A little over a year ago I lost a friend as part of the fallout of stepping off of the infertility crazy train and moving forward with figuring out my new life without children. The sad truth is that she was incapable of supporting me in moving forward and I got to the point where I knew that if I was going to get through this that I needed to surround myself with people who didn't judge or question me at every step along the way. We've both moved forward with our lives and she seems to be doing quite well. I found out through a mutual acquaintance that she was pregnant a few months ago. While I had no desire to reach out to her or congratulate her, I'm genuinely happy for her and wish her the best.
She finally announced her pregnancy on Facebook with photos from a maternity shoot (two things she said she'd never do, but whatever) over the weekend. Even though I knew it was coming, it still stung a bit.
Yesterday I received a Facebook invitation to her baby shower. As soon as I saw the invite, I had one of those moments where the air was immediately sucked from my lungs. I sat there trying to catch my breath. I asked, out loud, why she would invite me. She knows I don't go to baby showers.
The logical, rational part of me knows that since it was a Facebook invite, she likely sent it to everyone on her friends list with one click of the mouse. Even though we aren't speaking anymore I don't think that she would have purposely sent me the invitation because she knows something like that would hurt me. All of the justification in the world doesn't help. In fact, in a way, justifying her behavior only sets the stage to undermine my feelings about it.
The truth is that receiving the invitation hurt me deeply. It made me angry. It made me jealous. These things aren't easy to admit. I know it probably sounds pretty horrible (at least to anyone outside of this community) that a baby shower invitation made me angry. But it's a brutally honest admission, and while I'm not necessarily proud of this admission, I'm not ashamed of it either. And I'm not a bad person for feeling this way.
Feelings are messy. They aren't always logical. You don't get to pick how something is going to make you feel, and sometimes you can't even anticipate it. If there's one thing I've learned over the past couple of years, it's that boxing the emotions up (even the ugly ones) and not dealing with them as they come is not a good strategy. On the other hand, working through the ugly stuff leads to healing. Maybe there will be a day when a baby shower doesn't lead to such an intense reaction. Maybe this day will never come. But either way, it's okay.