Today, Max and I went to the Pool & Spa store. We have a hot tub, and have been to this store multiple times over the summer to purchase hot tub chemicals. The store manager is super nice and has been extremely helpful. We always ask for her when we go in.
So, I walk in with Max, and there she is at the front counter. I was so happy to see her (instead of looking like a stalker and asking only for her to help me). She, however... not sure if she was happy to see me. She said, "Oh, hi - it looks like you have a baby now and not a baby bump." It wasn't a rude tone, but one that sounded... different. Hollow. Painful. Sad.
I would put my paycheck on the fact that she's an IFer. I could tell how she was looking at Max and how I could feel her heart hurt. She said all of the things someone should ask if they know you, but not really... I love his name, he's beautiful, life must be different but in a good way, etc.
But I could tell. It was painful, fake conversation. In one way, I wanted nothing else but to get the hell out of that store. But I stayed... and I answered all of her questions and thanked her for her sweet comments about my little boy. Our voices were really low, and it took all I have not to say something lame, like, "You know, it took a long time for us to welcome this little guy." But I let it be. Because I know that if the roles were reversed (which, trust me, I've been in similar situations time and time again), I wouldn't want anyone to say anything to make me look emotional on the outside when I was breaking inside.
If anyone is reading this who is in the trenches of IF, please know that my opinion is that we all never really leave IF Land. Once a baby comes along, it's not like you're "cured" or get to "graduate." We all belong to an amazing community where support is a necessity, no matter what stage you're in. It makes me happy to know that we all belong in one way or another.