It happened by coincidence--I was walking to the mailbox, and she was bringing up her trash can.
She yelled over to make sure we hadn't had any damage from the freak-November storm from the night before; said they lost their TV and had some branches in the yard that needed to be removed. I said luckily we had turned off our electronics in time, and that we had picked up the debris in the back yard. She said she hoped I didn't lift too much since I needed to be careful-no need to put pressure on "that belly"
I casually laughed and found it the appropriate time to offer my congratulations on the arrival of their adopted son, now 3 months old. For some reason, I had this sudden need to know he was real-so I asked, "Is it OK if I come meet your little guy?"
As I started across the street, I caught myself almost stopping a few times. I felt the pang of hurt come rushing back at me in small waves--however, not the tsunami type waves I used to feel.
I'll hit the pause button here (picture me mid-track across the street) to tell you why I hurt. Mook and I moved into our house exactly 4 years ago this month--and the first people to greet us were these neighbor's across the street. She: extremely outgoing and bubbly. He: southern guy who loves his sports and let's her do the talking. I didn't expect that we would be best friends, but it was nice to have people around our age that could introduce us to the area, join us for meals, and attend functions with. She even started helping me look for a job-and I was due to meet with a good friend of her's (who she repeatedly told me she never had anyone meet with, because her friend's time was so precious....oooook) but the weekend before, I had a seizure-out of town, too-, and was in the hospital for 3 days. I was so worried about this stupid job meeting, that I called her from the hospital to explain: that I was in the hospital, we were 3 hours away, and I wasn't sure when I'd be able to reschedule. I then handed the phone to Mook who went into further detail, and he kindly asked if they could take in our mail and just keep an eye on the house for us.
I didn't return home for another week, and when I did get home, I could tell Mook wasn't telling me something. When I finally got it out of him (he didnt want to upset me) he told me the mail had never been collected, and there had been 3-4 nasty messages on our machine from this woman who I was supposed to meet with.
I still to this day don't know exactly what happened: if she thought I lied to her about being sick, or if she just got bored of us being the new kids on the block, but for whatever reason--she dropped us like trash. Didn't call, never spoke to us when we passed on the street, and looked annoyed whenever we made the attempt to speak to her. It really upset me--more than it probably should have, but having to deal with all of that after being so sick, with no job prospects, and even fewer friends nearby, it just made me so bitter. So honestly, 3 1/2 years have gone by with no effort on their part to be even slightly neighborly.
So needless to say, when Mook and I drove home one day a few months ago and saw blue balloons and a "Welcome Baby Boy" sign on their mailbox, we were quite curious. Of course I wouldn't know if she had been pregnant, because they come and go through their garage, so I never saw her. But our question was answered a few days later when Mook was outside, and they come walking by with this newborn, and strike up a light conversation with Mook--he said he looked behind him when they started talking to make sure they really were talking to him!
Their little boy had been adopted right at birth, and he was 5 weeks at the time--they were so in love, and just doing so great, and we should stop over sometime--they also offered congratulations to Mook about our news (no idea how they found out). And that was that.
Un-pause. So as Im walking in the house, she just goes on and on about how fast time has already gone, and how much they love having him. And as she handed him over to me to hold, she said: "I keep telling the adoption agency not to refer anyone to us to talk about adoption, because our story was too good to be true--we only waited 8 months! BUT, tell anyone with infertility to come and talk to me, and I can give them a thorough lesson."
It's like time stood still in that moment. I looked down at her son, felt my son kick me, and wondered if she thought I was just another "lucky one." But also in that moment, I chose not to tell her about our 2 1/2 year struggle, because I felt like she didn't deserve to bond with me that way.
OK, I may have lost some of you on that last sentence: how could I not want to bond with someone right across the street from me about the crap that is IF!? But I hope more of you understand why I didn't. Maybe I should have let all the bitterness go of the past few years, but I almost felt robbed again by her, because maybe we could have gone through the IF struggle together, but because she shut off our budding friendship, I'll never know.
It's been hard for me to stop thinking about our run-in. Should I have at least said, "Oh I am sorry you all struggled, would you like to talk about it?" But then, would it have been hard for me to keep my own story to myself? I walked out of her house, and just shook my head--disappointed for the connection that could have been made.
Have any of you all gone through something like this? I am always speechless when I try to explain the meaningful connections I have made through being able to talk about infertility through blogging, and in the real world. This is the first time I've been confronted with another "comrade" in infertility, and chose to back out of the discussion-and it stings in so many ways.