Here is a question for those out there in cyberspace who might be reading this blog...during your interactions with the "fertile" world, have you ever felt that women were using your infertility to somehow position themselves as "better" or "superior" to you?
I would like to hear about other people's experiences in this regard because this issue has confused me for years, both on a personal and professional level. I, as well as many of my clients, seem to have had this experience. However, because the social cues involved are usually not overt, I myself could never be sure if it was her or it was me--was I projecting my own competitive feelings onto her, instead of the other way around? An example that comes to mind occurred with a colleague with whom I briefly shared office space. This woman was familiar with my personal struggles with infertility. When she announced her pregnancy during a staff meeting, she made a particular point of telling me, in front of everyone, that I should drink that bottle of diet coke she had left in the office refrigerator--it wouldn't be a problem for me to drink all that caffeine and nutrasweet like it was for her. Now, at the time, I experienced that as rather hostile attempt at one-upmanship. But I suppose it could have been my issue with her pregnancy--who knows, maybe she really just didn't like diet coke going to waste. (As much as I love diet coke, I never could bring myself to drink that particular bottle.)
In my practice, I've heard clients recount numerous tales of belly-rubbing, insensitively-timed pregnancy announcements, and snide comments that sound, on the part of the pregnant ladies in question, suspiciously competitive to me. But again, I hear everything through the filter of the person who is describing the situation. So it is hard to know definitively.
My guess is that sometimes this type of competitiveness is occurring, because I think we all know people in our lives who, in order to maintain their own self-esteem, need to feel superior to other people. For them, I don't suppose infertility or pregnancy would be off-limits in those cases.
However, I also think that sometimes, it might indeed be projection of our own competitive feelings onto the other person, who is most likely caught up in her own life and not thinking about our problems at all.
Anyway, if you have any thoughts on this matter, I'd love to hear them! Hopefully, through sharing our experiences, we can gain greater clarity on this issue. Thanks for reading!