My 32nd birthday is exactly one week from today. Often, in real life, I have a difficult time articulating why and how my birthdays have morphed from a cause for celebration to a cause for depression (and usually, heavy drinking, if I'm being totally honest).
I blame infertility and loss.
It's not as if I haven't had plenty of other disappointments in my adult life: I've had difficulty finding a career that feels fulfilling, I'm not in the place I want to be financially, I don't have as many friends as I'd like.
It's just that all of those issues, and so many more, are compounded by infertility and loss. I know (hope? dream?) that I'd bounce right back from the normal disappointments in life if my soul hadn't been so ravaged. In my weakened state, though, things seem magnified. Normal disappointments loom like giant monsters. And each birthday I've had since we started trying to have a family drives me deeper and deeper into a hole.
Facing the fact that I am another year older also means facing the fact that my eggs are deteriorating, that my overall fertility is declining, and that our chances of achieving successful pregnancy are dwindling. Age is forcing my hand with family building decisions too. If we save for the next couple of years for adoption, IVF is pretty much out of the picture, because I'd be pretty. darn. old. by the time we could recover financially enough to afford it. I just don't know.
I also have to deal with my lack of friends (aside from the previously mentioned Terrible, of course!). Back home, in NY, I had a pretty tight group of girl friends. Birthdays were always a cause for celebration, and a party. But that was then, and this is now. Those girls, they have disappointed me. I know I live pretty darned far away, and they aren't available to celebrate with... but they just haven't been there, you know? And the group of guitar strumming hippies haven't been much better. I know that I have had a difficult time opening up to people since the pregnancy loss brigade has started. I have mostly myself to blame, I know. But they've disappointed as well.
A couple of years ago, a day before my birthday, we were at a bar for some groundhog day thingy. The hippies were there. And one of the girls insisted that we should celebrate my birthday that evening, that I should be glad to have friends who wanted an excuse to share a few drinks with us. so I acquiesced, thinking maybe this could be fun, maybe it would be a chance for me to start to develop some deep friendships here. Hubby and I went home, cleaned the house, prepared for twenty or so people to show up, shopped for refreshments.
And only one couple came. (Not, by the way, the chick who initially pressed the idea on me. Who also happens to be pregnant-to-the-point-of-bursting right now. Oh yeah, and it was an oops.)
I felt like such a loser. It was a really awkward evening, and the couple who showed up left pretty quickly. I guess the sight of party goods for twenty was pretty depressing for them too. I'm not an ogre, I swear. I can actually be funny (when I'm not crying!!) and nice and interesting. I need eHarmony for friend making, but only with other infertiles.
And then, the birthday depression factor is complicated by the fact that every time I have a birthday, I think of my seven dead babies, and the fact that they will never get to celebrate a birthday - not even one. Ugh.
I saw a naturopath today who told me that I need to celebrate myself. Lately I just don't feel like there's much about me to celebrate. I'll try to change my thinking, though, and change my perception of the birthday experience in general.
Okay, pity party over. It's time to workout and get some endorphins going.
ETA: I read this over after my workout, with the endorphins flowing, and it sounds really sad and pathetic. I'm really not like that all of the time, and I'm definitely not fishing for compliments! :) But that's how I was feeling at the time, and how I generally feel when I think about birthdays, so I guess I'll leave it up.