This weekend I bit the bullet and had a scary conversation with my pregnant litte sister, Juice (childhood nickname), that I should have had long ago. It was so much harder than I ever anticipated. And lord, so much more crying than I thought was possible. And yet, very necessary.
Juice's pregnancy has been going swimmingly, as it should. Two weeks after the announcement, I am still bursting into tears nearly every time I talk about it. As of the end of last week, I still hadn't seen her and beyond a few random texts here and there, I hadn't had real contact with her. I figured my options were thus: A) Pretend that my sister is not pregnant and avoid all contact with my family despite the fact that they live 30 minutes away. I could then resurface either for the birth of the baby - if I'm up for it - or months/years from now when I get pregnant, adopt or am accepted into an elite convent despite my halfie Jew blood. Perfectly reasonable. OR B) Talk to my sister, let her know I'm still having a hard time, and ask her to respectfully limit the pregnancy and baby talk in my presence. I had a session with the resident therapist at my fertility clinic and she insisted that "B" was the only real option. Ugh. Fine. Logic wins again.
On Saturday after I got my hair did (at least I looked good), I went over to Juice's house. I rolled into my pre-planned, therapist-approved spiel almost immediately. The abbreviated version is as follows:
Since going through the past year and a half of infertility and especially since my miscarriage, it has been really hard to be around pregnant women and babies because they are a reminder of what I want most, what I can't have, and of how sad I often feel. But, now it's you that is pregnant and I really truly am happy for you. I can't wait to be an aunt. I am sad that I am not able to do the things I'd like to do for you as a big sister during your first pregnancy. I wish I would have already started knitting for you and planned out your nursery. But I can't do that right now and I won't be able to for a while. I need to figure out the best way to be with you, because I love you, and support you but also protect me. I think the best way to do that is for you to be able to be happy about your pregnancy and talk about your pregnancy in front of me, but in a more limited way. What do you think?
It must be mentioned that I sobbed through that entire soliloquy.
Juice responded by crying which she NEVER EVER DOES. I am the dramatic, sensitive one in the family. She is the warrior. It was disarming to see her cry. Though it came in starts and stops, Juice let me know how she was feeling and how honestly hard this has been for her as well. She's sad for me, wants to help me however she can, but doesn't want to have to hide her pregnancy (which is not what I've asked of her but in the end might be a question of semantics). She feels that no one in the family is genuinely excited about her pregnancy. The sad thing is she's not wrong. I'm not the only one that's been bowled over by infertility struggles and loss. My parents have been going through it too. My mom told me that Juice's pregnancy feels unreal to her. I concur. We, as a family, are excited but if I can speak for my mom, dad and husband (and by blog, I can), we're also struggling with the timing of what should be purely happy news. Shitty, shitty timing for everyone. I so sincerely wish for Juice's sake that her pregnancy had occured even a month or two before or after when it did. After a lot of mutual crying, we were no closer to making things all better again but we did understand each other. My sister is one of my very best friends and any discord between us is just a dagger in the heart.
I cannot go an entire weekend with only fertility-pregnancy-related crap dropped on my lap. I need fun, unrelated things dropped on my lap, too. Though it's been bubbling up for a while, Saturday I had this grand realization that I had let a lot of what I've considered to be intrinsically "me" drop along the way. It was totally thrilling and requires more explanation. But, duty calls and I must stop blogging and work. I shall return.