Monday, May 6, 2013

Take a deep breath. Let it go.

(This is a bit of a rant, by definition somewhat irrational...but this is my blog, and I reserve the right to be irrational every now and again =))

So a friend of a friend, who lives in our neighborhood, invited Mr. M and I to a movie night later this month. We've interacted with this "friend of a friend" (I'll call her J) a few times, most recently when we were helping our mutual friend move. J has several children - I'm not sure how many, maybe 5? The youngest is an infant.

Anyway, J invited us to a movie night, out of the blue. My initial reaction was, "How nice! I'm flattered that they would think of us." I still had in my mind a conversation with a couple after the prayers for hope and healing event, where they told us that they recently moved to the area and have struggled to make Catholic friends because everyone else has kids and thus very different social lives. So I thought, "Neat! We're invited to get to know a family with kids, even though we don't have any."

It turns out we can't go to the movie night - we're just too busy. But here's what I need to vent about...before I could let J know "Thanks, but we can't make it. Maybe some other time?" she sent me an email, where she said she invited us because a mutual friend is coming (fine), because she thought we'd like the movie (fine), and "because it's usually easier for people without a bunch of kids to get away at night."

[Cue slight irrationality and overly-emotional reaction...]

....ouch! Here I thought we were invited because they thought we were a pleasant, interesting couple that they'd like to get to know since we live in the same neighborhood. Nope! We're just more convenient and more likely to make an evening event because, presumably unlike all their other friends, we don't have "a bunch of kids."

Her words touched that tender spot of insecurity where I'm convinced that the first thing people notice about us, and the last thing they remember, is that we don't have kids. Like it's our most defining feature. ("Is my infertility showing? Great, because it's all I think about too.")

I can picture her conversation with her husband:
"Who should we invite to our movie night?"
"How about ---? They're fun to be around."
"Nope, they have kids and probably couldn't come over that late."
"Oh. .... Well, how about Mr. and Mrs. M? They don't have kids."

I realize that conversation may or may not have happened: but it could have! I would never tell someone "we invited you to this because you have / don't have kids." !! Who cares? If they're fun people to be around, that's that. I don't tell my disabled friend "We wanted to hang out with you because we figure you never go anywhere, since you're in a wheelchair." etc.

I know I'm blowing this way out of proportion, and I'm sure J meant nothing by it. In her world where people get married and then have "a bunch of kids," it's just a normal, run-of-the-mill statement. And like I said, we can't go to their movie night anyway. But it's just one more "jab" that hurts the heart of this infertile woman.

Jesus, help me to to me pray for J and not hold a grudge and offer up the pain of not having "a bunch of kids"...



  1. That does sound frustrating. I don't know why people just don't think about what they say. Even if she doesn't know your struggle, it wasn't really necessary for her to let you know that was one of the reasons. It just wasn't. I'm sorry you had to feel that sting.
    I pray the Lord will fill up that wound today.

  2. Oh my dear I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. One time a friend told me that she invited me to her daughter's bday over the phone because she only sent out invites to those w/ children. Praying for you today!

  3. Ouch! I'd be offended too. People really are insensitive and it's sad because they have no clue. I think you're handling this well though. I've heard somewhere that infertility is like breast cancer 30 years ago when it comes to awareness and willingness of others to talk about it and recognize it in the community. When I think of this I have hope that in 30 years from now people will know better than to say such things. I suppose that also means that we need to be louder in the community and set others straight... which isn't easy at all. I'm sorry this happened. I'm hoping some sense is knocked into her sooner rather than later.

  4. "Is My Infertility showing..." My thoughts many times EXACTLY!
    Prayers and thoughts coming your way. And thanks for your comment!

  5. Sometimes I feel like there is a big sign above my head that everyone but me can see that says "Infertile."

    I wish I could tell you that the insensitive comments would sting less in time, instead all I can tell you is that occasionally you will be able to let them roll off you faster.

    Your willingness to pray through it and for the person will help.

  6. Ugh. I think that for the fertile, the fact that we don't have kids is just that: a statement of fact, like saying, "You have brown hair." Not bad or good, it just is.

    But for us, our childlessness is a cross, a persistent wound that we must struggle with every day. So when a fertile says, "You don't have kids" it's like being pierced through the heart with the reminder both of our sorrows, and of our fundamental difference from other people: sex does not make babies.

    The other day, I put something on FB that said something like, "Up late at night planning tomorrow's dessert! Is this a sign of mania?" One of my FB acquaintances commented, "I think it's a sign that you don't have to wake up early tomorrow [a Saturday]." If it were a childless person, I would have laughed, but this person has two children and is pregnant with her third. I sent her a scathing email telling her that DH and I have been trying to get pregnant, but the doctors say it's unlikely that it will ever happen. I said that I would LOVE to have to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday to attend to children, and that not everyone who is childless is childless by choice.

    She apologized profusely and said that she'd pray for us. But it made me think that perhaps I'd overreacted? The truth is, I don't have to wake up early on Saturdays, and I do have more time to stay up late looking through brownie recipes. But even the good parts of childlessness are a wound to me now.

    Now I'm rambling, but this post made me think.