Monday, February 21, 2011

Fertile Friends

ALL of my Catholic friends are fertile.  I mean - ALL.  Wait...that was misleading - not just Catholic ones.  Any random denomination of Christian (or not) you can imagine…they’re ALL fertile.  Which makes it pretty difficult sometimes to exist in my circle of friends.  Now, they’re absolutely wonderful people.  And any single one of them is there for me in a heartbeat if I ever need anything.  And I know they try to understand what I’m going through.  But honestly, trying to understand infertility when you’re fertile is like saying you know what it’s like to fly to Mars.  It’s just impossible to really “get it.” 

And I don’t help.  It’s not like I really open up that much about my struggle because, really, who wants to hear all that depressing stuff?!?  They tell me I handle it really well.  (To which the voices in my head reply, “Yeah.  Tell her husband that!!”)  I think most of them, even if they know we’ve been TTC, don’t even realize that I really....“struggle.” 

That is, until………….one of them gets pregnant.

THEN – all bets are off.  I’m a different person.  I surrender.  I retreat.  They might as well assume that I was abducted and will be living on Neptune for 9 months, because I’m certainly not going to concede that they’re pregnant

In fact, some of them are even afraid to tell me they’re pregnant, for fear of…well, I don’t even know what they fear…I just know they approach me with a certain fragility when they have “news.”  I’m sure they’re just trying to be polite and sympathetic. 

But dangit…I hate being that person.  I really do.  But I seriously haven’t figured out how to deal with it gracefully yet.  I haven’t figured out how to at least feign happiness!  I’ve never been much of an actor and Lord knows I’m not good at hiding my feelings.  That must be obvious to my poor friends!

I do tell them congratulations and that I’m happy for them.  And, newsflash: I AM!!!  It’s not that I think others don’t deserve to be pregnant!  I just can’t bring myself to talk about all the mushy pregnancy, birthing, and baby stories.  I can barely even ask them how they’re feeling and how far along they are!  What kind of friend is that?!? 

Recently a couple of good friends contacted me to let me know they were praying for me, God bless them.  I know it can’t be easy (see…I told you they are wonderful!).  The first one texted and let me know she found my blog.  She was shocked at what she read because she had no idea about all the trials, doctor appointments, and procedures I’d been going through.  And she apologized for having been so “clueless” (her word) about infertility.  And this is pretty much my closest friend!  That’s how little I talk about this in the real world.

The second wrote to tell me about one of her favorite authors who, in a book called Cold Tangerines, apparently opens up pretty honestly about her own struggle with secondary infertility.  My friend thought of me and also admitted that she had been totally “clueless” (also her words) about how much pain and suffering went along with it.  She also sent me the author’s blog.  Ummm…yeah…I could have written that!  J

God bless my friends, they do try to understand.  And I’m so thankful for both of those friends opening up and honestly telling me they didn’t before fully comprehend the trial of infertility.  And I know they each have their crosses too – I’m fully aware that I’m not the only person on God's good earth with problems!  But in this particular situation, I don’t have much of a support group here in the real world (which is why I’m so thankful for my blogland virtual support group!).  So it was a tiny relief to know that maybe my friends are beginning to understand just a little bit better.


  1. So glad your friends are starting to see what you have been going through. I did a horrible job of sharing my IF struggle with my friends, retreating and spending time with only couples past the window of fertility and now childless. Then, THEY dumped me after our baby arrived. So, I experienced a double abandonment. Wish I knew more. Wish I had better examples, wish I had read blogs such as yours back then...

    But, we all do our best.

    And, your best is pretty darn good if I say so myself.

    Will keep praying for your friends to be able to support you in the deepest, most compassionate way that makes you feel loved and understood.

  2. It is definitely impossible to understand, to really KNOW how it feels unless you've gone through it yourself. But, it sounds like your friends are really trying! That's really great - they sound like really good friends :).

  3. I for one have greatly benefited from reading IF blogs. It has helped me understand better. I'd like to even think I've on occasion helped educate another clueless fertile. :) I am so glad you are opening up and your friends are reaching out. I was just reading a JPII quote the other day about how the Body of Christ is interconnected and how in a sense we help carry each others' crosses.

  4. Oh my gosh. I can so relate to your feelings. Or at least I remember having them in the not too distant past. I just think that secondary IF is such a lonely place. All IF is, of course.

    I'm glad you have supportive friends! That's excellent. I never really shared my IF either, mostly because I trivialized it and didn't even know secondary IF existed for many years. I just thought I was really selfish for wanting another child and that I wasn't doing something right. I blamed myself, which is of course such a big part of the sadness and guilt of IF.

    I wish, looking back and probably now forward again, I would have tried to focus on using my suffering for good. For example, being that "suffering soul" that is there so that others' hearts would soften. I wish I would have let Jesus use my suffering to change others. I'm sure He did without me knowing it, but I wish I would have been more focused on that.

    I feel your pain sister and I'm keeping you in prayer :)

  5. I completely understand what you happy I am to hear friends announced they are pregnant-I find myself stepping back from the relationship, sometimes for just a few weeks and other times a little longer. I think it's a defense mechanism because I know the pain is almost unbearable and I need to step baxk.

    Thank God for good friends though. One of my good friends is extremely fertile-she has an 18 month and a 6 month old-and I had to step back both times for a bit. I later explained why I had to do this and she was so supportive and amazing. Besides, there's pretty much no way to stay away from your closest, dearest friends for too long it's just there are times when you need to step and re/offer up your pain.

    It's tough though! You thankfully sound like you have some awesome friends!

  6. I've found the blog to be helpful there, too!!! God bless your two friends who are reaching out!!

  7. Ahhh- you must have been reading me mind. I know, I agree- so hard-Friends are not "trying" to make your life like hell- it just "is what it is". It sounds like your two friends are trying to understand your pain- which is a beautiful gift.

    I wish more people would ask me more about it. I mean, come on- it is my world most of the time! I recently have had two good friends announce their pregnancies!

    Now, I am dreading a "night out" with DH's friend and his 4month preggo wife. She is super sweet. We have not seen them since the wedding and typically the chatting between her and I is "light" I am dreaded the baby talk- It is gonna be hard. I hate to feel like this. But I am not going to be fake, that is not me- I will tell her the truth if my "funk" getting too visible!

  8. I think I say this in every comment thread, but it's so good to have found a group who understands!! Thanks for all the comments everyone!

    SRR - good luck with your dinner. I know it's gonna be hard. For your sake I hope the issue does come up, just so you're not boiling inside! I've been there too! :)

  9. Nicole...thank you!! You are so supportive to me as well!!
    thanks for the encouragement on the dinner...its not even scheduled yet....I keep dragging my feet with scheduling.

  10. i think i cried more today because i was crying at pregnancy announcements than i did because of the pregnancy announcements. i hate that feeling of not handling it well. i'm glad you found this group :) for both your's and our sakes.