Random header image... Refresh for more!

Location Casualties

The saying goes, the longer the relationship, the more locations that are ruined for future pleasure when the relationship ends (okay, so I just made up that saying, but doesn’t it sound more important if I declare that it’s a “saying” rather than something made up?). There is a direct correlation between the level of bitterness in the parting and the desire to avoid these aforementioned places. Which is why I do all of my break-ups and unpleasant conversations at a single restaurant: Cactus Cantina on Wisconsin Avenue.

Washingtonians are probably gasping at this moment–why would anyone ruin Cactus Cantina for themselves? To be honest, I’ve never loved the restaurant and I’m more of a Guapo’s girl at heart. But beyond that, the restaurant was previously ruined for me by a boyfriend and I decided to keep using it as a dumping ground as to not contaminate any other establishments with bad memories.

Which means that when I ask a person to meet me at Cactus Cantina, it invariably means that I have terrible news to impart. And when I sense that someone has something to tell me that I don’t want to hear, I suggest Cactus Cantina for a meal or drink.

But infertility and loss are so huge, so long-lasting and bitter-inducing that so many locations are ruined along the way. They become Location Casualties, those places that you never want to go back to because all they do is remind you of what you don’t have or (if you currently are parenting) what you went through to get to your current place. For instance, the first place you started trying when your heart felt so hopeful. This, of course, assumes that your first time wasn’t at home. For us it was a little bed and breakfast at Deep Creek Lake. We were absolutely giddy while we were there and two weeks later, we were absolutely disappointed.

Deep Creek Lake was ruined a second time when it was the site (actually, a gas station bathroom was the site) of a chemical pregnancy. While I would love to see Kentuck Knob or Fallingwater again, I really can’t bring myself to jump on I-70 and drive up there. Perhaps if I had visited Deep Creek Lake any other time in life, I would have other memories to fall back on when I considered the place. But since my only experiences were naive giddiness and blood…well, it seems to be scratched as a future vacation destination.

The Doylestown area is a place I’d like to avoid forever. My memories of that vacation were summed up in this little nugget from my journal: “I want to throw things. I want to hit someone. I want to be by myself. I don’t even want to be me.” Which does not really sum up the natural beauty of the bed and breakfast we visited on a small working farm with hens scurrying around the front yard. But infertility has a way of blotting out the landscape. We were there during a canceled cycle and that area is always a place I associate with unhappiness, self-hatred, and no decent coffeehouses.

Most places that had previous associations managed to skate through the emotional hailstorm. We went to Disney twice during infertility and it has only remained a viable vacation option due to happy memories from a childhood visit. I was melancholy at the beach, but it’s also the place we went before the wedding so it came out unscathed. But poor Georgetown? A whole section of the city? It doesn’t matter if it was my hang-out space through college. Who cares if I even worked down there for years. I always associate that section of town with a retail therapy trip after a negative that yielded three hats as well as the NICU. Sorry, Georgetown. You’re dead to me.

What places are your location casualties? The places that feel forever ruined–either due to infertility or loss or another reason.


1 decemberbaby { 08.20.07 at 7:49 am }

Spain. I miscarried my first pregnancy while there. Madrid will be forever ruined for me… I have no intention of ever going back.

2 Kristen { 08.20.07 at 8:05 am }

Ocean City, MD is a hard one to go to in the summer. All the happy families on the boardwalk just remind me of what I don’t have. I like the beach so DH and I try to go in September when the kids are back in school and it is usually only couples.

I seem to have a disdain for malls after my losses. I went to Annapolis Mall for maternity clothes just 2 days before my second m/c. And I walked around Queenstown Outlets and bought a onesie the day before the loss. Needless to say, it is hard for me not to feel sad or upset when I pass by them.

3 lub { 08.20.07 at 8:07 am }

Strawberry Hill Races- New Kent, VA: m/c in a freakin’ port-o-potty. I don’t know if I can ever go back… Thanks for sharing this.

4 Rachel { 08.20.07 at 8:12 am }

Cancun. I had my third miscarriage while staying at an all-inclusive there. It was supposed to be our substitute honeymoon.

5 Journeywoman { 08.20.07 at 9:03 am }

It isn’t IF related but for me and D, Washington DC is our location casualty.

For a while every single time we went there, when we came back one of us would lose our job within weeks. We haven’t been there since 2003.

6 Rachel Inbar { 08.20.07 at 9:19 am }

I went rafting on the Jordan River after one of my IUIs and remember feeling so happy that I was actually trying (the cycle, of course, failed and it took about 2 more years before I conceived.) I guess the only casualties are places DH went with his ex, though even those are fading…

7 Sunny { 08.20.07 at 9:41 am }

Leesburg Outlets… I had to go buy clothes there when we found out I was m/c. I took my friend who was vising and my friend who was pregnant. Grumps came too. My friends laughed and had a great time. I was in such a bad place. I am not sure if I could ever go back and see the mall as fun anymore.

I HATE the mall during the day. Grumps and I went right after our RE consult. I couldn’t stop counting the mothers, babies, or bellies.

Unlike you with Georgetown I always fall back on Tony and Joe’s at the water when I need a good down day. We went there right after my m/c. I drank and drank. I now go when life sticks and drink my little heart out.

8 reichmann { 08.20.07 at 9:43 am }

I still have a hard time walking into BuyBuy Baby, remembering how terrible it was to go in there to pick up shower gifts when we were going through all of our failed IVF cycles (guess mail order never occured to me, or more like I waited too long to buy the gift for that to be an option!)
Also, the Foggy Bottom metro stop and area- because the only time I ever got off at that metro stop was (1) for my Bar Exam review course, and (2) to go to the RE’s office. If I never get off at that stop again, I’ll be a happy woman.

9 KLTTX { 08.20.07 at 9:44 am }

Boston – I m/c as soon as we got back from that vacation. I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back there.

10 Rachel { 08.20.07 at 10:21 am }

A Shell gas station bathroom, the beginning of my miscarrriage and O’Charlies. We went there the night of our threatened miscarriage. 2 weeks later we lost the baby. Last night I threw away the shirt I was wearing the night of the miscarriage. It was comfy, but just too many bad memories involved. I couldn’t even donate it to Goodwill because I couldn’t stand anyone else wearing it either.

11 megan { 08.20.07 at 10:46 am }

the hospital where i had my u/s where we learned that my pregnancy was possibly over is a location casualty for me. i know it’s not a place that one might go for lunch or anything, but it is quite close to our house so i end up driving by it frequently, and it always makes my stomach hurt to even see the building.

12 SarahSews { 08.20.07 at 10:48 am }

You are right — I am shocked anyone would ruin Cactus Cantina for themselves. LOL.

I still go to all the places we visited while in treatment. It would be tough not to. Every time I had an IUI, we would take the day off work and get breakfast after the drop off and then go back for the IUI. It would have ruined half the breakfast places in town!

13 Gravida Zero { 08.20.07 at 11:07 am }

I was at Disneyland when what we had decided would be our last ART-assisted cycle failed.

Thats such a good idea about having just the one restaraunt…

14 Kami { 08.20.07 at 11:18 am }

I guess I am kind of lucky not having too many location casualties after years of trying and many losses. I went back to our favorite local cafe soon after it was the scene of a bloody m/c (who knew that much blood could spill out of a body that fast?) because I didn’t want it to be only about that incident.

But the hospital where we lost our son – after days of torture my doctors and nurses is awful. I try not to go near it. I also won’t go to the cafe we went to on the day we were trying to get labor started even though it was the highlight of that awful day.

Anything baby or maternity related as a retail outlet is strictly off limits. I hope, if I am ever successful, people will go shopping for me because I don’t think I will ever want to go to any such shop

15 Dreamer4agift { 08.20.07 at 11:30 am }

I can’t go into Babies-R-Us anymore. I’ve gone there so many times with friends/family members, but now, it’s too much of a reminder of my failure as a woman. I used to love going to the silent auctions at summer socials, but even those are now tainted b/c every other thing involves babies…diaper bags, clothes, bottles, etc. And I’m left to watch my MIL point out all the cute stuff while my heart cries inside. I don’t really have a place I associate with bad IF stuff, unless you count the u/s room, surgery room, dr’s office, lab, hpt isle at the store, etc…I can’t even handle walking past the baby section at Walmart–I will walk out of my way to avoid it. And I always dread my weekends to work b/c inevitably af shows her evil face and I’m miserable and depressed all weekend long.

16 Reproductive Jeans { 08.20.07 at 12:54 pm }

That little hole in wall place we went to for breakfast the weekend after our failed IVF….oh it broke my heart to see that pregnant woman….won’t be going back there for a LONG time.

17 Celeste { 08.20.07 at 1:14 pm }

i guess maybe because i’m still in the thick of not-a-mom-ness, it pretty much permeates everything. last summer i was at my grandma’s house when i got my bfp, though, and that’s such a bittersweet memory.

i will never set foot again in the hospital i was in when they removed my ectopic pregnancy and fallopian tube, though. i hate even driving by there.

18 LJ { 08.20.07 at 1:52 pm }

I don’t have location casualties, but I do have music casualties. Songs I associate with a particular relationship that sucked…”What it Takes” by Aerosmith is one..

19 Mrs. B { 08.20.07 at 1:57 pm }

The part of any store that contains baby items. I will walk a mile around WalMart these days just to avoid walking through the baby section. I know where the baby section is in every store that I frequent and I will not go anywhere near it. Just makes me too sad.

20 Road Blocks and Rollercoasters { 08.20.07 at 2:31 pm }

Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh, NC. I swear that is the mall to go to if you are pregnant. Every time I go there I want to scream. It is disappointing though, because they have a Cheesecake Factory and a P.F. Changs. I just have to really want it because I know if/when I go there, I’ll be surrounded by all things pregnancy. Plus, I spent a lot of time there shopping just before my m/c. Needless to say, I hate that mall.

21 Pamela Jeanne { 08.20.07 at 3:05 pm }

A restaurant called Steamers — went there right after my last IVF resulted in a BFN. I was seated next to a table of fertile myrtles gathered for an informal pregnancy celebration. It just about killed me listening to them while I waited for DH to join me. Alone, coping with a BFN and the universe seemed to be mocking me.

22 pink { 08.20.07 at 3:34 pm }

My location casualty is not IF-related, but rather due a screwed-up relationship with my father and step-mother: Hilton Head, SC. I had a number of horrible trips down there when I was trying to work on our relationship before his death four years ago. As a result of these bad memories, Hilton Head is hell on earth for me. We have family and friends who vacation there every year and I just shake my head because that entire island makes me feel nauseated. You could offer me an all-expenses paid trip there and I would turn it down so quickly your head would spin. Pity, because I could use a vacation!

23 Debbie { 08.20.07 at 5:34 pm }

I definitely avoid all baby stores. Ordering online is the best, you can cry in the privacy of your own home.

Work is tough because I usually leave to go to the RE appointments and come back with hope or sometimes sadness. Unfortuately I can’t avoid that yet.

24 Paz { 08.20.07 at 6:23 pm }

I was in amsterdam when “something felt wrong” and indeed returned to no heartbeat at 11 weeks. Then I was in Amsterdam again at 20-somehting weeks and I bled a little. Boy, did bad memories come flooding back. second time around, I was lucky and everything was OK. But for me the first Amsterdam is not the same place as the second…I have thought about that often.

25 Kim { 08.20.07 at 7:24 pm }

Although beautiful, Deep Creek, has some sad reminders. I spent the big one year mark there in ’06. I was in a 2ww and realized what I missed out on when I returned home w/ a BFN & AF. Could have been a fun one.

Also, Wal-Mart. I buy tampons there once AF arrives. Talk about a walk of shame. I sit in the parking lot and cry before I march in. Maybe I should just spend $100 next pay and never go back.

26 Bea { 08.21.07 at 1:15 am }

They stay ruined for a while, and then they become just “changed”. It can be good to remember what you once went through, after it stops hurting so much.


27 Karaoke Diva { 08.21.07 at 6:30 am }

I don’t have a location casualty, but I do have a human casualty. Even though she was nicer than she had any reason to be, the sweet u/s tech at my RE’s office will always be associated with my miscarriage. I think about it every time she does my folicle check u/s each month.

28 Grad3 { 08.21.07 at 7:26 am }

I have small panic attacks when I have ultrasounds. So that means my locations of casualties are…

Sadly, my RE’s office and the OB’s office. Nothing good ever happens to me there. Ever.

29 bonniekay { 08.21.07 at 5:58 pm }

Mel, I think it’s amazing how you can resonate with so many of us so often–thanks for your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts.

For me, it’s a bittersweet spot, the state forest where we went walking when we learned my partner was going to M/C. It was fall, and a completely beautiful spot. I’ve been back since, but never without reliving that moment.

30 Michelle { 08.23.07 at 12:19 pm }

At least you can drown your sorrows in chips and margaritas at Cactus Cantina, right?

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author