A few weeks ago, I wrote about my goal of restoring the old me, the happy, balanced me who loves to celebrate all things good in my life. This weekend, I made a couple small steps in that direction.
Even though I was dreading the events of this past weekend, my new attitude swept most of it away and I was able to enjoy the weekend, relatively stress free. I admit, my initial emotional response to my sister-in-law’s ridiculously perfect 7-month baby bump was jealousy. In fact, I’m certain that I literally turned green with envy, at least for a moment. The moment passed quickly, and I was soon showering my attention on my 3 year old niece. After she showed me her new bedroom, she showed me the nursery, and explained in detail every item and how it would be used to care for the baby. That was rough for me, but seeing how thrilled she is to be a big sister warmed my heart, so I played along.
The biggest step of the day was asking my sister-in-law about her pregnancy. Up until now, I haven’t engaged her in any conversation about it. I haven’t asked about her due date (I still don’t know the exact date), how she’s feeling, whether or not they have a name picked out, or if they know the sex. Nada. Since I probably won’t see her in person before the baby is born, I decided it was now or never to show that I do care. I knew that she had problems during childbirth with her first, so I asked if she was considering a C-section. It turns out, she has at least partial placenta previa (in which the placenta grows over the cervix, making vaginal birth dangerous for both mom and baby). In a few weeks, she will have an ultrasound to determine whether or not it’s a complete placenta previa, in which case she will be given steroid injections to speed up the baby’s lung development, then an early C-section at around 36 weeks.
There was no way I could have known that she was facing such a scary prognosis, but that didn’t change the fact that I felt like a shitty sister-in-law for all my feelings of jealousy and for ignoring her pregnancy. She seemed calm and unafraid (probably because she’s smart enough to stay away from Dr. Google), but I still feel horrible for not being available to her for support.
The other small step I took was having fun at M’s cousin’s wedding. I’ve never met her, but celebrating with family is on the top of my priority list, so I decided that it didn’t matter if I was to be bombarded with baby questions or forced to stare at baby bumps. (For the record, there wasn’t a single bump, and only a few questions.) I didn’t even bother identifying my safe zones or coming up with an exit plan in advance. We did leave the party early, but that’s only because it was past our bed time and my dogs were barkin’ something fierce.
It felt good–really good–to enjoy being with family, without the dark cloud of infertility hovering over my head. Sure, I felt sad and a little envious when I saw young couples showing off their infants to adoring family and friends. And I couldn’t help but think that we can probably expect an announcement from the newlyweds in about 4-6 months, which will sting, but I will try my hardest to be happy that they didn’t have to suffer through infertility. At no point, however, did I come close to shedding a tear. That’s real progress!
One final small victory is worth mentioning. About a year ago, my sister gave me some of her gently used baby toys (the larger ones that are kind of expensive and completely unnecessary), and a friend gave me her bassinet. We kept them in the basement of our rental house, then transferred them to a storage unit when we moved. M informed me that there was no longer room for them in the storage unit and asked if he could give them away. My immediate resonse was NO! I felt like giving them away would be giving up on the idea of having a baby. Not something I was ready to do, but reason prevailed in the end, and I let him take the items to Goodwill.
Not bad for a weekend’s work, huh?