Sunday, 26 September 2010

When Good News is Bad News

"Do you want the good news or the bad news?" Asks the husband.

I'm in bed playing a game on my phone at full volume. The husband is getting undressed.

"The good news." I declare.

"There isn't any ..." he is waiting expectantly.

But I know his game, this has happened before. I know the 'bad news' is that I need to turn the sound off my phone because he wants to listen to music, or sleep. Or that I have to walk the dog tomorrow morning, despite it being his turn, because he's just had an email about an early meeting. Or he has just realised the prawns in the fridge are out of date so has had to chuck them.

"Do you want the bad news?"



He looks a little disconcerted. Gets ready for bed, on his way to the bathroom he turns back again. "Are you sure?"

"Yup." I mean how important can it be? And I know he'll tell me anyway.

He's back in the room, now looking positively worried, standing at the end of the bed shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

"Look I've got to tell you because otherwise if you don't know you'll only get upset later."

Shit, now I'm worried.

"Oh! You've got real bad news? What is it?"

"No, it isn't real bad news, I mean its good, but it'll upset you."

It could only be one thing.

"Who's pregnant?"


Helen lives with Steve* who the husband use to work with. They are a lovely couple we don't see them very often, maybe a few times a year. The last few of times I saw her she wasn't drinking but this has been going on longer than nine months so it clearly wasn't a (viable) pregnancy that had been stopping her. So I suspected they were trying and having difficulty, and from the email they sent they had obviously clocked the same thing about us.

Steve's email was perfect. It was sent to the husband so he could break the news gently to me. It didn't include scan pictures, or massive excitement. He even said he hadn't done a mass email because this had been quite a sensitive issue for them and they were sensitive to others now, but they wanted us to know before we saw them for lunch on Sunday that she was "quite pregnant" (Seven months, it turned out. No hiding that.).

I still found myself in floods of tears, raging against fairness and asking why it was just me who can't get pregnant.

Quite frankly even as I was wailing it I knew it was blatantly untrue. I know lots several people who can't get pregnant. And it isn't even like I don't want people to get pregnant. But this news has come along with a spate of other announcements and, honestly, it is getting pretty lonely here at the bottom.

I remember the years before we started trying. I would be ridiculously excited when friends announced their pregnancies. I'd bombard them with questions, write their scan dates in my diary, be the first to shoot my hand out to cop a feel as soon as they said the baby was moving, buy a present when they reached the 12 week mark and squirrel it away until the birth-day. It isn't like that anymore. And I don't blame the pregnant person, but I resent infertility and how it has changed me.

But luckily pregnancy take nine long months. So by the time the baby is actually born I am excited and delighted for my friends. As I discovered to my delight 28 minutes ago, when I got a text announcing the birth of another friend's little girl.

*names changed to protect the fertile.


  1. Infertility can sure get us down during these times of good news. I'm glad that you are expressing yourself - if you feel like crying, cry it out, if you feel the rage, rage it out. I feel for you and totally undertand these sentiments.

  2. Hugs. Because even a Worthy Pregnancy You're SO Happy About can feel like a sharp slap in the face when it's not yours. Hugs hugs hugs.

  3. You are so right about infertility changing you...
    I've developed a total aversion to all pregnant women, won't look them in the eye, cross the road rather than cross them and when my friends tell me they are pregnant (which is of course all the f**king time) it feels as though I have been kicked in the stomach.
    It takes me ages to get over it. It's like as though they have joined a great new club that I have been trying to get into for ages, but have yet to pass the many initiation tests, devised especially for me.
    The worse thing is that of course most of my friends, (except the very insensitive ones) start off by telling me gently and then when they think I am 'OK' with it (I'm a very good actor), launch into a tirade of moaning and complaining about the trials and tribulations of being pregnant. It sounds as though your friends are some of the more sensitive folks...thank goodness.
    As soon as those babies are born though - I am totally with you Liz, excitement all round...weird eh?

  4. I'm sorry. I was always like you. I couldn't handle the pregnancy, but I always loved the babies thank GOD. Once there was a new person for me to love, it was ok. I couldn't imagine having missed out on my 4 nephews. I know someone at work who's sister did. :( IF sucks.

  5. Ditto the above. Except the babies bit - I tend to try to avoid them as the cuddling small things just makes me cry and most mothers don't understand that.
    Hugs x

  6. First, you and your husband are hilarious. "There is no good news," and "No I don't want to hear the bad news" - priceless.

    I've never been horribly jealous of pregnancy announcements, unless it involved my SILs. When my sister was popping out her 3 on her every 2 year schedule, I wasn't even thinking about kids. My other sister adopted. Most of my friends either started long before me, or had issues too. I have been pretty lucky - but whenever my SILs announce pregnancies...I can just feel my shoulders tense. I don't know what it is about them. Maybe it's because they're the smug, judgemental types.

  7. Yeah. So un-fun, it is. It's not begrudgery, it's just: Why not me too? Where's *my* one?

    Which is a horrible empty feeling. Really sorry, WFI. You are such a lovely person, you really REALLY should have your one, too, if there was any justice at all.

    One day, soon, fingers crossed..

  8. Oh sweetie. These announcements are always hard. And the longer you're in this game for, the more times you have to sit through them, the harder they get.

    Thinking of you. xx

  9. Ehhhhh. Been there, lovey. For years and years. Been there: know the suckitude of it. Still get a bit of it now, as I see all these uncomplicated pregancies swell and pop.
    *sympathetic grimace*

  10. I understand exactly from where you are coming. Every singe announcement feels like a knife through my heart, even as I'm happy for them. I just keep reminding myself that one day we will be parents, no matter what road we take to get there.

  11. "There are no good news" and "who's pregnant" -- you guys are great. And I'm so sorry it's not you who gets to announce hers just now. It sucks.

  12. Hugs. I hope your announcement will be coming soon. I hate how IF changed me in that way too. It really sucks.

  13. Oh how I know and understand that feeling all too well. I will not even go to baby shower's because I would end up crying the entire time. I am happy for women who get pregnant, but I also question why it can't be me. I'm sorry sweetie. Hopefully you will have the good news of a pregnancy soon (and me too, and all of the infertile's who want a bouncy baby so badly like us). ((((Hugs))))

  14. It IS lonely. And it isn't fair how IF changes you in addition to its coup de grace of leaving you without offspring. Your husband sounds sweet in the way he broke it to you, and they were clearly sensitive about delivering that news.

    But it still hurts.


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