G and I know several couples besides ourselves who are struggling or have struggled with IF. For most of the couples we know the struggle is past tense. They either have the children they were seeking or have come to terms with living childfree. They are no longer trying to hop the fence. Maybe they aren’t at peace with the process or end results just yet, but they’re done with the fight, anyway.
Most of them.
There is one couple in our life who is still struggling. Who is older than us. With whom G has daily contact.
G’s boss and his wife have been struggling to start their family for every bit as long as G and I have. They have experienced multiple losses. Their marriage has been affected by the constant struggle.
When we lost Bean G’s boss was genuinely saddened for us. He understood if G needed to take some more time. He asked how I was holding up. He shared stories of how his wife handled their losses. When we lost our Spring Baby and I was a hot mess, G’s boss was encouraging and kind. He encouraged G to work shorter hours so he could be home with me more. He even helped G get a promotion and significant raise so that some of the financial stress could come off of me.
See, that was when we were on even ground. When we were doomed and they were doomed. When things looked slightly more in their favor than ours. But, now, the tides have changed.
Now, I am seven months pregnant. Baby G appears to be healthy (fat, apparently, but healthy). We are almost to the goal line. They are not. To say that this has changed the dynamic at work would be quite the understatement.
The boss that was helpful and kind is now distant and cold. If G doesn’t ask a question, he should have and if he does ask, he should already know. If he has to leave work for a hand therapy appointment things can be rearranged, but for an OB appointment they cannot (or, he gets several calls during the appointment). Nothing is ever done right, but no instruction can be given as to how it could have been done better. Yes, his boss is jealous and he is really taking it out on G.
Wanna know the crazy part? I kind of get it.
I feel badly for him. I’ve been in his shoes and they hurt. They are made of broken glass and bee stingers. I certainly don’t envy the position he’s in right now. I don’t agree with his behavior and I think G deserves better treatment, but I understand the motivation behind his sudden change in mood towards G.
I can remember last September, being straight of off loss #6 being downright hurtful to my one actual friend at work, one of the very few people who could come close to relating to my experience, because I could hear her baby on the phone when she was working from home. The sound of that happy, laughing perfect little baby was like a dagger to my heart. Every giggle stung like lemon juice in a paper cut. It wasn’t her fault. It certainly wasn’t the baby’s fault. It wasn’t my fault either for that matter. But the hurt was there all the same, and I didn’t know how to work around it without hurting her, and it was too much to bear. So, I lashed out. I behaved in a way that hurt her in an attempt to protect myself from the pain.
So, I understand where G’s boss is coming from. That fence is so high, and the draw to be with the people on the other side is so strong. But, what I know, that he doesn’t… There isn’t just a big old yard full of parenthood and forgetfulness juice on the other side of that fence. There are just more fences. You hop the “get pregnant” fence, only to find the “heartbeat” fence. You jump it to find the “first trimester” fence. Followed by the “second trimester” fence. Then the “full term” and “live birth” fences. Everybody is jumping the same fences, just some of our fences are higher than others. Some people’s are so low to the ground they can be stepped over, some of us need to pole vault. The harder you have to fight to make it through the hurdles, the harder it is to forget the hard work and the easier it becomes to forgive someone who’s still trying to make it into “your yard” and is getting a bit bitter from the effort.