Technically speaking, I don't know that I can even take on the label I've assumed in the title. First of all, my own body is an untested quantity. Second of all, Co's fertility was never in question. Yes, we had obstacles to conceiving, but in the end we did so within six tries.
But certainly I have the mindset of an infertile, of someone who has struggled to figure out how to even go about conceiving, and had to study charts and OPKs and make decisions about medications.
We've both blogged before about the fertility tensions in our mah-jongg/friendship group. Co and her two closest friends all started trying to conceive around the same time...Co and her college roommate ended up with the same due date...and Friend #3 is still trying, and coming up against bigger and bigger obstacles. There are six of us who play MJ; the original threesome, myself, and two other friends. One of the two others started trying to conceive sometime last spring, and she announced last month that she is pregnant, due in May.
Of course I am happy for Newly Pregnant Friend. (I am going to have to use creative monikers, because everyone in mah-jongg except Co has a name that starts with J. or L.) But my first reaction was a pang for Struggling Friend (who, thank goodness, wasn't present when Newly Pregnant Friend made her announcement). NPF hasn't had an easy time of it; she's pushing 40, and was so nervous that after just a few months of trying she actually went to see an RE. She ended up finding out she was pregnant through a blood test at the RE's office! (It was our own Dr. Quick who told her.) But her journey was short compared to Struggling Friend's, who is still in the thick of it, still discovering more obstacles to success.
I feel badly that I feel so anxious about this pregnancy. Even with my beautiful son in my life, am I still so bitter that I can't be happy for others?? But I don't think that's the case. I have a cousin and two colleagues who are expecting, and I couldn't be happier for them; not to mention my many blog friends (and more on the IVP). I am just worried about Struggling Friend, because I remember being surrounded by babies and pregnancies in the midst of my own pain.
I spoke to Co's college roommate/Leo's Mom last week, and she is really worried about Struggling Friend. She told me we should be sure to check in on her regularly, because she is so depressed, and according to Leo's Mom, "lots of people have fertility issues but they don't walk around morose all the time." I have to say, I don't agree. Struggling Friend is definitely having a hard time of it, and I wish she would seek help. But I see her reaction as kind of, well, normal. Facing obstacles in creating your family is one of the worst kinds of pain there is. My impulse (Co's, too) is to try to share with her own experience, and the stories of so many brave and wise folks we know who have made their families in whatever creative ways they could. But Struggling Friend doesn't want to talk.
When Newly Pregnant Friend shared her story of TTC, and her funny pregnancy test at the RE's, she mentioned that she had difficulty with the OPK's; Leo's Mom said, "Oh, I never could get those to work, I told you, just have lots of sex!" And I felt a pang, not for us -- we never imagined that sex would lead us to a child -- but for the absent Struggling Friend, who had to give up that dream. And for us a little, sure, for anyone who has to buy more sensitive and expensive OPK's to make sure they work; not to mention needles and drugs and retrievals. I'll never see pregnancy as simple or easy (in fact, I shudder at NPF's blase assumption that she will have a babe in arms in May). But compassion is never a bad thing.