I just finished Lucinda Rosenfeld’s new book “I’m So Happy For You” which is a dark, funny, fictional account of two female friends, Wendy and Daphne. Wendy is jealous of a lot of the things Daphne has always had: beauty, her pick of men and never really having to worry about money. It’s sort of annoying how jealous Wendy is and I wished that she could make her own way and not be so fixated on what everyone else is doing. One overarching envy in the book was something that I could relate to, though: other women’s luck with fertility.
I reflect daily, sometimes several times a day on how grateful and lucky I am to have 2 beautiful, healthy, sweet children, a boy and a girl. When people see our “perfect” family of four, they don’t see what my husband and I have endured for the past 7 years: six miscarriages. One before E. (11 weeks), 2 very early losses before J., then 3 more (10 weeks, 10 weeks and 7 weeks). I have been pregnant 8 times since 2002.
After my first miscarriage, I had to listen to my still pregnant office-mate gush about her baby-to-be, which was torture at the time, a time I was trying to hold myself together and could be easily set off. I went to a bris and was struck by all of the babies and burst into tears without warning.
Thankfully, I gave birth to my healthy, full-term babies, which made these occasions much easier. But I have always tried to be sensitive to women around me who are obviously or not so obviously dealing with infertility.
The baby shower scene in “I’m So Happy For You” was poignant to me as I remembered what it felt like to be at a baby shower when I had just miscarried or was longing for a second (and now, a third child). When Wendy leaves the room to collect herself, I feel for her. When her moment alone leads to a brash gesture, I am embarrassed for her, but I also wish the smug mommies could be a little more empathetic.