Monday, March 8, 2010

I Can't Be Your Friend Because I'm Infertile

In December I went to the wedding reception of a friend from high school and college. I don't have a lot of close friends. I'm not good at making them and once I make a friend I am not good at staying in touch with them.

At the wedding I ran into other friends from high school. We had a great time. We caught up. We drank. We caught up some more. We drank some more. By the end of the night my friend was overenthusiastically telling us how much it meant to her that we all came to her wedding reception. We were swearing drunken oaths to do more things together. We made big plans for the first ever annual girls weekend get away. Plans somewhat fueled by alcohol induced sentimentality.

Since I am the natural planner in this community-theater-performing-creative-writing-teaching-weird-martial-arts-performing group of women I came home and sent out the emails to get this whole weekend thing started.

Then I stopped. I backed away. I pulled back.

Why?

Because I realized that there was probably a good chance that my newly married friend would be pregnant by the time this girl's weekend came to fruition.

The thought stopped me in my tracks.

Perhaps she would think that this weekend is the perfect opportunity to tell us all of her pregnancy. Or perhaps she would try to be sensitive to my feelings and we would have to guess her special secret when we all notice that she's skipping the wine. Both of these scenarios leave me feeling dread.

I am so angry. I was so looking forward to this weekend. Now I see no option, but to ditch the whole idea just because a friend MIGHT be pregnant. Crazy.

Infertility is so isolating and it continues to take and take and take.

26 comments:

Kim said...

It is a long and crappy process.

I keep waiting for one of my friends (who doesn't even want to have children) to announce her pregnancy.

Or, how about when another friend wrote to say that she thought her family was over with two children and hadn't really been trying but, oh, look here comes bouncing baby number three. "Things just happen for a reason," she says. "Bull shit," I say.

And I want to be a good friend. Believe me I do. But I just feel jealous and resentful most of the time.

Oh, and how about the woman at work who got pregnant around the same time as I did. And while the 4 month baby bump on her is nice and evident now, and, everyone is excitedly talking to her about the baby, I'm planning to have a D&C for the twins that I can't even seem to miscarry properly.

bitterness - what a companion that is.

But I have to believe that it will get better.

Hang in there. You're not alone.

Rambler said...

It squeezes so much out of us. Even the basic foundation of friendship. I have declined exciting trips or get togethers for this very reason. I refuse to put myself in that position. I can't seem to be good friends with my fertile friends because they've got what I want. And I'm tired of wanting and watching.

areyoukiddingme said...

I think it's time to stop letting infertility take from you. Go have your weekend. If she has an announcement, well, that will suck, but it really makes no difference whatsoever in your life. It doesn't make you any less fertile. It might highlight what you don't have. It doesn't take away from what you do have. I think this may be your hardest aspect of restructuring your life. At some point, I think you're going to have to let go of the bitterness and resentment, or infertility will continue to run your life.

So, when you figure out that master plan, can you let me know how you did it? It's something I need to implement right now.

inBetween said...

I hear you. Lucky for me I don't have many women friends, and most all of my colleagues are men. While their wives are getting pregnant left and right, men tend not to talk about it much. Thank God.

I still begrudge them, b/c now they have families and a wife to keep their lives in order... I really, really wish I had a fertile wife too.

All the women I know at work are either post menopause and don't have children, or got pregnant and left.

lastchanceivf said...

Oh dear, I have so been where you are. And some days I am still very much there. But I will tell you this...time does make it a little bit better. But no one really understands the way IF robs us of SO MUCH SO MUCH SO MUCH and makes us pre-think things in ways no one else ever would. It just plain sucks. And it's hard amongst the IF community too, as more people succeed and we find ourselves in that uber select club of doing IVF five times and still not succeeding. I'm sorry you're where you are...but know that I completely get it if it helps even the tiniest bit.

Kate said...

I'm with areyoukiddingme. Go, enjoy the other friends. And if she makes the expected announcement (which she may well not), have an extra stiff drink yourself. And tell her how great it tastes.

Shazz said...

I have to say I was so like you. I use to plan my life around what ifs, made sure I was doing something when invited to baby showers and kids birthdays etc. Soon learn't it can become lonely but that's the way I had to be to protect myself.
I don't know if you have been already but I have nominated you for a bloggers award. I just find you think the way I did.

Melissa G said...

Isolating. That is usually the first word I use to describe infertility when, once in a great while, I am actually asked.

I know exactly how you feel. I'm actually considering canceling dinner plans I have for tomorrow night, because I am 82% sure that my friend is going to announce her pregnancy. She's newly married as well.

Fuck this sucks. I'm sorry Megan.

Hugs.

Bean stalk ballads said...

Megan i cant add anything that hasnt already been said, but i do think its bloody hard. Its really tough.I feel it too.

wait, what? said...

I avoid anyone who I think MAY be pregnant. It totally sucks but my worst nightmare is having to react to a pregnancy announcement in person. I think it should be mandatory to send all pregnancy announcements by email!!!!

Lisa said...

I can totally relate. I'm so sorry we're in this shitty situation. I wish I could do or say something to make you feel better...

mybumpyjourney said...

I am sorry you feel this way chickie...IT SUCKS. I hope you don't let this totally paralize you though- new friendships are so hard to find and foster the older we get.
I completely understand...as one that has to work with 3 pregnant people and has two of her best friends pregnant, once cousin pregnant, and another been married for 6 months...so we all know what that means.....I dread any all all social functions.

I have to go..I have to make myself go to some I start to go crazy- and the complete isolation from EVERYONE gets to be just as bad. You friend may not be pregnant, and you have missed out on a fantabulous drunken weekend.

who wants to do that?;)

{{HUGS}} I am sorry.

Alex said...

Oh I totally hear you!!! Not only do I sometimes avoid talking to people that may give me the announcement, I also avoid just talking about myself, because I've found that there are certain times when I just don't have anything to say that's not fertility related. Someone asks me, how are you, or what have you been up to, and I just stare at them - honestly can't figure out what's going on in my life besides infertility!!! I have tried to avoid social situations, but have learned the hard way that it's better for my psyche to just get out there and focus on others. Ask people questions, and focus on their stories, so it never comes back to my story. Sometimes it's awful, but most of the time, there's a little good, and at least it distracts you for a little while...

Cort said...

This post really hit a nerve with me. After four years of infertility treatments, and finally a baby, I had almost completely lost touch with all of my friends. My oldest friend, who I've been close with since we were 5, so 24 years, was one that I didn't talk to much. It was a dark time. I was in a very dark place. Most of the time, it was difficult for me to even drag myself out of bed in the morning because I was so depressed, in so much pain (emotionally and physically), and so moody from all the fertility drugs I was on.

Now my oldest friend is getting married. I had to find out by process of elimination through Facebook that I'm not a bridesmaid. She and I have talked, and I am the personal attendant of sorts in the wedding, but her reasoning was that she and I just hadn't talked in so long and we just weren't as close as we used to be.

And I was angry. I am angry. Because I had no control over the thing that caused that rift. I treaded water for years, just trying to breathe when I could, trying to keep my job and my marriage intact while I died a little inside every day, and I am begin punished all over again for....what? Having a faulty reproductive system? That's hardly my fault. But how could I have expected her to understand all of that, when she's never been through it.

The consequences of being infertile continue even after you have a baby, and it's beyond infuriating, no matter what stage you're at.

pcossos said...

I sooooo know how you feel. I think about the "what if's" all the time and anticipate situations that MIGHT happen instead of just being able to enjoy myself. *sigh*

AmyG said...

I could totally see myself having the same reaction. And the thing is the other people probably won't get it. They'll think we would feel better if we stopped brooding. I wish! It doesn't work that way.

Rebecca said...

I couldn't agree more. I've lost all my friends. Yes, you have to be a friend to have one, but making nice just isn't high on my list. I'm too busy trying to exist.

It's like everyone's 'lost interest' in my infertility journey since there are no 'results'. And it's a b&^%*.

My closest friend is pregnant now, so we haven't talked in months. I knew when I found out that I just couldn't be there for her. I don't want to know anything about her pregnancy. I wish her all the best, and it hurts ALOT. But I have to survive somehow.

It will get better for us. It will get better.

Eggs said...

I work with all girls, a little younger than me. I think I was the first to start TTC - with the youngest, and then the others were getting married within months. I have spent the last 5 years watching them announce their pregnancies, they all have toddlers and year old's now...and I'm still trying. It almost killed me, each time they announced, but only once I bailed out of a dinner (knowing 2 announcements would be made). They all understood...I was honest about it.

The best way to get through this, is to tell someone of the group "I bet so-and-so will announce a pregnancy." They'll say "do you think?" and you'll say "oh for sure". You are now prepared for the announcement. That's how I got through it. Go on your weekend, please - and talk to them about your issues - find comfort in your friends, I did...good friends will understand more than you realize. Give it a shot anyway - there might not be any announcements, and you'll all have a blast...or worst case scenario, one announces her pregnancy, but 5 others can drink copious amounts of wine with you.

I totally get it, but you can't stop doing stuff. I almost stopped, but I just had to push through...you can do it - be strong. You've got to live your life.

xo

LaceFace said...

I'm with you, it sucks it to hear others so effortlessly become knocked up. But look at it this way, you could go and have a great time, get drunk (which, if it turns out your friend IS pregnant, she will be jealous you get to do this!) and catch up with your old friends! She may or may not be pregnant and that doesn't change your situation in any way. But you do you have the power to say yes to fun and go have a good weekend with the girls. Why miss out just because other girls get pregnant? We know they do, they're everywhere...doesn't change anything about us.

Susan said...

I totally understand what you are saying in your post but I agree with a few of the others commenters.

You have been looking forward to this weekend. A chance to get away, reconnect, hang out with old friends. Don't let this infertility bump in the road mess this up.

I know ... easier said than done. Trust me.

I will keep you in my prayers.

I would also love if you would follow me. I just started a new blog.

http://beingjoyfulalways.blogspot.com/

Thanks!

-- Susan

infertilityrocks said...

Catching up with you from a long absence. I'm so sorry that you're hurting so much. I feel that ache in each word you write.

I had a pact with all my friends (after several bad experiences), that I would be the first to know about their pregnancies, so I could brace myself for the 'joyful announcements'. A few years ago, I found myself traveling with a friend to a girl's weekend...and wouldn't you know what she told me on the way there????? But it wasn't so bad b/c she was still keeping it a secret, so it wasn't in my face the whole weekend. AND I drank myself plenty of coffee and Bailey's and pineapple mimosas and thought of how she was missing these tasty treats.

You are stronger than you know, if the friend-longing side of you wants to go on this weekend...do it. I've found that most (nearly all) of my RL supporters were extremely fertile friends with big hearts.

Many hugs.

infertilityrocks said...

Catching up with you from a long absence. I'm so sorry that you're hurting so much. I feel that ache in each word you write.

I had a pact with all my friends (after several bad experiences), that I would be the first to know about their pregnancies, so I could brace myself for the 'joyful announcements'. A few years ago, I found myself traveling with a friend to a girl's weekend...and wouldn't you know what she told me on the way there????? But it wasn't so bad b/c she was still keeping it a secret, so it wasn't in my face the whole weekend. AND I drank myself plenty of coffee and Bailey's and pineapple mimosas and thought of how she was missing these tasty treats.

You are stronger than you know, if the friend-longing side of you wants to go on this weekend...do it. I've found that most (nearly all) of my RL supporters were extremely fertile friends with big hearts.

Many hugs. Eve

WannabeMommy said...

From someone who's equally sick of letting IF rule her life... Just do it, I say! You're letting the pictures that play out in your mind get the best of you. (I'm equally guilty of such things). Take control and do what's best for YOU.

the misfit said...

I totally get where you are. If a friend did that to me, I would endure a serious temptation to poison her. Would it be fair to ask her to tell you in advance if she's going to make a pregnancy announcement (you could ask her right before the weekend)? Or, maybe ask her NOT to make it the date of her unveiling if she's pregnant - tell everyone over email beforehand, and forego the opportunity to make the announcement in person as a kindness to you? Surely she's capable of that. It will cost her little to lose a bit of extra attention, and be worth a lot to you. Alternatively, you could ask her to tell you in advance whether she's pregnant because you won't be able to handle BEING there if she is; in which case when she tells you, you develop an insoluble conflict and beg off at the last minute. That option saves you the opportunity to go if she turns out not to be. Ideally, as these other commenters say, you go either way and just chance it. But for my part...if I'm looking forward to the weekend as relaxation and bonding with friends over a drink or two, a pregnancy announcement means everything I want out of the weekend is shot by definition. Because no way every girl on the trip is going to tiptoe around the topic of pregnancy for your sake, or even get that she should. They're going to go on about it, and you'll be forced to pretend enthusiasm as well, and if you're pretending, how much fun are you having? No fun. And certainly no relaxation. At that point you're just surviving. Far better than surviving is staying home and going to a spa for a day. Or joining a cooking club or dancing lessons or a habitat for humanity project and making some new friends. Or anything, really. Pregnant people can take their pregnancies and - enjoy them on their own time, that's what.

Ernie said...

This post and all of the comments really hit home with me. I have been TTC for a year, and have already noticed that I pull back. A women's night out was arranged at the office I am currently working out of, and I am dreading it. I have even pulled back from my own sisters. I feel like I need to find couple friends that can't or chose not to have children.

Big hugs and best wishes!

Desiree said...

I know this is an older post, but it really resonated with me. My best friend and I have been steadily growing apart since my first miscarriage, and even further with my second. She has one daughter, four step-daughters and a dog so her house is just bursting at the seams.

Naturally, she doesn't have much to talk about other than her gaggle of children and it's grown harder and harder to listen. I've pulled back and finally we had it out. Finally, I told her how much it hurt me to hear about her child-full life, to which she responded "So what, we can't be friends now just because you can't have kids? You have to get over that."

How I wish I could. How I wish that I didn't feel like I have a giant FAIL tattoo all across my belly. How I wish that I could just forget, even for a moment that having a child naturally may not be in the cards for me.

If only it were that easy.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin