Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Weird Ending to a Friendship

I'm on Spring Break, which is something I never thought I would experience as a student again. But, here I am in my late 30s with a week off from life. Of course, life never really stops, so I'm trying to use my time wisely. Go to the doctor, take the car in, meet a friend for lunch... I'm thankful for this time, but I am also pretty bored. I'm in a better head space than I was over winter break and last summer and the years preceding going back to school. But honestly, I still need to stay busy. Having a lot of free time to myself, I am still letting my mind wander a little too much... Which brings me to today's post.

I apologize if I've written about this before. I think sometimes I repeat myself here on this blog (and definitely in real life- just ask my husband hahaha), but I'm what I call a "verbal processor" so sometimes it takes me a couple of times of rehashing something before I'm able to glean some helpful points and then do my best to let it go. (Side note: I think that's the first time in my life that I've ever used the word "glean.")

So, here we go!

I had this awesome friend. (Uh oh, past tense. So you can see where this is headed...)

She was so, so awesome. She always told me, even years before I ever started trying to conceive, that I was going to be the best mom. She was a mom herself, loved the role and her daughter so much. We daydreamed about us both being parents and raising our kids together. In fact, we were hoping she would get pregnant with her second the same time I got pregnant with my first. But you know how life goes... Instead, she got divorced and I learned I was infertile.

Still, we supported each other. We made time for each other. We really had a lot of fun just sitting and talking in each other's backyards. It's the simple things that really are the greatest.

After I had been trying for a couple of years she gently encouraged me to see a doctor. Then when I decided to try fertility treatments, she was my biggest cheerleader. It was such a difficult time for me. I was so raw and wounded and profoundly sad. I didn't tell anyone about my treatments because I didn't have the strength to deal with people's well-intentioned, yet incredibly insensitive and often hurtful, comments. But I told her. I trusted her. And she was the awesome friend I needed at that time. I will always be thankful for that.

Well, as we all know, the fertility treatments did not result in pregnancy for me. I don't like to say they failed, because I got to go through all the steps. I got to try the treatments, my follicles grew, we gathered a couple of eggs, they fertilized, and we were able to return them inside of me. But I've never been pregnant.

It's weird. I knew a lot of people couldn't support someone who is infertile. Either they don't know how or my reality made them too uncomfortable or they were busy with their own lives, I don't know. But support for someone going through infertility is extremely rare. This friend I'm telling you about was a gem.

But what I didn't know was that some people can't support you once you somewhat realize you can't have children. And this friend was like that. She could rally for me all day long as I tried and tried treatments and tried acupuncture and diet changes and vitamins and supplements, but it was beyond her capacity to support me as a woman who was not going to be a mother.

She and I tried. After all of my unsuccessful fertility treatments, my husband and I (well, really, me, my husband was getting over the whole thing by this point, but he kept going for my sake) kept trying the good old fashioned way for another year and a half. I thought maybe he and I would be one of those couples that got pregnant years later after everything else didn't work. My friend remained hopeful and optimistic. But I never got pregnant.

That's when things got weird. I wasn't pregnant and there was nothing I could do about it. I was grieving and it was extremely difficult for me. I was reading blogs written by women who were living life after infertility and I started thinking about what my life would be like if I never became a mother.

I guess that's where her support ended. It really took me by surprise. Here was the one friend who I felt had stood by me through everything and now this friendship was fading too. And then I got my feelings hurt. We were out having a couple of beers on a gorgeous day when she was sharing with me how upset she was that she only had one child. I never thought about it before, but all of her friends had two or more kids. I said something along the lines of, "Huh, you *are* the only person you know with an only child." And she replied, "Yes, it's hard. But then I think of you and remember it could always be worse."

Ouch.

Damn.

Wow.

Uh... I didn't even know what to say to that. I don't remember what I said to that. But it stung. Bad.

My life is so much worse? Well, dang, why don't I just give up now??

In that same afternoon she was encouraging me to pursue adoption. But then she followed it by saying she could never love an adopted child as much as she loved her "own" daughter, that it was important for her to carry the child to develop that maternal bond.

Again...  Uh... Okay...

Like I said, it got weird. I don't even know.

I continued the friendship for a little while longer, even though part of me deep down knew it wasn't working anymore. Our visits got less and less frequent. I noticed on social media that she only hung out with other moms. And once I stoppped reaching out every month or so, I just never heard from her.

So. Weird.

I will always be grateful for her support during the darkest time in my life. I wish we were still friends like we used to be. But, life has weird ways of changing. I am not a mother, I am not pursuing motherhood, and my former friend and I have grown apart.

I wish this was the only friendship that has faded away during my struggle with infertility, but, unfortunately, there are many. But this is the only friendship that faded away in this manner.

I don't even know how to end this post. I have no closing words, other than that situation took me by surprise and the whole thing was very weird. I wish her well.

6 comments:

  1. Losing a friendship like this is really hard. I think it is another loss, and it is worth mourning. A friendship I had changed dramatically in the years after I found I would never have children, and her kids started school and she made friends with all the other mothers. So I completely recognise your comment, "... once I stopped reaching out every month or so, I just never heard from her." We have always stayed friends, but it is much more distant now, and we both see other friends far more frequently than we see each other. I've mourned the relationship a long time. Like you, I've always wished her well. It is hard though - even though I am grateful for what we had, it is hard knowing it has gone. Sending hugs.

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    1. It is hard. And it is worth mourning. It is definitely another loss. Thank you for sharing your experience. I wish these things weren't so commonplace, but I suppose it is another part of the human experience. <3

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  2. Friendships are sometimes weird, especially when infertility is thrown into the mix.. And sometimes they don't end with a big fight or blow up, but rather you just drift apart. I had one very similar friendship that ended when we decided to stop, so I get it.

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    1. So weird. So so weird. To go from a place of such confidence, such trust, and to slowly move into another place that is just so different. Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry we can relate, but it also makes me feel less alone. <3

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  3. I know...
    You have put it so beautifully - that it was beyond her capacity to support you as a woman who was not going to be a mother. I know since I had friends like that as well.

    Looking back, it is actually very easy to support a friend - cheerleading through infertility treatments. But it is damn hard to support a friend who goes through grieving process of accepting childless life.

    Yes, you have lost a friend. But you got so many new friends! Judging by the comments you have:
    - one friend from New Zealand
    - one friend from the north part of the USA
    - one friend from sLOVEnia

    :)

    Wishing you all the best!

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    1. Thank you Klara. It was so hard to go through. I feel like I'm on the other side of a lot of things now. And you are so right- I have new friends! :) Friends that understand and support me and share the good and bad of their life. I know if I ever meet any of you in person, it will be like we've always known each other.

      I have new friends at school too. They are all 10 - 15 years younger than me and the age gap is hilarious, especially considering how fast technology has changed over the years. We have had such different experiences growing up in life and the differences constantly make us laugh.

      And I have my best friend too. Even though she and I live 8 hours apart and see each other maybe only once a year, we text all the time. She is an amazing woman who does not have children and who does all this cool stuff. She inspires me all the time.

      Then when I move and start my new career, I will meet people there too. I am very excited. And I am so, so thankful that I am no longer lonely. That was a very, very difficult time in my life.

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