And the clouds roll in . . .

***revised Tuesday morning after “sleeping on it”, again.

Here is where I should take my own advice and blame the hormones and leave it at that. But what is a blog if not a place to put all these messed up feelings. Maybe that will get a few of them out of my head?

So here it goes:

While I actually had a very nice weekend with C., I am miserable this morning. The clouds started rolling in late last night, but by this morning, they had formed into thunderheads. I just wanted to crawl back under the covers and wait for the storm to pass. But, instead, I had to put on a happy face and go to work and pretend all is well in my world.

What triggered this funk? Who knows? A dozen small things. One really huge one: I woke up today and my first thoughts were about this whole infertile mess.What often happens for me is that I pick one of the dozen small things and start to seriously ruminate about it. Obsess is the better description really. It keeps me from getting as caught up in the bigger pain, the real pain.

This weekend I had a phone call with one of my closest friends. This phone call triggered a kind of emotional firestorm for me. Bestfriend (BF) and I have been close since highschool, which means about two decades now (gasp, am I really that old??) She and I have had similar paths in many ways. We both met “him” later than average which led to getting married later than average which led to trying for a baby at an “advanced maternal age.” She actually did each of these things even later than me but ended up “ahead” on all counts. She met her “him” about 18 months later but got married about the same time as me and she started trying for a baby 6 months later and now already has a one year old. She also already conceived baby #2, when baby #1 was only 10 months old. Now when we started out on this quest to motherhood, we of course assumed we’d both get there in now time. It quickly became apparent that one of us would not. This is were the similar paths veered apart. We didn’t mean for them to, they just did. But when we were still naive and optimistic we vowed to do this together in the sense of sharing the joys and the scary bits and all the gory details in the classic way two best girlfriends do. We bought the same pregnancy books and made our plans. One of those plans was to wait until the second trimester to tell everyone. Everone but each other that is. So that is where betrayal number one occurred. She treated me like everyone despite our promise, while in the meantime I spilled my guts down to the last detail about all my scary infertility tests, trials and traumas. I got over that, I figured she felt sorry for me, maybe felt guilty for being such an overachiever while I stuggled with infertility. Then the assvice started. Great stuff about taking a vacation, about relaxing, about “when you least expect it”, about her friends who adopted and got pregnant, about her friends, a lesbian couple, who were expecting too (and I quote: “If two women can have a baby surely it can’t be that hard for you and C. Right?”) Wrong. So these early signs should have been my clue to duct tape my mouth shut. But I had not found you internets yet. I had no one to talk to. My mother was giving worse assvice that BF and my husband was still chanting the mantra of “it will work, give it time”. So I told BF everything and opened my soul so wide that I feel just totally foolish in retrospect.

I think I did my part along the way . . . I sent her happy pregnancy cards, gifts for her, for baby, ooh and aahed at photos and so on. I never voiced jealousy or acted petty. No matter how shitty I was feeling I dug deep enough to celebrate her good fortune with her.

So fast forward to now. She gets pregnant back in November when cute cherub #1 is 10 months old. (Again does not tell me which is fine.) Sadly she then had a miscarriage at 9 weeks, again does not tell me which is fine. Waits another month approx until I am in the full crisis of my own life (which she DOES know since naive me tells her everything) and tada! She suddenly wants to open up to me and tell me this tragic news. I feel like crap. But, I say all the right things. I don’t regret my end of the phone call in any way. I did manage to pull it together quite seamlessly and say all the right things to comfort her. But I guess what got me is how much it drained me and this at a time when I am already so empty. And what I do regret is my internal reaction. I was so floored by her being pregnant again, so soon, so easily again . . . that I could hardly absorb the miscarriage part of the news at all. I also felt like crap for resenting her choosing this exact time to dump the news on me. If she had called me in real time, in the heat of the crisis because she needed a friend to lean on, I would have never resented that. But if she waits to tell me, if telling me isn’t urgent then why not wait until I am not in a crisis of my own? When I asked how she was coping with it, she said she has pretty much worked through it by now, she’s just still really sad. So why then, tell me all this now?

And to get to the real highlight of the conversation . . . the bit that really put me over the edge was her smug mommy comment. She expressed to me (of all people) that having a miscarriage is harder once you have a child because you know what you’re missing. Call me crazy but I find this concept absurd. A loss is a loss. Can she really believe that the women who miscarry over and over and never end up with a baby to hold in their arms have it easier than she, who has a beautiful one year old to hold while she grieves her loss? Which of these pictures is sadder? And why compare anyway? Pain is pain. But if she insists on comparing then I have to say I think she is better off, even with this tragic loss, than any women who never gets to hold a baby in her arms. The arrogance (or maybe it is ignorance) of that remark hit me so hard I wasn’t sure if I knew the person at the other end of the phone at all. And that has me questioning this friendship most of all.

Maybe this is the most asinine thing I’ve ever said but I think I could feel for her more fully if she had not felt the need to say that it takes having a child to understand losing one. So maybe she is right, maybe I just don’t understand her pain. But I also learned during that conversation that she clearly does not understand my pain either. I do know what it is to lose a child without ever having been pregnant at all. I lose that child more every day that goes by. The hope of a child that is yet to be or that may never be. That loss is real too.

My heart goes out to her. She is grieving and for that I am truly sorry. I will lend whatever support I can. The biggest thing that has changed between us is that I will no longer be hoping for that support back. She cannot see my situation in the context of loss or grief. But whether she sees it or not, I am grieving too. I have been for a long time now, right under her nose. Infertility is an invisible wound but it is a gaping, festering, debilitating would nonetheless. I would not wish it on anyone. And for each of us here . . . I wish for a cure. Whatever form that cure comes in.

So writing it all this out (three times revised by now!) did help. My head feels clearer, and I know where to go from here. The clouds remain but I know they will leave in their own time. I’m not sure I’ve helped anyone else by sharing this ramble, but I sincerely hope I have not offended anyone.

***sadly, revision didn’t make this post any shorter!

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3 Responses to “And the clouds roll in . . .”

  1. Liz Says:

    I can relate to all you wrote. It’s so difficult for people to understand our pain. I had told some friends about our first cycle and didn’t mention the second or this one because I didn’t want to deal with them not being able to be as supportive as I wanted or needed. I know how hard it was to hear about your friend’s loss and then her comment and be supportive.

  2. Leggy Says:

    Ugh- I’m sorry you are feeling this way. Its hard to juggle all these emotions.

    I’m sorry your friend pulled the “my pain is worse than your pain” crap. Even if she didn’t mean to do it, its still hurts.

    And I know what you mean being frustrated that your reproductive life is “out there” while other non-IF’ers have the luxury of waiting the prescribed timeline before announcing.

    Re: not telling you. The only thing I can say in her defense is that its hard sometimes to tell people you are PG because then you have to go back and untell them if/when it fails. I don’t mind as much saying “I had a m/c” if its a friend I’m close to, but its hard to say “I’m pg” and then have to call them up later and tell them its over. So maybe it was less about not wanting to share with you than just that its really damn hard to untell.

  3. mm Says:

    Hi

    First, thanks for your comment. It really does help to know that I have people in the computer rooting for me… even if I can’t root for myself.

    Second, I love your blog (the title rocks. I’m a sucker for puns) and can so relate to what you said about your friend. My relationship with my best friend has suffered tremendously bc of my IF. She just doesn’t get it and I can’t get over her insensitivity. I never would have thought that we would “break up” after 12 years over this. Argh.

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