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.