Friday, October 8, 2010

Looking into the looking glass

We went to Red Lobster today. Ten dollar coupon. Endless shrimp. Why not, we thought. We sat down at the round table placed for us with just enough space to wedge W's stroller in so it was out of the way. He was on cute baby duty it seemed. He was giggling and squealing with delight. He was playing with his stuffed animals and trying to devour his toes. After a while he got squirmy and I lifted him up, and he grinned and babbled and sucked his thumb. He was Gerber Baby. Brown Gerber Baby. People kept stopping by to coo over him, to chuckle at his giddy joy at everything- the straw, the plate, my hair, everything he saw.

But ofcourse I saw the one couple- in their 40's sitting right across from us. The lady wore a pretty green shawl and had stylish black glasses. Her husband sat across from her with sandy gray hair and his shoulders slightly hunched. They stared at him too, and they smiled- but I recognized the smile. Dammit. I recognized it and I knew there was heartbreak behind that smile. I know I'm assuming. Maybe she is the mother of twelve bouncing boys all too busy to join their parents for dinner, but you know. Sometimes you just know. Because I could see myself from the outside. This couple sitting in the middle of the room, bouncing a baby boy, singing to him while he giggled and cooed- and I know I would have looked over my shoulder and smiled just like that while a million knives stabbed my heart.

Its not like I feel guilty all the time. But moments like this hurt because I see it from their eyes and I want to hug them and I want to say it will be okay- except I don't know that. Except that for some people, its just too late.

Does it get easier? This survivor's guilt?


  1. I was getting my hair cut the other day by a woman who looked to be in her early 40s. She continued to make reference to her nieces and nephews (which is an obvious clue she didn't have children), and asked me if I was going to have more. I, of course assuming the same as you with Red Lobster couple, told her probably not because it took us several years a lot of money and a lot of heartache to conceive G. I did not get a "we tried but couldn't have children" response...but rather another story about a friend who was told she couldn't have children but got pregnant on 'accident' blah blah blah.


    But I see possible infertiles everywhere.

    The survivor's guilt probably never goes away. I prefer to think of it as awareness.


  2. i don't know if it gets easier, probably not. it seems like once you are marked by infertility you are marked forever, which leaves those of us who were finally able to conceive in a strange place, identifying as infertile while carrying babies on our hips. one of the office assistants at my ob's office has been through one failed ivf and one failed fet, i don't know how she can go to work every day and be surrounded by all those pregnant women. we have the same re, she knows that i had to use art to get pregnant, every time i go into that ofice i just want to hug her. i gave her the address to my blog once but i don't know if she ever read it. i don't know why we are so lucky and others are not, it's just not fair.

  3. i know too... and i dont think the guilt gets any easier. it hasnt yet.