Thursday, 7 October 2010

"Pick me, pick me"

Do you remember PE lessons at school, when the sadistic games teacher would choose the two most popular people in the class and get them to pick teams for that day's game? And of course, they would pick the star athletes first, then their best friends, and eventually all that would be left would be the ones with two left feet that nobody wanted. And of course again, the ones with two left feet would never be chosen by the sadistic games teacher to pick the teams.

I used to be one of those two-left-footers, and the team picking always used to end up in one of two ways. Either one of the team captains would eventually sigh and realise that, with only me left, she would have to accept me on her team, or there would be too many people in the class for that particular game and so two or three of us would end up never being picked, and would spend the rest of the games lesson running round the perimeter of the hockey pitch, or being tasked to run up and down the sides of the netball court, ready to retrieve the ball if it ever went out of play.

The feelings of inadequacy and exclusion that I felt in those days, as I held my breath, waiting to find out whether I would be able to join in the game at all and desperately trying to pretend that I didn't care if I ended up on the sidelines yet again, are replicated and magnified in my current journey.

Yesterday I met a friend for coffee. I met her through an IF internet forum, and our shared experience has helped to ensure that we formed a strong and deep friendship from the beginning. She is the same age as me, has similarly crappy eggs, a husband with similarly crappy sperm, and is a similarly poor responder to the IVF drugs. Like me, she has had three failed IVF cycles.

With all this in common, I should have been nothing but delighted when she texted me just as I was about to leave home. She said she had some rather wonderful news to tell me, but would quite understand if I decided I couldn't face it and changed my mind about meeting her for coffee.

It took me half an hour to drive to the place we'd agreed to meet, and my feelings on the way over there surprised me. I didn't want to see her, I didn't want to hear her good news, and as I got closer, I felt more and more miserable and sorry for myself.

When she arrived, she asked how my job situation was, as the last time I saw her was just before I finished work. I shook my head, said, "No job, no baby, no future" and had the greatest difficulty in not bursting into tears on the spot. And that's odd, because when I'm not feeling daunted at the magnitude of the task in front of me, I'm actually quite excited about my new portfolio career.

It's hard to explain how you can be genuinely happy for a person's good news and yet at the same time feel as though that good news is breaking your heart. In the great PE lesson of life, she just got picked and is bouncing happily towards the game, while I'm left wondering whether there's going to be room for me in the team, or whether I'm going to be left running up and down the sidelines looking on for ever.


  1. It may be hard to explain to someone who isn't an infertile how you can be simultaneously happy for your friends' good fortune and at the same time sad for yourself, angry, jealous, etc. But you *don't* have to explain it to us. We all know just exactly what you mean. {{hugs}}

  2. I completely agree with HopeB, I am sure your friend understands your feelings. I had this same experience with a friend I had met through an IF board during my own pregnancy, it was really hard.
    I totally understand the feeling you are talking about. I often feel this way around other mothers, like I am that kid in high school who never can seem to get the right pair of cool kid jeans or something, I always feel out of place and know that I am not fitting in. I thought I left those days behind me in HS :(
    sending love to you....

  3. I know what you mean about gym class. I actually faked like I was sick and went to the nurse's offices to avoid the humiliation. I am not sure how much money it would take to get me to repeat my junior high experience. Millions?

    Before IF I never understood how you could feel both happy for someone and so, so sad, too. Now I do. So you don't have to explain. Sending you big hugs.