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“I’m Jealous of My Sister’s Pregnancy”

From the forums:

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My husband and I had an accidental pregnancy about 1.5 years ago and lost it suddenly at 12 weeks. It was soul-crushing and the pain is still tender. I wanted to try again immediately, but we took some time off to have our wedding. We started trying again the month before our wedding — May 2013. Since then, no luck at all. After five months, we started to see a specialist. Now, I undergo constant blood draws, hormonal drugs, vaginal ultrasounds, etc. I take vitamins and supplements. I take my temperature daily. I use ovulation predictor kits. We use fertility lube. And on and on and on. Ask me any question about fertility, I have studied it like a PhD candidate.

In that time, three of my closest friends decided that they would like to start trying for a baby too. And each of them got pregnant within 1-2 months of trying. One of the friends is actually my sister and she just found out two weeks ago. She and I are very close, live on the SAME BLOCK, are close in age, and have weekly dinners together. Our husbands are also close.

She decided to try to get pregnant but didn’t want to fuss about it, so they just decided to stop birth control and see what happened. On Dec 29, I found out that my latest fertility treatment (IUI) failed. It was a big blow. The same day my sister (whose monthly cycle was perfectly lined up with mine!) told me that she had taken some tests and they were all negative. She then said that she had decided that she didn’t really feel ready anyway and was going to take a few months off from trying. I felt relieved because I knew that it would be painful to watch her get pregnant while we continued to struggle. The next day she called and said she had an error pregnancy test. She sent me a photo and, duh, it was positive. She didn’t even know how to read them…

Since then, I am just overcome with anger, jealousy, and sadness. We shared everything before this happened and now I can’t even think about her pregnancy without breaking down into tears. I literally can’t. I’ve seen her twice since then and we didn’t broach the topic at all. I always imagined that I’d be her confidante during her pregnancy — that I’d help her look at nursery themes, sew some outfits for the baby, offer some tips from my pregnancy, etc. But I always thought I’d be first. I never thought we’d still be trying after 8-9 months.

It’s a selfish, petty emotion, but I truly don’t know how to get past it. I know two weeks isn’t very long, but it hasn’t gotten any better so far. I cry all the time. I don’t sleep well. Everything seems bleak and hopeless. I do think that I am probably at a point where I could officially classify myself as depressed, in the clinical sense. And I plan to go back to the therapist that helped me with last year’s miscarriage.

My sister knows about the long struggle we’ve had and I know that she’s being careful not to say anything about her pregnancy for fear of upsetting me. I feel like it’s my job to let her know it’s ok to talk about it. And yet, I just can’t. I really just want to pretend it’s not happening.

But how do I help myself move forward, accept my sister’s good news, and be a part of this huge event in her life? Do I need to box up these feelings or is it possible to work through them (right now it doesn’t feel possible)?

P.S. Please, whatever you say, don’t tell me to “just relax and it will happen.” Studies have shown that stress does not affect the ability to conceive. For most people, having unprotected sex is all it takes –and that is relaxing! For those with problems, fertility treatments require constant attention and involvement. — Not Exactly Happy for My Sister

First of all, I’m so sorry for your fertility struggle. I haven’t experienced it myself, but I have close friends who have gone, and are going, through, exactly what you describe, and even as a friend it’s heartbreaking to watch. I can only imagine the disappointment and devastation month after month when all your efforts don’t result in a pregnancy. I wish there were something I could say to ease some of the pain, but if there are magic words, I don’t know them. All I can say is that so many people are rooting for you and keeping you in good thoughts.

As for your sister, I’m sure she feels awkward and guilty about how easily she became pregnant knowing how much you’ve struggled. It’s understandable that you feel angry and jealous and sad. And you probably feel guilty for feeling those things when what you’d really love is to share in your sister’s excitement and help temper some of her fears. It’s OK that you can’t do that right now. I’m sure she understands. But she IS your sister and this IS a pretty big moment in her life. You need to address it; you need to say SOMETHING, even if what you say is: “Somewhere in my heart I am so happy and excited for you, but right now my own sadness for myself is making it impossible to tap into that excitement, let alone express it to you. I’m going to need a little time to process my feelings before I can share in your good news. I wish I could tell you exactly how long I need, but I don’t know. And I wish I could be exactly what you need and deserve right now as a sister and a friend, but I can’t. And I’m sorry for that, and I hope you understand.”

I think giving yourself permission to sort of grieve, and acknowledging to your sister than you need some time, will relieve you from the pressure you feel right now to “perform” excitement and happiness. But unless you get pregnant soon, your sister’s pregnancy is going to sting. And I’m not sure there is a way to move past that. Obviously, going back to therapy will help you deal with these feelings of resentment and jealousy. I think travel could help if you’re able to find some time to get away. Do you have a pet? Have you considered getting one? I have several friends who have struggled with miscarriage and fertility issues report that getting pets was a wonderful way to help re-focus some of their energy and bring joy into their homes (look for an essay later this week by one of my friends about this very topic).

As your sister’s pregnancy progresses, be honest about your feelings and about your limitations. If, for example, you don’t have it in you to throw her a baby shower, don’t offer to do it. If you can’t stomach helping her get the nursery ready, don’t try. Find things you CAN do to stay connected to your sister that don’t sting too much or don’t remind you of what you don’t have. Your sister is still your sister. She’s still going to enjoy much of the same things she’s always enjoyed with you. So go to movies together and have your weekly dinners and maintain normalcy as much as you can so that she knows that, even if you can’t “be there” for her in the way you’d both like, you’re still there. You still love her and you still want to share in her life. There just might be parts of it right now, at this moment, that are a little too painful for you to be too involved in. If she’s the loving sister she sounds like she is, she’ll understand.

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avatar TECH January 14, 2014, 9:23 am

Jess, it sounds like you and your sister are pretty close, and it sounds like she’s a good person. So maybe you two should just sit down and have a heart to heart. Let her know how much you are grieving. Let her know how sorry you are that you can’t be there for in the way you wish you could be. I would imagine she would react with empathy and caring. If you just get this all out in the open and off your chest, and she reassures you, I think you will feel a little better.
You are sad you haven’t been able to have a baby of your own. And then on top of it you feel like you’re letting your sister down, which probably makes you feel like a bit of a failure. If your sister was able to say, “It’s okay, I understand. We’ll get through this.” Wouldn’t that be a load off?

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:10 am

Thanks Tech. I pretty much did tell her and she understood. I just feel like I should be doing more or doing better at some point and I can’t SEE that on the horizon yet (even though I think it must get better eventually).

avatar TECH January 14, 2014, 1:25 pm

“I just feel like I should be doing more or doing better.”
It seems like you are being really hard on yourself. Most women in your situation would feel exactly the way you feel. So be nice to yourself. Your sister loves you. You two will get through this, one way or another. You seem like a loving person and when her baby is born I’m sure your heart will open up and you will fall in love with this little person.
Maybe just remember that your sister is understanding and empathetic. Don’t expect yourself to be this bubbly, exuberant person. I’m sure your sister is not expecting you to be. It sounds like she gets it.

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 9:25 am

I’m really sorry, Jess. I hope you are better soon. I hope you’ll get good news soon … One piece of good news you have now is that YOU’RE GOING TO BE AN AUNTIE! One of the best things I’ve ever experienced. I also think a trip and a pet could do good. We all love you and are rooting for you!

avatar kerrycontrary January 14, 2014, 9:33 am

Yes I think reframing thoughts into “I’m going to have a neice/nephew!” can help bring about some excitement. But I don’t know cause I haven’t been through the infertility struggle.

avatar lindsaybob January 14, 2014, 3:46 pm

I hope that this is true for Jess, but I just wanted to say that I had my son in August and my pregnancy was really hard for my SIL, who tried for several years to get pregnant unsuccessfully, then became pregnant shortly before I did and had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. My husband and I went from seeing her and her husband pretty regularly (though not weekly, like Jess and her sister) to only seeing them about four or five times in my entire pregnancy, but everybody thought “oh, when the baby comes she’ll be so excited about being an aunt and the jealousy she feels about the pregnancy won’t be as bad” but it hasn’t really worked out that way. She still finds it really difficult to be around my son and didn’t even meet him until he was more than a month old, although she lives nearby. We had hoped that she might see having a good relationship with my son as being sort of the next best thing to having children of her own, as she and her husband have stopped trying to get pregnant and have decided not to adopt, but it is looking increasingly unlikely that she is going to build much of a relationship with him at all.

I’m not saying this to be negative, but just to say that I think it is easy in that situation to go through the whole pregnancy just assuming it will be easier when the baby comes, because who could be angry/jealous etc. when there’s a lovely baby to cuddle, but it may not be without actively taking steps to deal with the feelings before the baby is born. Which of course Jess is doing by going back to therapy, so hopefully that will help.

P.S. I’ve been lurking here for a long time, I’m trying to delurk a little. Hi everybody!

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 3:52 pm

Hi! Does that bother you or do you understand it?

avatar lindsaybob January 16, 2014, 3:09 am

Hi! It does bother me a bit, but I try to be understanding. I know infertility is incredibly tough and that I can’t really understand what she’s going through. The worst part was when she tried to cut off contact with her own mother, my mother-in-law, because she said that my MIL was spending too much time with us and the baby and helping us out too much. She was basically jealous and expected her mother to spend less time with her only grandchild just to make her feel better. That just left me feeling that my SIL was too selfish to even try to have a good relationship with us, so I guess we’ll see them at birthdays and holidays and leave it at that. It’s sad, but she’s the one who’s losing out the most, I think, because she could have had a lovely relationship with her nephew.

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 4:11 pm

Wow I think that’s terrible of your sister. She needs help. At some point, you need to get your shit together and realize life is unfair – you know? – and that you can’t let your bad luck ruin your relationship with your sister and your nephew! I hope your sister snaps out of it. I don’t mean to sound insensitive but she’s moping and taking her bad luck out on her family.

avatar lindsaybob January 16, 2014, 3:19 am

Yeah, I agree with you completely and don’t think you sound insensitive at all. She expects everybody to tiptoe around her to make sure she doesn’t have to actually do any work to deal with things herself. She treated her mother, my mother-in-law, very badly too, by falling out with her because she was “spending too much time with us and supporting us too much” (because when my son was a newborn my MIL came round every week or so and helped clean my house and took me out for lunch so I would get out of the house and not have so many chores to worry about), though they’ve mostly resolved that now.

I hope she snaps out of it too. I’m not sure she will though. She’s always been pretty selfish/self-involved, according to my husband. I’m pretty sure the only reason we’ve got on well until this happened was because she is older than us, has more money than us and so until now there was never a situation where we had something she wanted and couldn’t have, so she didn’t feel jealous of us. She was going yo therapy at one point, according to my MIL, but we don’t know if she’s still going.

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 9:39 am

Here are just a few reasons why I love being an aunt:

1 – They’re MY nephews and niece and I can play with them whenever I want.
2 – I can give them back whenever I want.
3 – They adore me to pieces.
4 – They ask me questions and tell me things they would never talk to their parents about.

And holy shit you guys, my 10 year old nephews had a SHIT TON of sex-related and other questions of a sensitive nature for me when we were playing alone at the beach (in Rio, for 2 weeks, boom!): what exactly is “butt sex” (holy shit, they’re 10!); if you always make a baby when you have sex (no); why you’d want to have sex but not make a baby (oops, oh god, I should have said yes);, what a “period” is “but not like the punctuation, it’s a girl thing, what is it?” (i told them); what’s the difference between homo, gay, lesbian, fag (and they had a few more — we had a LONG talk about sexuality (as simple as I could with 10 year olds) and the appropriate terms, and also to stop saying “that’s gay” – that’s something new they have picked up); what’s a pothead (that they asked me at age 8); … And there was more but I’m blanking. I probably overstepped my boundaries in answering their questions. They wanted a “birds and bees” talk too. I started joking and said, “well once upon a time there was a beautiful birdie who flew around the sky and…” and they just were like “really, tell us, go on, tell us.” I’ve never had such undivided attention from them. (Twin 10 year olds.) I had to pull my brother aside later and ask if it was ok if I just answered all their questions without filter. He was floored. He thinks they still believe in Santa Clause. I have a theory that if a kid asks what butt sex is he can’t also still believe in Santa Clause. I dare you to prove that theory wrong.

avatar TECH January 14, 2014, 9:43 am

Yeah, I wanted to suggest trying to be excited about being an aunt, but I wasn’t sure if Jess would be able to get excited. But just thinking about your family expanding is awesome. You only live a couple blocks away from your sister. You are so lucky! You could see your cute little neice or nephew as often as you want (probably.)
I’m sorry if that comes off as insensitive. I know saying “You have it better, because your neice or nephew will live down the street, and other people have to go across the country” is not helpful. Comparing ourselves to others, is, in general, never helpful.
But maybe just try to think of all the benefits and joys of having your new neice/nephew so close by?

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 9:45 am

I’m sure Jess will get there – get to the point where she is just really happy for her sister – and for herself! – and excited about her new role as aunt! It’s an awesome role. And muy importante. I’d venture to say BEING AN AUNT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT…. Ha, I’m biased.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:20 am

Thanks guys. I am sure I will get there AT SOME POINT but I don’t know when. I do have a nephew from my other sister and enjoy being an aunt.

avatar ktfran January 14, 2014, 9:57 am

Pretty sure your reasons for loving being an aunt mirror my own. It’s pretty awesome when when they’re eyes light up when they see you.

Also, as much as I hate bodily functions, I secretly smile when the four year old would rather have me help her in the bathroom than her mom. It just means she likes me better, right? I kid.

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 10:06 am

Also my nephews think I’m so cool b/c I can fart on command and I hold them down and fart on their heads. If you want to win a nephew or niece over just fart on his/her head. It’s a great ice breaker. Ha.

avatar thatgirl January 14, 2014, 10:01 am

I would have to agree that even knowing the words “butt sex” negates any belief in Santa!!!

I have never been asked by my kids…and we discuss a lot of sex things….I hope if it ever comes up I do not laugh uncontrollably.

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 10:06 am

Unless they ask if Santa has butt sex then it becomes a little gray.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 10:17 am

bonus is the ask is whether it is with Mrs. Claus or the elves (or the reindeer)!?!

you sound like a very cool Auntie!! I love that your brother was floored… it’s like becoming a parent makes you think your kids are permanently kids and will always believe in santa and the tooth fairy. HA ;-)

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 10:20 am

Hush now mmcg! :)

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 11:32 am

are you saying that leaping from butt sex to beastiality is wrong? (THIS IS SARCASM… I THINK IT IS A CRAZY LEAP… I AM JUST TAKING THIS POINT TO ITS DELIGHTFUL AND COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS TANGENTIAL CONCLUSION!!)

avatar MsMisery January 14, 2014, 2:11 pm

AP, I am glad SOMEONE is there to answer those questions for them. Better than they go thru life uninformed and saying “that’s gay.” Your brother probably was glad he didn’t have to deal with any of that!

othy othy January 14, 2014, 10:58 am

Being an Auntie is the best! I love hanging out with my nieces and then sending them to their mom when they are cranky/screaming/smelly. And, since I don’t live with them, I can send them mail to make their day. My 3 (almost 4) year old niece started learning about the post office, so she sent me a drawing in the mail. So Mr. Othy and I sent her a couple of drawings back. She was so excited that we drew stuff just for her!

Oh, and the other day, she started saying ‘fuck’. It was hilarious. We asked her where she heard the word, and she said that it was in an episode of Duck Tails. We confirmed she wasn’t saying the word duck. And I’m pretty sure I don’t remember that about Duck Tails (odds are she was trying to say ‘funk’).

And, one more awesome thing about being an aunt. When one the aunts on the other side of the family asks her who her favorite auntie is, and she tells them that it’s me. Hahaha, it means I’m winning, right?

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 11:10 am

you are winning! you will have won when they come to you with butt sex questions.

butt sex. (<—- I just had to type it out one more time because 1,063 times today wasn't enough.)

othy othy January 14, 2014, 3:08 pm

Hopefully I won’t get butt sex questions for a long time (she’s not even 4 yet!), but I hope when the time comes she will come to me with those questions.

And, my SIL has already granted me ‘first family beer rights’ for her daughter (she can’t guarantee non-family beer, since the kid might take after her folks and start drinking early).

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 3:28 pm

well i never answered the butt sex question and right now I think they think it is rubbing your butts together.

avatar ktfran January 14, 2014, 9:25 am

I read this forum topic yesterday, and thank you Wendy, for addressing so lovely the LW’s current feelings toward her sister. I didn’t now how to write it without sounding mean, and Wendy’s suggestion, or something like it, to talk to the sister is pretty awesome.

This is your sister. And she’s pregnant and going through a huge life change. I can’t even pretend to know what you’re going through, LW, but please try to reach out to her in some capacity. I know your life sucks right now and it’s hard, but I suspect you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Also, good luck. I really do hope everything works out for you! Fingers crossed we get a “I’m Pregnant” update.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:02 am

Thanks ktfran, I will definitely let you all know. The DW community has been so good about listening to me cry and whine over the last 1.5 years. Y’all deserve to hear some good news from me one of these days :-)

avatar artsygirl January 14, 2014, 9:26 am

LW – I am sorry to hear about your struggles. It is natural that you have feelings of resentment and jealous towards your sister, but you will have to work to overcome them. Try to see this baby not as something that you are lacking but rather as a form of practice. You will be able to experience all the things your sister goes through and be better prepared for when you start your family. Best of luck!
On a personal note I would love some input regarding infertility. I have never attempted to get pregnant but have been told by my OB/GYN that it takes an average of 18 months for a woman to get pregnant if she is coming off hormonal BC. Is it normal to seek out a fertility specialist only 8 months after trying (I guess if that LW was older or there was a history of fertility issues in the family it would make sense). Also, I know a number of women that have miscarried and they were all told to wait a six months to a year before trying to get pregnant – is that no longer true?

avatar jlyfsh January 14, 2014, 9:31 am

Fertility is weird and so unique to the individual. I’ve had friends go off birth control and get pregnant 2 weeks later and others who do take months or years. I had a friend who recently miscarried and she was told by her doctor to start trying right away. So, it might also vary doctor to doctor as to what you are told?

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 9:43 am

Hey Artsy, (I’m the LW).

Answers to your questions:

–I’m not sure about average time post BC to get pregnant. Circumstantially, I have seen people who got pregnant pretty quickly and a few that took longer. 18 months seems really long to me. I’d want to research that. The biggest thing is your regularity. If you are having regular cycles post BC, you are probably good. You can also try doing OPKs if you are not already –to confirm that you are ovulating each month.

–The rule of thumb for seeing a specialist is 1 year if you are under 35 and 6 months if you are over 35. You can also see one sooner if you know you face particular challenges like endometriosis, PCOS, irregular cycles, etc.

–The medical advice about waiting after a miscarriage is just one month. And that is really only so that they can be sure of the timing of your cycle. Some women actually get pregnant in the weeks following their miscarriage (although that’s not something I would do).

avatar artsygirl January 14, 2014, 12:27 pm

Thanks for the info!

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 9:47 am

I’m 99% sure this is a doctors opinion/your body thing. My BFF was told it would take 6 months to a year to get pregnant after going off of the pill and they where pregnant in the first month (much to her surprise and a little frustration because they where anticipating a few more months).

This whole discussion brings up why its SO important for patients to advocate for themselves and be informed, and why having a knowledgeable doctor is key. Last year during my annual exam, I started asking baby making questions (since we knew in was in the 3 year plan) and the doctor just gave me a blank stare. So this year I’m actually considering seeing a nurse practitioner at the local birth center for my annual exam so I’ll get some more informed/relevant info.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:01 am

Also, speaking of knowledgeable doctors, I should add that fertility and conception are NOT the specialty of OB/GYNs. Although they are amazing at what they do, they are notorious for giving out incorrect or outdated advice to women who are struggling to conceive.

My advice would be to check your insurance. Some companies will cover services provided by an OB but not a RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist). Some companies will cover diagnostic exams related to infertility (sperm analysis, blood work, ultrasounds, etc) but not actual treatment. The decision to see a specialist would probably have to take insurance coverage polities into account. I have outstanding and rare fertility coverage with my insurance so we went straight to the expert.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 10:14 am

Thanks for the advice :) I’m not quite there yet, I just want to talk basics like vitamins to start.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:18 am

Folic acid, Fish Oil, CoQ10 (if you are over 35), and a good prenatal. You can google to see recommended doses.

Also, I’d recommend you start tracking your cycles a few months before you officially start. It’s fairly easy to start out using ovulation predictors and checking for cervical fluid.

Oh and have your thyroid checked. Your OB or GP can do that.

That’s my advice :-)

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 10:43 am

Thanks :)

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 11:37 am

Don’t forget folic acid for the boys too… It was recommended by my OB/GYN along with reducing alcohol, etc. because those little swimmers need some attention too!! (actually they may need more if you think about it, my eggs are my eggs and they have been there since the beginning of me, those sperm are constantly made and I think it is important for men planning/hoping to be dads to be aware that their choices have influence as well – sadly they get off the train once the deed is done – but good health is good health regardless)

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 12:19 pm

Thanks! We started cutting back alcohol (only since 1/1 but it’s a start!) and will def look into vitamins for him!

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 12:18 pm

OMG Yes about regular OB/GYNs! When I had my second miscarriage most of them were kind, but kept saying “It happens, are you sure you really want to be referred to a fertility specialist”. Yes, yes I did. The fertility specialist was amazing and so compassionate. She looked at my file in depth and asked me many many questions. Also, I let her know some facts that I kept asking the OB/GYNS if that could contribute to miscarriages (they said no), but she listened to me and was like “OF COURSE that could be the issue, that’s actually the most common cause of recurrent miscarriages”. Ugh, she was truly a lifesaver. Then she said that when/if I get pregnant next time I can go there to have my ultrasounds and I don’t have to go to the regular floor with all the super pregnant women (seeing them every time I went to the doctor – which was a lot after the miscarriage – really hurt) and that since she knew I’d be nervous that I could see her as much as I needed. That was a bit of a tangent (sorry Jess!) but OB/GYNs (while great) don’t always know how to handle those issues.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 1:04 pm

That’s so sad… it’s one thing for OBs to be more generalist than specialist and not have in depth knowledge of the latest and greatest fertility information, but to be actively spreading mistruths and old wives tales to their patients just sucks. Just say I Don’t Know and here is where you can look for the info…

katie katie January 14, 2014, 1:07 pm

oh that happens all the time. for instance, a lot of doctors still think that pregnant women cant keep their cats, a lot of doctors still think that women who havent had a vaginal birth cant have IUDs, ect. medical “knowledge” is not so much knowledge sometimes as its old wives tales and out dated information.

its scary, really.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 1:24 pm

Continuing education is so crucial for doctors (and just about anyone). Medicine is an ever evolving field.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 2:05 pm

No, I agree 100% and feel exactly the same way about my RE (fertility specialist).

avatar BecBool84 January 14, 2014, 2:46 pm

Depending on the type of birth control, I have been told that it takes an average of 6 months for it to totally leave your system for a lot of women; however, we got pregnant literally two weeks after I went off the pill, so there’s definitely know definitive numbers.

Red_Lady Red_Lady January 15, 2014, 12:26 am

Everything I’ve been reading lately has said all the hormones are out of your system in 5 days (for the pill). But it can take awhile for your body to get back to its regular cycle.

avatar Amanda January 14, 2014, 9:28 am

LW, I’m so sorry that you and your husband are struggling with infertility. Just know that you are not alone in this struggle. There are many online communities dedicated to trying to conceive/infertility that may be helpful to you. Your feelings about your sister’s pregnancy are normal. I think that anyone in your situation would feel as you do; it’s only been 2 weeks after all. Going to a therapist to help process your emotions when you are ready is a wonderful idea. Best of luck to you and your husband.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 9:57 am

Thanks. My husband reminded me of the same thing last night. He said to be patient with myself and take my time adjusting to the news.

avatar TECH January 14, 2014, 1:28 pm

Good advice from your husband. I mean, it’s really only been two weeks since your sister broke her pregnancy news. That’s not much time at all. You’re struggling right now, but things will get better.

avatar kerrycontrary January 14, 2014, 9:30 am

Great advice, Wendy. And Wendy is right, we’re all rooting for you and we have been for a long time! (not just with babies but with your beautiful marriage). I think a pet is a wonderful idea for re-focusing love, energy, and happiness. Get a cat if you’re not allergic cause they allow for more life-flexability than a dog.

avatar jlyfsh January 14, 2014, 9:35 am

I’m so sorry again Jess that you’re going through this and Wendy has wonderful advice. I hope that seeing your therapist helps you. And taking trips and potentially pets might be good distractions. Rescuing a pet is a wonderful way to make yourself feel like you’re doing good as well. Many people are wishing you well!

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 9:55 am

Thank you, jlyfsh,… so sweet of you to say.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 9:40 am

Seriously, LW, I am exactly where you are. I have been trying for two years, have had two miscarriages and the fertility bills…yikes! I just paid $500 to my doctor to find out we couldn’t try this month because of a cyst and the only drug they could prescribe me was the birth control pill….seriously??! FML.

I wrote the forums about seeing my best friend who is 9 months pregnant. I am officially the last friend to have kids and it sucks so bad. My little brother and his wife have already had the conversation about trying to have a baby and I sobbed and sobbed. Everything you are going through is real, it sucks, and I am sorry that you are going through it. Here are a few things I have figured out:

1.) Do not underestimate the affect the fertility drugs like Clomid have on your body. My BEST advice is to up your cardio. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. Especially if you are about to go into an emotionally tense situation. I started doing 30 minutes to an hour on the elliptical machine every day and it has done wonders balancing the drugs and the shots. I find that I can handle hard situations better if I get that sweat on and I wasn’t a person who really worked out before this happened.

2.) people who say “don’t stress” can go to hell.

3.) I am over a year past where you are and what we do to maintain our sanity is to make a yearly to do list. It is things that we want to do around our home, fun things to do in town, fiscal and fitness goals. My first year of infertility, I looked back and said, I can’t have this year only be defined by not staying pregnant. This year there are 52 things on the list and we have already accomplished 6. Take charge of this time and fill up your weekends with friends and projects. Get around to stuff you have been meaning to do so when you speak, you have something fun to contribute like “we are taking a dance class” or “we went to this new restaurant” or “we saw that new exhibit at the museum.” Something, anything other than the sucky black cloud that is following you around.

4.) Finally, consider a support group instead of a counselor. I have found that with counselors, I don’t think they understand. The support group gets it. I think my husband got more out of it than I did.

I hope this helps.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 9:45 am

I love #3. Thanks. We have been trying to do this but haven’t been dedicated enough. However, I did purchase us a pack of theater tickets for 3 shows that take place over the next 6 months. So that will give us some fun date nights.

And I am sorry for the long road you have been on. I hope your baby finds you soon.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 11:08 am

Thanks! you are so sweet. I hope it works for you, too.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 9:51 am

I love #3. I think I want to do that even though I’m not in the same situation!

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 10:24 am

I was thinking the same thing GG… #3 is fabulous advice regardless of the situation or what may be causing stress/problems in your life. A really nice way to have something to look forward to and to keep just MOVING FORWARD with life!

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 11:14 am

yes, it is also just getting around to what you wanted to do. This year it was like, do one winter sport activity like skiing or ice skating, throw a block party, go bowling, go to a parade, go to 5 new restaurants, read 15 books, call my grandmothers at least once a month, run a 5k, take one free online course. Things like this. And we put it on a white board and erase as we go. It really helps shake things up.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 11:32 am

GGuy gets a weird sense of satisfaction by crossing things out. We have a running list of home junk that needs to get done and he is giddy everything he gets to put a big red line through a task. I think I’m going to add some of those fun items too.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 11:36 am

I do that too! Sometimes I will add already completed tasks to my to do list just to cross them off. Psycho.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 11:38 am

me too – I also add checkboxes next to my lists so I can officially check them off. Such a bizarre sense of satisfaction for my type A OCDish self!

katie katie January 14, 2014, 12:21 pm

i absolutely do that too

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 1:12 pm

I love it and I love the deadline. In November and December we were running around trying to finish everything. It was fun.

avatar camille905 January 14, 2014, 9:51 am

Thank you for sharing this. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant since May 2013. People all around me have tiny babies or are pregnant so it’s hard to not think about it. It’s been really really difficult. Ack.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 9:55 am

I’m sorry you are going through this Camille. You and I have been trying for the same time.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 1:09 pm

yea, I got off the pill in December 2011. So we just try to take this day by day. Some days are fine and others aren’t. Get up and keep going. I mean it, the exercise really, really helps and so does the list.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 10:02 am

I hope this is ok to ask–why is it so bad to say don’t stress? Or try not to stress? Is it just like stating the obvious so its annoying?

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:08 am

Totally ok to ask!

It’s just one of those things people say that they think will help. But telling someone not to stress can sort of imply that the situation isn’t very serious. And it’s often the people who have gotten pregnant easily who say it. For them, getting pregnant was pretty stress free. Even fun! For those doing treatments like me, it’s a pretty constant process and there are a million stress points. I guess it’s annoying because the process IS really stressful and it’s so not easy to just wish it away.

Somewhat related point… I do have the unique experience of having been a person who got pregnant by ACCIDENT (talk about easy!) and also a person who can’t conceive. And in a pretty short space of time. It’s weird to have experienced both. So I do have some understanding for people who have never had to consider these things. Hopefully it helps with my growth as a human being or something…

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 10:13 am

Thanks for answering Jess! And yea, I guess it would make you a little more understanding of both sides having been on both sides. As I said yesterday, best wishes to you.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 10:22 am

I know you already addressed this Jess (and you are being a champ for reading through all of this and responding!) but I just wanted to add my 2 cents… I feel like “don’t stress” is right up there with “calm down” or “don’t worry” — really obvious and can come off as totally dismissive depending on the tone, situation, etc.

I mean if I am worried about something and venting, or just trying to talk it through, telling me not to feel what I am feeling isn’t the most helpful.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 10:29 am

I wonder if people think its ok to say don’t stress (as opposed to dont worry or whatever) because they’ve heard its a real factor in conceiving and going full term? I remember my mom (ironically) obsessing about not being stressed after miscarrying twice and then being pregnant again.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:54 am

Oh yes, I think this is part of it. People think that even though studies have shown it isn’t true at all. There are always those stories of people that stop trying or stop treatment and get pregnant. But those are mostly anecdotes. There’s also the reality that many fertility drugs stay in your system so they are still helping even after you stop taking them.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 11:06 am

Yes, and this goes back to blame. Even my husband says, “I know I stress you out and maybe that is the problem.” There is so much self blame with these things. It is a terrible rabbit hole, and everyone who says “don’t stress” seems to agree that it is your fault.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 11:17 am

Oh wow, I had never thought of it that way.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 11:19 am

me either… i always think of “dont stress” as “your putting your energy/efforts into a negative place, which doesnt help anyone”

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 12:49 pm

In most cases that is true, but with this, many times people believe that stress causes infertility. It is weird because if there was another situation like strep throat or cancer, people wouldn’t say “don’t stress, and you will get better.” Or, if someone lost their job, “You wouldn’t say, don’t stress.” But there is a cultural thing about infertility that is very different that involves old wives tales and god’s plan and your “natural” purpose as a woman that makes this very hard.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 12:54 pm

oh thats weird- i would totally say dont stress to all those people.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:52 am

You said it perfectly.

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 12:23 pm

Yeah. Saying “Don’t Stress” seems pretty dismissive to me. It’s like they don’t understand that this is a REALLY stressful and shitty situation to be in. Also, the people who say “If you stress you won’t get pregnant” are full of crap. Like you said Jess, studies have shown that is not the case and it doesn’t help the person. You start feeling that because you are stressing out, you will never get pregnant, carry a baby to term and it’s YOUR FAULT. Ugh, it sucks.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 11:00 am

So the don’t stress/don’t think about it/tell as story of how you know someone who tried and tried, gave up, adopted, then got pregnant all fall into this category. Jess is right. It is totally dismissive of what I am going through, it shows how little someone listens and pays attention. So in a given month, I will pee on 20 sticks and get at least 10-20 vials of blood taken out. It is impossible not to think about it every day. The idea also implies that it is somehow that it is my fault. Like I have little sperm killing stress hormones that come out and killing all of my hopes and dreams. But ultimately, this line comes up when you are talking to someone about your feelings. They aren’t empathizing with what you are going through but shutting you down. When I hear it, I hear, “I know all you ever wanted and all your dreams for the future are tied up in this, but just don’t care and it will happen.” People tell me to not stress, just get drunk, stop drinking. try different positions. The worst was my MIL who was giving me advice on positions because she wanted to make sure we knew how to have sex. It is like having acne and someone with beautiful skin saying, “Just wash your face twice a day.” I don’t mean to rant but that is why it just makes my skin crawl.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:12 am

Well said!

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 11:43 am

I’m pretty sure that having my MIL talk to me about sex and positions and whatnot with her son would be the biggest barrier to conception than anything EVER… eeewwww. I can’t even imagine how I would respond to such a thing but I don’t think it would be my kindest, trying to be a good DIL moment!!

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 12:20 pm

yea, I just said, “I appreciate that you are trying to help but we are fine on that front.” What I wanted to say was, “OH! You can’t get pregnant from anal sex?!?” That is the problem! duh.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:25 pm

I would have been so tempted to act really surprised and then reference that he was putting it in my ear or belly button so thank god she spoke up because for all these years (and with access to the interwebs) I’ve clearly been doing it wrong.

You are a more level headed person than I :-)

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 12:29 pm

hahaha That’s awesome. Also, csp I’ve been following your story here for awhile and just wanted to let you know I’m routing for you!

For me, it feels like only those having fertility problems can really understand my feelings about the situation we’re going through. I’m not sure if that’s how you feel, but if it is I’m here if you’d ever like to vent/talk!

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 1:43 pm

we should start a forum thread because you are right, no one gets it.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 1:45 pm

I definitely don’t get it. I think its something (like you said), no one can understand but those in it. Its very interesting to get some insight though, without people shouting insensitive. Like the “don’t stress” advice…I honestly thought that was good advice til reading this.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 1:50 pm

I think it’s really interesting too. We’re slowly heading down the reproduction road so it’s cool seeing so many other’s “stories”. Hearing Wendy’s experiences, and lemongrass, and jess and everyone else- it’s super interesting.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 3:02 pm

It just goes back to blame. Through my miscarriages, I can’t help but feel like I didn’t protect my baby. The last one was through fertility. So we found out I was pregnant and then my progesterone started to dip and I took these medicines to try and save it and we were doing bloodwork every 48 hours. My husband actually whispered to my stomach one night, ” Hey Baby, please stay with us. We would be great parents to you and love you so much already and would make you so happy.” It just kills me to think about it now. With all the platitudes that people say, that blame of not keeping the baby just rips at me. Then when people act like it is my stress level that is the problem, it just makes it worse. Like I am so hysterical that I am not as fit as a crack head prostitute or a mother in a war torn country.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 3:06 pm

Oh honey, this breaks my heart. I am so so sorry for your loss.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 3:15 pm

Wow csp. I am so sorry. Life is so unfair sometimes.

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 3:28 pm

I get that csp. I felt the same way with my miscarriages. It got to the point during the 2nd pregnancy that if I did something during the first one, I would not do it during the 2nd. and vice versa. I felt that maybe I could someway have prevented it. I knew it was crazy and superstitious, but I didn’t know what else to do. Well that didn’t result in a successful pregnancy either, so I’m back to square one.

avatar Boosker January 14, 2014, 1:39 pm

10-20 vials of blood? Holy crap! Is there any blood left for you?

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 2:09 pm

OMG, it’s amazing how much blood they take from you at fertility clinics. They want to know your hormone levels at numerous points of the month and they can only measure in the blood. I get 1-2 vials taken each visit and I can have anywhere from 5-10 visits a month.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 2:56 pm

plus, they did an entire genetic testing thing, stds, diabetes, then I had a whole second set that was after my second miscarriage about rare blood clotting disorders and things like that. It is crazy. They keep tracking my cycle through the month to watch ovulation, progesterone levels. It is super intense.

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 3:13 pm

Yup, I was amazed at how they kept popping those vials into the catheter. It was crazy, I think I had to do 30 once, and my husband was getting tested and only had to do 5. I gave him the evil eye when that was happening. :P

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 9:54 am

LW here.

Wendy, thanks so much for taking the time to reply to me. And thanks for the sympathy and understanding. It really means a lot.

I should add that I did my sister and I did have a brief exchange when she first got the news. I told her that I loved her, was happy for her, but that it brought up some raw emotion for me. I said, “please forgive me if I am awkward about this at times.” And she said of course and she expressed how badly she feels about it.

I also had my husband drop off all our pregnancy books for her. And I know my mom and my sister’s friends have been offering TLC and support too. I really DO know what a big deal it is and how much it quickly dominates your life.

I guess something I would add about the emotional experience of this is that there is a feeling of being left behind. Watching friend after friend board the train to motherhood, but still unable to leave the platform. It’s lonely. And maybe the worst part is that when a friend becomes pregnant easily, it causes a natural change in how we relate. And so there is sort of a grieving associated with losing the support/relatability of of a close friend when that friend now has a different set of priorities.

I do belong to an online support group and that helps tremendously —although sometimes I wonder if it prevents me from being able to detach and distract myself.

It’s funny about the suggestion of getting a pet. We got a puppy about a month after we miscarried last year. Now my “puppy” doesn’t want to be my baby anymore, haha. I keep saying I need a new puppy for every year we don’t have a baby but I don’t think that is a great idea, ;-)

Travel-wise, thats another idea we haven’t made happen yet. But should! I do have a long work trip overseas next month. It will be far from a vacation but I do think it will help me to get some distance on everything.

Lyra Lyra January 14, 2014, 10:04 am

Have you considered adoption at all? If I remember correctly, you have had health issues in the past (cancer was it?). Adoption could be a great option. After my friend had her two miscarriages, she really didn’t want to put her body through that again because it was so risky. She and her husband are looking seriously into adoption right now. I hear that if you choose an older child, the process takes a LOT less time than a newborn.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:10 am

Thanks Lyra. No, not yet. We have discussed our feelings quite a bit and both want to exhaust more options before we consider adoption. We are fortunate to have good insurance coverage so we can proceed to IVF pretty affordably. We meet with our doctor tomorrow to talk about next steps but I think we will try IUI a few more times and then start prepping for IVF. If IVF doesn’t work, then we’d start considering alternatives. We haven’t quite tackled that yet.

Lyra Lyra January 14, 2014, 10:14 am

Glad you have good insurance! I was thinking of the insanely high costs of fertility treatments. Just thought I’d throw the adoption card out there. :)

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 10:31 am

on the adoption front, and I am not sure if this is an absolute or depends on where you live, etc. – but a good friend told me that many public adoption agencies consider the total age of the parents at the time of adoption, and if the number is over 80 (i.e. you are both 40, or whatever combo) that they kinda stop considering you. This friend ended up going a much more expensive private adoption route because of this factor… NOT trying to put more pressure onto you but wanted you to be aware of the potential limitations of your options.

My money is on getting the thyroid straight and getting knocked up in the 2014 ;-)

avatar BecBoo84 January 14, 2014, 11:27 am

I hope this doesn’t come across as blunt/rude, but that is totally untrue regarding age being a hindrance to public adoption. I suppose if you were really elderly and/or had health issues, it might, but we’re licensed foster parents in the state of Illinois, and to be honest, they’re so desperate for folks, they probably end up licensing a lot of people who aren’t very cut out for the job. It can be difficult to get a baby (especially a newborn), but if you’re willing to take a school aged child and/or sibling group, there are a ton of options.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 11:45 am

That’s funny that you think that is totally untrue, because that has not been my experience (in what brief inquiries I’ve made since I want to adopt in the future and am facing a time limit) or the experience of people I know who have adopted children domestically. Fostering is a totally different thing, usually involving different state or local agencies – maybe it really varies by state and by public agency!?! I don’t know. Just wanted to throw it out there.

avatar BecBoo84 January 14, 2014, 2:26 pm

I checked a few random states through this site, and I didn’t see age as a barrier in any of them (with the exception that you typically had to be at least 18 or 21):

http://adoptuskids.org/for-families/state-adoption-and-foster-care-information

This link also has a list of children who’ve been cleared as available to adopt:

http://adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/search

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 10:28 am

Obviously (well maybe not so obviously depending on your living situation, it would be obvious in my apartment ;) ) you can’t get a puppy every single year… but maybe consider fostering or volunteering some time at an animal shelter. I know I always find the unconditional love of puppies/kittens/bunnies/whatever to be very relaxing!

avatar jlyfsh January 14, 2014, 10:30 am

If only you could get away with a new pet every year! ;) It is sad when they are out of their puppy stage and no longer want to cuddle and be a baby. Sometimes I still force my dogs to cuddle but it’s not quite the same haha.

avatar Banana January 14, 2014, 10:43 am

“I do belong to an online support group and that helps tremendously —although sometimes I wonder if it prevents me from being able to detach and distract myself.”

Huh, this reminds me of what I just said to rawk on a different topic in the forums: sometimes TOO MUCH sympathy can be unhelpful. I don’t mean you don’t deserve support and sympathy and that you shouldn’t talk to people who are going through the same thing. But sometimes when you spend too much time on that, it just serves to remind you of your pain, instead of helping you cope with it. What I said to rawk about her sister’s breakup is that after a while, if she’s constantly offering sympathy — going “So, how are you feeling about everything” in a gentle tone of voice every day, stuff like that — just feeds the impression that the sister SHOULD continue to feel sad about things, instead of bolstering the belief that she can overcome her sadness and move on with life. So it might be a good idea to maybe set a limit on how much you rely on the support group. I think you really need them right now because this is a difficult time, but after a few months, see if you can limit yourself to a couple hours a week, and then maybe redirect the rest of the time you spent there onto something else that takes your mind OFF it.

IDK. That might be terrible advice. I do want you to take care of yourself, too, obviously. So use your best judgement on when the support group helps you, and when it just starts fading into a role of feeding your sadness instead of alleviating it.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 10:51 am

i agree with this, actually.

the mentally draining cycle (“disappointment and devastation month after month when all your efforts don’t result in a pregnancy” as wendy put it) of inferility is something that i wish was addressed. thats the thing that i see tear women apart. ive seen it in real life, on here, in articles about the industry, ect. i really wish that it was talked about and prevented (as much as it could be) or even at least acknowledged by the fertility industry. i dont know how, but this is what i worry the most with when i hear that people i know are going in for treatments. i worry about their own mental health and happiness, and all anyone else seems to be concerned about is the pregnancy.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:57 am

Yeah, I would add that fertility centers don’t really address this with you. Some offer support groups but I think much of that has faded now that people have options online. Some of the nurses sympathize a little, they go a step further. I think most of the doctors in the practice try to stay detached. I have to admit that working with infertile women all day every day has GOT TO BE tough and I can see why they’d try to detach. They must see a lot of emotion.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 11:07 am

thats terrible. i mean, i get it too, like you said- but the doctors dont have to be the ones doing the mental side of it, and they probably shouldnt, even?

i know that counseling is a part of the adoption process a lot of the time, i think there needs to be a piece similar to that with fertility.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 11:13 am

I have to agree. When you are dealing with something so depressing and (to use Jess’ words) all-encompassing, I don’t understand how there is no regard to mental health or the damage that is being done to women’s mental health. If I described anything else in my life as devastatingly depressing and all-encompassing, people would be highly concerned about me I think. Yet you don’t see that here. They just tell you to keep trying, keep suffering, it’ll hopefully be worth it in the end. Its very, very sad. I hope most woman take it upon themselves (like Jess has) to seek therapy in conjunction with fertility treatments.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 11:17 am

yea, the system is not set up right. something is wrong with the whole thing … and honestly i would guess its the for-profit part of it thats driving the whole thing…

avatar GabbyCat January 14, 2014, 3:31 pm

It’s too bad the in person support groups are not as used as they were before the internet. The thing that was helpful for me in meeting weekly/monthly and focusing then on giving/receiving support, is that then in the rest of my time I could let it go some and stop obssessing so much about it. Also talking to others going through the same experience, I think you get less sympathy and more empathy which makes a difference. Friends I’ve had in widow/widower support groups have mentioned the same thing.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 11:50 am

this might be too far off topic, but this reminds me of the season premiere of downton abbey with Lady Mary grieving over Matthew after 6 months. Her father wants to continue to treat her like a broken, fragile, little doll and her grandmother and others want her to focus on life instead of death – worrying that she will never move on.

Clearly a fine line and it would be different for different people/circumstances… so this isn’t like “you get 6 months of sympathy and then you get nothing” moment… but I do think you can get stuck in a particular role and once you are there for too long it just makes it that much more challenging to move on, change perspectives, and find some joy in your life.

Kate B. Kate B. January 14, 2014, 1:00 pm

I agree with this. I go bonkers if people constantly bring up the very thing I am trying to process. You need time away from it. I had a friend go through a rough time. She was depressed and had locked herself in her house for months. I called her every week and left a message saying that she didn’t have to talk to me if she didn’t want to, but I needed to know that she was okay. (She was considering suicide, although I didn’t know that at the time. She was addressing that with therapy and medication. If I had known that I might have been more insistent.) I told her to just call me and leave a message. After she got through it, she told me that the constant calls from the her family and other friends trying to get her out of the house drove her crazy. She said I was the only person she wasn’t mad at. People should offer support, but pay attention if the person decides not to talk about on a given day.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana January 14, 2014, 10:04 am

This was the story for my sister (except with her sister-in-law) who was the same age and had a whoopsie after about 3 years of my sister trying and undergoing fertility treatments (both of them under 30). It really sucked a lot for her, but she threw herself into work, really re-established and created a stronger bond with her husband (struggles with infertility can take a huge toll on marriage). It was hard for her with her sister-in-law, but I think once the baby came it was a little easier (they were also across the country, so it wasn’t really in her realm of reality non-stop). Anyways she eventually got pregnant with twins, so there is a happy ending but I definitely feel for you and I know I will have a similar struggle conceiving and can only imagine what you are going through. Everyone has great advice, including Wendy but just know you aren’t alone. I love some of the ideas about making a list of things to do–one thing my sister realized in the months preceding the babies birth is that they would really not have time for anything for awhile. I think she regretted a lot of the wallowing she did while trying to get pregnant (I know that it was merited but for awhile she let her depression and sadness take over her life) and wished she had invested more into having fun and enjoying the time before the babies would come. She was just so focused on getting pregnant it became the ONLY thing in her life and she sort of lost sight of the fact she was still a person apart from that struggle and had the capacity to enjoy other things.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:14 am

” I think she regretted a lot of the wallowing she did while trying to get pregnant (I know that it was merited but for awhile she let her depression and sadness take over her life) and wished she had invested more into having fun and enjoying the time before the babies would come. She was just so focused on getting pregnant it became the ONLY thing in her life and she sort of lost sight of the fact she was still a person apart from that struggle and had the capacity to enjoy other things.”

Yes. This is part of my struggle. I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see if there was a happy ending around the corner, and then I could just enjoy this child-free time. My husband reminds me that we have this time to enjoy being married without kids.

We have had some tension here and there with this journey but overall, I’d say its made our marriage stronger. We approach it like a team.

But I do need a lot of work on enjoying life in the here and now rather than just living in a cycle of hope and disappointment month after month (as Wendy aptly described).

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 10:27 am

Have you ever considered what your life would be without children? Like, would you still enjoy it? What would you do with it, etc. My point is maybe you would then know you DO have a happy ending around the corner, with or without a child you made, and maybe that would lift some of these feelings?

avatar Banana January 14, 2014, 10:36 am

I think that’s a great idea. It will be a hard one to face. But I think you do need to imagine a “happy ending” that might not involve children of your own. One of my aunts dearly wanted kids and it just didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. She wound up traveling internationally through much of her life, being a very involved aunt in our lives, and doing lots of other cool things. I can’t say that made up for her never having kids, but she didn’t lead a miserable, lonely existence either, and her life has a lot of meaning despite not being a mother.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 10:54 am

My aunt is in the same boat. Knew she wanted to raise kids in a particular town, moved there, bought a house with a ton of bedrooms, and never was able to have children. She’s a spectacular aunt and actually, all of my siblings have lived at her house at one time or another for extended stays. She’s found other ways to fill that spot that her children would be in and hasn’t looked back. I’m happy she’s been able to see the positives (having more time to be the best aunt ever) in it. I love talking to her about it and hearing the ways she’s handled it because I think you can apply her positive attitude toward any life obstacle.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 10:40 am

love this.

i think everyone should believe in happiness no matter what. no matter their plans, no matter what they want, no matter the cards they are dealt, no matter what, to always know that there will be happiness. i think its very important!

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:00 am

I do this sometimes, yes. I find that my husband is less willing to go there (when I mention this, he thinks it means I have given up hope at getting pregnant). But I do think about a life of travel, play, etc. sometimes. I am so lucky to have the husband I have and he IS enough. The baby journey has been all-consuming and its hard to keep focus on that at times.

avatar Emily January 14, 2014, 10:16 am

Perfect advice, Wendy!

I think being honest with your sister and telling her where you’re at is a good idea. She loves you and she probably feels a little guilty herself! It’s okay to be sad and you have to just go through that, however you can. Let your sister be there for you too — I’m sure she wants to. I’ve gone through a lot of the same feelings and now I’m an aunt and it’s pretty great too.

Take care of yourself! Xo

avatar Banana January 14, 2014, 10:18 am

I’m so sorry to hear about this incredibly painful time, Jess. I hope things get better soon. I can’t even wrap my head around what you must be going through now.

To jump on the auntie bandwagon: I know this doesn’t make up for everything, but as others have said, viewing it as being an auntie instead of being not-pregnant might help. In general, focus less on the pregnancy and more on the baby. Right now, you’re grappling with the painful fact that your sister has what you’ve been longing for so sorely for so long. But behind it all is a little baby who bears no fault at all in the matter, and as soon as you see him or her, you will instantly fall in love. It might still be painful after the baby comes and you’re once more confronted with what you don’t have, but…it won’t be an abstract concept anymore. It will be a little person you can love and cuddle and babysit and feed and visit, and that might help. Despite all your pain, I have no doubt you will love this little kid. The pregnancy lasts less than a year and I know that the pre-birth stuff you wanted to do with your sister seem like a big deal, and that it might hurt extra because you can’t bring yourself to do what you were looking forward to doing, BUT at the end of the day the bigger deal is the decades of experiences you will have in this kid’s life. If you miss the shower or you can’t bring yourself to knit that blanket or any number of things, those will all be forgotten soon enough, but in the end you’ll have a person — A REAL LIVE PERSON! — to share your family’s love, and that’s a blessing no matter which way you look at it.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:22 am

Thanks. This is a great perspective. I am at a place right now where that makes sense intellectually but I just can’t FEEL it right now. It will come. Maybe for now its enough to just recognize that it will get better with time.

avatar Banana January 14, 2014, 10:26 am

You might not feel it until the baby comes. And that’s okay, too. It’s hard to conceptualize another human being when it’s not your kid — right now he or she is just a pregnancy to you. When my SIL was pregnant, I was actually worried that I wouldn’t love my nephew enough, or that I’d be in a “fake it until you make it” situation with him, because I wanted to be an involved auntie, but I’m not a baby person at all. During the whole pregnancy, that thought troubled me and it was hard for me to imagine engaging with this little kid before he was old enough to walk and talk and interact like a mini-grownup. Well, then he was born and I took one look at his picture and fell in love. BOOM. Just like that. I never saw it coming.

avatar ktfran January 14, 2014, 10:57 am

I have to agree with this. I know it’s not the same because it’s not my own child, but . . . . the love I felt for both of my nieces when I first met them was ridiculous. I didn’t know you could feel so strongly about someone. Those girls. Just seeing a picture of them makes me smile.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 10:20 am

in addition to the pet suggestion (which im actually surprised is “ok” to say to someone struggling with this….?) what about just volunteering at a shelter? i do, and it gives me so much joy, and i didnt even “need” the joy in my life… little things, like when the cats come in so frightened, and you slowly earn their trust, and they eventually will sit on your lap… its awesome. it feels awesome.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 10:26 am

That’s good advice. Helping others always helps give a person perspective and appreciate what they have. I sometimes get frustrated with myself for being sad when I really have so much more than many people.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 10:37 am

well, i do think its a choice. our emotions dont own us, you know? at least, i dont like to live that way, where my emotions own me. like what AP said about being excited to be an aunt- you can choose that.

maybe a mind re-framing is in order. from “im not pregnant” to “my family *is* expanding/im going to be an auntie!” from “im so sad” to “look at all the joy that i have through x, y, z (your dog, volunteering, ect) activities”, from “i cant” to “look what i can!”, ect.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:03 am

I use mind-framing often and I like it as a technique. I think this is one of the cases where my usual coping mechanisms are failing me, you know what I mean? Like there are times where I do feel like my emotions own me and that’s how I know that I am really unwell, you know? But I am collecting advice, seeing a professional, and doing what I can to feel better. I suspect time will be the biggest factor though.

avatar jlyfsh January 14, 2014, 10:27 am

I think to me it’s all in how it’s presented. If you say get a dog or cat it’s basically the same thing! It’s probably not going to go over as well as saying it the way that Wendy did….

katie katie January 14, 2014, 10:34 am

i guess so, im just still surprised by it

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana January 14, 2014, 10:36 am

hm did not see if someone suggested getting a pet but this actually seems to me to be a pretty terrible idea? not saying jess is doing this or planning on it, but most people once they have kids, their animals fall to the wayside pretty quickly, at least for a brief time until the kids are a bit older. I recently got a dog and although I am not planning to have kids, seeing how my sisters 2 dogs have sort of been lovingly neglected (if that’s a thing) since her babies were born is definitely enough to ensure I probably won’t get another dog until or if I have kids. It can also be hard to gauge how a dog will react to your children, and if they will have allergies- a lot of people end up giving dogs away once their children are born and it is really sad. If I knew I was going to get pregnant imminently probably the last thing I would do is adopt a dog, but again that is just based off of my experience with dogs and family members and friends who have both dogs and small children.

avatar jlyfsh January 14, 2014, 10:41 am

yeah i think that is extremely individual. i have friends who aren’t ‘pet people’ and their dogs aren’t treated the same, but i have others who still treat the dogs the same. i have multiple friends (obviously i am friends with a lot of ‘pet people’) who call their animals older sister/brother, my first child, etc. it completely depends on the individual!

Wendy suggested it in her advice. Although Jess updated to say that she did in fact get a puppy last year.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 10:41 am

that is true- we get lots and lots of cats back because of pregnancy concerns- which are largely myths anyway…

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 10:57 am

My favorite thing about being pregnant was not having to clean the litter box anymore. That IS a real thing. And clearly, there wasn’t much I DID like about being pregnant if that and donuts were my favorite things.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 10:59 am

yea not many cats will ever get toxoplasmosis. they have to get it, and if you have a cat that doesnt go outside, it wont ever have it.

people are more likely to get toxoplasmosis from improperly handled fuits and vegies then cats.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 11:04 am

Oh really? I thought it was in all cat poop, what “it” is. Interesting.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 11:11 am

a lot of doctors still tell women to get rid of their cats when they are pregnant… its so bad.

and- even IF your cat has it, the parasites are only alive for a short period of time. like you would have to handle very fresh poop and somehow ingest it to get the parasite.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 11:16 am

I’m so glad I asked. Not!

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 11:56 am

yep, I’ve read that you are much more likely to be exposed to toxoplasmosis from gardening outside than indoor litter box cleaning (not that that should stop anyone from taking their Drs. advice and avoiding that chore if they can!) because other animals can be carriers and they are shitting outside!

yet another random thing inflicted on pregnant women that may or may not be based on actual risk avoidance and peer reviewed scientific study (like avoiding deli meats when the last outbreaks of listeria in the US have been spinach and other fruits…)

CatsMeow CatsMeow January 14, 2014, 1:09 pm

My cat had toxo!! She doesn’t go outside ever, so I have no idea how she got it. I only found out because she was really sick (in the ICU!) and that’s the only thing they found wrong with her. I wonder if I or my other cats have it too.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 1:11 pm

she probably got it in-utero from her mom! thats scary!

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 11:03 am

I absolutely can not imagine giving up my cat for a kid. Ugh, it would break my heart if my human baby was allergic to my fur baby (Who I bottle fed! From days old!). There are also tons of people who successfully raise kids and pets together. We rescued a 200+ pound St Bernard when my brother was about 3 years old, and he was the best dog ever.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana January 14, 2014, 11:26 am

Yeah of course there are tons of people who can do both, I was raised with at least 2 dogs my entire life, and my parents had dogs before my siblings and I were born, and if I ever have kids I will plan on having dogs and will do everything in my power to make sure my current dog is used to babies and children so there won’t be problems if I have kids and she is still alive (likely as she is 1).However, there are also many instances where people give up their pets after they have children, the shelter where I volunteer, this is one of the most frequent reasons that people return pets. It is definitely individual but once you have kids, especially if you have a dog it can be hard to keep up the same level of attention/exercise you gave them (at lease the first few months-year) and then behavioral issues develop etc. Doesn’t have to happen and it doesn’t always happen, but if one of my friends were newly pregnant or wanting to get pregnant within the next year I would strongly advise them to wait until adopting or buying a dog. Works for some not for others, as most things in life.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 11:31 am

I do agree, it works for some and not for others. Our cat turns 7 in May, so he’s definitely part of the family. I might get rid of the kid before the cat (joking). It probably is too much to handle (a new pet and a new baby at the same time)- part of the reason our St Bernard was up for rescue was the family was overwhelmed with such a large dog and small children. Adopting a pet is never a decision that should be made lightly.

avatar bethany January 14, 2014, 11:30 am

I can’t even imagine what would happen if my baby turned out to be highly allergic to my cat. It would be devastating. I’m guessing my parents would take the cats if they had to.

My friend had to get rid of one of her dogs when it bit her 2 year old. It happened on the MIL’s watch, and the MIL shouldn’t have let things get as far as they did. But my friend gave the dog to her parents (who’d recently their dog die), and everyone involved is much happier now.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana January 14, 2014, 11:41 am

Yeah I think it for me is more the pain or the possibility of having to give away a beloved pet, because the kid you are stuck with (ha jk) that would cause me to caution people about it. If I ever have kids there is really no saying how my dog will react to them even with my best attentions/preparations and there is also definitely the possibility of a baby or child being allergic. Or me saying of course I will walk my dog the typical 5 miles I do now, but then I have a colicky baby who never sleeps and I have no time or energy for anything. Just the idea of possibly having to give my dog away because I literally had no other recourse breaks my heart. I just think this is one of the main things younger people who adopt pets never really consider, which is fine, it just could potentially end up sucking a big one. I am sure this is not the case with Jess though and her dog has offered her a lot of solace in this hard time (trying to relate back from tangent land ha)

Lindsay Lindsay January 14, 2014, 10:39 am

So sorry that you’re going through this! I think that sometimes feeling guilty about having feelings can make the feelings worse. Like when I’m upset about something and I feel like I shouldn’t be, the whole guilt part gives my subconscious one more thing to feel bad about — like I start feeling sorry for myself that I have to feel guilty too. I’m not sure if that’s something that you feel also, but try to remind yourself that plenty of women go through the exact same feelings when someone else gets pregnant and that it’s not an awful thing that you’re upset or angry. I mean, people get twice as angry when someone cuts them off on the highway, so being upset that other people are easily getting something that you have been trying so hard for is not bad or abnormal. Let the feelings come, acknowledge them, and then also acknowledge the good feelings you feel for your sister also.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:05 am

Thank you. Yes, I think I need to find a better balance of being tough on myself (i.e. not wallowing) and get also giving myself permission to feel sad about my sister rather than dumping guilt on top of it all.

Guy Friday Guy Friday January 14, 2014, 10:50 am

I’m sorry if I skimmed through this and missed someone else making this point, but it might also help to find the silver lining in how wonderful it is to have such a supportive family (or at least your sister.) I mean, I try to be very conscious of people’s feelings, but if my wife and I were having a child I’d probably want to shout it from the rooftops and think about it non-stop. And your sister is trying SO hard to shield you from that aspect of that because she knows you’re in pain and she wants to support you. And while you would hope that any sister would do that, I think most people couldn’t.

Also, I’m not going to tell you to “just relax,” but I am going to tell you what has gotten me through a lot of rough times: assuming you believe in some god-like presence, he or she does everything for a reason, even if we can’t see it yet. So as tough as it is, have faith that years down the road when you’re watching your child play on the playground you will remember the trials and tribulations that you’re facing now and you’ll somehow understand the meaning of all this in hindsight. And you’ll be a better person because of it, because whereas many people take childbirth as a chore or an inconvenience you’ll recognize it for the blessing it is, you know?

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 11:03 am

I think faith is a wonderful thing to have at times like these. Even if some view it as a dumb comfort or fake or whatever, I think when things are completely out of your control, its a blessing of sorts to have that belief that yes, its out of your control and “someone else” is handling it for you.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:06 am

Thank you. I think of that sometimes and it helps —I think you’re right. Our next pregnancy will be a huge blessing and we will appreciate it like never before.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 11:31 am

I’m sorry. But this letter just strikes me as BEYOND selfish.

And for those who will cry out that I am gay and so I can’t fucking relate — BULLSHIT.

I am old, gay, single, and broke. No, make that washed up. Meaning I will never EVER have kids. And this IS sad as I am actually great with kids. Amazing even. Just ask ALL of my friend’s kids who their all time favorite babysitter was…

Over the years, as I traveled with friends and their kids, or drove my best friend’s son back and forth to SF so they could see one another (about thirty times in seven years) — I’d always feel a twing of sadness and regret that I would NEVER have a kid of my own…

Did I fall apart or go to pieces when my sister with the charmed life announced her pregnancy?

Hell no. I was happy and thrilled for her… Honestly, I don’t get all this whacked out sibling rivalry so many feel. At the end of the day — sorry, but I see it as nothing but selfish.

I get that this is a stressful thing to go through — but tests haven’t even said you are actually infertile. There IS HOPE for you. Grow the fuck up and embrace that. Your letter is a slap in the face to all of those who will truly never be able to have children…

avatar TECH January 14, 2014, 11:34 am

Sure, you’re sad to have never had children of your own, but have you ever experienced a miscarriage? I think that’s a totally different kind of loss.

avatar jlyfsh January 14, 2014, 11:35 am

There is a large difference between looking back with regret, having a twinge of sadness, etc and actively mourning the loss of a pregnancy and being unable to conceive while watching those around you conceive and not understanding why it’s not that easy for you too. Although I tend to forget that you are perfect and always react in the correct way to every situation.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 11:46 am

The point is — odds are she WILL get pregnant and have a baby. I won’t. And neither will any of the couple that are actually infertile. For her to swan around so like a deranged diva is NOT exactly a sign of maturity.

PS – a good number of my friends have had miscarriages and as the gay confidant, I know more about that than you might guess. Newsflash — none if those women ever sounded THIS selfish. And

Sometimes, people do need to be told to grow up. Acting this way towards your sister that you supposedly love and cherish as a best friend? WTF? Grow up, LW.

avatar jlyfsh January 14, 2014, 11:49 am

Sorry next time I’m going to remember that you’re not mature enough to engage with. Goodbye Mark, enjoy being miserable!

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:52 am

Ok…

Well, Mark, first of all, I do take some happiness in your confidence that I will get pregnant. Seriously, that made me smile.

As for swaning around like a diva, I don’t think that’s a good description of my behavior. I don’t cry in public and burden friends. This is mostly private and now on the internet. The point of the letter was to say that I wanted to find a way past this not that I wanted people to encourage me to shun my sister!

As for “acting this way” toward my sister, I don’t think I have been unkind. I delivered her a stack of pregnancy books and I congratulated her. I haven’t avoided her but I just find it hard to talk about her pregnancy.

avatar TECH January 14, 2014, 11:53 am

Mark, considering you are a male, you’re correct, you will never get pregnant and have a baby. Just like every other man on the planet. Jess is not a deranged diva. She’s struggling, and she’s owning up to her struggles. She’s acknowledging that she can’t be there for her sister, and she feels badly about it.
Just because you are a gay confidant does not mean you understand the loss of a miscarriage. I have never had a miscarriage. I truly don’t understand it either. I don’t pretend to. Instead, I choose to respond with empathy.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:01 pm

And as a straight women you will never truly know the pain of being a washed up gay man who will thus NEVER be able to adopt a baby — when every other idiot LW on DW is seemingly popping them out to then raise them terribly simply because said LWS are too fucking moronic to figure out how to use a blasted condom…

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 12:10 pm

If you truly wanted a child you have the ability to adopt or to hire a surrogate. Stop. Just stop.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:17 pm

Um, no. Financially, I don’t have that option. (And neither do many other childless singles or even couples gay or straight…) But stop making this about me. I only brought up this aspect of my life — not to highjack this thread — but rather to head of the expected posts about how as a gay man I couldn’t possibly relate to failing at having children.

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 12:21 pm

Oh, you made this about you long before I said anything. There are even timestamps, so don’t you dare try to gaslight.

ETA: “to head of the expected posts about how as a gay man I couldn’t possibly relate to failing at having children” That is such a fucking line of bullshit. I don’t think there is a single member of the community who would say something like that, and if they did, we would all jump down their throat with our boots on, much like we are doing with your shitty behavior towards Jess.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:29 pm

Did you really write “But stop making this about me.” ?????

I now have to stop commenting for a few while I pick myself up off the floor because I am now laughing hysterically at the bizarre selfishness and lack of awareness.

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 12:35 pm

“Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think of my hair?”

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 1:08 pm

iseeshiny for the win!

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 1:27 pm

I’m just trying to keep up with you! You’re on fire today!

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 12:56 pm

Totally unrelated, but people say “adopt” but do you know how much that is? International average is $44k, national average is $35k with a shockingly competitive waiting list, and a surrogate is well over $100k. When people say “just adopt” it isn’t a fair comment. Also, you should look up the racist sliding scale cost for a baby, the more white the baby is, the more it costs. It is crazy.

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 1:01 pm

Yeah, I hear you csp. Some of the comments saying “well have you thought about adoption” were a bit triggery for me. It’s often so much more expensive then going through years of fertility treatments. There are also a whole other host of issues when you choose that route (not that it isn’t great for some). In a way it seems dismissive to me. Like “Don’t be sad about not having your own baby, just adopt”!

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 1:36 pm

Yea, also, if you look at the cost of fertility treatment first then adoption. My husband and I had a heart to heart about how much we were willing to spend on this dream. Right now we are 10k deep out of pocket. So let’s say we throw in the towel at 30k and then adoption is another 30k. It is crazy. Like, I need to look at it and say, I want a baby but not enough to refinance my house or not enough to go into my 401k. How close to financial ruin do I need to go for the chance of a baby? And even if you do the adoption thing, the mom can change her mind right before birth and you have a very hard time recouping your losses.

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 1:24 pm

I am… peripherally aware? Like, I know it’s not always so easy as people make it sound, and those figures are in line with some of the things I’ve heard, although I’ve never done research with an eye to adoption myself. So I do apologize – that comment was flippant and insensitive, and I wasn’t going for that at all.

Not to cheapen my apology, I also know that those prices are for an infant through an agency. My coworker is a single woman (not wealthy, not making gobs of money) who adopted both her kids through the foster system and it was nowhere near that expensive (the internet says it is free in my state, although there have to be some court fees, right?). Not to mention our state has subsidies and other tax breaks to help defray the cost. There are alternative ways to become a parent that aren’t going to leave you destitute, although they might not be exactly in line with the ideal of bringing the baby home from the hospital.

As for surrogacy, $100K is twice the number I’ve heard, but I’ll defer to your greater knowledge. I do know that I would carry a baby for my brother in a heartbeat if he couldn’t have his own. I would do it for free since I have insurance. I’m not saying everyone should be willing to do such a thing – it’s a completely personal choice, but some people are willing to do for free for friends and family what they would never do for a stranger, that’s all.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 1:51 pm

you are right about adopting foster kids. That is around 5k and can be subsidized based on if the kid has special needs. However, the parents have to give up full rights. So kids can be in your home for years as foster kids then the parents come back into the picture and take them back after prison or rehab. We know a couple that had 50 kids come in and out of their home through the foster system and only two were able to be adopted. That is a weighty risk. as far as surrogacy goes. You have to pay the mother and her medical bills and sometimes a living stipend plus travel back and forth to her. So it is how you do the math. Now, you can have a surrogate in India and that is like 20k +travel. Regardless, I didn’t mean to jump on you. But people say that to me all the time and I just don’t have that kind of money and I have researched like crazy. It seems silly that there are kids in other countries just begging for homes. You would think it would be free to get them but it is so expensive.

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 1:57 pm

No, you are totally right. It’s not that easy and I’m sorry you get that so often as if it were a simple solution when it isn’t.

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 2:02 pm

Yeah, I wasn’t really bothered by iseeshiny’s comment in itself. It’s just you hear “Just adopt” “Just adopt” so much that it feels like people are just dismissing your struggles. Also, while I KNOW it’s selfish to want my own biological child, it’s something I do desire. I also would like to adopt in the future (with or without children of my own) but I have this utter desire to be pregnant and have a child that is half my genes and half my partners. I want to look into his/her face and try to point out whether he has my nose or J’s. I feel like I have to justify it by saying “it’s very expensive to adopt” etc etc for it to be a “valid” reason to try to naturally have a child. While, it’s definitely a part of it, it’s not the complete picture.

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 12:57 pm

See Mark, I think this is where you actually can relate to those struggling with infertility (generally that just means you need aid conceiving, not that you will necessarily “always be” infertile) more then most. It sucks that you can’t have a child and I commend you for your reaction to it (being people’s confidantes, being a great babysitter – etc etc). But I thought you might be a bit more compassionate to Jess. Jess KNOWS that her thoughts are selfish, that’s exactly why she’s feeling badly because she doesn’t want to feel that way. It’s a vicious cycle.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 1:19 pm

Thank you for calmly questioning me in a sane and rational manner. To clarify, the goal of my original harsh response was to just shock her out of her bad behavior by boldly pointing out just how bad it truly is…

But it appears nobody on here gets that and instead assumes I’m just an asshole. Fine. Whatever. I still stand by my point of view.

Imsostartled Imsostartled January 14, 2014, 1:32 pm

:) No problem. You probably don’t remember but you gave me a mixture of tough love/compassion/support when I posted about my miscarriage earlier this year. Your words helped me a lot and I still remember them from time to time when I start to dwell on my situation.

While I don’t agree with your “shock” method for Jess, I knew that you could relate better to this then most.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 2:18 pm

Actually, your letter WAS in the back of my mind when I saw today’s but the details were so hazy that I wondered if I was remembering seeing it here or on another site, so I didn’t reference it.

Your response made my day.

And I hope everything is going well for you.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 11:54 am

She is asking for help because she realizes her thoughts are a little selfish and wants to work on it.

You know what’s selfish? Making EVERY damn letter about yourself and how much better/more grown up you are than the LW. Good grief.

Guy Friday Guy Friday January 14, 2014, 11:54 am

Due respect, but for someone whose advice is “Grow the fuck up,” you sure as hell don’t sound like you have on this either. If you can’t let go of this pain and anger you feel for never being able to have a child, how about not judging other people for that?

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:07 pm

But while I do wrestle with this — I somehow still never let it come between me and my sister. I was never jealous of my sister. Instead I was thrilled that I would finally be a REAL uncle.

Moreover, I might have more sympathy for Jess if she was ACTUALLY infertile. Newsflash: she’s not. And that is NOT according to me, but rather her Doctors… This letter isn’t about the pain if being infertile — but rather the pain if not getting knocked up first. Two entirely different things in my opinion…

Red_Lady Red_Lady January 15, 2014, 12:49 am

I think the difference is, you know you’re not going to have a kid. Jess has the possibility, but as it takes longer to happen, it’s easy to start thinking that it might not happen. And when you see others getting pregnant, you wonder why your body can’t do that so easily too. She’s actively trying to have children, you’re just wishing you could have. Totally different situations, with very different emotions attached.

Lyra Lyra January 14, 2014, 1:51 pm

Jess has had a plethora of other health issues. I’m guessing that is adding to her anxiety. Her comments on here are always encouraging and positive no matter what the situation. Some kindness once in a while wouldn’t hurt.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:37 am

Mark, I was hoping that you might offer me up a rare token of sympathy but I didn’t really expect it. That’s ok.

There is ABSOLUTELY a selfishness to this emotion. I want to get past it and that’s why I am so frustrated and looking for advice. My sister and I are super close and I can’t say we’ve had any rivalry.

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 11:52 am

Try not to take it personally. If he’s ever been kind, it wasn’t on this forum.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 11:53 am

Honestly? In the past when I acted like an idiot — sympathy and hand holding didn’t help. You know what actually did? Being told bluntly that I was being a fucking idiot. True story. Jess, you ARE being an idiot and thus you are missing out on what should be a special time between sisters… Why? Because you are being petty and jealous that it didn’t happen to you first…

Years from now — when you have the kid of your dreams — and can’t sleep for the screaming, you’ll look back and think… Damn. All that silly, self created drama. And for what? Because it took me over a year to get pregnant? Damn… Was I ever an idiot.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:57 am

But Mark (and I’m not upset by the way, just curious to discuss with you), I feel like you are telling me what I already know and have admitted to. My question is not whether its ok to skip out on my sister’s life event. I don’t want to do that. My question is HOW to get past these feelings. And maybe you don’t have any advice to offer toward that, which is fine.

But slamming me for my feelings is exactly what I am already doing to myself. You know?

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 12:03 pm

I don’t think he’s actually trying to be constructive. He wants attention. He knows when he says outrageous and cruel things he gets attention. And he has successfully made it all about him.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:08 pm

by his own words he is a washed up, bitter, gay man – who apparently has nothing else to do in life but get mad at LWs and any other people who have more, less or the same as he does.

theattack theattack January 14, 2014, 12:15 pm

Which is pretty ironic considering his accusation here.

avatar Lindsay January 14, 2014, 5:17 pm

Yeah, considering he made this entire section of the comments about him and only him…

Oh wait, he paused the ranting about himself to call someone an idiot, jk.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:11 pm

Consider it tough love. A concept big in the 1980s, that most of you are simply too young to know about as it fell put of favor and now we, as a culture, simply make excuses for everybody’s bad behavior…

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 12:20 pm

Ah yes, it’s because we’re 80′s babies. Definitely. FFS.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:23 pm

Even though I was born in the 70s!

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 12:25 pm

I thought you where, but wasn’t sure so I didn’t say it. It’s clearly because Mark is a superior human being than all of the rest of us. That’s why we don’t get it.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:36 pm

It’s not your fault. But truly? Have you ever heard the phrase “tough love?” I am truly curious.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 1:11 pm

have you ever heard of the words kindness and compassion? Your one size fits all approach to advice giving (grow up selfish stupid people) is so tired…

avatar stickelet January 14, 2014, 3:10 pm

Jess isn’t angry that it didn’t happen to her FIRST. She is sad that it’s not happening for her at all. Two totally different things.

Guy Friday Guy Friday January 14, 2014, 11:58 am

She’s not being petty and jealous because it didn’t happen FIRST. She’s being petty and jealous because she has no idea if it will ever happen AT ALL. If she was just mad because she wasn’t first in line, I’d be right there with you on the “grow the fuck up” train, but I’d bet everything I have in my pockets right now that if she knew for a fact it would happen in the future — tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, 10 years from now — all these feelings would go away. THAT, Mark, is the problem here, not that the spotlight isn’t on her.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:03 pm

Oh I missed the hang-up about being first.

Ok, I can hash that part out. It’s true that not being first is hard but not in a sibling rivalry way, I don’t think. My sister got married long before me and I didn’t feel an ounce of envy. I loved her wedding and was totally involved in all the details. And actually, I really expected her to start a family long before me since she’s been married much longer. The reason it feels weird NOW is because I started this journey so long before her. When we were pregnant last year, she and I talked about her trying in the following year. I guess part of the pain is watching someone else pass you by. As muchachaenlaventana said, it’s a signpost marking the time. It’s like this crazy reality check.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana January 14, 2014, 12:08 pm

This is actually a good point we could all do to remember more, about a lot of things in life, and I guess being kind of a curmudgeon is part of your shtick, but if this were presented differently I think it would have a much greater impact.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:34 pm

Jess, I feel bad you are feeling this way. But you have already been pregnant once. That is actually a VERY good sign. You can conceive. The fact that it ended in a miscarriage does not change that fact. It was probably — simply and unfortunately — a “bad” pregnancy. Few miscarriages happen to perfectly healthy fetuses. Odds are there was — tragically — something wrong with that baby. But that certainly is no indication that this will happen to you again the next time around… You want to know what else all my friends who’ve miscarried all have in common? They’re all mothers… ALL of them.

Perhaps that is why I think you are not only being (as you yourself said) selfish here — but rather foolish.

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 12:46 pm

Here, friends, is the “backing water” stage of the BGM “saying shitty things” MO. After realizing enough people think he’s crossed the line, he will attempt to make it seem as if this is what he really meant all along, and we were just jumping to conclusions. If this particular thread is ever mentioned in the future, he will reference only the rosiest parts of what he said and act as if those were the only things he said. Classic BGM!

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:56 pm

Whatever. You all brand me a monster and are outraged if I don’t play the part to your satisfaction.

For the record… In the future, when this thread IS reference in a — Guys! I’m pregnant! update!! Trust me, I will happily stand by ALL my posts here. You’ll see…

Oh, and for the record? Classic you is to absurdly attack everything I post. Guys, classic iseeshiney! ;)

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 12:59 pm

Oh for goodness. You can’t be serious with that first line. You funny.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 1:15 pm

BGM, or shall we call you Dr. BGM at this point since you are so wise in the area of women’s reproductive health… because you have a sister and some female friends? Why don’t you look up secondary infertility – since you are NOT an expert in all things and believe that once someone is pregnant once they can always get pregnant again. might open your eyes a bit – and I say this as someone who believes that there is much time and opportunity for Jess to have the family that she and her husband wants. But to just put out there “pregnant once = not infertile” is fucking idiotic and ignores the struggles that many many families have faced.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 2:29 pm

Mark, I will welcome all your gloating with open arms when I come back to announce my pregnancy.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 2:28 pm

Thanks actually. I think just that little bit of sympathy makes it easier to hear what you are saying because I don’t feel the need to defend my feelings (the very same ones I am trying to shed).

As for the miscarriage, we do know the cause. We had a normal baby as far as anyone could tell that early. But a blood clot developed between the placenta and uterine wall. They usually dissolve on their own and its rare for them to cause a problem. But in our case, the doctors believe that the dissolving clot sheared the placenta when it bled out –thereby aborting the pregnancy. It was a rare fluke and we don’t expect it to happen again (although I know the chance of miscarriage at my age is high).

That said, you are 100% right that a past pregnancy is the BEST thing we have going for us. It gives me hope. We think at this point that something probably has changed since that pregnancy and we are in the “secondary infertility” boat. But we have a few guesses. One is my thyroid (I had radiation treatment which damaged it). We just recently got the level where it should be so I hold out some hope that this was the problem. There are a few other guesses that we haven’t fully explored. It’s a process of elimination. If we don’t have success in the next few months, we’ll probably move to IVF.

I DO think I will get pregnant and become a mom eventually. All my tests came back indicating good “ovarian reserve” for my age. But its just looking like a longer harder road than it is for most.

avatar Sansa January 14, 2014, 11:42 am

BGM, why are you so bitter? ;) it is good to see variation in the comments though

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana January 14, 2014, 11:47 am

yeah and just to add, this probably doesn’t even have to do with the sister at all, but rather Jess’s own struggle and feelings about her infertitlity. The sister is just the signpost for comparison she has and that reinforces her own inability to conceive. As women we are sort of brought up from birth thinking that having children is like our #1 function in life, and should be something we do easily. Those feelings of failure and sadness at not being able to conceive are incredibly real and not just as easy to wish away. Also could you not have a child if you wanted? Adoption or surrogacy are things that you could pursue and would look into if you had the same desire to have a child as Jess (who’s body is currently like a voodoo doll being punched with drugs and being constantly monitored and taken over by drs etc.)

Guy Friday Guy Friday January 14, 2014, 11:52 am

Look, I get your point, but Jess didn’t ask IF she was right; she knows she’s wrong to feel this way, and of course she knows it’s a selfish feeling. She asked HOW to get over the pain and frustration and misplaced anger, because just willing it away isn’t enough. Why is it wrong to advise her on that point? You’ve never known something is wrong but not known how to fix it? Because if you haven’t ever had that feeling, you’re a luckier man than I.

avatar Sansa January 14, 2014, 11:54 am

I think part of her pain is that she WANT’S to be happy for her sister. She just needs some help is all. She doesn’t want to have these feelings, she’s in pain.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 11:55 am

Thanks Guy. I was trying to respond to say exactly this. In no way do I think my emotions are admirable. I was looking for advice on getting past that. Mark’s advice to “grow up” is pretty vague.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:09 pm

his advice is the pot calling the kettle black… ignore him Jess!

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:02 pm

FFS BGM… how did it not occur to you as you were typing yet another women are selfish screed to just NOT COMMENT today. usually I enjoy your sarcasm and hard-knocks approach with the LWs but you are so out of bounds on this one.

Take a time out and get back to us sometime later in the week when a LW is trying to justify staying with her awful boyfriend or something similar. This is above your paygrade and that you don’t even realize how terrible you sound or have any awareness of what impact your words could have on people who are reading through this thread trying to find some emotional space is disgusting… even for you.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:03 pm

oh and double FUCK YOU points for making this about you… your miserable bitter life, waa waa waa.

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 12:08 pm

There are not enough thumbs.

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:10 pm

or middle fingers ;-)

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 12:36 pm

bada bing!

bittergaymark Bittergaymark January 14, 2014, 12:22 pm

What? WTF? I never said women were selfish. I said this letter was selfish — and it is. Even according to the LW…

avatar iseeshiny January 14, 2014, 12:31 pm

Yeah, where on earth could anyone ever get this crazy idea? Why are you all so MEAN?

avatar MMcG January 14, 2014, 12:33 pm

is that ditch you keep digging deep enough for you yet?

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:21 pm

Ok, I give up. I really wanted to try to have to get past the bitter and get to your honest opinion/advice because I am genuinely interested but you seem to have me in a box and that’s fine.

I was born in 76 by the way and raised with lots of tough love –that’s why I’m so good at being hard on myself ;-)

Really the best thing about your comments is how confident you are in my ability to get pregnant. I hope you are right.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:29 pm

P.S. You are all so sweet to come to my defense. I am ok though. I expected BGM to bash me no matter what I wrote. I was just hoping to glean something from it but it doesn’t seem possible this time.

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 12:29 pm

glean the optimism!! (well, optimism for you. But by the sound of it, at least according to BGM, all the “old, gay, single, and broke” dudes out there are really screwed, ha.)

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 12:29 pm

I love ya, Jess. You seem to have a really good head on your shoulders and this current bout of jealousy/depression is just that – a bout -that you WILL get past. I know you will because you have a good sense of right and wrong in the head and the heart will follow. I too love BGM’s optimism here – that’s my take away – “he’s right, Jess WILL get pregnant!” If you don’t…. let’s just cross that bridge later because I have a feeling! … That’s a legitimate medical diagnosis, AP’s feelings.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 12:34 pm

you know, buried under here is some really good points, i think.

if this was just a matter of jealousy-ish, “i wish it was me”, stuff, i think it would be easy to say, just grow up. be patient, it will come, ect. and i think that jess could do that. but… i dont think thats what this is. by jess’s account, this is an all encompassing, truly debilitating thing. this pregnancy has *triggered* something specific, something that jess has said she has been able to deal with up until this point, and no longer can.

i think there is something much deeper here then just wish it was her who got pregnant. that was why i said that we dont have the tools on the forum, i think this is a much deeper issue then it appears on the surface. i dont know what- i dont know if this is you finally facing the fact you might never be pregnant, i dont know if this is the fact that you might not have the life you dreamed, ect- i have no idea, but i think it goes deeper. the feelings you have right now, the selfishness, the petty-ness, the almost sibling rivalry- i think they are scapegoats for a larger thing.

avatar csp January 14, 2014, 1:00 pm

Mark, there is one thing I would like to add. So when you are in the middle of this fertility process, you don’t know if you have a happy ending or not. You are hopeful but are reminded monthly or that it might not. I call it God’s waiting room. I feel like if I knew that this would never happen, it would be easier to grieve and move on. It is the not knowing and the hope and following disappointment that makes this unique.

avatar Lucy January 14, 2014, 5:17 pm

As usual there is a tiny kernel of good sense in here, swathed in layers of bitterness and asshattery. LW, whatever you’re feeling is what you’re feeling. There are no wrong feelings. But by my arithmetic, you’ve been trying for 9 months? It seems like you are being really, really hard on yourself, considering the small odds of becoming (and staying) pregnant in any given month and the relatively short time you’ve been trying. I know it makes it harder when the people around you seem to be getting knocked up at the drop of a hat, but it’s not like that for most people. I hope you (and maybe your husband) are in counseling to help you keep perspective during this process. I think that could help you process your feelings about the miscarriage and keep them from negatively affecting your ability to enjoy your sister’s pregnancy.

avatar Sansa January 14, 2014, 11:44 am

There’s nothing that I can add except that we are rooting for you here and that I believe that your feelings are normal.

There was a different topic going around about why we all want attention when we get engaged or pregnant etc., and someone mentioned that we are all inherently selfish. I think it’s important to try and put these natural feelings aside and be there for your sister :)

Good luck and internet hugs

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 12:05 pm

Jess, I’m curious if you and your husband attend therapy together or just you alone.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:13 pm

Just me alone. He handles all of this WAY better than I do. He’s actually really excited about my sister’s pregnancy and thinks we’ll get pregnant soon too and it will be one big merry family. And I LOVE that he thinks that. His optimism has really be an anchor for me in all of this. But I know that I can’t lean on him exclusively so I have been trying to reach out with online groups and therapy for me on my own.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 12:28 pm

I asked because you said he has trouble with you saying things about what if it never happens (like he thinks it means you’ve given up). Maybe it would be helpful for you to go with him (and without him still). Idk. Maybe then it would take over even more of your life/relationship. I hope he is able to imagine happiness in the future without children.
Anyway, I admire your reactions to all of these comments.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:30 pm

Awh, that’s sweet LBH. Well, talk about selfish, I have my own group therapy session on DW today!!! What’s not to like? Thanks Wendy :-)

The criticism can be hard at times but I need the perspective and really value most people’s point of view.

katie katie January 14, 2014, 12:36 pm

maybe all that optimism makes it almost like…. not ok to fail at this? it makes failure not even an option? that not good.

avatar Christy January 14, 2014, 12:12 pm

Jess, again, I’m sorry you’re going through this.

I was thinking about this last night (as a macro-level issue), and I think perhaps that one reasons women don’t like suggestions about how to handle their fertility issues (like being told to not stress out) is because this is a reproductive health issue. If someone was asking for advice about how they were feeling about a planned abortion, we wouldn’t (shouldn’t) say things like “Have you considered having the kid?” or “Have you considered adoption?” Like, (general) you aren’t asking for advice on what to do, (general) you are just asking on advice on how to handle your emotions. You’ve made the choice.

Sorry, I’ve been reading the Motherlode blog on NYTimes and following that woman’s fertility journey, and the topic’s been on my mind, recently.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:14 pm

Thanks Christy. I will check out that blog too.

avatar Christy January 14, 2014, 12:17 pm

Jess, it’s here: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/category/fertility/

And you seem to have much more grace and self-awareness than she does, fwiw.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 12:30 pm

Jess, you’re the best. Seriously. I wish you much success with everything in life.

Jess Jess January 14, 2014, 12:31 pm

Awwwwwwhhh gosh. Thanks GG. Someday not long from now, I hope we’ll be exchanging baby/kid photos together.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 12:37 pm

:) 2014 is going to be a good year. I feel it!

Addie Pray Addie Pray January 14, 2014, 12:47 pm

no, me me! swap pics with me!

katie katie January 14, 2014, 12:48 pm

id offer to swap cat pics but i know youll just turn them down.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 14, 2014, 1:29 pm

I’ll look at your cat pictures!

avatar bethany January 14, 2014, 1:52 pm

I want cat and baby pics!

Northern Mermaid Northern Mermaid January 14, 2014, 4:56 pm

I prefer cats to baby pictures. Unpopular opinion: I think babies look like aliens and I don’t like them. Though I am always happy for friends when they have babies and coo over them and hold them and babysit…I just think they look like ugly little raisin aliens until they are about 1. Then they start to look like toddlers and then they are cute.

Northern Mermaid Northern Mermaid January 14, 2014, 4:58 pm

I don’t have anything productive to add to this discussion, except my sympathies for you, Jess. It sounds like you love your sister, and she loves you, and you’ll love your terrifying raisin ali….erm…beautiful baby niece or nephew. I know faking it til you make it doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s always been my coping mechanism. Maybe try introducing tiny fake it til you make it moments until you realize you aren’t faking it anymore.

avatar lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 5:01 pm

Word of advice-don’t tell your kid she looked like an onion when she was born. Apparently that’s offensive.

Red_Lady Red_Lady January 15, 2014, 12:57 am

Agreed! Babies are ugly! Toddlers are so adorable, and honestly, I can’t wait for my nephew to be like 7 or 8 (He’s 1 now), when he can actually talk and form opinions, and play ball, etc. I mean, I love him, and love spending as much time with him as I can, but I’m excited to see who he grows up to be!