Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Big Letdown

I suppose if you allow yourself to have expectations, they will occasionally be dashed. Trampled. Shattered.

My mom received her cartoon booklet. She didn't call. I called her. She was...uh...flat. That's the best way I can describe it.

She said, "Well, that sure was a surprise. So you were sneaking around and sneaking out of town without telling your mom. You were laid off from your job, but you were buying expensive airline tickets. And wasn't that a long drive to the clinic?"

No "Congratulations!" No "I'm SOOOOO Happy!" No tears of joy.

She asked if we'd purchased anything yet. I said not really because I had been too worried that the pregnancy might not make it and I didn't want to jinx anything. She said that she has some things of my nephew's when he was a tot that she was going to sell in a garage sale and it's a good thing she found out in the nick of time. Um, okay.

She asked when we would find out the baby's gender. I told her the gender u/s is scheduled for October 30th. That I had hoped to be able to have it done during her visit, but that the doctor's office wanted to do it closer to 20 weeks. Then I told her that I'd heard about a place here in town that will do a 2D u/s for $65 - they can determine the gender and they give you 10 pictures and a DVD. So I told her I thought we could do that while she's here visiting.

She said "Oh, so you'd do that just to find out the gender sooner?" I said "No, I thought you'd want to see the baby live and moving." She said flatly, "Yeah, we could do that."

I was deflating fast.

I told her that as long as the baby is healthy and gets here in one piece, I don't really care whether it's a boy or a girl, and although we want to find out before it's born, I'm not in a huge rush to know this minute.

She said, "I still hope it's a girl."

Yes, mom, of course you do because I remember how hard it was for you to be excited or happy when my sister announced (21 years ago) that she was having a boy and how disappointed you were because you just find it so hard to love a baby boy.

WTF. No, I didn't say all of that. I just thought it.

Then she asked if we'd chosen names yet. I told her no. That we'd tossed around a couple, but hadn't really gotten anywhere. She launched into the names she likes. You know, she REALLY wants this kid to have a name SHE likes.

At one point she said, "So no wonder you want me to move out there by you. I guess this means you want me there by March then, right?"

WHAT?! Moving here was her idea. Not mine. I don't care where she chooses to live. And I told her no, she doesn't need to be here by March.

I could tell, by the sound and tone of her voice, that she was really trying to act happy and ask me questions. But I know her well enough to know it wasn't genuine. She was struggling to say the things she thought I wanted to hear.

And most of the conversation, by the way, was about anyone and anything other than me, this pregnancy or my baby. She talked about the garage sales she went to this morning. She talked about some sheets she wanted to buy at a department store. She talked about how long it took she and her brother once to drive to Myrtle Beach. She talked about a former co-worker of hers. Blah. Blah. Blah. I just sat there, silent.

I don't mean to be selfish and self-centered here. The world is not about me. I just thought that maybe this one conversation could be about the most important thing that's happening in my life.

Sorry, love, not this time.

As we were getting off the phone she said something like, "I'm just so surprised and I have to get used to it all."

Well, when we finally hung up, my husband came into the room. I told him how it went. He was sweet and supportive and great. He actually wasn't surprised at my mom's reaction (knowing how she is). I naively thought she would really be excited. But he caressed my belly and said "Well we're happy about our baby no matter what anyone else thinks." And we are.

Then we talked about the cartoon booklet and also about reasons my mom might have reacted the way she did.

One: She's disappointed and hurt that I didn't mention any of this to her before now. That's reasonable. I assumed this one as a calculated risk. But after all the negativity I got when I mentioned the whole IVF thing last year, I decided not to tell her.

Two: She's disappointed that is not a "blood" baby. Not my blood. Not her blood. It's just some ole baby that came from some strangers she doesn't know. And, btw, it could (gasp!) be a boy.

Three: The cartoon book overwhelmed her. There was a lot of information in there. A lot to think about. My husband thought perhaps her response would have been different if we'd just verbally announced, "We're pregnant!" And then worried about explanations later. People can respond to "we're pregnant" quicker and with more emotion than they can to a 30 page booklet.

My dad and his wife haven't called yet. I'm pretty certain they should have received their copy by now.

So I'm re-thinking all those other copies of the cartoon booklet we have. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Now though, I can see the pitfalls of making the announcement this way.

Maybe we'll just say "We're pregnant!" and not worry about offering the whole explanation to everyone. Maybe we'll bring out the booklet much later, after the news has been delivered and accepted. Or in some cases not at all. Besides, as my DH said, usually when a couple announce that they are pregnant, people don't jump right in and ask, "Is it yours? Did you do IVF?" Well, maybe those who have been down that path themselves, but that doesn't include the people in our RL.

Anyway, I really am disappointed in my mom's response. I was sure she'd be really happy. But this is our family. Mine and my husband's. And we're happy. So my mom can think whatever she wants. If it's a boy she can be disappointed. She can hate the name we choose. I don't give a flying cow bell.

Sigh. When things don't turn out the way you imagined, it can be a big letdown. Which sucks. But then again, I've known for quite some time that my life is not a fairy tale.


egghunt said...

I've been sneakily following your story for a while now. Ugh, family members suprise you sometimes with their reactions don't they. I recently told my mom that our second IVF cycle failed and her response was "oh well, nevermind" and then when I confronted her about her lack of emotions she told me that she was just extremely upset about it and just didnt know what to say. I sarcastically said back to her "oh i'm SO SORRY for YOUR loss". She made me feel like should be comforting her, not the other way round. I didn't expect her to react this way so I can absolutely understand your confusion over your mom's response. Parents seem to look at this process so simplistically (hence why your mom is focused on the sex) whereas those going thru IF treatment know that it's an absolute miracle to be where you are and that 5 million things had to happen for you to get to this point and so they don't understand the massive achievement it is. I hope your mom comes round soon and realises how much of a big deal this is. Good luck!!!

IVF 40+ said...

I could write something supportive and understanding on behalf of your family but your mum's reaction totally sucked. I understand it is hard to understand the whole donor egg thing. Its complex if thinking about it in the abstract. BUT WTF!
I am totally and utterly delighted you are pregnant and handling the whole thing really well. You are in inspiration and I appreciate all the honesty you post with. You are gonna be a totally ace mum.


looking4#3 said...

I am crushed for you. On so many levels. I really don't have any great words for you, but I sure wish I did.
The only thing that I can possibly say to you is this....
I love you. I have never actually met you, but we have chatted on the blogs and through various personal e-mails. I know more about you than I do some of my RL friends. I value your opinion, I trust you and you mean a great deal to me. I am beyond thrilled about your pregnancy and your baby. I don't care if he or she is a boy or a girl. I don't care the name you pick. I don't care that this child will not share your DNA. You will be a fantastic mother, your husband will be an amazing father.

I am sure you and your husband are correct in all of the aspects you speculated about with regard to your mother. I know that our parents just don't seem to understand the struggles and disappointment associated with IF. If they did, their reactions would be completely different.

I know that my words do not erase or even diminish the sting/burn/hurt and pain of your mother's reaction, words and lack of enthusiasm. I just wanted you to be able to come to a place where you could see/read that excitement for you and your LO.

My thoughts are with you. My prayers are with your Mom. That she may come to her senses, find some excitement and look forward to meeting and spending time with her grandchild---girl or boy!!
HUGS my friend.

PS--LOVE the pregnancy ticker!!! Congrats on getting one up!!!

Mad Hatter said...

Oh, dear sweet BWUB...After I read your post, I asked myself how I would respond if I received a beautiful book like yours from my daughter. I think as soon as I realized she was pregnant, I would immediately rush to the phone and call her cell and scream with joy!!! Then I thought of my mother, and how she doesn't always react the way I hope or expect, even though I know she loves me very much. Sometimes it's so hard to know what is going on inside their heads when they don't behave in a way that makes the most sense to us, or that means love to us. I'm sorry she didn't respond the way you'd hoped, the way I would hope. Perhaps once she sees your gorgeous belly, and your darling baby, that it will feel real and she will melt. Sometimes distance can make it so hard to connect. That said, it seems to me that you and your wonderful guy have enough joy to make up for whatever you might not get from your families right now. And don't forget about your blog sisters, because we are all over-the-moon thrilled for you, my dear friend!!! I only wish there were some way to throw you a baby shower!!! XOXO
Love and Hugs,

Jen said...

I am just so sorry!!! I know and feel your pain all too well!!! I am so glad that Hubby was so supportive- he is right- this is your baby and both of you ARE thrilled-


C Lo said...

I hope hope hope that it offers you some small comfort that I, and probably several others, cried, jumped, squealed, and "hooray!!!"'d when you made the announcement. There are a lot more people than just you and your hub who are so excited about this baby. Getting involved in ICLW was, in a way, heartbreaking to see so many deserving women struggling with infertility. It's a privilege and a blessing that you get this baby and that you are sharing it with us.

And, I still think the comic was ingenious. I wish I'd thought of it!!!!

musicmakermomma said...

My heart just broke when I saw your mom's reaction. I personally LOVED your little book (thanks for posting) but I suppose coming out of the blue it would be a lot to digest. Still you'd think the bottom line (PG!!!) would suck her in.

After waiting so long for grandchildren (impatiently!) I figured my mom would be over the moon about my pg 8 years ago. I was so wrong. And through the years I am disappointed nearly every time I see my mom - she acts so differently than she SAID she would.

I know I put expectations on other people, but it is so hard when it's your MOM. I felt like I was reading about my mom, and (hilariously, since I'm not even cycling now) I got all nervous about telling my family about MY theoretical good news. I know there will be at least some level of disapproval. Kinda wish I could just never tell!

But remember your life is YOURS, your DHs and the family YOU make. If your mom chooses to live close (and I'm betting she will) that is great, but she is a witness and spectator - not a main character in the life of this NEW family. Having a baby really does change your family dynamics.

Thinking of you - hoping you have a super reaction from your dad (dads are often easier for some reason)

K said...

My friend, I am so sorry this was her response. DH was reading your post over my shoulder and he was mortified. You sound so calm and in control of the situation and your emotions. I hope that you are and that you take comfort in the fact that you are well on your way to having that little one and how lucky you are. I suppose I would be re-thinking sending the rest of the books out too and just go with the "suprise, we're PG" method. Oh very sorry. But, maybe she will come around after she has time to digest it.

cindyhoo2 said...

I am so hurt and disappointed for you! I also thought the cartoon book was a great idea. No wonder you felt crushed by her response. ((hugs))

On the up side: what a great response from your DH!

stillhopeful said...

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's reaction!!! :( I would be crushed and disappointed, too. Especially after all that work you put into that beautiful book, it's just amazing to me tht her reaction would be so flat. And I'll tell you - that boy/girl thing your mom has is just plain crazy! It's sad that she is missing out on so much good emotions, but even sadder that her reaction takes a little away from you.

But I do agree with your husband - it's your family you're creating, and you guys are both thrilled. When it comes down to it, that's all that really matters.

optimisticallyhopeful said...

How devastating! I can only imagine how upsetting that would be. It's so difficult when you think someone will respond in a certain way, and his reaction is in no way what you expected. It's especially difficult when it's something that you've longed for for such a long time, and have been through so much to achieve.

I really hope that you are right that it was just too much information for her at the time and that she'll come around in time. I know people say awfully stupid things when they are caught off guard and maybe that's what happened with your mom. But really, there's no defending her reaction. As your mom, she should be happy that you are happy.

Your husband is right, YOU are happy about it, and as much as you want your mom to share in your enthusiasm, it may just not turn out that way. I'm so very sad that her reaction has had such a devastating effect on you, but I am so very glad that you have such a wonderful husband and so much to look forward to. You will be such great parents, and your baby will know nothing but love from you.

Hang in there, and always remember that YOU are happy, and that's the most important thing.

anofferingoflove said...

((hugs)) im sorry to hear your mother's response was less than you had hoped for. i think sometimes parents just dont know the emotional place we are in after IF and dont know how to relate. not that it makes it any easier or is an excuse...

i hope she comes around and is VERY excited by the time of her visit.

tireegal68 said...

That is just plain sad - for you and for her because she is not able to focus on what is important to you and consider your perspective and feelings.
I think I may have said this before but I truly believe that people react true to their character whether the news or the occasion is mundane or earth shattering. That may seem like a fatalistic way to view things, but it does sometimes help me to see my own mother in a more accepting light. I want her to be one way but it's completely not happening. She can't help it. But that's my mum, not yours and maybe you have times of really great connection with yours and this is a hiccup that will be cured with her coming to understand and get excited about this miracle that you are having a baby!
I hope so. But if this is the status quo then your DH is right-it's your family and you can celebrate with each other, with us, with others that you choose as family.
You are awesome and I loved the book. It was a labor of love and you and your child will always have it as part of his or her history. Lots of love and hugs to you:)

just me, dawn said...

I am sorry that you were let down. After all the work and effort especially emotionally that you put into the book, it is natural that you had high expectations. well honestly, your expectations sound normal....every woman wants those she loves to be excited when they hear she is expecting. Sending you a huge hug. I am so happy for you and I think that you will be the most amazing mother. I am hoping that your mother just needs some time to pull it together, lord knows I understand the challenge of a less than supportive mother. ((hugs))

Alex P said...

Oh little girl. parents are so useless at fulfilling our expectations, hey? Sometimes moms just don't know how to be nice. Its sad and stressful and its why psychiatrists use them for fodder. The woman who taught you how to be a woman now seems to be utterly flawed in her performance of herself. The woman who taught you that "if you cant say anything nice, dont say anything at all" ends up being curt and quiet and when she finally talks she shamelessly smushes the hopes of her daughter. I think the only consolation is that most if not all people have the same problems at different times with their parents. Oh, and the loving words of blog buddies. That helps too.

My two best friends growing up were adopted. They are the best people I know, and their parents are both two amazingly generous loving couples. The fact that you and hubby get to start that path a few months earlier than other adoptive parents doesnt change that what you did- accepting some little bit of person into your world, knowing that it would drastically change your life forever, was a generous and loving act.

The mean part of me hops to the comebacks you could say, but they would hurt your mom forever, but sometimes I think that it's ok to think about them, so you excercise your icky feelings. "I guess Im just capable of loving more than you are" etc etc. I dunno. You are magical, and she will fall in love with baby soon too. Dont worry dear.

embieadoptmom said...

Note to self-don't make a comic book for my family-WOW! I just can't believe the negativity and am so sorry for you! That just plain stinks.

The only 4 people you have to please is you, DH and your sweet, precious baby & the LORD. YOU HAVE SAVED A LIFE HERE THAT MAY HAVE NOT OTHERWISE HAPPENED. YOU are a miracle worker.

We learned long ago during the adoptions of our kids that "A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T APPROVE" of adoption or treat "not blood birth children the same" and it's really sad but we are NOT out to please anyone but God. And most people who please him and do anything "different" are labeled weirdos. Guess I'm a weirdo then! You have support from many-RELY ON THOSE PEOPLE and piss on the rest :)

Riley said...

I am so, so sorry by your mom's response. But I think your DH is right - you all are happy, so that's what really matters. I guess all this IVF, donor egg, donor embryo stuff has become so much a part of our lives that sometimes we don't realize how hard it may be for others to fully understand. I'm sorry your mom wasn't as excited as you had hoped, but hopefully she'll come around as she has more time to digest the information. I thought the comic book was a great idea, so don't beat yourself up over that - it was wonderful!

K said...

Hi...just popping in again to see if dad got his book in the mail and how that went...