A few weeks ago I was in between work meetings I decided to hit the Taco Bell drive thru for a quick lunch. A win win, I thought because it's cheap, sounded good, and hubs doesn't really like Taco Bell so if I want it I pretty much have to go on my own. Anyway, as I was sitting in the drive thru waiting for my turn to order and my phone rings. It was my pregnant sister. I'd been avoiding her calls since she called to wine about her baby shower planning party, but I decided to pick up because the drive thru was taking forever and I knew that it would be a good excuse to get off of the phone with her.
Within the first 30 seconds I regretted picking up the phone. She started out by asking me what my weekends in January look like. I immediately knew that she was trying to firm up a date for her baby shower. Playing dumb, I made a comment about how January is always tricky (weather wise) to plan trips, and asked why she was asking. She replied that she was trying to schedule her baby shower and wanted to schedule it around my schedule since I'd be coming from out of state. I thanked her for taking my schedule into consideration but that she didn't need to because I wasn't going to be able to come.
Cue the tears. She thought I'd change my mind. She really wants me there. I'm her big sister. It won't be the same without me. It's important to her that I come. It's just one afternoon. She thought I'd change my mind.
This is the sister that dealt with infertility and required fertility treatments to get pregnant. Providing more evidence, at least in my mind, that sometimes people forget the struggle to get pregnant as soon as they are pregnant.
I started crying too. Sticking to my guns I apologized, and assured her that it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with me. That I couldn't come because it would be far too hard for me and that it was just something that I needed to do to take care of myself.
Mercifully the line moved and I was next to get my food so I was able to get off of the phone, though I'm sure the drive thru employee thought I looked like a hot mess. As did the people who stared at me as I sat in the parking lot and sobbed as I ate my burrito.
I get that it's important to her that I come to her baby shower. I really do. I mean, nobody envisions a baby shower without their big sister present. Heck, a few years ago, I never planned to be the big sister that missed out on the important life events of my sisters. But infertility changes a person, and in this case, not for the better.
A few days later I was on the phone with my mom. She mentioned that she'd talked to my sister and that my sister said that I wasn't coming to the baby shower. I had also previously told my mom that I wouldn't be coming. She mentioned how hurt my sister my sister was that I wouldn't be coming and implied that I needed to suck it up and come because it was important to my sister. I replied that my mental health and well being was more important to me and as such I couldn't put myself in a situation that I knew would leave me a wreck and undo much of the recovery that I've worked so hard for. I know she thought I was being dramatic.
I really do wish I could be there for her. Or more accurately, I wish that I could take care of myself but at the same time not disappoint my sister. Unfortunately those two things are not compatible. So I chose my own wellbeing over doing what is socially acceptable. It makes me really sad that by doing what I need to do hurt another person, but it's not going to change my mind.
The thing that makes me maddest about this situation is that I'm the bad guy. I can think of so many other examples of a person who survived a trauma, not being expected to participate in a trigger of that trauma, and it being accepted without question. Like no one would expect a recovering alcoholic to attend a party at a bar or a plane crash survivor to get on a plane again. Their excuses would be accepted without question and they would be supported. But infertility survivors are different. They are expected to put on a happy face and deal with it. It's not fair. It's like my feelings don't matter.
I'm not going. I'm not changing my mind. I regret that by not going other people will be hurt. It makes me sad that other people think I'm being selfish or dramatic. But that's unfortunate collateral damage of taking care of myself, and right now I need to be number one. Sadly I think that some people will never get it.