By Solo Girl
I have a large extended family; we have to rent a hall for big family holidays so we can all get together. And now all those sisters and female cousins are newly married and reproducing. Every time a baby shower comes up I’m invited, and I wrestle with myself over whether or not I should be able to go yet.
I’ve always been supportive and encouraging with my family, happy to celebrate in another’s happiness. It’s been four many years since my dream died, and I get the sense that I’m expected to be “over it” by now.
Unsure and not wanting family to think I’m selfish or emotionally immature, I went to a cousin’s baby shower about a year ago. I mentally prepared myself ahead of time. For example, I’m terrified of flying, but I know that there is lift-off, food, a movie and a landing, and then it’s done. I thought about how there would be food, presents and games at this shower, and then it would be done. I thought to myself “I should be able do this, even my own Mom is expecting me to go.”
I thought the worst part would be the games, but I was wrong. It was the chitchat. I actually got stuck between my mother and a cousin having a conversation on the couch about how all the women in our family have long labors. Seriously. When I got home I wrote myself a note in black marker and stuck it on my kitchen pin board where it still remains today: “You never have to go to another baby shower ever again. No one will notice; no one will care. It’s torturous. Don’t Go. Don’t feel guilty”.
But a year later I still get shower invites and I continue to question whether I am – or should be – ready to attend now. And I want to know, is it ever going to be something I can attend? And what can I tell my family that will help them understand how painful it is to attend without sounding like I’m feeling sorry for myself after all this time? They have high expectations of me, and I really do think they mean well. I was in a deep depression four years ago, and I think they are trying to make me normal again. I think.
I’m glad Irina Vodar is producing a documentary on the subject of infertility that some helpful social norms will come of it.
How do you handle these situations?
Solo Girl lives on her own with her 2+ dogs in Ontario, Canada. She focuses her time on volunteer work and fostering rescue dogs.