Thursday, July 23, 2009

Couple v. Family

I have yet to feel like a "real" grown up. I mean I have all the fantastic responsibilities of a "grown up"...paying bills, jobs (or in my case lack of), stresses of everyday life... but I haven't really felt the benefits of being a grown up. I feel like a couple, a very happy and loving couple but just that... a couple. We are not a family. When we arrive at family functions sometimes I feel like I am suppose to have some rousing tale of how we traveled through Europe or bought the next latest and greatest technology because of course we don't have children yet. We don't have all that financial "responsibility". What else could we possible be doing with all that money and time. Well here is the kicker we do have the financial responsibilty of having children with out the benefit of having children and I have't even got to the IVF part of it yet. I have insurance that has paid for some. They say have a 35.00 co-pay yet I always seem to end up with a bill 1-2 months later for 500.-600. Then I have to pay for blood tests and diagnostic tests and RX and what is it for? I have no answers yet. Why do they tell me I have a co-pay and then charge more. Why do I have a deductible that I ALWAYS reach by February but still end up in serious debt because of medical bills? anyway I got side tracked for a minute...

Back to family gatherings and by these I usually mean DH side of things. He has a much bigger family. (My side is just my sis, my mom, and I) No one has ever said anything to me and they try to include me. Yet, I feel like an outsider. I feel less of a family then my unwed 25yr old SIL with her 2 children by different fathers or my unwed 21 yr old BIL with 2 children by different mothers or my other BIL who is in a loveless marriage with step children or my other unwed SIL with a 18 yr old daughter who she treats like dirt on the bottom of her shoe. We won't even go into all the other half brothers and sisters he has and all there craziness. Yet I am the one that does not feel normal. Why is that? I have been responsible. I am married. Yet I feel somehow less. I can't participate in most conversations that go on because they are kid centered. I will often interject with a story or two about my nephews on my side and I feel like they look at me like "what do you know those aren't your kids". I know that this is usually a result of my overactive analytical mind but that is just it. It is yet another thing that the joy is sucked out of because of infertility.

By no means do I expect the world to conform to me or that everyone should just wait with baited breath about what I have to say. I just wish I could be like them (not the unwed, unhappy, crazy part). It is kind of sad when you wish you were like that but I do. All the things they take for granted makes me sad. The sleepless nights, the seemingly unending supply of poopy diapers, the inability to just get up and go somewhere, the sense of FAMILY...I would give my left arm or more for that! I feel like a child who wanted so bad to be invited to party and wasn't. I'm done being a couple and I am ready to be a couple with a FAMILY. I am just not sure how I am ever gonna get there. I feel left out and I am begging to be included!


Eskimo_Kisses_4_U said...

Amen sister friend! I wrote a blog about the same thing earlier! I wish I had answers or unlimited money to pursue the answers.

Sending big hugs because I know your pain.

battynurse said...

I catch myself feeling feeling the same way sometimes and wonder if the others that always look so together etc also feel the same way. Some of them may be so wrapped up in their own stuff that they never act any different towards you or anyone else.

Michele said...

I know what you mean about giving your arm for something people take for granted... it hurts so much at times.


Jill said...

I know exactly how you feel. ((hugs))

Dana said...

I know what you mean. I have to put on a "happy" face during those conversations that are all kid centered..and all the while my hear is breaking. I have felt the same way for a while, but didn't have the righ explained it be a family instead of just a couple. But I am with you on the fact that most of the ones with the kids don't have a loving husband or we are one up on them..kinda :D Love you!!

The Mamabunny said...

Oh GAWD, I know what you mean. And I will tell you, you are not a bit crazy for seeing the difference.

When I had Vivi, it felt like I was finally an adult member of my family. When she passed away, everyone was supportive and so generous and kind and loving, but now I feel forgotten about. As if I am a kid again.

When you are a married adult without kids, jobs, other adults with kids, everyone treats you differently. And while it is an absolutely valid choice to decide not to have children, for those who can't or who lost their child, people still seem to view us as immature or irresponsible. As if we would rather play Xbox and party than care for a child. It's not fair, and I HATE IT.

I also don't think people understand the sacrifice that infertile couples have to make. Some people seem to think, when I talk about the costs of our surrogacy journey, "Well, kids are expensive, suck it up!". And I just want them to know, YES, I know that kids are expensive, but most people don't have to swallow tens of thousands of dollars, or even nearly a hundred thousand dollars, to reach their goal and joy of parenthood.

So frustrating. Don't let it get to you though, as best you can. Know that you are loved, and supported, and that your journey and your sacrifices are worth it. They say parents who have to struggle so hard to have children, tend to be more invested and loving parents. I hope your journey and mind succeed, and that we NEVER take our babies for granted like others sometimes do.

Be well!

Shannon said...

I know how you feel, I feel left out too. It's like having kids is a club and we keep knocking on the door, we get to peak inside and then they slam the door in our faces. :(

I hope that changes for both of us soon.

Sunny said...

You share this with such honesty and insightfulness. I didn't feel this way with our family (all of our siblings are younger and without children yet), but definitely with my friends. They had all stepped into REAL adulthood... and DH and I were just youngsters still. But as you said, our money was going into treatments and not into living a swinging dual-income-no-kids life. :/

Clio said...

I understand your soul begging to feel included... :(
But I have to ask you a question. And it may take a little bit for me to get my loving and empowering point across, so bear with me. :))
Have you two ever been a "couple", in the sense you meant it?
From reading your story on the previous post, it seemed to me that you both have been so engrossed in the babymaking thing, that perhaps you didn't even have enough time to enjoy just being a couple.
And you are right, being a couple is very different than being a family, but it would be really sad for you to miss out on everything.
If you haven't really made the point of enjoying just each other for a little while, try to do that before you embark again on the next phase of treatments.
Before you have a family, BE a couple. Use it to your favor. Own it. Enjoy each other, do cool things, don't keep thinking you are broken because the family is lacking. One thing you still have whole, the two of you! :)
blessings on your journey.

G & H said...

:( I think I could have wtritten most of this myself...hang in there girl...we will all get our family only God knows when HIS timing is perfect ( that totally doesnt help I know :)

Bluebird said...

I know what you mean. I try to remind myself that DH and I are our *own* family - but it sure doesn't feel that way!

JamieD said...

I know how hurtful it is to feel excluded in all of the baby-talk and family oriented things. I'll never forget not getting invited to a good friend's daughter's first birthday party - I quickly realized all the people on the guest list had children. That is when I realized the world was moving on without me.

Holding you in my heart and hoping you are blessed with a child soon. You have worked so long and so hard . . . I can't think of anyone who deserves it more.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. I still have a tendancy to think of anyone with kids as older than me.

And in family situations I end up feeling the same way... that I don't fit. Of course it doesn't help that my dh is the youngest of 5 and was an ooops-baby who came along a decade afer his next older brother. The youngest grandchild in the family is already out of highschool.

Anonymous said...

B was just talking about this the other day: he said that he never really felt left out per se, but noticed that he is included differently now by his guy friends who have kids. same thing with his brother and SIL. he said that he never really would have noticed it until he found out what he was missing. lucky for us we don't see our extended families all that much (or maybe not so lucky for us, you know?) so we don't have to deal so much with the when-are-you-having-kids talks/looks/etc....

hang in there xoxo

Kate said...

I think you took the words right out of my mouth. Even though I am an adult (holy crap, when did I turn 30!!!!????) I still feel like a kid whenever I am around my family. I know I always feel like a freak when going to family functions or gatherings where everyone else has kids.

Karen said...

The thing with infertility is that you're trying so hard to get to the other side that you don't get to be that happy, carefree couple others think you must be. You're kind of in a no-man's land. I remember hating family gatherings (no kids yet, but gatherings are getting easier for some reason). My cousin who is a total ditz and five years younger than me has two kids and I can tell she feels wiser than me somehow. It drove me crazy. And I can totally relate to telling stories about my nieces or my friends' kids and then thinking that was so pathetic. It's like everyone else has been admitted to club (some you can't figure out how they of all people were able to get in) and you're on the outside.

I hope you get to feel like a couple AND family very soon.


twondra said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

I know how you fact, I could've written this post myself. Thanks for sharing. Thinking of you! (((HUGS)))

ICLW #12

Echloe said...

Like Tammy (just above) I could have written this myself. I'm so glad that we have the internet to help us "meet" others going through the same ordeal. I can only imagine how much worse I would feel if I were in this alone.

Demara said...

I'm in the same boat...

all my friends are married and with children.

I don't see them anymore.

my friends and I just don't have anything in common.

Their conversations all revolve around their children and mine, well I really don't have much to say except that I'd like more excitement. More responsibility. I'd like TO SHARE IN THE KID CONVERSATIONS with them!! But I can't.

So I'm alone. or rather a couple.

We 'date' in a sense to those with children, but a couple can only date for so long and then it gets boring.

I joined in a meme that you may be interested in doing it's called "the face of infertility". Here's mine in case you wanna read it.

here's a nice big girl hug for ya! {{{hug}}}}

let's go a skipping because in a sense that is what we are right, just a 'couple' of big kids.

we aren't grown-ups!!

adults without kids CAN NOT grow-up

we are forever children stuck in adult bodies :)

Liddy said...

Like so many of the previous commentators above. I feel the same way as well.

I am starting to feel left out as I am going to family gatherings. I feel left out with my friends (even though God knows they work really hard not to). I do feel less.

Stopping by for an ICLW visit...
No. 95: The Unfair Struggle (male-factor infertility, good friends, neighborhood rumblings)

Jess said...

Amen sister! I have a friend who has a b-day party for her kids and never invites me and it hurts my feelings. Then I have a friend who does invite me and it hurts me to be without a kid...I'm fucked either way! I feel left out and I want to be a family not just a couple!

Great post!


Triumph said...

I know exactly how you feel having been there for over a decade.

It hurts like hell.

sending you lots of hugs!!!!!

Triumph said...

Thanks for stoppig by my blog, I know exactly how you feel, I endured that pain for over a decade.

Sending you lots of hugs.

Beautiful Mess said...

Happy ICLW!

(((HUGS))) I'm so sorry sweetie! I wish I had the power to give you that miracle you so deserve! I have faith that you WILL get it. And when you do everyone will be so envious of your happy family. You're WILL hold your miracle in your arms some day. You WILL have those sleepless nights. I believe!

Happy anniversary! Here's to MANY more happy years together!

WiseGuy said...

I understand what you are saying....IF is trouble bearer...putting us up at awkward angles with the rest of the world and our side of the sky especially. Good Luck to you!


Michelle said...

I saw your comment on another blog, and because of your name and living in Michigan, I just had to read your post. I'm so glad I did. I have been there and it stinks! My DH's best friend and wife had a baby about a year ago and I'm so sick of hearing how she's having such a hard time "adjusting." I hate going to parties where all my friends have kids and that's all they talk about. I interject with my teacher talk, but it's not the same. I'm hoping to be included in the party too! Sorry I don't have anything uplifting to say other than I've been there, it stinks, but hang in there!!!