I think we can all relate to the real pain such a yearning for motherhood can cause.
As each day passes, the pain seems to worsen. Everyone around you seems to be pregnant, coffee shops are full of gossiping mothers and their newborns, every week there seems to be a fresh pregnancy announcement from a friend or colleague. We try and bury our heads, but how do you deal with an actual invitation to baby shower? Michelle shares her story…
Crying in a baby store
So there I was, sitting in the parking lot staring at the baby store. I knew I needed to go in and buy a gift for a dear friend of mine. It was her baby shower the next day and I decided she was worth putting myself through all these dreaded baby related things:shopping in a baby store, wrapping the baby presents and of course going to the baby shower and seeing her baby bump. After all, she had struggled with infertility and I knew she would understand if in the middle of her baby shower I burst out in tears and snuck out to compose my self…or to get the heck outta there as soon as my feet could take me! We have been friends since middle school and I care about her enough to push myself through these challenges. I kept reminding myself of this as I stared at the store with an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
Ok. I’m doing this. Let’s go Michelle. It’s time, no more procrastinating.
I step out and walk towards the store surprised by how confident I feel. I got this. What was I so worried about? Easy peasy!
Then I step inside the store. That’s when it hit me. I am surrounded by waddling mommas, rubbing their bellies, as they register for gifts with their spouse, doting on each other and how cute the little baby socks and shoes are. I turn away to head into a different direction (you know, fight or flight) and I am blocked in by a mom pushing a newborn baby in some fancy stroller that is probably ridiculously overpriced.
Ok, I’ll admit I am bitter. I am jealous. I am sad. This was a bad idea.
At this point I start to think about ways I can back out of going to the shower all together. I could lie and say I am sick, or even just tell her the truth. She would understand right? No. I talk myself back in, and then out and then in and then a very sweet woman who works at the store asks if I need any help. Heck yeah I do! I need lots of help right now, but not the kind she is offering Im sure. Well, I was about to learn that in fact she could help me, and I could help her too.
I showed her the item # I was looking for and she guided me to the location they are kept. As she bent down to find the precise gray breathable bumper I was looking for, I felt all the tears collect in my throat. At this point I am doing all I can to hold it together. Don’t cry Michelle, deep breaths I say to myself. As she stands back up and turns around I swallow the tears and put on a good face. “I’m sorry, we seem to be all out of that item at the moment, can I help you find something else?” she says.
I couldn’t hold it in any longer. “Honestly, I don’t even want to be here. I don’t even want to go to this baby shower. I do, and I don’t. I know this is way too much information for you but my husband and I have been struggling with infertility for over 3 and half years so this is pretty hard on me right now.”
And there I was, treating this baby store rep like my therapist.
I figured she was probably thinking that she does not get paid enough for this. I was shocked by her reply. Her eyes filled up with tears, and she said,”I know exactly how you feel! My husband and I have also been struggling with infertility for several years now and it is super hard to be in an environment like this!”
I was stunned! Here I was dreading a short shopping trip and this poor woman has to spend all day working here, 5 days a week!? Thats torture! I asked her if I could hug her, and she instantly wrapped her arms around me. We shared our infertility journeys with each other, and I offered something she hadnt heard of yet. Natural IVF. I told her where we were going and she told me it was super close to her home! Coincidence? I think fate.
It was in that moment that I realized this was all meant to happen.
We were meant to meet and I was meant to connect with her. We cried some more, and then giggled at ourselves…here we were crying in a baby store- even the babies in the store were better behaved than us!
Then, we found another item I could buy for my friend’s shower, exchanged phone numbers and said our goodbyes.
Before I left, I decided that I wasn’t going to leave the store without buying a little thing or 2 for my someday baby. Just because my baby isnt here yet doesnt mean he or she won’t be, so why not get them something too? It felt really good to connect with someone in that moment and to honor myself with a little gift as well.
At the baby shower the next day I had a great time! I connected with old friends and even made new ones.
I think that cry session at the baby store did some good- for both of us. Now, when I drive past that same shop,I grin and remember the moment I connected with another infertility sister- crying like babies in the baby store.