Last night Mr. M and I had dinner at the Olive Garden with another married couple. The wife is pregnant. Not just pregnant - honeymoon pregnant, more or less. They got married this past September and are due this summer. I actually wrote about their wedding and how hard it was to hear all the mention of children and prayers that the couple would be blessed with children - the same prayers we prayed at our wedding, seemingly to no avail.
I wrote in that post:
"And of course now with weddings, it’s hard not to think, “One more person who got married after us and could get pregnant / have a baby before us…” I tried so hard to keep focusing on the bride and groom, praying for them, and yes, praying for them to be blessed with children and be spared the heartache of infertility. How could I wish that on anyone? And yet I know I’ll feel hurt and sad if I hear “news” from the happy couple soon…"
So it looks like my prayers might have something to do with their easy entrance into parenthood, ha ha.
Anyway, the dinner was nice because they're our friends, and really hard because I was engaged in a constant interior battle against jealousy, against looking obsessively at the beginning of my friend's baby bump, against feeling sorry for myself, and so on. Kind of exhausting!
To their credit, they didn't talk about the pregnancy much at all - only one mention of "painting the baby's room" when we asked them what they've done to their house lately. (Oh, they also bought a house right before their wedding and the wife stopped working - in other words, they're living the life I want. Double ouch.)
The funny (ironic? tragic?) thing is, I went to this friend's bridal shower and at one point she was asked, "So how many kids do you and [the groom] want?" "Oh," she answered, "as many as God gives us." Turns out that was my answer too! (Although when my future husband asked me that on one of our first dates, I answered, "Enough to fill a church pew!" which is true too.) Her openness to life and acceptance of however many children God gives her is so far looking awfully different than mine, but we're doing the same thing. Just a thought.
Coming to my point, if there is one: I think I anticipated myself in my post about their wedding, above, and I think Mrs. Fitz said it so perfectly in a comment on this post about pregnancy announcements: the attitude I need to work toward is expecting that my married friends will be blessed with children and praying for that! Because when I show up to a party thinking "oh, I hope so and so isn't pregnant..." or when I sulk and whine about so and so getting pregnant right away (both those things come so naturally to me and are really hard not to do): what's the alternative? That no one I know ever gets pregnant again, i.e. that everyone is given this painful, some days unbearable cross of barrenness? When I think about it in that terms, it's so stark: I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemies. (Well, maybe the very worst...ha ha) And I did my duty at my friend's wedding! I prayed that she and her husband would have children - and they are, right away! (I seem to be much more successful when praying for other people to have children) Part of me is so, so jealous that she's spared knowing even one sad Christmas without a child at least in the womb (they got to put on their Christmas cards, "love husband, wife, and baby" - that card had to go right into my keepsake box and out of sight), that she'll never go through any invasive testing, monthly disappointments, yada yada yada - but sheez, if I'm worth anything as her friend, I should be happy and grateful that she's spared all that heartache!!!
So yeah, it was hard, and part of me wants to run a million miles away from my pregnant friends, especially those that got pregnant right away and make me feel even more horribly barren than I already am. I feel like I haven't even learned my alphabet and these women are writing novels already. And it's hard to navigate friendships post-pregnancy sometimes: I really don't feel like talking about probably the number one thing they want to talk about, and their very presence can be hard for me (isn't that awful?). But we're still friends, and I'm taking the long view and saying it's still worth it to stay friends and from experience, I think it does get easier once these friends have the baby and I can play something of an "auntie" role in their life. (Sometimes the little one thinks I'm actually their aunt - this little boy lists me as one of his daddy's sisters =))
Continued prayers for everyone who knows exactly what I'm talking about in this post!!