Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Honoring My Sadness

It has happened again.
Another friend is pregnant.
Complete with a cute photograph shared on social media and accompanied by 500+ "Likes."

Again, I am happy for her. I really, truly am. This woman is a special person who makes everyone she meets feel good. She has struggled to get pregnant for years and has had many surgeries to make her body hospitable to pregnancy.


I lost it.

I hadn't cried over an announcement in a seemingly long time. I have begun to realize that other people's lives are separate from mine, that I've got my own thing going on and I am moving on. But this announcement still made me sad for myself.

Why does IVF work for other people but it didn't work for me???

I am proud of myself. I didn't read the comments. I knew they would hurt me.
Lots of:
-No one deserves it more than you
-God has blessed you with life's most precious gift
-Welcome to motherhood, it's the greatest thing ever
and more comments of that nature, I'm sure.

I am happy for her, but it's another lost friendship for me. For us. Her husband was one of my husband's closest friends. Our lives are going in different directions now. We won't see them for at least six months, because I don't like to hang out with pregnant women. And my husband said he doubts we will ever hang out with them again. They have a ton of friends and they all have children. Our lives don't match anymore.

For the first time, my husband got what I call a "fishing" text, though he didn't realize it at the time. I have received lots of these over the years. The kind of text where the person feels you out, sees what you're up to, and how you are doing, especially with regard to the whole baby situation. We had already shared with them that we were done trying and we thought maybe they were coming to the end too. Turns out she was pregnant and they wanted to see where we were with the whole topic... He didn't say anything, but, in retrospect, I think my husband felt a little weird about the text. Or maybe I'm projecting. I always feel weird, a little pitied, after receiving those fishing-type texts.

So, anyway, I cried. A lot. At first it was just a little. A few tears silently streamed down my face. But that wasn't enough. I could feel it deep down throughout my whole body, so I just gave in and had a really good cry about it.

I felt dumb for crying. (Geez, will the self-judgment ever end??) I thought, I've come so far in my healing. Why am I upset? This woman is awesome and her pregnancy has nothing to do with me. Why, after all these years, am I crying about her announcement?

I texted my best friend. I said, "I hope one day other people's pregnancy announcements don't affect me. I'm happy for this most recent couple but I get jealous that IVF worked for them but not for me." And my best friend, my wise, loving, inspiring, and beautiful best friend, wrote back: "I think that's fair!" I told her I had been crying and she said: "Okay, I'm being serious- why wouldn't you? What 'honor' is there in not being sad?"

Wow. I had never thought about it like that before. Honoring my sadness. She is so right. Of course, I don't have to be happy all the time. I already knew that. But honoring my sadness? Yes! That is so valid and necessary. I love her. I loved her comments to me. I continued to cry, but this time I didn't judge myself. I let the tears flow. I felt sad for my children that didn't get to be here and that I didn't get to raise. And I honored that sadness by expressing it instead of ignoring it or judging it.

Grieving is not a linear process. And losing my children to infertility is a lifelong loss. So I will continue to feel sadness at different points throughout my life. And I will honor my sadness when it surfaces.


  1. We need to grieve when we need to grieve. You do need to honour your sadness, your losses. A stiff upper lip doesn't let you grieve, but tears do, allowing you to go on living in the world.

    1. Powerful!! The concept that tears let us grieve, "allowing you to go on living in the world." Thank you very much Mali! <3

  2. Aw your best friend sounds lovely and wise. The announcements are hard. I'm 45 now so they have got much rarer, and I mind them much less now anyway, but the last one was about two years ago and I kind of cried. It was a friend that I had on my mental list of fellow childfrees - she was over forty, hadn't had a child and it comforted me to have this little list of "comrades" that were the same as me. For me it's all about the solidarity, the fact that, yes, we can be happy without having the last-minute baby. So I carried around this list of four or five friends who were in the same boat as me, but seemingly happy, and it made me feel much, much better. When I heard she was about to have a baby: I admit, I felt bitterly sad and kind of let down. It's like: another one bites the dust. I suppose the more people that you know who are childfree, the more normalised it is and the less alone you feel. I didn't feel upset out of envy, I wasn't thinking about the fact of having children, it was more like: Jesus, does EVERYONE have to do it?? The more friends you have that are like you, the more validated you feel, I suppose. I'm a bit out of touch with this friend and it might have been different if I saw her often, but I wasn't happy: I just felt, well now we have nothing in common. I realise that's just me and that I sound bitter, but that's how it was.
    Anyway, you are completely right to honor your sadness. Lovely piece Phoenix.

    1. Yes, yes, yes to everything you wrote. As I said, I am happy for my friend, but I am sad for myself. Sad that IVF didn't work for me but also sad that I have lost another friend to mommyhood. It's funny that you said "another one bites the dust" because that song by Queen is EXACTLY what started playing in my head when I saw my friend's pregnancy announcement. Hahahaha! Shores, if you are ever in the states please let me know and I will let you know if I'm ever in Ireland. I don't have any big trips planned yet, but we never know what the future holds! :)

  3. Honoring your sadness makes a lot of sense. I actually find I'll feel a lot better after having a good cry and letting it all out. Having to put on a brave face all the time, especially around pregnant people takes energy! I know what you mean about losing the friendship. That's happened to us a few times too.

    1. I feel better after a good cry too. It's a healthy release. I don't like being around pregnant women and, honestly, I avoid it at all costs. No one acknowledges or attempts to understand my reality, why am I expected to be present for others' realities? So now that my friend has brought the concept to my attention, honoring my sadness when it comes is very important to me.

  4. I love your wise kind -hearted best friend!

    I agree, grieving isn't a linear process.

    How many tears did I cry in situations like these.

    I am now 43, I stopped all IVF treatments 5 years ago. And I think I haven't cried for the last 4 years.

    sending you a warm hug across the Atlantic.

    1. Thank you Klara! As you know, I'm two years out of IVF. It does get better with time, but it still hits me seemingly out of the blue every now and then. I'm proud of how far I've come and I know that it will only continue to get better. Thanks for showing me that. <3