Monday, February 23, 2009

Requiem for a Friendship?

Hubby and I have some real life couple friends who are dealing with infertility. Our infertility journeys have run along a parallel course with a few differences. We have been trying longer. We had a miscarriage. He has kids from a prior marriage. They had a vasectomy reversal.

Besides those differences our paths have been the same. We started Clomid at the same time and took it for about the same number of months. We both chose to go straight to IVF and not do IUI. We’ve both been unsuccessful in all attempts to get pregnant and stay that way.

I’ve always wondered what will happen when one of us succeeds. Will our friendship survive? My friend just transferred two embryos on Friday, with two to spare that were frozen. My husband has already told me that he is bitter that they made it to transfer on their first cycle while our first cycle was cancelled. He doesn’t have much hope for our new cycle being an “expect the worst” kind of person.

I know how I would probably feel if a friend not going through infertility told me she was pregnant. I would probably go into modified avoidance mode or total avoidance mode depending on the original level of friendship. But how will I feel in this instance? Will I be happy for them because they have been through so much? Or will I be insanely jealous because we have done the exact same things and still don’t have a baby?

If their cycle succeeds and our cycle fails I’m sure I can be brave for awhile because surely we will be next and our next cycle will be successful, but what if it’s not? What if they succeed and I remain barren and have to watch yet another couple have a healthy baby (or two)? It’s just the same old feeling once again. I will be thrilled for them if they are successful, but DAMN IT, I WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL TOO!!!!!

There’s too much on the line with infertility; future happiness, sanity, marital relationship, financial security, friendships…just to name a few. The stakes are so high.

I know, I know, we could both be successful and our relationship could bloom into play dates and such. But I’m an infertile. I have a hard time being that optimistic.


Caroline said...

Hi Megan,

I hear you! I have had similar thoughts. Almost all of my friends now have at least one baby. I am bracing myself for their announcements of baby number 2 that will no doubt start to come soon. It is so difficult. I feel like I am forever on the sidelines watching the game of parenting, and wondering if I will ever play.

I do however have one friend who is going through IVF too. We have been hanging out a lot lately. Of course I will be pleased for her if her IVF works, but I don't know how comfortable I will be hanging out with her if she becomes pregnant and my IVF fails (and vice versa). I don't think it will be an easy situation.

I am just trying to focus on my own needs as much as I can. Finding friends that understand and spending time with them. And protecting myself from the pain of friends who don't get IF, by only emailing them and not seeing them IRL. It's the only way I can cope.

Anonymous said...

Hey babe, this is such a tricky one. I have a friend who had IVF and she found out it had been successful the week after my miscarriage.
At this moment in time I am avoiding her like the plague as I am insanely jealous. It should be me. I was the one who was pregnant.

My DH feels the same. We are both rather bitter at this moment in time. Happy for them that they are pregnant but sad for us that we are still struggling along and have been left behind.

Once someone is pregnant and sustains that pregnancy, I think that their infertile days are over.
And I am left floundering.

Tricky situation.
Sue x

Marie said...

I worry about these things as well. I sometimes edit my blog because I am afraid that I will hurt dear friends that I know are still hurting over losses and empty nurseries.

I think that in the end either one of you will be alienated and there is not much that can be done, but after proper recover time your true friendship will shine through.

I tried to conceive for two years and in that time missed a ton of friend's births and baby showers. If I knew I could not handle the situation then I sent gift and otherwise steered clear. I haven't lost any friends. My true friends get it.

Nic said...

I think if she is a true friend I would tell her exactly how I was feeling and explain how happy you would be for her if it happened but how much you would hurt inside. She may well say to you she was feeling the same and your friendship may grow even stronger. It may clear the air. It may at least allow her to realise why you dont hag out so much if and when she gets pregnant.
On second thought, you may fall pregnant at the same time and all will be fine. You never know!

Leslie Laine said...

Hi Megan - I've been through this one. Unfortunately for us, it didn't work out, and I've had to cut myself off from the relationship altogether. However, the reason for that is that she refused to understand how difficult the whole thing was for me, and she would not acknowledge or talk about it unless I provoked it. She even once said to me that she wished it would have been me who got pregnant instead of her because she would have handled it better than I did. This, in addition to a comment that she was jealous that when I finally did get pregnant, everyone could be wholeheartedly happy for me, and I wouldn't have to worry about hurting anyone around me the way she had to worry about me.

She never worried about me, and we're obviously still waiting for that one to come to fruition.

I ultimately decided that this relationship was very unhealthy for me, and I cut it off. However, that has everything to do with the fact that she was unwilling to acknowledge the elephant in the living room, and I was the only one willing to admit he was sitting there.

I think that open communication is really important in this situation, and that it has everything to do with each person's willingness to acknowledge how tough this sort of thing is. I hope your friend is the kind of friend who will understand where you are and let you handle it in your own time.

Those are the kinds of friendships that stick.

Michelle said...

I agree I definitely think open communication is the best. I would hope that she would understand and Im sure if roles were reversed you would understand her feelings. It is so hard going through this because it seems to take away so of them being the ability to feel joy for other people. Don't beat yourself up it is completely normal. I hope you don't have to worry about this and everything works out for you!

Mary said...

I have a friend at work that has basically been 'neck-in-neck' with us for a year. We even have the same obgyn and now RE. she found out she is pregnant. I'm happy for her. She's happy for her. It was very awkward, to say the least. And not just for me, for her too. But, she's knocked up so...idk. It just sucks.

Tara said...

Hey lady - We experienced the same thing with a couple we were very close with. They now have a 4 month old and its been so hard to be friends. More from them than us, though. Its been very strange interacting with them ever since their daughter was born.

Sorry that I do not have better experiences to share with you...I am really glad that we no longer have good friends trying to get pregnant at the same time as us...

Hugs sister!

BTW - my password below is mismeggl!!!! Too funy :)

Anonymous said...

You may surprise yourself. We are friends with a couple who had their first baby in November, just 5 weeks before our due date. I did some avoidance while she was pregnant, and left her shower early...but once her daughter was born "all was forgiven" and we get together with the baby quite often.

Take it slow, don't force feelings that aren't there, and be honest with how you are feeling-and don't hide it. If you need to avoid, avoid. If you can handle a visit, go visit. But most of all be true to yourself. Somehow these things have a way of working out.

Good luck to you!

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Seven years into IF, everyone who was once infertile and trying along with me has since succeeded -- except for some of the friends that I've made specifically through infertility.

Continuation of the friendship depends in large part on the sensitivity of the first one to the finish line. Also depends on how much the "winner" is able to have normal conversations instead of making it all about pregnancy/baby.

I've lost some, and I've kept some.

Erica said...

Fake it 'til you make it. That's what I always do. I talk up all the free time I have, the vacations I go on, the uninterrupted sex I'm having (lie), the sleep I get, etc. I've been able to keep fertile friends from knowing how I really feel. Mostly because they haven't been the closest friends of mine. So, if they are just okay friends, fuck it - avoid and fake when you're near. Real friends, you can breakdown in front of. At least I think so. Good luck, whatever happens.

Anonymous said...

As everyone has said, it is so hard to not allow jealous thoughts to mangle a relationship if one of you gets pg. Hopefully limiting your exposure til your own lucky day will preserve the friendship...

BTW I gave you an award on my blog! Thanks for your blog.

Anonymous said...

I have the same thoughts also. Thanks for making me not feel like such a jerk.

Also you have an award to pick up on my blog

Liv said...

Damn infertility. You're absolutely righte the stakes are so high.

I have a friend that is par for par with me treatments. We've even joked about going in together one day with her and her stirrups...but one day one of us will be successful. I just pray that nothing kills our friendship.

Good luck to you, I really hope for upcoming success for you.


Anonymous said...

I totally understand what you're saying. When my husband and I were fighting about whether I should keep my blog, he suggested I attend a local support group if I needed an outlet. I'm pretty set against that for exactly the conundrum you describe here. What happens if I get close to someone and form a friendship because we're on this shared journey, and then it "takes" for that person and not me? What if, (hard for me to imagine this now), it's the other way around...will I always feel stilted in my joy around that person? I just don't know if the relationship could survive, so I'd rather avoid forming it all together.

It's different with blogs. I have followed people through infertility and then celebrated with them and continued to read their blogs as they transitioned from TTC to parenting. Maybe it's the natural distance of the computer screen and keyboard...very little chance I'll come face to face with the little miracle so loved and wanted by my blogging friend and so coveted by me.

IF takes its toll in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

oh megan. :( that sucks. i always find that it is harder to be happy for people who have not had problems with IF. when my online ladies get pregnant i am so happy and always tried to use that to "prove" to myself that it can happen for some with IF. but knowing them IRL probably adds so much more stress. :(

Anonymous said...

i think it's easier to be happy for people who are if too. i have two irl friends who had ivfs, and theirs were all successful. since i'm right in between their ages, i'm hopeful that it'll be successful for us. on the other hand, my hubby called his sister about a month ago to tell her we were doing ivf, and she said, "oh, that's great. btw, I'M PREGNANT". sigh. i'm still having a hard time being happy for her, especially because when i said that it's been so hard seeing so many bfns, she said, "oh, i know exactly what you mean." really? because you only took ONE hpt and that was POSITIVE. so no, you DON'T know what i mean.

so yeah, i'm still having a hard time dealing with people getting pregnant. :)

Mo said...


It is tough on friendships, etc. And you'll figure out how you feel and how to act when and if they get pregnant and you don't (or the reverse - YOU guys get pregnant, and god forbid, they don't). It's murky and complicated, and everybody figures it out their own way.

It's gotten much tougher for Will and me the more IVFs we have under our belt. This sense of longterm hopelessness is setting in and those that can't understand that are not getting so much time from us these days, good or bad.

for what it's worth (and what do i know, really), I think it's a really GREAT sign that your cycle got cancelled due to OHSS. that's a far different thing than having a cycle cancelled due to no/low response. so i'm hoping a little med tweak and you will be on you way to baby. (easy for me to say, i know).

i'm rooting for you guys.


Kristi said...

Wow, what a great post! So many of us, I'm sure, are feeling/have felt the exact same way. Infertility is tough on LIFE, period!

Bluebird said...

I really think IF friendships are different than other friendships. There will always be jealousy, but I think we have a better chance at being happy for the other person (and therefore hopefully a little less jealous) when we know and appreciate all they've gone through. At least, I hope this is the case for you :) Its tricky, though, no doubt about it. IF permeats every single aspect of life. Its disgusting.

littleangelkisses said...

I think that it's perfectly normal to worry about this. I have a hard time watching others have more than one in the time I've been tryin for our second one. One of my friends is on her 3rd. Of course, we aren't that close, for other reasons...but I try. Just take it as it comes and you'll know when/if it happens if you can handle it. IF is sucks!

daega99 said...

I know the feeling. I did avoid my SIL and a good friend of mine when they did get pg for as long as I could. And then there was the temper tantrum I threw when I first found out and got a few minutes alone. It's all part of being human, I guess!

ICLW #34

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