I've grown so comfortable with our increasingly weird shared humor that I've begun to lack good judgment about what others might find funny. You know, like normal people. I'm starting to notice that only those who are grappling with infertility seem to appreciate my IVF/miscarriage humor.
I had drinks earlier this week with a friend who after several canceled IVFs is about to move on to donor egg, and we had a grand ole' time, laughing our heads off about the ridiculously absurd moments with our feet in stirrups, the clueless things people say, our envy toward those with accidental pregnancies. The whole nine yards.
Then last night I had dinner with another friend, one who has known me for several years, and who knows my history of IVF and five pregnancy losses. And we had some real heart-to-heart moments, which was great.
And then I cracked a few really funny zingers about miscarriage and mangled chromosomes. We're talking practically stand-up material here.
Nothing. Not a single smile. Even though I know this friend shares my dry humor on other topics.
Hmm...perhaps she didn't get it?
I tried another one.
She finally said, "Mo, I can't laugh with you about this. I just can't. What you say is really funny, but your situation is so awful that I just can't."
Oh. Right. Not funny. In fact, very, very sad.
Oops.I acknowledged that I'd put her in an awkward position. Should she laugh? Not laugh? It must have felt very confusing. I promptly apologized.
And yet, I am still pulled to the dark side.
I just ran across this picture on a blog as an example of an e-card that never made it into print. And I howled with laughter:
I found it hilarious. Why? Because it touches on the fact that 1.) There is really no "good" side to loss and people's attempts to point out the silver lining are just doomed to piss you off and fail. And 2.) It highlights the point that there are no cards or other rituals to acknowledge pregnancy loss, just as there is no space to mourn miscarriage in this culture (unlike in say, Japan). And for that reason, our repeated losses are sometimes not acknowledged and have often created awkward silences in which both I and the other person feel badly.
So OK, OK! I get it. It is probably inappropriate to share this card with friends who haven't miscarried or struggled to conceive.
I will be a good friend and act with restraint.
Instead, I will share it with you.
Thanks for being there.