Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So There!

How I got a little bit even with a fertile:

This is the story about how I, unintentionally believe it or not, horrified a fertile. In the retelling, it isn't as good as I remember it. The memory is just as good, but it just isn't the same if you weren't there or perhaps if you weren't me at the time. This happened just over a year ago at my husband's work kid Christmas party.

A little background first. The person in question - I will call her Lisa - was married to "Dan". They both worked for my husband's company as did I when Ernest was thought of, conceived, born and died. I used to work in the same department as Dan. Before Brad started working there, Dan and I would regularly go for walks on our lunch break. Often the conversation turned to money. Money was important to Dan. He said, again and again, that money was a means to an end for him. Money bought freedom - the freedom of time (as opposed to spending 40 hours / week; 50 weeks per year working for someone else). More then once he painted a picture of him with a kid or two and maybe fixing up houses for a side business. Given the flexible nature of that kind of job, he would have a lot more time to spend with his kid(s).

Dan was quite frugal and also invested well. When Dan and Lisa married (also frugal) at the age of 41 (her) and 40 (him) they each owned a house outright. I know he had many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars invested. Dan moved into sales and Lisa was promoted and together I know they made over $200,000 / year.

Brad and I were trying to conceive when Dan and Lisa got married. Given their advanced age, they immediately started investigating adoption. Then a bit less than a year in the marriage she got pregnant - just as they were going to sign up with an adoption agency. You guessed it - they told everyone that it was signing up for the adoption that helped them get pregnant.

A few months later we had our miracle conception. Their child was born - live and healthy - about one month before Ernest was born and died.

Then despite all the talk - neither one quit his or her job. I don't think being a stay at home parent is the only way to go, but Dan had gone on and on about how important time with the kid was. I guess it seemed important until it came to actually giving up the income. I'm not sure how Lisa envisioned parenthood. The only insight I got was when she said that if she had been in her 20's she might have been willing to be a SAHM, but now that she had an established career she couldn't imagine leaving her job. Brad and I were making less than half of what they made, didn't have their huge nest egg and yet I was willing to quit. We were willing to do anything (and we did just about everything before it was over) to have a kid and here they were handed this gift and they didn't give a damn.

I clearly began to hate them. I admit some of this was probably unfair and stemming from envy, but hate them I did.

Cementing my feelings of dislike for this couple came about a year later. Lisa saw me in the company parking lot after dropping Brad off (I had since left that company). I cringed inwardly as she approached my car. After a short hello she said she wanted to give me back the baby sling I had given her. I was horrified! Not only did she tell me she never used a present I selected for her, but what the hell was I supposed to do with a baby sling when I had no baby?! I politely told her to give it to someone else and drove off as quickly as I could.

Fast forward 3 more years to the company's kid Christmas party. I was quite uncomfortable at the party being surrounded by fertiles and was hiding out in a corner for a bit while Brad stood in line with LB to see Santa. She was just 6 months old at the time.

Lisa found me in my corner and the conversation went something like this:

Lisa: Hi! Congratulations! Dan and I were so happy to hear you had a baby.

Me: Thank you. We are very happy. In fact, on the way here I was thinking that if LB died today, at least I got to be her mom for 6 wonderful months.

Lisa: Silence.

Me: Well, you know, I often wished I could have been with Ernest for even a couple of hours. It seems wrong that the only thing I did as his mother was sign as 'next of kin' for the release of his body to the funeral home.

Lisa: Dan and I tried IVF for a second child. It was absolutely awful. It obviously didn't work and we didn't try a second time. It was really awful.

Me: I understand. We conceived LB on our 5th IVF cycle.


Me: Well, we wouldn't have tried so hard if we already had a living child.

Lisa: Yes, well, congratulations again. I need to get back to ____"

That's it. Not very dramatic. I'm still glad that she had the tiniest insight into what it is like to deal with infertility and loss and it was that overwhelming for her.

Me: Yeah. Try living it, Sweetheart.


MrsSpock said...

Hopefully she'll think next time before tries to return a baby sling to someone who lost a child. Geez.

Leah and Maya said...

I remember stories about them but not returning of the babysling, how freaking rude!

Anonymous said...

Nice one! I love it.
I can not stand it when people refer to adoption as a 'cure'. They are blatantly saying that the adopted baby is not good enough!

Sara said...

Unbe-freakin'-lievable. I'm so glad you said that to her. Ungrateful cow (on so many levels)!

Me said...

I agree with you utterly and completely!

sharah said...

High five! Fist bump! All those celebratory NFL touchdown dances!

Awesome, awesome response that I would never have the balls to carry off.

Lorraine said...

I secretly love it when other people just can't come up with anything to say - but I usually resort to semi-vague platitudes about how nobody appreciates the "normal" in their life until they realize it's not there - or something. Most of the time the other person just nods as if they totally get it, but it's easy to see that it didn't really register.

Glad you went bold - after the babysling offense, you might as well tell it like it is!

tireegal68 said...

Home run for us infertiles. I hope they are happy with all their piles of money and no time to enjoy it. Now there's a conversation starter for next time you see them!

Lisa DG said...

I'm glad it made you feel better though I am not really sure she'll ever understand.

what a bitch to want to give the present back that way! Clueless!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that just makes my black little heart glow. Good for you!

Frenchie said...

OMG the sling.....what a troll.

B said...

I'm similar.

I often find I make a judgement about someone and if they're a "yummy mummy" or someone that bases their entire identity on parenthood or just makes a lot of assumptions I usually drop "dead baby" into the conversation. Like I don't want to let them off the hook.

It's prob a bit unfair and judgemental. But sometimes you just need to claim a space for yourself when you're around people that railroad over everything without even knowing.

Now she knows!