Last week I found myself in St. Louis, Missouri for a work conference. Since I knew that Justine lives in St. Louis, I reached out to her and we decided to have lunch on Friday. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I was a little bit nervous to meet her. I mean, I've "known" her for a while now through blogging, but would we get along in person? Would we have anything to talk about? Would we both be miserable? As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. The conversation came easy. We have the shared experience of infertility, but we talked about so much more. I can't even begin to explain how refreshing it was to meet a new person, but to also be able to let my guard down, since I knew there weren't going to be any family planning zingers. We were just two women, who happened to not have children after infertility, having lunch and talking, and it was wonderful. It felt so normal.
Justine was the first of many blogger friends that I hope to meet in person someday!
Since I was in St. Louis for a conference, I knew I'd be seeing friends, acquaintances, and colleagues that I've known for the better part of ten years plus a whole bunch of new people. I don't know how conferences in other fields work, but in mine, days are filled with sessions and presentations, late afternoons are for receptions for everything under the sun, and evenings are for fun. All of my graduate school friends and some of the faculty decided to have dinner on Friday evening. Since we left graduate school, all but one of these people have had at
least one child (the remaining person has no desire to have children). One of my go to strategies for navigating group situations and preventing unwanted family planning questions is to always be seen with a drink in my hand. Except Friday night it didn't work. Someone sitting right beside me at dinner said "so.....I heard you were pregnant." Mind you, I was on my second glass of wine at this point. I was taken aback. I can usually navigate the "so.....when are you guys having kids" question. But rumors going around that I am pregnant? Not so much prepared for this one. I managed to choke out a response along the lines of "I'm not sure where you heard that, but I can confirm with 100% certainty that I am not pregnant." It didn't ruin the evening, but it definitely put a damper on it. I felt really out of place.
Friday was an interesting day. An amazing lunch with a person I'd never met in person where I felt so normal and a dinner with people I've known for years where I felt like a fish out of water. A sharp contrast. I just have to laugh about it.