Dear Kris, I’m going through infertility treatment and though I haven’t gotten pregnant yet, I’m still hopeful. The thing is I really don’t want to go to any baby related events or celebrations. And there are SO many! Gender reveals, baby showers, christenings, and first birthdays – it’s just too much. In the past I’ve simply responded no to the invitation and sent a gift. Recently my sister said that I’m handling this wrong. She said one day I’ll get pregnant and want my family and friends to celebrate all these events with me. I thought it was better to respond no, rather than respond yes and having to run out of the party if I find it too overwhelming. Who is right? – Hesitant to Celebrate
It seems like groups of friends often tend to have their first babies within a few years of each other. Women who aren’t on the same biological timetable can feel left out, depressed, defective, and sometimes just plain miserable because friends may not understand why it’s hard to celebrate other families’ babies.
When it comes to pregnancy celebrations, the most compassionate way to care for yourself is to be selective about which events you attend. Gender reveals and baby showers may be the most emotionally difficult because those events celebrate the pregnant mom that you are not. I think you did what was right for you by declining the invitation but sending a gift that represented good wishes and how you attended in spirit. A party or festive celebration definitely can become too emotionally overwhelming when you feel alone with your infertility. Only you know what feels right for you right now.
This can be a difficult time in your life but it will not last forever. Just because you do not attend a gathering now, does not mean your friends and family will snub you in the future. In fact, they may remember how hard it was for you to conceive and be especially joyous at your shower.
Most women are eventually able to have the family they want. Sometimes they get pregnant with medical assistance; sometimes they build their family through surrogacy or adoption. How you grow your family just has not happened yet.