I suspects it's truly delightful for expectant mothers to announce to their friends and acquaintances that they are pregnant. I've imagined this myself many times; how great it would feel to let those precious words out, how excited everyone would be, how much I would feel the baby wanted by us and by our community. I've watched many pregnant mamas make their announcement and it really does seem like a great moment. Because it is great. The whole thing. It really is great.
Yet, diametrically opposed to this warm and wonderful sharing of great news is the pain felt by infertile women during the pregnancy announcement at a dinner party. Both women attend dinner parties. Both sit there side by side in the same room: the soon-to-be mother and the 'unsuccessful' woman. Both delight and despair are on the menu. The absolute perfect joy of life growing inside one woman and the loud echo of the absence of such life in the other. Everyone has come to dinner. God knows what else is in the room: heartaches, jealousy, boredom, worries, grocery lists and unfinished work projects. But most of it is under the surface, kept under the lock of people's private thoughts or saved for people's blog postings.
Last Saturday, we were out with friends who at the very end of dinner decided to announce their pregnancy (yes, because that's how modern couples say it. They say "we're pregnant"). Tonight it was at a potluck that a couple announced their pregnancy, although that one was far along enough not to require an announcement. The week that our fertility treatments came to a crash, there were four baby announcements and two pregnancy announcements in my circle. The cosmic giggle, I thought.
And yet, as I walked home tonight on my own, I thought about one of my teachers who says that our suffering isn't personal. It feels like that when in the crushing grips of sorrow, but it really isn't. Everyone suffers in one way or another. It's not personal or isn't coming at you because you did something wrong. One is not being punished. I haven't done anything to cause this to happen. My body just can't produce eggs and I can't make a baby. And others can.