Sunday, February 17, 2008

Identity Crisis

I may be suffering from an identity crisis. I have been TTC or TTP (trying to parent) for almost six years now. I have been obsessively TTP for over four years. It had become so much of my identity and certainly devoured much of my time. This has lead me to wonder who I am if I am someone not trying to make a baby.

It feels so strange not to be scouring the web for any little piece of information that might help us. I look at the calender and no longer count the days until the next cycle or look again at my notes about E2 levels or follicle sizes or the number of days until (how exciting!) retrieval day. When I learned that my clinic had moved to a new protocol (using low-dose HCG in place of menapure) I felt left out and, I admit, more than a little sad wondering if that might have helped me had it come in time.

Yet, I don't really fit into the pregnant or expectant parent group either. The other day I walked into a department store to be greeted by a bright sign declaring "Baby Days Sale!" Ug. I looked away and decided that the only way our baby would have any clothes is if I learned to sew or have generous friends, because I will never shop in a baby department. When I was looking through the soap section for some bath oil, I came across the home pregnancy tests. I was simultaneously sad to be reminded of the likely 20-30 negative tests I have seen and relieved that I wouldn't be buying any more for at least a year.

It really hit home how much I don't fit in when I was on my way to the check out stand. I crossed paths with two pregnant bellies. One of them waddling behind a cart with a toddler who couldn't have been more than two. I not only hated them, but actually felt ashamed to be counted among their number. I stood up a little taller, pulled my coat around me and hoped I looked fat instead of pregnant.

I don't mean this to sound sad, although I suppose it does make me a bit sad. Mainly, it just leaves me wondering who I am now that I am pregnant, more likely to be a mom to a real live baby than I ever had been, and not currently trying to conceive.

11 comments:

Pamela Jeanne said...

It's pretty hard to shake off the defining characteristics that made us who we are, that shaped our lives so viscerally. I've been doing my best not to rest in the groove that became the natural comfort zone of the "me of last year" and the year before that, and the years before that...and instead focus on becoming the me I want to be. But dang, those triggers are out there and old habits are hard to break...we're in different places, you and me, but still more alike than different!

Foreverhopeful said...

Hi Kami. I've heard many women pregnant after infertility feel this way. I've heard terms such as I feel like a fraud (even when there bellies are showing). When women who got pregnant easily come up and talk to them.. they can't relate because there journey wasn't the same (nowhere near the same) to get to the same point. Infertility has been such a big part of our lives and shaped who we are in so many ways and its hard to just ignore all we went through. I think it is a process and letting go of old habits are hard. Take it one step at a time and don't be so hard on yourself.

stacyb said...

yup...totally relate. it does feel strange, and no we are not like other pregnant women who didn't have difficulties much less imagine them. it is alienating at times -- i especially felt it at the birthing class we took.

my due date is next week and i still feel different from "them", but i think it's ok. maybe not fitting into a group gives us more freedom to just be. And by the way i think you hit the nail on the head with your last line: you are pregnant, waiting to be a mom and not currently trying to conceive -- and that's who you are in this moment.

Jan said...

I didn't feel that way during my (one and only) pregnancy, but now I feel nearly ashamed to be among the next life-stage group: moms with small children. MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) - shudder. PLaydates - gasp. They are peers I never thought I would have, and yet I need the girl time, shallow as the conversations may be at times. Don't get me wrong; I DO enjoy the social time and they are wonderful people. It's more that I STILL find myself resenting them because they have kids - a relic of years and years of TTC - and I STILL feel myself an outsider.

Tracy said...

I know what you mean...I kind of don't know what to do with myself now. I hope you can shake it soon and enjoy this time (me too, for that matter...)

The Town Criers said...

I think when you've been doing one thing for a long time, it's hard to switch gears, no matter how happy you are to finally have reached the goal. Trying to conceive is also so time consuming that it's almost like leaving a career. It's strange to be in that space.

Ann said...

Well, I suppose you're in limbo right now. All your attention has been focused on the creation of this being, who is currently in your belly and doesn't need much taking care of--yet. It's a tough place to be.

katedaphne said...

Kami, I think this is a really important post, because when we are trying so hard to ttc, we forget that really, being pg is just the beginning step of ANOTHER entire journey, the journey of parenthood.

I predict that in a while you'll be happily defining yourself as "Butterfly's Momma," and then in ten years you'll write this post again saying, "Who am I apart from being someone's mom?"

It is part of the human condition, I think. And I think all of these roles shape us, but we are who we are independently of these roles. If that makes any sense.

MrsSpock said...

I feel like a fraud sometimes too. It is especially hard to combat that when I am around my group of friends who all just had children, and who are talking about their next ones. It seems that as soon as my belly got round, everyone has forgotten my body doesn't really cooperate with the whole conception thing. I can't "plan" my next one and don't want to really be in those conversations when they are. It bothers me still.

Frenchie said...

I feel this way when the other "mommies" start making conversation with me (when I'm out with Baby Boy), or I have to go to the baby store. I feel like such an impostor. It's a real struggle. Especially when people start pointing out BB's features that look NOTHING like mine, and start asking WHERE does he get his red hair, blue eyes, etc.??? Ugh. I just want to scream, Leave me alone! I'm Infertile! I'm not one of you!! Go away?" It makes me feel a little bit insane, really.

I imagine if I ever acheive an actual pregnancy, I will have a lot of these same issues, then, too.

Sorry, I just made this comment all about me... just trying to say, I can relate in my own way...

Freyja said...

Change = scary. I think that's normal and does not reflect on your character at all. You are too hard on yourself for being human sometimes.