get to eat good food. You wouldn’t understand.”
Some of these people will also feel sorry for you. “Oh, the poor thing. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be her, having to live on that disgusting food.” But whether they exclude you or look at you with pity, either way, you don’t belong. You aren’t one of them, you can’t have any of that food, and they know it.
And every time you log on to social media, pictures of Thanksgiving turkeys, chocolate cakes, and other succulent feasts are everywhere.
It wouldn’t be long before a person in that situation would go postal and start to hate the world.
And then my situation adds another twist. I did have a chance at that life, once upon a time. I got to have a living baby for a month, even if he never left the NICU. If we use the food metaphor, I got to have a few plates of the delicious food that others were eating. And then when he died, all of that was ripped away and suddenly it felt as if I was living on even nastier food than before. And then later that year, after a few medicated cycles, I was pregnant again, and only got to be excited about it for just over a week, not knowing it was ectopic until my tube ruptured. It felt like someone had teased me with a plate of the delicious food, only to laugh cruelly and rip it away again. And now I have been on medicated cycles for the better part of a year and have not had any success, which is incredibly disheartening. These metaphorical worms and slugs just taste worse and worse the longer this goes on.
This is how it feels to be childless and not by choice. If this makes me sound like I’m bitter, unfortunately, it’s because I am bitter. Angry at how unfair it all is. Angry that this isn’t the life I imagined. I try to remind myself that my situation is not the fault of the ~85% of people who don’t have trouble having babies if they want them. But quite frankly, it’s hard not to be jealous. It’s not just jealousy, it’s deep pain. Sometimes I feel like a monster because I struggle with jealousy and I sometimes struggle to be happy for people. But I find it reassuring when I go to Still Mothers and read the articles reassuring me that I am not a monster for struggling with this anger and pain, nor am I alone. I’m just a person who has had a lot of hopes and dreams taken away.