I spent most of my therapy session this afternoon discussing Lawyer Guy's strange family dynamics (though all in-laws' families are strange, right?) as I have laid them out with more brevity here and here and here. So fortunately for you, I've burned through much of the anger I was feeling yesterday. But at that babynaming, no question: I was pissed.
I was pissed at the situation: AF's early arrival the day before, the beginning of cycle 8/15, trying to schedule an HSG, wondering if my husband's sperm is okay, wondering if we'll ever be pregnant or how much it will take to get pregnant with a baby that sticks. I was pissed about what could have been, mad that the 4-month-old I could have been cuddling is instead a product of human conception in a lab. I was so freaking angry that I--a woman who has always loved children and dreamed of being a mom--was the ONLY childless woman between the ages of 20 and 40 out of the 120+ people at this event (let's not even speak of how many of them were pregnant (I counted at least six)). I was angry at myself for feeling obligated to be there. Angry I had to make small-talk when all I wanted to do was sulk. Angry it was happening in the first place. And angry that the freaking country club reception hall was decorated like this:
You see, it's casual, low-key, and cost-conscious because the centerpieces are elaborate balloon displays rather than flowers. Get it?
So my brother-in-law said hello and nothing more to me the whole time and my sister-in-law barely even did that--she had to run off and get the baby in her dress and put a freaking tiara on her head as soon as they arrived. No time for greeting your ONLY siblings-in-law who came all the way from Brooklyn for your God-awful travesty of a life-cycle celebration, no of course not.
(Okay, maybe I didn't burn off all that anger after all).
I get that they were busy hosting this event. I get that they had a lot of people to entertain. I didn't want them to sit down and take my hand and stare intently into my eyes while asking, "How are you?" I wouldn't have liked that at all, nor for them to pry into how our family building is going.
But it would have been nice if--instead of calling me three months ago to nail down a date when we'd be available because we are "so important to them and it's so important that [we] be there"--my SIL had let me know that it was okay with them if I decided I wasn't up for coming. It would have been nice to receive SOME acknowledgment of the fact that this is freaking hard for us--of the fact that we have been going through hell the last year (well, longer than that, but a year as far as they know). Just a hug, or a friendly and warm look in the eye, or the words "We're so glad you guys are here." That's it. No medals of honor necessary. Just some basic human connection.
Too much to ask, apparently.
And then, during the little ceremony, when the rabbi called Lawyer Guy and all the grandparents up to the podium to read some blessings and I was left sitting all alone at my table and my father-in-law gestured to me to take pictures of them all with his camera (which I actually did for a little while), I finally decided I'd had enough and I hated the world and I left and went to the bathroom where I acknowledged that what I really wanted to do was kick something hard but, nothing kickable being on hand, would have to content myself with a halfhearted and unsatisfying cry in a toilet stall.
And then we ate brunch.
My mother-in-law called later that night to ask how I was doing, because she could tell I was not myself at the party (and she knows that we've started meeting with REs, though she doesn't know all the details of what's going on). I told her it's been a hard couple of weeks and that I've been really sad and she said I seemed more angry than sad at the party. So, yeah, I told her the above--that I'm mad at the world and my life and my body and the party and BIL and SIL--mostly them--right now for not even seeming to REALIZE that we've been in agony for what feels like thirty years.
So apparently my sister-in-law occasionally asks my mother-in-law how I'm doing and how the whole baby-making thing is going. Which my MIL took as evidence that in her own (limited) way she does care. She doesn't care enough to say or do or feel anything, but she cares enough to periodically wonder about us.
(I recognize this isn't fair of me. I'm not in a very fair mood these days).
Ultimately, is that worse? Is it more insulting of them to have just totally forgotten that we ever were pregnant and to not realize that we might be hurting, or is it worse to remember and to recognize that we're in pain but to be too chicken-shit to throw us a scrap of human compassion on a day that anyone with three-eighths of a brain could guess might be a struggle (let alone the other 364 days of the year)?
And then I feel so guilty about it all. Guilty for pinning my impotent anger at a fucked-up situation on two people who aren't responsible for it. Guilty for feeling such jealousy and rage over what they have (those two beautiful little girls I can barely stand to look at any more) when they have never taken anything from me.
I sent my sister-in-law a text last night. It reads (and I quote): "Beautiful party! Glad to be there. Hope to see you all again when we can chat more. I have something for [Niece #2] but didn't want to bring today."
No response yet, and really that's beside the point, right? I did for myself, so I could feel less like a heartless sucky shrew and more like the decent, caring, reasonable person I so desperately want to be. But I'm the real chicken-shit here, pasting over a deep well of anger and hurt with some crappy, barely felt fakery designed to put a bright face on it all.
And yet...what else could I do?
Last night, my dad told me I had three options for dealing with them in the future:
1. Have it out with them over what I need and expect (impossible because a) they never respond well to conversations like that and b) I have no energy for any additional stress right now).
2. Continue to hope that they'll treat me decently and continue to be disappointed.
3. Follow my dear, late grandmother's advice and interact with them knowing that it will be unsatisfying but "offering it up for the poor souls in purgatory."
I guess my frustration with liminal states is more familial than I guessed.
I'm more venting than looking for solutions right now. I realize there isn't anything to be done. They will continue to be self-absorbed and unable to reach out to us, I will continue to suffer and resent them for standing outside my suffering. Just your usual warm happy family. If I can avoid them as much as possible until we finally get pregnant again, I'll be okay... but the longer this takes, the less likely that becomes.