Should I feel bad that I’m happy?
Should I feel bad that after two years of trying, one surgery, one miscarriage, a few thousand dollars on Chinese Medicine and supplements, a complete overhaul in my diet and lifestyle, that I now have a baby girl of my very own?
Should I feel bad that I didn’t end up having to do IVF, despite the odds, despite two doctors telling me that was my best chance of bringing home a baby?
Should I feel bad that I got lucky on my first try at IUI and injectables, and almost a year later have what it was all about, a 7-week old child?
Should I feel bad posting quotes, pictures, and articles on Facebook celebrating my new role as a mommy?
You see, I thought I had reconciled my survivors guilt long ago. Way back then, when time carried me through that delicate first trimester from my RE’s office to my new OBGYN. But I didn’t, I hadn’t. I didn’t bake my RE cookies or send them flowers when I tiptoed past 12-weeks hoping it wouldn’t notice me. I wasn’t going to truly allow myself to celebrate until the baby was born. I didn’t want to count my chickens until they’d hatched. And now that they have, I’m trying to enjoy every moment with my little baby chick without allowing worry and neurosis to gobble up her childhood in one bloody bite. Yes, I constantly check the baby monitor for breathing. Yes, I resolve to co-sleep for the next year to keep a watchful eye on my spawn. I google and search baby safety info like it’s my job. Sure, I’ll celebrate, I’ll be happy, but I’m not stupid enough to throw all caution to the wind and think I’ve won, that I’m immune to sadness, to tragedy, to the unexpected. The phrase “Life is fragile” doesn’t even begin to sum it up. Any heart can just stop beating without the help of a big bad hand to crush it. It’s like that. The rug could be pulled out from under me or you or any of us in an instant. BUT the chances are good that I’ll wake up tomorrow and that Daphne will to. The odds are in my favor that she’ll grow and thrive and survive. But you never know. So with all that said, I DON’T and WON’T allow myself to feel guilty ANYMORE because others still hurt. I’ve got to squeeze every drop of happiness out of this love orange that I can. I’ll share my orange juice if you want some, but if you don’t, then you don’t. Please don’t make me hide the juice stains on my chin.
I’m trying to embrace this new stage in my life without apologizing for it. Why then did I feel the need to list out all that I have done to get here. Because of the voices. “Oh she’s only had one miscarriage, I’ve had three.” Or, “She didn’t even have to do IVF to get pregnant.” I know that’s how people in the trenches feel when they see BFP announcements, when the months go by and they’re still staring at the clock waiting for the BFP hand to drop. Infertility hurts and it can turn anyone into a bitter, ugly, angry person. It can turn anyone into a hater. I’ve certainly had my moments. And I haven’t forgotten outwardly cringing when a very unhealthy person I know, who made no changes to their partying lifestyle, magically got pregnant at 39 after a one night stand. I was so close to letting the darkness sour me to other people’s happiness. But then I let go, I convinced myself I didn’t care anymore and here we are. (No, I don’t think “relaxing” got me pregnant). What I’m getting at is that I don’t get to decide who deserves or doesn’t deserve anything in this life. I don’t get to decide who gets a baby and who doesn’t, when, where, and why. Nor do I get to decide if and how they celebrate their spoils. I’ll be honest, I used to think I’d like every person over 30 who’s trying to conceive to have to have at least a few months of wondering. Let them experience some stark white BFNs so that for a minute they wonder if it can happen for them, at least so they’re a little more sensitive to those who don’t get so lucky. But my perspective is changing. I don’t want to be the type of person who wishes any amount of suffering on anyone. EVER. That’s not who I want to be. Nor do I want to be the type of person who doesn’t share their pure, unadulterated joy with the world because I’m afraid of what the haters will say.
I wanted this blog post to be about Daphne’s first smiles. I wanted to write about Babywise vs. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I wanted to write about our struggles to get Daphne to take a bottle. I wanted to write about how I’m all baby all the time. But instead I had to get this off my chest.
I’ve lost followers because I’m no longer technically “infertile.” I understand and respect that. It’s too hard for some to read about the strangers that have made it to the other side. But I really hope I don’t also lose friends. Yet I’ve got to be me. And this me is now very happily a mom.
As a new follower, I don’t know your history anymore then what you wrote in this post but I really think your attitude is right – you have the dream child and you get to enjoy and cherish every single moment! And honestly, you should be loving every second of being a mom!
Write posts about your daughter and whatever you want! Sure you might lose a few followers, but you will also gain new ones.
Best of luck!
I feel like I’ve been commenting on this topic a lot lately. It’s just my opinion, but I think that a blogger should be able to blog about anything she/he wants to, because it’s her/her blog. It makes me sad that many of us feel the need to justify why we feel a certain way. I am totally supporting bloggers who have made it to the other side to continue blogging about being a mom. I can’t speak for others but I am interested in reading. You do/should not have to apologize for enjoying your life, as some other moms shouldn’t have to feel guilty for “complaining” about the difficulties in their lives as a new mom. It just makes me sad and mad that we can’t support one another just because someone makes it to the other side. Anyhow, I am rambling on for the second time today. All I want to say is, please continue blogging. I would LOVE to see how Daphne is doing and hope that you will continue to blog about you and your precious daughter.
I agree wholeheartedly with this post. It is so true. I have been a hater. For years! I mean, my infertility went on for 4 and a half years before I got pregnant, just to realize that even though I have a baby now, I’m still infertile. And it still hurts. And I find myself still being a hater. (Ok, maybe “hater” is a strong word, but you know what I mean). So I can totally understand how other infertiles feel reading my blog now that I have a baby (and even want another one! – huge “mommy after infertiliy” no no) but even so, I hate to squelch my joy and underplay my new role as mommy just to make other people happy. I feel like it does a disservice to the beautiful gift God gave me if I act like it’s not all I think about and do anymore. Not that I think anyone actually wants me to downplay being a mommy now. It’s just that I know how I felt reading mommy blogs prior to being a mommy myself so I can imagine how they feel too.
Also, I have all the fears you do about Truett’s health and safety. This mommy after infertility thing is awesome, exciting and nervewracking all at the same time!
Truett is such an amazing name btw! And yes it is sooo nervewracking! I wonder if I’d feel any less stressed if I hadn’t struggled to get here?
Thank you!! 🙂 I bet you would feel less stressed. I know I would!! Because I wouldn’t have read 10 billion articles, blogs and books on everything that could go wrong whilst doing my “research”.
You shouldn’t feel guilty, my friend. I completely understand you, though. I tread lightly around other people now when speaking about motherhood. My friend who is struggling with infertility asks me about being a mom and I make sure not to gush. I probably wouldn’t anyway, though, because I’ve always had a huge fear of boring people without kids with too many baby stories.
I think you should celebrate your new life and leave the sadness and guilt behind. I’ve done the same thing. I’ve divorced myself from all things infertility because I wanted to move on and enjoy the baby I was lucky enough to have. It doesn’t mean you don’t route for and empathize with those still on the journey.
I admit I also stopped reading people’s blogs after they became pregnant. I really did wish them all the best, but it was too difficult to keep following. On the other hand, I did feel really happy when they first became pregnant, because it gave me hope!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying your sweet girl!! I love hearing all about how she is doing. I can’t wait to meet her.
I think that’s where I can make some changes… I probably gush a little too much. ON my blog and through social media I’ll take that liberty, but in person I can probably tone it done. No body likes that freak that brags about how awesome their baby is and how much they love it!
We all have different IF journeys. While you know that the hormones can make you do or say horrible things, deep down, I think everyone is happy for you. You are a story of hope. You should not feel guilty. And you should certainly be enjoying Daphne and being a mommy. You earned this! <3
I do have to remember that… the hormones make people CRAZY! I sometimes think things are better left unsaid though… I too probably need to check my filters. Especially when dealing with others who are going through IF. I reserve the right to gush on my blog and social media, but in conversation I need to tone it down to avoid hurting feelings I think.
You have every right to be happy. Parenting (especially after infertility/loss) is HARD. Go ahead and suck every drop of joy juice you can get!
Thank you my dear! Looking forward to your next update!!!! Hope things are going well.
Of course you shouldn’t feel guilty. I know it can be difficult not to though. I still do. I don’t feel BAD about celebrating my happiness or enjoying being a mom, but I do try to be careful and know my audience. I certainly didn’t struggle as long as many others have/are to become a mother, but like you said, we’re not in charge of what’s fair or who “deserves” a baby. We’re lucky. And we owe it to ourselves and to our babies to enjoy it.
Everyone has their own way of moving on or resolving their feelings about IF/loss. I personally don’t feel that forgetting it or putting it all behind me is the right solution for me. I know I can fully be present and enjoy my daughter, and at the same time, remember my losses and what it feels like to suffer and long to be a mother. That doesn’t mean I have to hold onto the sadness, just that I accept that my journey to parenthood changed me and I view the world differently now.
Anyway… be yourself. Be joyful. Enjoy every second with that little girl!
Well-said! I shouldn’t have said that I “divorced myself from all things infertility” because it has changed me, too, and I think about it every day. It has altered my worldview and I still see things very much from an infertile’s perspective. I guess I just meant that infertility stuff is not at the surface of my mind much now and I’m no longer part of Reddit groups and local IF groups. =)
BTW, I read your post on daycare and can identify!
This is a beautifully written and well thought out response that I really appreciate! I think I’m ready to put the guilt behind me, but you’re right, I will never ever forget the pain. I want to have another child and I am all too familiar with the fact that it probably won’t be easy, but it certainly won’t be as hard as the person still struggling to have a first.
You shouldn’t feel bad. You deserve to be happy and enjoy the heck out of your little one. Granted you may lose followers because some people may not be in a place to appreciate your happiness but that does not give them the right to make you feel bad about. You shouldn’t have to justify yourself. To be completely honest, it can be hard for me to see others have success when I’m still struggling on this long hard road. I’ve caught myself making comparisons like that… I have done/lost xyz and that person’s only done abc, but that’s not who I want to be. And I know that my pain doesn’t negate anyone else’s pain. There is too much heartbreak in infertility blogland. It’s nice to see someone get a happy ending… enjoy that baby girl!
Of course it’s hard! It’s brutal! And I remember feeling that way and my journey wasn’t half as long as many others. But you’re right one person’s pain doesn’t negate someone else’s… we’re all entitled to sadness AND happiness as our lives unfold. And even though I’m now starting a new chapter, I still hope and pray that every single person who wants one gets the baby they earn for.
Oh nooooo, I just wrote you a really long message and it disappeared!! Damn you WordPress!! I said that this makes me sad Steph 🙁 you shouldn’t feel bad about those things. Your blog should be for you and you should write whatever and post whatever you want. Your friends will still be here to encourage you and cheer you on 🙂
I personally don’t find that I feel any bitterness or anger towards people who get pregnant when I’m not, but it can make me reflect on my own situation and feel sad about that. I had to unfollow some blogs because I wanted to be able to read pregnancy updates in my own time when I wasn’t just recovering from miscarriage or another failed IVF. I just have them in a folder and catch up weekly rather than having my feed filled with bump pics (which although I know it’s not jealously or bitterness, it can still make me feel sad about my own situation).
I would imagine that unfollowers are more doing it because of their own pain and to protect themselves rather than because of any negative feelings towards you. Lots of love chick, you need to write the Daphne smiling post now 🙂 xxx
You have every right to be happy and to shout your joy from the rooftops! Regardless of what it took to get to the finish line, whether it was 1 miscarriage or 5, a five-year wait or a one-night oops, every baby deserves to be celebrated with every ounce of joy their parents have in their hearts! Enjoy your beautiful baby, and please keep sharing your beautiful words with those who are happy and excited for you!