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What if I’m that girl?

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This thought crossed my mind this morning: What if I’m “that girl”–the one who gets pregnant on her second round of Clomid? Let’s not kid ourselves here: the odds are not “ever in my favor” on this one, but we all know “that girl”, and I have to say that although I want so badly to be happy for “that girl”, if I read a blog entry written by “that girl” I’d probably grumble, “Oooh, wow…so you’re pregnant after two ovulatory cycles…you’re soooo infertile.” all the while beating myself up for being such a jealous ninny. I know in my heart that the year of “trying” that was spent unsuccessfully praying to the Gods of Whole Foods and all things “acupuncture and herbal” to make me ovulate naturally still counts for something. There was a lot of pain in that year…those of us with PCOS or other anovulatory disorders can attest that not cycling, never knowing when to plan for sex, or whether your body will ever produce another egg is a level of stress that is absolutely horrible to deal with on a day in, day out basis.

But this brings me to another question:  why should we ever have to justify our infertility?  This “logic” that if you get pregnant quickly with fertility drugs, you’re not “really” infertile makes absolutely no sense. Would pregnancy after two medicated cycles and a whole year of anovulation make me “less infertile” than someone who gets their period every month and has had 15 BFNs? Or someone who has had to go through a miscarriage? Or repeated pregnancy loss? Is there a sliding scale of infertility? Or is it all just painful as shit?

I remember reading one blogger a while ago, who was confronted with angry anonymous comments about her BFP. After suffering from very unpredictable cycles/PCOS  for a long time, she was pregnant after a couple of rounds of Clomid. But according to this commenter she wasn’t “really” infertile–even though she suffered a miscarriage during one of those rounds of Clomid. She “easily” got pregnant after the miscarriage, and so she had no claim to infertility anymore. Logically, this doesn’t make any sense, I know…but that comment really opened my eyes to the level of pain that others feel about being left behind. Why does Clomid work for some and not for others? Why does Sally get pregnant on Femara, but Suzy only achieve pregnancy through IVF? It all seems like a big crap shoot to me. Some people get lucky and walk away quickly with their winnings, and some have to keep sitting at the table till the coked up club kids stumble back into the casino at 4AM. I feel like there is a part of everyone who is still struggling every day with countless needles, RE appointments, and baseline ultrasounds who wants so badly to be happy for those who make it out of this shit storm alive, and yet still feels sad for themselves that they couldn’t be the lucky one who got the lifeboat.
Katie, at The Cornfed Feminist wrote an amazing post a while back. It has stuck in my head ever since she posted it. My worry about survivor’s guilt has been coming up for me a lot lately, even though I am still in this shitty situation. She sums up my feelings so perfectly: “Part of me is always relieved when I get a period.  Not because I’m scared of pregnancy and parenthood and constant worrying, although all of that is true. No, I’m relieved because once I start to bleed, I don’t feel like an infertility fraud.  I can continue writing my “infertility sucks” blog posts and I don’t have to experience the dreaded PIF “survivor’s guilt.” 

Yes. Exactly. Survivor’s Guilt. Not only does IF make you feel like shit during the time you can’t get pregnant, it damages your unbridled joy at getting the fuck OFF the crazy train, and being elated about your pregnancy.

Katie wrote an amazing pledge at the end of this post, and I have decided that damnit, whatever happens this month, next month, or whenever I’m lucky enough to get off the crazy train, I’m taking this pledge here and now.

I, Sunny (insert your name in place of mine), do solemnly swear not to feel survivor’s guilt if I ever get pregnant.  I promise that I will be happy for myself and will accept all congratulatory comments with graceful guiltlessness.  I know that I will remain an “infertile” til the day I die and pledge that I will not feel like a fraud when I read and comment on ALI blogs.  I pledge to minimize my feelings of relief when I get my period and allow myself to be pissed and have a crazy moment or two before getting back on the horse. 

Today is Friday, November 2, 2012. I am 5DPO on my second ovulatory cycle in over a year. I am still infertile, and I always will be.

About Sunny

I'm a happily married, 31 year old gal who is just starting her journey to conceive. I also have ovaries that may need a jump start. This blog is an attempt to channel my obsessive research on my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome into something a pregnancy test. That would be awesome. I also hope that other women with this condition will find support in this blog. There are a lot of us out here! Happy reading, whatever your journey may be.

17 responses »

  1. Sunny, I needed to read that so bad, especially today. I’ve been trying to be nothing but happy for myself but there is so much guilt behind that. I hope you are “that girl!” And I hope you never feel bad for a second when it happens. xo

    • I’m so happy for you, girl, and I’m glad that this entry could speak to you. Practice unbridled elation and jubilant gesticulating at your BFP. You’re worth it!

  2. Who the hell are these people? Jeez. I’ve never actually seen such awful comments before. We all think the negative things, but who really vocalizes? Who actually is moved to write awful comments? I feel that pain, but I don’t feel as if I have license to vomit it all over everyone else’s joy. That’s so disturbing.

    Also, I hope you are pregnant. That would be awesome.

  3. I hope that you do become pregnant after “only a few rounds of Clomid!” Although we are all affected by IF, our experiences are our own. I don’t think that there is some level of treatment that must be achieved to qualify as infertile. Were you diagnosed with infertility? Have you struggled to add a child to your family? Was it hard for you?

    Yes? Then, I am sorry you have had to survive these experiences, and you are part of this community. I wish that achieving pregnancy after “only a few rounds of Clomid” took away all the pain you’ve endured already, but in my experience anyway, that’s not how it works.

  4. I wrote a similar post a while back about the degrees of infertility and when do we all get to be in the same sucky shit fest together? Because seriously-it hurts, and no one should be made to feel like they’re not in the club because they were able to get pregnant a little bit easier than anyone else. If you don’t ovulate, if you have a hard time getting pregnant, if you’re on meds out the wazoo, if you’ve had miscarriages, you’re IF. And if you make it out of this shit hole with a baby, then you’re a luckiy IFer and that should do nothing but give hope to the rest of us.

  5. I love your pledge. Maybe easier said from my eyes as someone who ended up as a stupid fertile, but I think playing the “Whoever has the most pain wins” game does nothing but bring on more pain. And I hope that you get a BFP ASAP and that you have no more pain! And come on, having read your blog, and how you support people, you’re never going to be one of those people who just ignores everyone else still struggling. You’re never going to be an insensitive person on facebook, or to a person in real life and say something hurtful. You’re always going to have the experience of what it feels like to struggle with this and be sensitive to anyone else who might, and you’re going to help those who come across your path.
    So bring on the pregnancy!

  6. I heart you. And I’m still taking that goddamn pledge on a regular basis. The survivor’s guilt, like the fucking infertility, is quite stubborn.

    Also, I totally hope you’re “that girl”.

  7. Man alive, the guilt. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    IF sucks balls.

    I’m a rootin’ for ya. Bring it.

  8. It all sucks honestly. I know all too well what survivor’s guilt is like, but like you I have decided that I’d gone through enough heartache and wouldn’t let it bring me down. The whole goal is to get off this painful ride and I am happy for those who get to move on. Sure, I have felt jealous before, but you can’t let it ruin the happiness when you are able to find it.

  9. If you’re that girl, be happy that you’re that girl. You’re the story that everyone wishes they had then. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  10. Thanks so much for this – as a guilty party here, I intend to blatantly steal your oath. Fingers crossed that more of us can become ‘that girl’ and bring those embryos to the yard! *dances badly*

  11. I hope that you are indeed THAT girl. I worried a bit about that too when TTC#1. I didn’t even want to start a blog because I just knew I’d start it and then get pregnant right away… and who wants to read that?!?! In the end I ended up pregnant 3 months later and consider myself incredibly lucky. And for the most part people were really supportive. I think people will surprise you, in a good way.

    Also, there is this idea in the IF community called the Pain Olympics. There was even a “scorecard” going around at one point where you got points for months TTC, miscarriages, etc. It wasn’t pretty. But in general people all came out on the same side of the fence… it doesn’t matter. Your story is your own and the suffering and pain and worry that you feel now is just as legitimate as anyone else’s.

    If you get pregnant now you OWN it!

  12. I guess I’m “that girl.” I got pregnant on my third Femara/TIC cycle, after not getting my own period for a year and a half off of birth control. I also kind of felt like a fraud, and even now I feel guilty sometimes posting on people’s blogs if they are still in the midst of treatment. Like I feel sometimes like I didn’t suffer enough to warrant empathy. I tried to avoid survivor’s guilt but there it is 😦

    • Exactly! I think with something like PCOS, the guilt feelings can be pretty strong because it’s hard to remember that we were “trying” even when we weren’t cycling. Those months and months of not ovulating are different than monthly BFNs, but definitely just as painful.

  13. I know I’m a little late responding to this post, but I’ve been thinking about it. I’m “that girl” and I feel guilt. Sometimes it prevents me from showing empathy, like Robin said. Then I feel guilty for that. I like your pledge. Some of us have to make it to the other side. What would this community be like if nobody ever got pregnant?

    • I totally agree. Remembering the pain of trying to get pregnant is probably very hard to balance with the happiness that you made it out! Take the pledge!

  14. Pingback: One Year…ish « Cease And Decyst

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