I'm Infertile And My Sister is Pregnant. Help!
If you know my sister, you already know that she is pregnant. She is due in September to have her first child. A boy.
If you don't know my sister, you probably had no f*cking clue. You probably didn't even know I had a sister. That's because I haven't written about her or her pregnancy. I wasn't ready to.
I AM ready now.
This past weekend, I helped throw her a baby shower with two of her friends. The shower was in Portland, Oregon, where my sister lives.
Deciding to throw her a shower was an easy decision for me. I mean, come'on, It's my baby sister. I'd do anything for her ass. I MEAN ANYTHING. My sister is one of the kindest, most compassionate people ever made. She has a way of seeing the good in all things. She has a heart of gold. And, she's my sister. My love for her is truly unconditional.
However, I knew it would still be hard for me to attend a baby shower, let alone THROW one. I have been to a couple close friend's showers in the last couple of years and the result is always the same. Get in the car. Drive straight to Taco Bell. Cry my eyes out as I devour a Mexican Pizza. Unbutton my pants. Rush home. Dive face first into some sort of alcohol substance. Take my bra off.
I'm fine. Really, I'm fine.
I knew that being around "baby stuff" all day would be extremely difficult for me. I knew that I would have to fight tears at some point and discreetly go hide in the bathroom. I knew that just being there was going to bring my pain and sadness to the forefront.
But none of that mattered.
SHE was way more important. The love I have for my sister will always outweigh any pain I have to endure. The decision was easy.
As the shower date got closer, my anxiety and nervousness grew stronger and stronger. I was just plain sick about it. I hadn't actually seen her belly yet. I had only seen pictures on Facebook.
The first belly post was the hardest.
I cried and cried. One damn picture rocked my f*cking world.
I knew I should have commented on the photo and said something like "You are bumpin' that bump girl! Get it!" or just a simple "Congrats, I'm so happy for you" would have been nice. But I couldn't.
I just couldn't.
It was easier to just to hit the "like" button.
Shamefully, that's what I did.
I knew I needed to tell my sister immediately why I wasn't showing my love and support on social media. I didn't want her to feel unloved by me.
I needed to be up front about the fact that her "bump" photo made me sad.
So, that's what I did.
And of course she understood. No questions asked. She knew before I was even able to tell her. My sister has this incredible gift of being able to get out of her own head and empathize with others. This trait is what makes her a great nurse.
We got very good at communicating our feelings. We had to. It was the only way we were going to survive this shit. I'd put myself in her shoes, and she would do the same. She would ask me what I was comfortable talking about before sharing pregnancy details.
We made a pact - She'd cry with me. I'd celebrate with her.
It wasn't always easy, but we were committed to this journey together. There was a clear divide in our journeys - I was flipping off baby strollers and she was shopping for baby strollers.
This divide didn't mean there needed to be a void between us. We weren't going to let that happen.
To protect me, she would hold back on things she desperately wanted to share with me. She never made it an issue or made me feel bad about it. She just knew that I loved her and that I was doing the best that I could. She accepted me for me.
She showed me what true unconditional love is. Thank you Sarah.
Nonetheless, I knew that finally "meeting" her belly in person was going to be rough.
Although we have such an open and honest relationship, I was still overflowing with anxiety in anticipation of seeing her. She texted me "Are you sure you are ready to see this big ole belly?". She has always taken my feelings into consideration throughout this process. She knew how hard it was going to be for me.
She picked me and our mother up from the airport (I had strategically downed a couple of glasses of wine prior to boarding). She got out of the car to hug me.
Do not look down. Do not look down.
I wasn't ready to make eye contact with "it" yet. The..... "bump". As I hugged her, I felt her tight perfectly round basketball belly punch me in my gut.
Do not look down. Do not look down.
Look away. Look away.
Why was I being so f*cking awkward? UGH!
She looked beautiful. She looked happy.
I'm not going to say she had the "pregnancy glow" because I hate that word. Just like I hate the word "bump". But damn it, she had the f*cking glow. That bitch is perfect.
But seriously, why do we have to use the word baby bump? Who came up with this term? Is it because they bump into shit? Or is it because it looks like a bump? Either way, it's weird. And bullshit. I'd rather save the word bump for things like "Bump n' Grind" or even the "Bumpit", a fascinating hair styling aid used by Snookie on the Jersey Shore.
We got to her house and the first thing I saw was the "baby countdown" sign in the hallway. Hanging on the fridge were a bunch of ultrasound photos. I sat down on the couch and next to me was a pile of baby books. I was feeling a little antsy. Baby stuff was everywhere.
Can a bitch get a beer around this place? For the love!
Beer served. Crisis averted.
As everyone was getting ready for bed I found some time to sneak into the nursery alone. I knew I had to have a moment in there by myself. My mission was to take every precaution possible to avoid any emotional outbursts around my sister. This weekend was about her. NOT ME.
I looked around the room. The room was adorable, but no shocker there. My sister has excellent taste and an eye for design. The crib was all setup. The shelves were stocked with baby books. The dresser was FILLED with baby clothes.
My eyes were drawn to the tiniest little baby onesie sitting on the changing table that said "Thug Life".
I picked it up and held it in my arms. I held it close to my chest and looked around the nursery, noticing every detail.
Will I ever get to have a room like this?
I held on to that little onesie and braced myself for the much anticipated "ugly cry". This was my moment to let it all out. No one was around. It was just me and my pretend little Thug Life baby. He won't care if I cry. Honey Badger don't give a shit.
If you are going to lose your shit Victoria, NOW would be the time.
Come on, let it out!
DO IT NOW!!!
But I didn't. I couldn't. I didn't need to.
I was actually smiling. That unconditional love shit was in full effect. How could I be sad about something so f*cking wonderful? I was overjoyed with happiness for my baby sis. My pain had subsided in that moment.
And it hit me. I get to be an auntie to a very, very special little boy. What an honor!
I get to be a kid again. I get to teach him stuff like how to build a fort.
I get to show him how to play beer pong at a really young age so that he kills it in college. AND I'll have someone to go fetch the beer for me. YES! This will be part of my approach in teaching him work ethic. YES YES!
Most importantly, I'll have someone to blame shit on. No Sarah, the crumbs left all over the kitchen counter were all him. Your child is an animal! How embarrassing!
But seriously, what an honor. I can't wait!
In my talks with other women experiencing infertility, I've found that it's never easy when a loved one gets pregnant. We all experience it. It doesn't matter who the person is. A family member, a friend, or a co-worker. It's ALWAYS hard.
The feelings can be really dark and ugly. Don't feel bad about those feelings. We all get them. I promise!
But here's the deal...
You HAVE to be honest about your feelings.
Put it all on the table. The good, the bad, the ugly. Don't try to fake it. Be vulnerable. Let your loved one know what you are comfortable with. Let her know that you love her. Let her know you are trying your best. Ask for a hall pass from baby shopping. Ask to be excused for not being the best friend you can be during this time.
It is YOUR responsibility to protect and communicate your feelings. Period.
That's all you can do. If she loves you, she will understand. Let people surprise you with how compassionate and empathetic they can be. You owe it to yourself and your loved one to share your feelings. Give them a chance to understand, don't assume they won't.
If they don't get it. Move on.
You have plenty of other people who will be there for you and show you the support that my sister has.
By the end of my trip my awkwardness got less and less. And this was because of her. My baby sister cured my allergy to pregnant women.
Let me paint the picture...
By the second night I was sleeping in the nursery (on an air mattress, not in the crib. I ain't that cray). I was walking in baby stores like a champ, picking out baby leg warmers (yes, that's a thing now). I was even drinking champagne from a baby bottle. And when I say drinking, I mean chugging (it's actually a lot harder than it sounds).
And I have to say, the baby shower I helped conduct was very well executed (ending in a late night game of flip cup).
I woke up with a big smile and a small hangover. My trip was perfect. It was time to say goodbye and I had no regrets. Hugging my sissy at the airport was much different this time.
I was ALL up in that belly. And I liked it. A LOT.
That little thing in there will be a part of our family soon. He will be a part of ME.
And that's pretty f*cking cool.