Judgement Day

Soooo… I may be a bad person. Maybe.

Here’s the back story:

A coworker of mine had a baby via surrogate around the same time as Chick. Not only were we due around the same time, our babies were both born premature. He and his husband have been trying to have a child for years (everything from adoption to 4 failed surrogate pregnancies) so I was really very happy when I learned they were expecting a child. If anyone knows the long, hard road to fertility, it’s me…

But this is where our stories diverge.

Said co-worker, “Pea” as he will be known from here on out, isn’t just a coworker, he is the head of my unit. Which means he makes bank. Upon learning that he and his husband were expecting, Pea sold his fancy loft in the city and moved to a multi-million dollar home in the ‘burbs. His husband stays at home with their daughter. They hire a babysitter once a week so they can have a date night. They also hired a night nanny when their child was teeny so that they could get a good night’s sleep.

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“Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.” -The Great Gatsby

Um… yeah. That’s not my life. There are times I feel a bit like Nick Caraway in The Great Gatsby. I can see the fancy, but I always return at the end of the day to my tiny cottage just next door to Pea’s metaphorical (and come to think of it, LITERAL) mansion. 

Because our kids are close in age, Pea will occasionally ask me how Chick is doing. Specifically, if Chick is eating solids yet, rolling over, playing with sensory toys, etc. It wasn’t until recently I realized he is comparing his child to mine. It’s like Chick is a litmus test. On one hand, I get it… as new parents, you don’t know what is normal. On the other hand, I’m not entirely comfortable with the tone of some of these conversations.

And still I’ve managed to be mostly pleased for him. Sure, there are times where I just marvel at what having money can do. Yes, there are times when I wish I could provide X for Chick or Mr. O if only I made a kagillion dollars. But these times are mostly fleeting.

Recently, Pea and I were catching up over the proverbial water cooler when he drops the bomb. He and his husband are trying for another child. They found another surrogate and had just completed an FET. I was kinda gobsmacked. I can’t imagine having another child right now. Chick consumes so much of my time, even when I’m not with him. How on earth can they be starting on another child so soon? I will admit it– I got judgey. (On the inside. All on the inside, because I have the best polite poker face ever.)

I’m not really happy with my reaction to this. It’s complicated. I’m about to be completely honest here in an effort to get to the bottom of this… *gulp*

First, is it because they are wealthy? Not only can they afford to buy a fancy house, have a parent stay at home, hire a night nurse, and all the rest, they can afford another surrogate. Mr. O and I are just making it work with the cost of daycare, diapers, etc., while still meeting all our financial obligations. A second baby right now would make my bank account implode.

Second, is it because they are men? Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t start on child #2 right now because my body is still recovering. (It takes between a year and 18 months to fully recover from pregnancy and childbirth.) Not to mention that I’m still supporting Chick through breastfeeding. Because neither of them is carrying the physical burden of this child, they can bounce into baby #2 much easier than I could.

Third, is it because they are having a baby at all? As so many of you know first hand, there is a part of me that will be infertile forever. Birth announcements still sting a little, even though I have a baby of my own. I see pregnant women and I cringe (all on the inside.) Infertility is a wound that doesn’t heal, never fully.

Or four… is it a big ol’ sauce of all three?

In all of this is the lingering question of why another person’s happiness has to reflect on my own. I don’t think I’m alone in this– keeping up with and feeling insecure about the Joneses is as American as apple pie. I do wish I were better at keep that nagging need for comparison at bay.

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11 comments

  1. Molly · February 26, 2016

    I think your feelings are totally valid. Not that you need me to justify your feeeeelings. 🙂 Your reaction is probably a perfectly healthy balance of all of the things you mentioned. I would very likely feel the exact same way if I were in your shoes. Money DOES make some things easier. They can afford to just hit the ground running again. (At the same time, they probably want to try again so soon because it took them so damn long the last time and they’re not getting any younger, right?) They totally have the advantage of not having to recover from childbirth. Catch and I are in talks about whether or not we will have a #2, but if we decide to go for it we wouldn’t start trying until this time NEXT YEAR because a) I need to get back to the right physical (and mental) place, and b) $$$$$. I always thought that once I had my baby, the wounds of how she came to be would magically heal, but they don’t. That experience stays with you. It’s hard to shake it even if we think we should.

    • thecommonostrich · March 7, 2016

      I’ve been mostly good throughout my entire life (yes, even awkward adolescence) at just doing me. I don’t get to hung up on how other people live their lives. But parenting has made me a weirdo. Infertility also made me a weirdo. I think I am also getting to that point in my life where I see how having money can really impact your life. Which makes me sound vaguely Scroogie, but there you have it.

  2. My Perfect Breakdown · February 26, 2016

    Yes to everything you said and what Molly said to!! I’d be judge-y too!!!

    • thecommonostrich · March 7, 2016

      Thanks, kiddo. Sometimes it’s just nice to say express our ickiest of thoughts and realize that they aren’t so icky. Or at least that they are coming out of a normal response to a situation and not, say, out of my crazy brain. 😉

  3. lovingthemarriedlife · February 26, 2016

    I totally get it and I don’t have a baby yet we are pregnant but still in that scary first trimester but it is hard like you said it’s a wound that never fully heals but we learn to live with it and love the life we have regardless! Hugs!

    • thecommonostrich · March 7, 2016

      Ah, yes… “Learn to love the life we have regardless.” I have to remind myself of that now and then. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. InfertileGirl · February 26, 2016

    I don’t think it’s judge-y, necessarily. A lot of what you said is straight up fact, though it can certainly cause a twinge of jealousy. It sucks that sometimes money is the answer. But we all do the best we can with what we have, right? And some have more than others…

    • thecommonostrich · March 7, 2016

      What’s “funny” (if that’s the word) is that I don’t want his life. I don’t want a big house (because I would have to clean it. Um, no.) I don’t want Mr. O to stay home (because knowing who we are, this would likely breed resentment.) I don’t want another baby RIGHT NOW (because I’m still mesmerized by Chick and want to commit fully to enjoying his first year of life.)

      Perhaps what I envy is that Pea’s life appears effortless. (Yes, appears. Because I also recognize that this could be more my projections rather than his reality.)

  5. g2the4thpower · February 26, 2016

    It’s kind of funny because I completely agree with all that you said you’re feeling. Funny, because DW and I did our first insemination post baby #1 when dd1 was just 9 months old. I grew up with a brother 15 months younger than me, and always envisioned my kids to be close on age too. It took nearly 2 years before we actually got a sticky bean, and while I thought I wanted them closer in age, I’m actually pretty happy that they have a bigger age gap. Everything is easier with money and when you’re not depending on your own body to create life. I could not fathom going through any of what I had to for baby #2 if I were to want a 3rd. I had an easy time with making baby #1,so maybe that’s why i was in a hurry for #2…im on my smartphone so I hope that made sense!

  6. thecommonostrich · March 7, 2016

    Totally make sense to me. What you remind me of (though not sure if this was your intention) is that money can’t make the sadness and frustration of struggling to get pregnant go away. It may make the process easier, but a failed cycle hurts no matter how many dollar bills you have.

  7. Pingback: Sadness, revisited | the ostrich

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