Post-Infertility Pregnancy Announcement Anxieties…that’s a thing, right?

I am a big fat chicken. And I’m not 100% sure why. But I need some advice, folks. (Beware, this one’s a bit of a rambler.)

Many of you have had the experience of being asked horribly rude questions like, “Are you pregnant?” and “When is the baby due?” when you were NOT expecting. It’s awful, even when you know without a doubt that the person asking you is well-intentioned and just excited for you. But when you’re not actually expecting (and worse yet, when that’s all you want in the whole wide world but you can’t do anything about it,) it’s really hurtful. I’ve mentioned all this before, I know. I’ve told you some of the stories of people coming up to me at my store, rubbing my belly, and then arguing with me about whether or not I was pregnant. Yeah, arguing. Those were rough days.

I'm not pregnant

But the issue that I’m facing now is that for once, praise and thank God, I AM actually pregnant. And I’m so, so happy, so overjoyed. But I haven’t figured out how to handle all the folks that are starting to ask again now that I’m starting to actually show. Because I still think it’s kind of rude of either a) complete strangers or b) Nosy Nellies who immediately spread it like wildfire around the place to be asking. Maybe I should be taking it as a compliment that they think I’m naturally skinny enough that any little bumps would have to be a baby (I’m not.) But I just don’t enjoy being talked about and I sort of feel as though cheerfully answering, “Yes I am! Baby’s due in July!” is rewarding bad behavior.

But the last thing that I want is to allow myself to bask in bitterness over past hurts. If infertility was my cross to bear before, then it’s because it was supposed to help make me a saint. Which means that if I don’t find a way to let go of the bitterness (the pain is one thing that will never entirely go away, but the bitterness is something entirely different and something that should be under my control), then I haven’t let God work in my life the way that He’s trying to.

I’m so scared (it sounds overly dramatic, but I am) of having hundreds of sweet, well-meant Catholics at my work asking in very pushy ways very personal questions that I may not want to answer. Even though all I want to do is celebrate this baby, I’m so anxious over the thought of being touched and exposed more than I already have been. Infertility doesn’t just disappear with a miracle–it leaves a few scars. (Don’t get me wrong–I’ll take those scars absolutely any day in exchange for my miracle!)

Is embracing this kind of nosiness part of embracing a culture of life? Is this kind of experience and anxiety unique to my situation as a fairly public member of my Catholic community? Is there a wonderfully charitable way of addressing my sweet but nosy customers that I haven’t thought of yet? Or do I just need to find a way to put on my big girl panties and throw myself into this touching/personal question asking/”I’m so glad you finally decided to have a baby!”-hearing experience and offer it up?

Advice…go!

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7 thoughts on “Post-Infertility Pregnancy Announcement Anxieties…that’s a thing, right?

  1. I’m sure I don;t know how I’ll actually handle this until I am blessed with my own little miracle, but the one thing that I think of is this: I have prayed and prayed and prayed (and I know you have too!) for a baby. Too many people today think that miracles don’t happen anymore or that prayers are futile. So perhaps your blessing in all of this is that now when people –even too nosey people who really shouldn’t ask–do ask if you are pregnant, you can answer by briefly saying that yes God has answered your prayers and you are expecting a little miracle 🙂

    • That’s so true and such a great point. Sometimes I think I forget, what with working in such a very Catholic environment, that there’s witnessing to be done still. Sometimes I fear that the evil one sometimes used our infertility to instill a much more intense need for privacy in me than I used to have, and that’s why I’m so hesitant to feel like my personal details should be fair game for everyone I meet at work. But maybe it’s all been a trick to try to keep us from really joyfully sharing our miracle and witnessing to the glory of God. Come to think of it, every time that I have shared a glimpse into our struggles with someone, I’ve nearly always felt more peaceful about it. Even if it sometimes makes folks uncomfortable. 😉 Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! It’s been really really helpful to me! 🙂 (You guys are always in my prayers that someday soon, you’ll have your own version of this conversation to worry about!)

      • Thank you for your prayers! I know what you mean about privacy. It took me a while to feel comfortable sharing any of our infertility struggles with anyone. And there are still people I don’t discuss it with. But recently I’ve opened up to more people about it and each time I do I feel better. I know I now have even more people praying with me and more people I can go to on the rough days. Infertility can seem like such an isolating experience and it has been such a blessing to share with others and then hear their own stories of struggles they may have had before being blessed with children. It fills me with hope! God Bless!

  2. This is a toughy.

    I would never tell you to put on your big girl panties and just deal with intrusive behavior. Your discomfort is real and it’s just not that easy.

    But I would advise you to pray specifically for your joy to be strong enough to overshadow your scars. It’s not going to happen overnight because infertility is a very heavy burden to bear even after you’ve conceived, but you’re right: pain is natural and can even be healthy if you can channel it into compassion for people who are still struggling; however, bitterness is toxic to your soul and you have to find a way to let it go. I think it will be easier when you have your miracle in your arms, but in the meantime… It’s hard. Prayer and more prayer.

    The only other thing is that it might help to remind yourself, even in the midst of that “GAH just don’t touch me!” reaction, that the people who are making you uncomfortable are genuinely happy for you. They may be choking on the foot in their mouth, but they mean well. Whenever anyone made me feel uncomfortable during my pregnancies, I just did my best to smile and kept the interaction as short as I could.

    Good luck! Keeping you in my prayers.

    • Thanks, Colleen! I really appreciate the support and suggestions. I do always try to keep myself aware that everyone means well–they always have. Sometimes I think that’s what makes it so hard. I just don’t have it in me to tell someone off (or even just gently correct them and embarrass them) who just wants to be sweet and involved. I’ll really have to work at keeping those interactions as short as I can. I’m a bit of a habitual over-sharer. But only in a friendly way! I just think it’ll take some practice to figure out how to NOT answer someone’s questions and still feel friendly. 🙂

      Thanks for your prayers!

  3. Congratulations! I haven’t been in that situation, so I hope I’m not being insensitive to what it’s been like for you….but it’s unfortunately the case that intrusive/hurtful/obnoxious comments seem to come with the mom territory. Even really sweet people will ask about when is your child going to bein big girl panties, why did only one of your kids get that beautiful curly hair, I’m so sorry you had ANOTHER girl, etc etc (I can’t tell you how many sweet little old church ladies I’ve been tempted to punch since becoming a mom). I don’t really have any great advice on how to deal with it…to a certain extent I just accept it as being one of the parts of my vocation that rubs on my rough edges. Hopefully some will get rubbed off! Haven’t punched an old lady yet. 😉

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