I'm Happy For You...Really
Try to follow along. A dear friend said to me regarding a mutual friend that wasn't really my friend but more so her friend that she didn't understand how people couldn't just be happy for other people. It basically blew her mind that there was a feeling called jealously going around amongst us humans on earth.
She chuckled and went on and on about something else as I silently wept on the other end of the phone while never knowing that this mutual friend spoke a secret language to my heart and not hers.
Side note: if you were able to follow along in the above hot mess that resembled a cafeteria convo overheard during a middle school lunch then kudos to you, sista.
Let me try to explain the pain in a way most people can relate to.
Imagine you have a job. Let's say it is a job you enjoy. A job that you went to school for. A job that you may or may not have dreamt about doing since you were little. A job that you worked really hard to get. You show up to work and prove yourself and fulfill your responsibilities and tasks. You have coworkers, some you like more than others, and a boss who has a boss above them. There is an HR department at your job, too. Let's say you get paid a decent salary. Well, enough to pay the bills. Overall, you really like your job! You arrive to work on time and rarely complain about the 50+ hours per week you work while only getting paid for 40 of them.
You keep working month after month and occasionally grab lunch with coworkers or happy hour on the really crappy days. You participate in annual office holiday parties and birthday celebrations, staff meetings and company retreats (if that's a thing where you work).
You are a damn good employee. Even HR says so with your fancy benefits and 401K package. They even give you a pretty little raise and annual bonus every year. So when you hear the rumor of a possible promotion you know you are definitely a strong candidate. Possibly one of the strongest!
Word starts going around that you are going to get it. Little sass pot, you. The day finally comes and you check your work email and BAM! BECKY* FROM ACCOUNTING GETS THE PROMOTION.
Totally cool. Becky* has been at the company a few years longer than you and clocks way more hours of overtime so she deserves it. You cry in the bathroom for a few minutes then go celebrate in the break room with everyone else while eating just half of a slice of her celebration cake. Way to go, Becky*!
A few weeks pass and Becky has settled in nicely wherever promotion land placed her. Buzz starts going around that HR got bit by the Oprah bug and they want to dish out more promotions and raises. At first you try to act all cool about it but deep down you are dying for that promo.
The day arrives, we will call it a Tuesday, and you hear HR has yet to make a decision. You busy yourself in order to stop thinking about it until Chrissy* from Marketing parkours herself into your cubical squealing about getting a 59% raise simply for "asking nicely".
During Chrissy's* celebration in the break room you eat a slightly bigger piece of cake and don't make up for it in spin class afterwards. Rebel.
You still love your job. These two minor overlooksies aren't going to bring you down! You keep doing your thing! Kicking ass and taking names! Until Sarah the Intern* gets hired on full time and all promotions are put to a halt. Seriously? All Sarah did during her internship was pick up lunch. (Clearly this is an early 2000's romcom flick in my head.)
More celebrations in the break room. More cake. Bigger slices. Woohoo Sarah.
Months pass by and you catch yourself forgetting about promotion land. You've fallen back in the grind of Netflix, cheese and dry shampoo tutorials on Pinterest...until HR sends you an email saying how impressed they've been with your work and potential promotions are looking good. Say what?!?! You start dressing better than ever and performing crazy work miracles (I have no clue what your pretend job is, remember).
The next week you get to work and as you are making your coffee your two best friends (who just happen to work in your department), Laura* and Taylor*, approach you with tears in their eyes and inform you that they both received the only two open promotions and you did not.
Heartbreak for everyone. Also, more celebrations in the break room. More cake. HUGE slices. Probably the whole cake at this point.
Infertility feels a lot like being passed up for a promotion day after day, month after month, even year after year. Every pregnancy announcement feels like someone else received that coveted position. Some girls work really hard for the promotion/pregnancy and we know of others that aren't trying and easily get pregnant. I'm sure that every single one of these women will make a fantastic mother, regardless of their initial desire or efforts. All I am trying to do is paint a picture of the pain.
At the end of the day we are honestly happy for you when you get pregnant. After all, you have something we want and we would be lying if we said otherwise despite our initial reaction. However, going to your baby shower or gender reveal party is a lot like going to Becky, Chrissy, Sarah, Laura, or Taylor's promotion party where all we want to do is eat your damn cake.
I'm not speaking for everyone and I know there will be some of my infertile friends who say, "I don't know what Beth Anne is talking about! I love all pregnant people and pregnancy related events!". To them I say you are lying and that is fine to do. There will also be individuals who read this and think I am the most selfish girl in the world who cares nothing about anyone other than herself. To them I say you don't know me at all but feel free to believe what you want. I know how all of this sounds.
There will be some of you out there who desperately believe that everyone will get their promotion one day. I want to believe that, too. Some days I do and other days I don't feel that way at all. Some days your optimism is very uplifting and other days it makes me want to run over your foot with my office chair. #nooffense
I hope this helps explain our pain in some way. If anything it made me really want a piece of cake right now.
*I don't believe any girl with this name would ever act like this so don't go getting all offended if this is your name
Disclaimer: I've never worked in corporate America so I have no concept of how this would all go down.