Tuesday, January 2, 2018


The conversation started innocently enough. Grey was preparing dinner and I was sneaking a moment away from the Beats as they were playing. As he was cutting vegetables, he was imagining a positive outcome to his interview on Friday. Of getting an offer and being able to move back to the West Coast. As Grey vocalized his daydream, he had a moment where he started talking about the benefit of being close to family. That we would be only an hour away from his brother Lucas and his family and wouldn't it be so nice to be able to have the Beats meet their cousins?

Then, pausing briefly, he ventured into territory I know has been on his mind.

"You know, I think you and Moon would get along. You both have a lot in common. . . ."

Daring to look up at me, Grey immediately got his answer to his probing with the look on my face. Which then devolved in a 5 minute fight before we both decided it wasn't worth fighting about and me leaving the room.

The comment has stayed with me, though. Mainly because over the past 5 years, I know this one thought has been on Grey's and his family's brain.

Brief backstory for everyone who doesn't know the history: Grey's younger brother Lucas (who's my age) and his wife Moon (who's a year older than Grey) started dating around the same time Grey and I did. Grey and Lucas have always been close, so there's always been a weird vibe with hitting milestones. Grey and I were married almost a year after we first met (yes, I know. We're one of those) while Lucas and Moon went through an extended courtship involving a break-up and relocation. In 2008, they decided to marry, which was met with joy. And then we learned that Moon was pregnant, having gone off birth control without telling Lucas. Cue shock. Cue more shock when it was announced they were having twins. And cue me realizing my biological clock was ticking.

It was during our visit to them in 2009 to help out with their newborn twins that Grey and I came to the agreement it was time to try to expand our family. Honestly, that trip was a bonding one for all four of us as Grey and I spent 10 days pulling them out of a complete shitstorm that was not being ready for twin parenting. I remember leaving for the airport that last day and wondering if there was a way we could somehow all live together, supporting one another as I assumed pregnancy would be just around the corner.

Over the next 2 years, that would be destroyed. As we closed out 2010 without a single BFP, I found myself being resentful when Grey's family announced travel plans that excluded us so they could see the grandkids. As we began treatments, the focus was on Lucas, Moon and how much they were struggling to parent twins. As much as I reasoned it wasn't their fault, it was hard to feel so alone during our journey.

Then Lucas and Moon dropped a bomb and announced they were expecting a month after my second miscarriage. The baby having a due date similar to the one for babies I lost. And that is when the wall went up. Despite attempts to break that wall, it's remained firmly in place.

I know what you're thinking: why not forgive? Why not move on? This is where things get weird because I've spent countless hours on that end. There's been that rationalizing, involving recognizing that Lucas and Moon's actions were not meant to harm Grey and me. There's been me looking inward, trying to determine why I feel anger over the situation, addressing jealousy, fear, abandonment and loss. I've gone back and forth and back again.

The only thing I can tell you is that the root of this dislike involves feeling completely abandoned and unacknowledged during what has been one of the most trying periods of my life. And that I expected better.

At the same time Moon and Lucas announced their pregnancy, close friends also announced they were expecting. The difference for the outcome from their announcement was that when these friends learned about our loss, they sent flowers; a small bouquet with a sympathy card. That gesture and acknowledgement made it possible to move beyond the initial hurt and be supportive of them as they entered parenthood. The flip example is with my mom, who told me that I needed to get over myself when I told her I was infertile because "she was going to be a grandmother." I'm resigned with my mom, with her words and actions being final nail in the coffin for any close relationship.

The situation with Moon and Lucas lies in between. With the added wrinkle being that Moon and I are very different individuals. Moon is someone who has embraced the identity of "Mom," posting about life fulfillment due to pregnancy and being able to give birth. Whereas I am an infertile who is parenting. Though I adore the Beats, I don't identify with being a mom. There were no bump photos or maternity shoots. I don't see my body as somehow graced due to coming out the other side of pregnancy with two living children.

Most importantly, having children hasn't been this healing force. The healing that has come has been due to a lot of self-reflection, analysis and change that I've fought to bring about. Putting that responsibility on the Beats is unfair in my eyes as their role in this world is their own. As illustrated in Kahlil Gibran's poem "On Children," it's not their role to complete me and heal old wounds. All of this is made more complicated over the bafflement that exists from Grey's family that pregnancy didn't cure all the pain and grief from infertility.

The thing is, I don't want to continue the cold war. Especially if all Grey and I are hoping for with this job interview comes through. I've watched my mom's family devolve due to grudges and not addressing deep hurts to the point of utter ridiculousness. I also have memories of those previous periods where I wasn't seen as the bat-shit crazy in-law. In addition, having it out could be good and could be very healing. But I also don't see the road towards that door nor that there's a point to such an option in anyone's eyes. Me getting over myself and apologizing for all my craziness is what has been pressed for, which fits nicely with the ongoing theme of feeling unacknowledged and abandoned.

So for now, I'm in limbo having agreed to not actively fight and to be civil. Wishing that old wounds were washed clean instead of allowed to fester.


  1. This is the phrase that stood out to me: "an infertile who is parenting." I see myself in the same way, and I didn't have the words before this. (That's just a side note.). They're important because part of this is also that people haven't seen you as you see yourself. Your friend acknowledged the IF when they sent the flowers; an act that not only said "I'm so sad, too" but "I see you as you." Whereas it's hard to wrap our brains around reaching out/spending time with/etc people who don't see us as we see ourselves. Does that make sense?

    1. YES! This total sense! And gets to the heart of why I've been struggling. Damn, that's a theme and you've hit the nail on the head.

  2. "That gesture and acknowledgement made it possible to move beyond the initial hurt and be supportive of them as they entered parenthood." - perfectly expressed. I'd been trying to figure out why I'm perfectly happy, even joyful for some friends' news while others, I can't handle and you hit it exactly.

    Family being family, I feel like one half-assed solution is to be polite and not acknowledge anything and spend time for the sake of the cousins knowing each other. But.. yeah, not ideal. Also requires basically burying your feelings.

  3. Being acknowledged and seen and understood is so powerfully healing. Maybe Grey could do some bridge-building on the Lucas/Moon side and try to get them to see/understand what you've been through. A bridge has two entrances, not just the one on your side.

  4. Like Lori said, being seen and acknowledged is such a huge, powerful thing. It's really, really hard when you are both coming from such incredibly different places to find the common ground and understanding. You did deserve better from them and that should be acknowledged.

    I totally relate to this post - partly the "parenting infertile" part (because I am a parent only by the most extraordinarily bizarre set of circumstances), but also being on the "bat-shit crazy in-law" list right now. It sucks. And I hear you.

  5. I agree with others that there is so much behind being seen and acknowledged for your experiences, for what's shaped you, and when that is ignored or glossed over it's incredibly painful and hard to recover from. I'm sorry for all the hurtful comments (umm, wtf, Cristy's mom?!?!) and the inability to see your situation for the mass of trauma that it is. You're friends who sent flowers... Those are gems. Those friends who really get it are amazing. I'm sorry the family side of things is so painful! Sending you love.

  6. I would never expect anyone to completely understand what we've been through (because really, who can, unless they've experienced something similar themselves?). But I like what Lori LL said about a bridge having two entrances. I don't think it's unreasonable for you to want at least some simple acknowledgement that the past few years have been difficult for you too. (((hugs)))

  7. Though I don't know all the back story, you've said that you can acknowledge that none of their actions were intended to hurt you. That's a good place to start, and well done on getting there.

    I'm wondering what the barrier is. You've said you've agreed "to not actively fight and to be civil." Can that be enough? Not to be best friends, it's pretty obvious that's not going to happen. But to be able to thaw relations, be civil and even surface-friendly to each other, and to free yourself from the resentment, which can be crippling.

    Have you read Infertile Phoenix's post on Lowering Expectations? https://infertilephoenix.blogspot.co.nz/2017/12/lower-your-expectations.html

    I have some other comments, partly about relationships with my BILs' wives. I'll think on them and might email you.

    1. I completely agree with Infertile Phoenix's observations about lower expectations. She's incredibly wise. And, honestly, if we were in the thick on interacting I think I would use this advice. The problem is rooted in it being after the fact and having had zero direct contact. I'm being asked to try with knowledge that I will be expected to apologize. Frankly, I really don't want to go that route.

      But I'm also likely thinking too much into this. I agree that the root of this started with having higher expectations. Now it's more the aftermath of having been burned.

  8. Wow that’s tough. I don’t have much to add to your insightful comments and those of others. I know however I would find it hard to be friends with someone who didn’t have the imagination to try to see how miserable infertility can be, even if they couldn’t directly relate to the challenges. It seems to me the options are to either ignore the matter and try to build a relationship anyway,which doesn’t sound like it would work very well for you. Or maybe there’s a way to talk about the past that’s neutral enough that it wouldn’t start a fight. Which sounds hard but probably more honest.

  9. Such a hard situation. It's difficult when people are insensitive and won't even try to understand where you are coming from. It is amazing to watch our kids play with their cousins and the bond that they have. Hopefully through time, you all will be able to find a peaceful middle ground. Good luck to your husband and his interview.


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