why you don't have to be happy for me

Posting our babe announcement was almost bittersweet for me. And that may seem weird. But the thing is that not that long ago I had a really hard time with most baby news that filled my newsfeed.

We had to wait for this babe. Not nearly as long as many couples have to wait for a babe, and our waiting didn't involve extensive treatment or invasive surgery. But all the same, it was waiting, and we weren't sure how long the wait would last. There came a point in our waiting when I had no emotional energy left to be happy for others' happy baby news.

In the midst of our waiting, we suffered two early miscarriages, which demanded even more of my physical, mental, and emotional reservoirs. I had to come to terms with seeking medical advice, and that required more of my reserves. Pregnancy announcements would pop up, and I couldn't bring myself to click the "like" button. Instead I'd make the effort to hide the story from my feed completely.

I felt ashamed to admit that I did this, that I couldn't summon happiness for another. Because when you announce a babe-in-the-making, it's so wonderful to feel love and support from those around you. Happiness multiplies, and I usually love to be a part of that beautiful equation. But sometimes I had to excuse myself. It was too painful; I wasn't privy to the divine details of my family's own eternal plan and had to proceed every hour on trust in a loving Father. And that trust consumed me, for if it didn't, sorrow and fear would.

All of this to say, when I posted my happy news, I knew that someone out there would probably hurt. Someone might hide it from their feed or feel renewed waves of anger and grief. And that's okay. It really, really is.

If you are struggling with infertility--which could easily be much more difficult than my months of uncertainty were--and you wanted to hide my announcement from your feed, it's okay. If you are grieving for a babe or the promise of a babe and can't be happy about my happy news, I get it. I may not get what it is to struggle with long-term infertility, when your body quits working on you, when you have one shot at IVF and that's it. I don't get that. But I do get what it's like to ache for a babe and not know when you're going to have one of your own, and I do get that sometimes you don't have the emotions to spare for someone else.

My own experience with waiting and loss has infused me with an increased sensitivity to how I talk about pregnancy and babes, especially in public forums. I hope that as I document this pregnancy that I will be sensitive to those of you who may be wanting a babe of your own and have to wait. I carry a special and fervent prayer in my heart for you that you'll feel peace in your waiting and comfort in your grief.

I want to state again that my experience is in no way comparable to those who struggle with long-term infertility, who pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for treatment, who wait for years and years and often suffer silently. That was not my experience, and I'm not pretending that it was. But though I can't fully empathize with that specific experience, I do know what it's like to want a babe and not know when that babe will come. And that is so, so hard.


Ruth said...

Thanks for this post, Charlotte. It home pretty hard - I had a traumatic miscarriage early this year and went from being extremely excited about everyone's Facebook pregnancy/baby updates to extremely depressed. You are a strong woman and a great writer. Here's hoping the best for both of us and every woman out there!

Jackie Beattie said...

Love this. And love you.

Katie said...

You are amazing, Charlotte. Your sensitivity and empathy for others is one of my favorite qualities about you. I am sorry to hear you have had to go through this--this topic can be so emotionally rough. I am SO SO happy for you!

ashleynicole @ [real life, real love] said...

This. Just, thanks.

There was a time a year or two ago when my sis-in-law said she didn't want to announce her pregnancy on fb because she knew there were many girls in her ward struggling with infertility. I told her, "That's dumb, and they should be happy for you whether or not they are having difficulties!" Now I'm the one who hasn't been able to get pregnant yet (coming up on one year of trying) and I definitely feel the way you described above--it's just too hard to "like" it when someone else gets that blessing that I so desire.

So thanks for sharing this, and thanks for making it easier to be happy for you and your good news, just because you understand that people might not be happy for you, it actually makes it easier TO be happy for you. Congrats on your happy news :)

Natasha and Jesse said...

I appreciate this post. Thank you!

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