Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Innocence of When

Saturday I was shopping at Pottery Barn.  As the cashier rang up my overpriced candles a young girl came to the counter, gift card in hand.  She asked the cashier, "Can you see if there is a balance on this?  I got it for my wedding and I can't remember if I spent it."  The cashier checked and told her that she had $100 balance.  "Can you use this card at Pottery Barn Kids too?  It doesn't expire, right?" she asked.  The cashier affirmed that she could and it wouldn't. 

At this point the young girl turned to her friend and said, "I think I'll just wait and use this when I get pregnant."

I bristled inside.  "When I get pregnant.... When I get pregnant...  When I get pregnant..."  The words rang in my ears all day.  Part of me wanted to tell her, "Yeah right.  It might not be that easy."  But another part of me realized that for her it probably would be that easy.  "When I get pregnant" is the world that most people live in.   Most people can save their Pottery Barn gift cards received as wedding gifts and use them at Pottery Barn Kids a few years later. 

I remember living in the world of "when".  In that world I saved money for nursery furniture.  In that world I prepared monthly budgets that included daycare, diapers, and formula.  In that world I picked out baby names and worried about how I would feel when Tony was home with the baby on summer break while I went to work.  I clung to "when" for a long time.  Even after starting IVF I still spoke in "when" terms as if the force of my will could get me pregnant.

Eventually "when" slipped away and became "if".  I couldn't plan a vacation that I might not enjoy if I got pregnant.  I couldn't buy adult furniture for the "nursery" because where would I put it if I got pregnant?  Changing from "when" to "if" was incredibly painful.  Hope was slipping away.

Thinking of this yesterday made me wonder where I am today.  I am a long way from "when" obviously.  If "when" were a location on Earth it would be midnight there when it is noon here.  But I also realized that I am moving away from "if" as well.  I don't plan for "if I get pregnant" anymore.  This is a good thing.  I'm living my life.  This is also a sad thing. 

And I'm not quite sure what it means.

27 comments:

Lara said...

Oh man, i know exactly that series of transitions. It is very liberating in a sense to give up hope, but it is also very very sad and I'm sorry that brief encounter brought that up for you today. For me today it was seeing the neighbor who got pregnant well after my own transition from "when" to "if"--they moved away right after that baby was born to be in a better elementary school neighborhood. She's pregnant again, and something about seeing that made me feel very wistful.

Jules said...

I too have moved from when to if to neither. Like Lara said, it is liberating and sad at the same time.

I had this same feeling of wanting to say "it might not be so easy" when two teenage girls in my study hall were talking about what they planned to name their kids when they had them. It's hard to know when to raise awareness and when it's just going to be ill-received.

Betty Rubble said...

When to IF wasn't nearly as hard as "its never going to happen..."

IF still had a ring of hope to is. Sigh...

It's just a shame that we're reminded of this no matter where we look!

twelvegrapes said...

The "when" to "if" shift is something you have put into words so perfectly. How difficult to have to have overheard that girl's simple assumption knowing that, sure, it might just be that easy for her. I have also looked back in amazement at how the planning for baby became the shift to letting go so I don't lose my mind "planning for baby". Thank you for putting this very complex evolution into such a tangible truth.

loribeth said...

This is so very true. It's so hard to hear others just blithely assume it will happen for them. Especially when you know it probably WILL happen for them. The question being, why not us too? It's hard. :(

Heather said...

I've moved from when to if to never. It sucks. And I often wonder if the pain will ever go away. I always catch myself when I hear someone blissfully talking about when...because the reality is they'll probably never move to the if category.

SassyIfLady said...

First of all - she sounded like a naive little girl. Seriously. And who can save a gift card at Pottery Barn? There are too many things to buy! If I had a 100 balance it would be gone in 20 seconds flat. Ha! Anyway - you're living your life and that's important. Kids or no kids, you have so many experiences to share with your husband and your sweet dog...life is full and rich! And, that is a beautiful thing! Hugs!

TeeJay said...

I know what you mean about transitioning. I'm just about passed my "if" as well. My DH is still there and when he says things about "if" I get pregnant, I cringe on the inside. I'm sorry that you are in this transition, but I understand why you are going through it. It's hard to fully let go of hope. It's almost unthinkable, but I guess it's part of the process. sigh. (((hugs))) to you.

nurslouisa said...

UGH...sorry you are in limbo land. I hope that some day soon you are able to talk with Tony about a plan for having a child because it is very clear to me that it's something you very much still want. Lots of hugs to you and thank you for continuing to post.

Prairie Anonymous said...

Exactly what I've been thinking about lately. The hope & excitement is gone. Always will be gone. I have a friend who is planning to start TTCing in the new year & I desperately want to tell her to start now cuz you never know how long it'll take. Yet I don't want to take away her hope and excitement so I keep my mouth shut.

AmyG said...

Yikes! Her naivete is both charming and frightening!

Sue said...

You don't have to know what it means right now. Sorry you're in a place that is both good and sad at the same time.

Mr. and Mrs. Raymond said...

I had to giggle a little at the woman's comment about "when she gets pregnant." I think it is great that she has that hope and I really hope it's easy for her to get pregnant! At the same time, I thought "oh, how naive!" when I read it, haha. I remember going from "when" to "if" and it was very painful. At one point I just gave up the controls and said "I really have no idea if I will have a baby."
Thank you for writing these things down- I know so many women are thinking/have thought them!

the misfit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the misfit said...

I know. I have, on many occasions, tried to tell people about to be married, or married and contemplating kids, that it might not happen on schedule. I think I've actually done it once (to a guy friend who was about to be married), and he cackled and said that he knew how the facts of life worked. Since he was about to go into detail (I had been married a year, so, um, I knew. Thanks), I changed the subject. Of course all you have to do is have sex and you'll get pregnant. And of course, they did. I haven't yet had an opportunity to give that pearl of wisdom to anyone for whom it would be true. Luckily for them...

I remember "when." Like you, I also remember "if." And I agree that there's something after "if," a further place...I'm not sure whether it could rightly be called "if only," or maybe "for them." There are so many stops between "when" and "never." Some days I wonder whether I'm strong enough to make it all that way.

S said...

Wow, it's been so long since I thought about "when" I'll get pregnant that it's hard to remember what that even felt like.

I still have an "if" but now it's "If I pay $35K for donor egg IVF, maybe we can still have a child" instead of "If I ever get pregnant." Also not where I wanted to be.

Very good post.

Jennifer said...

Wow...this post was perfect. It said so many things that I've thought many times over the last few years. It's sad to give up that hope of getting pregnant.

strongblonde said...

ah...the days when we all thought it was so easy! i often kick myself when i think back on all of the birth control pills i took. i probably could have saved myself all of the trouble all of those years!

hugs!

Rebecca said...

I read this out loud to DH. We are right there with you. And it sucks. No one should ever have this little hope. A special Hope Bundle should arrive at your door and mine, maybe with the word 'when' inside.

I had my 3rd miscarriage in August, so my 'if' has changed, too.

To what, I'm not sure, either.

gingerandlime said...

This is a really beautiful post and I can very much identify with it. I am finding myself at the end of hope. "When" was years ago; "if" is starting to fade. I am not sure if that means I'm being realistic, or if it means I'm just closing myself off to hope. Thank you for sharing this, and I hope the girl at Pottery Barn never has to go from "when" to "if."

Mo and Will said...

Megan, this is a beautiful post that really articulates the struggle for those of us who've been down this road a long, long time. I'm glad you're living your life, despite this not working out (so far) the way you always hoped. Thanks for posting this.

Mo

ApronStringsEm said...

Beautiful post, Megan. Hope you don't mind. I put a link to it on my FB page. (http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/pages/Apron-Strings-for-Emily/117727331575565) <-- shameless plug ... sorry!

jodie38 said...

Sometimes the most innocent comments are the ones that cut the deepest. Being stuck in limbo blows chunks. I don't remember thinking "when" anymore,and I know I'll ever have that kind of blind confidence in anything again. I definitely remember the "if" stage, and I will always remember the pain of drifting away from that way of thinking as well.

Excellent post, thanks so much for sharing this.

Infertile Farmer said...

What an awesome post! So spot on! I, too, am very much in "if" land, and although i am still going through IVF, we are at the end of our rope and I can feel the "if" starting to slip away. I just love your story about Pottery Barn girl! It totally reminds me of a post I did yesterday. I haven't shared my blog yet because I just started it and am still trying to figure things out (I am clueless!), but thought you might enjoy given how similar our thoughts are. infertilefarmerDOTblogspotDOTcom

WannabeMommy said...

The other funny thing is, it's really hard to go from "if" to "when"--the opposite direction. That's what my RE wants me to do, and it just feels so unnatural at times.

It's hard... but living your life for YOU is absolutely essential. Good for you.

Dréa said...

While I empathise with you, I wonder... Why would you *plan* to formula feed your child? I understand not being able to breastfeed and then having to resort to formula feeding, or being a mom who becomes pregnant accidentally and has no education, but planning to have a child, being well educated and still planning formula? It seems preposterous. Why would you plan for your future child to have less-than-ideal nutrition?!

I'm sure you are aware of the many benefits of breastfeeding your child. http://www.notmilk.com/101.html

All nutritional information aside, for avoiding PPD alone, I would choose to breastfeed. http://www.drmomma.org/2010/04/breasts-in-mourning.html

If that weren't enough, breastfeeding can save a woman's life! http://leakyboob.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-breastfeeding-saved-my-life.html

On a completely different note, since I am on a roll with links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4t9lmTU_Ng
;D

Sarah Woulfin said...

this post really resonated with me....thanks so much!!

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