Monday, October 10, 2011

Don't Forget Daddy

I’ve been thinking about how, now that I am pregnant, it is difficult to figure out where my IF experience fits into conversation.  There is a part of me that is very comfortable saying to inquiring minds “Yes.  It is our first baby and it took us three years to get here, so we are feeling quite blessed.”  For the most part, when I say this to people, they gush over the news in the same way that they would if I left the thinly veiled IF reference out.  But, sometimes someone will ask a more direct question and it throws me into uncertainty.  For example, a woman who I consider an acquaintance (but not quite a friend) asked me “Who do you think he will look like, you or your husband?”  I answered “Oh, most definitely my husband.”  There was an awkward pause, just long enough for me to become uncomfortable and start wondering whether further explanation was required and how to avoid sharing my “dirty little donor secret.”  As I’ve said before, I don’t consider our use of a donor a secret or something to be ashamed of.  But, once in awhile, when I am having a “deer in the headlights” moment, these thoughts creep in.  I finished my conversation with my acquaintance with the statement “My husband’s got strong genes.”  UGH!!!  How would I know that and even if I did, who says that?  Plus, I am betting the silence that compelled me to offer something extra was exaggerated in my head and was probably just a normal pause in conversation.

That example is just one of many I could give.  Another example involves a stupid baby shower game.  My baby shower is a few weeks away.  I have to admit that I’ve taken control of it.  I know it is rude and tacky.  I know I should sit and allow my mother-in-law to run the show and let me be surprised by how things go…but I can’t.  I have wanted this for so long…I need it to live up to my fantasy and I need to be immersed in every aspect of it, so I can soak the experience in during every second between now and the end of the shower.  This experience needs to last me a lifetime and I want to savor it.  

My mother-in-law (the official hostess of the shower) groaned when I mentioned that I had bought some adorable pens to use during baby shower games.  She said “You know people hate the games.”  Yep.  I do. But I want one or two anyways…to round out the whole cheesy experience.  I scoured the internet to find the least tacky and annoying game I could.  I came up with “Don’t Forget Daddy.”  For that game, The Prince answers a bunch of questions before the shower.  The game participants are given a “test” with the questions he was asked and multiple choice options for his answers.  People complete their test and then The Prince’s answers are revealed.  I chose this game because it is fast, it isn’t too corny, and we can have fun at my husband’s expense (I couldn’t have asked for him to give funnier answers).

The problem is, as I was looking at possible questions for the test from examples online, I realized that my game was going to have to be carefully tailored.  I couldn’t just use the default questions, because they really wouldn’t apply to an IF situation and, in fact, many are quite offensive to those who have experienced IF.  Even in cases where the question could be used (ex. How many home pregnancy tests did the husband buy before he would believe that the wife was actually pregnant), our answer would require an uncomfortable explanation (ex. By my estimate, we went through about 150 POAS in three years and about 20 during the cycle which resulted in this baby.  How did we go through so many?  Oh…because I tested twice a day, sometimes with two tests at a time, for confirmation that the pregnancy wasn’t a chemical pregnancy).  That answer would certainly set a different tone for the shower.  In the end, I just ditched a lot of suggested questions, made up my own questions, and/or tailored the answers to work for us.  For example, for the question, “I hope the baby gets his Mommy’s: (a) hair, (b) eyes, (c) smile…etc…” I changed it to, “I hope the baby gets [The Princess’s]: (a) brains, (b) sense of humor, (c) good taste in a spouse.”  I think it will work and I am the only one (other than you gals) who will know that any thought went into the questions at all. 

IF is still with me and it always will be.  I imagine I will always be negotiating and renegotiating exactly where IF fits into my conversations and thoughts and, I’m okay with that, I guess.   I’m just trying to get used to it and I’m trying to make sure that I balance avoiding making others around me feel uncomfortable, with not pushing IF back into the closet…where it can fester and grow and drag women into its cycle of shame and secrecy.  Is it possible to advocate and own IF without pushing people out of their comfort zones?     

1 comment: said...

Hopefully our society will get more and more comfortable with talking about IF and pregnancy loss... our blogs and gently talking with others certainly does help :) Love always xoxo