As I've said before I've stumbled across this amazing TTC group of ladies on Instagram, and man, has it been a wonderful community to be a part of overall. There have been some amazing high points, but as we all know there is hardly sweet without the bitter.
Once you've gotten your BFP after TTC many TTCers will say you've crossed over to the "other side". It's always struck me as off, but it hasn't really bothered me until lately...
Here are a few high and low points about TTC forums:
To post or not to post:
Congratulations! You've been encouraged and encouraging for quite some time in the TTC world, and now you have finally gotten your BFP! Isn't that what we all have dreamed about?! Now what? Do you get to post that positive pee stick? Ultrasounds? How often to too often for "bump spam"? How are you sensitive on social media when just a month ago you were possibly whining about all the Facebook notifications of yet another couple expecting a baby? In my opinion, it's all about perspective. Tired? Hungry? Aching back? Can it. Not all of your thoughts need to be publicized, and there is nothing your TTC sisters can do (or, for the most part, will want to do) for your stretch marks, and by posting your negativity you're probably just causing hurt feelings. As the maker of one my favorite blogs, Rachel, said, "Get a journal". Talk to your husband, family, or your closest friends to get the sympathy you need.
Now, if you're interested in celebrating your little miracle by posting pictures of your sweet baby bump (stretch marks and all!) or those special newborn cuddles, I say post away! You deserve this. Soak every minute in. Go crazy! If people don't like it, let them unfollow you. Nothing needs to be done. Nothing should be said by either party. If things are even attempted to be explained, in my experience, things become complicated. I post 10-15 videos of sweet Sullivan daily. If you don't want to see them, don't follow me. However, I would sure hope we were just acquaintances if you chose to unfollow. Twice now I've developed (what I thought to be) good relationships, only to be shocked be one day they have awoken and decided they are "done" with me and my postings. That's not friendship people. And maybe my downfall is wanting to have real friendship with people who aren't looking for it, but I'm not interested in surface bull crap. I'm honest and an open book, and if you ask me a question I'm most likely not going to hold back. Which leads me to my next topic...
Oftentimes I think we IF/TTCers say things we assume the other wants to hear. Again, not real friendship. It also keeps us stuck in one spot, where we should be allowing growth. The TTC process grew and stretched me in ways I never could have imagined, but it was because I refused to allow myself to sit and wallow for too long. Throughout this journey, I've learned what a big impact negativity/positivity can have on me. It can change my entire attitude about things and in turn, make or break my day. Oftentimes my outlook on the day also has a great impact on Walter's day and now, Sullivan's day, because my mood can be short, rude, and whiny, or encouraging and God-seeking. Everyone will have their moments, especially in times of struggle, but you can only help those who help themselves. If it becomes a common theme in your posts to complain or whine, you will soon be one follower less. A discouraged post will be met with encouagement, and soon it will be time to pick yourself up and move on. Dust yourself off. Because if you don't, roads like this will eat you alive. You've got to be willing to give yourself a pep talk, take the love and prayers of others, and rely on God (not in that order) to get yourself through. No one wants Negative Nancy and when it comes to dealing with one, tough love is still love and often needed to chase the self-pity away.
IF Momma or fertile Mom:
It shouldn't matter. I have friends who are all on different points of fertility were put in a spectrum. None of them deserve a baby any less NOR will love their baby any more once a baby is in their arms. It's rude and unfair to say things like that. Did I work my ass off for my kid? Yes. Did I endure injections, heartbreak, and hard work to get my baby? Yep. Do I deserve or love him any less than that surprise pregnancy? No. I adore my little man, but a mother's love is just that. It is unconditional, selfless, and beautiful no matter how it came to be and it shouldn't make one lick of a difference. "But what about the mothers who place their babies for adoption?!" you may ask. Some of the most selfless love I have ever seen is the love of a mother who puts the well-being of her child before herself. If a mother loves her child and is giving an effort, that's all there is to it. I couldn't imagine how much it would hurt my best friend (who is not infertile) if I told her I loved my child more before I struggled through infertility. Did my struggle possibly make those 2AM feedings a little easier? Yes, but just as well as any struggle could teach us to look on the bright side in times of trial. To me, saying it's easier to see an IF momma with a baby bump or baby is almost like saying that person has "earned" the right to be a mom, and that is so untrue. God blesses those in His timing with our best interests in mind. That goes for the woman on her 5th IVF cycle or the teen who became pregnant on a one night stand. It's okay if you disagree with me, it's taken me a long time to get to this place and I am content. And please, be more respectful than claiming it's "because I have my baby" now. Ask my closest friends and family and know that this heart-change came before the second pink line.
Oh TTC community, I just don't think a lot of us understand what the word "support" really means. How are we able to love and encourage and cheer on our friends month after month of BFN but abandon them once that BFP comes? Were you really wishing and praying for the best all along? Or does misery really just love the company? If you are my friend, if you want to support me, that shouldn't change based on the season of life I am in. Find it in your heart to swallow the selfishness and love your TTC throughout the entire jounrey. To build a relationship with a friend and then abandon them once baby or BFP comes in is acting like a selfish coward. Does it hurt? Yes it probably does, but isn't that the risk we take being a part of a TTC community? Those in front of us and those behind us deserve our love, our encouraging words, and our TRUE support.
I'm going to admit to you right here, I think so many of the TTC girls I follow are amazing, inspiring women. It took me so long to be able to see other bumps and babies, and I can't imagine the growing pains that seeing all the photos on Instagram can bring! But know we all get to the point where we can be happy for others and sad for ourselves. There was once a time Walter and I would leave a restaurant in there was a pregnant woman sitting near us, it was that bad, but soon (again, before I was pregnant myself!) I was forced to stop running from the hurt and to just tackle it head-on. It's unavoidable. So my suggestion is that if you want to be part of a TTC community it's in your best interest to push past and get it over with and take advantage of the wonderful support/advice/love a community like this can bring.
I may be on the "other side" now, but I really think we should do away with saying this. I am blessed to have my little miracle in my arms, but infertility is still playing a large role in my life. It it still a struggle that takes it's toll on me daily. There not always has to be another side, because really, I just want to be on YOUR side my friend. I know it's easier said than done, but let's put out the window on who is 'ahead' and let's just love each other and meet each other where we are now. That's friendship. That's love.