I recently had issues with a couple of close friend which has prompted me to write this post.
Friends? Who needs ‘em?
In the last few years Hubby and I have slowly but surely avoided social events, avoided planning too much in advance and basically have become non-committal to any future event (except those we cannot avoid, i.e. weddings). Our diaries are permanently empty and we like it that way. It means we can do what we want when we want (and if that’s wallowing in self pity in our pyjamas eating takeaways all weekend, then that’s what we’ll do). However, I have a couple of friends who just don’t understand this, even though I have tried to explain on more than one occasion.
I have recently had the following comments thrown at me (it’s also important to note that the above comments have been made in the last week, and both friends know about my impending miscarriage and that it will be yet another pregnancy loss for us):
“You need to party more and take your mind off it all.”
Are you serious? I am about to lose my third baby!! And who would we party with? All our friends who have children? All our friends who don’t understand our IF situation and ask us if we are ever going to have children for the umpteenth time? We just don’t fit in anywhere at the moment. Thanks for understanding (i.e. not even trying to)…
“You need to meet new people. Maybe a change will do you good?”
Right, so it takes every ounce of energy to get up in the morning and face the world, so why don’t I use what’s left to make small talk with people I’ll never see again and/or don’t want to see again. I have explained before that sometimes Hubby and I prefer just to be together on our own. We are the only ones going through our IF journey, outsiders don’t always fit in or help. Again, thanks for understanding (i.e. not even trying to)…
“Every-time I ask you to go out at the weekend you make an excuse, have I done something wrong?”
Yes you have! You haven’t listened to me when I have explained several times how hard IF is; when I have explained how unhappy we are; that we don’t want to commit to dates because we might cancel if we are feeling suicidal that weekend; that we don’t want to go out drinking where I’ll end up crying in a toilet after yet another pregnancy announcement. Yes, it’s all about you! What annoys me here is that it has been twisted into being about her with no thought for what we have been going through. Again, thanks for understanding (i.e. not even trying to)…
Maybe my mistake in the past has been trying to spare people from our woes. Every time someone asks us out, I make excuses because don’t want to have to explain (yet again) that we are ruled by IF and that it takes over our every waking second. I don’t want say it again because I don’t the inevitable advice that comes with it – “You are very stressed all the time, maybe if you relax a bit?” or “A night out would do you good.” or “Maybe if you stop trying so hard…” Advice is all too often packed with ignorance and is given without thought. (Of course that’s not their fault, but I don’t need to hear it).
I didn’t really want to have to explain to my friends that I am about to lose another pregnancy until it was all over (then at least we could delay the pity party). But my hand was forced by the two friends who I have quoted above. One friend didn’t even say sorry about my up and coming loss, just an “Ok, I understand why you don’t what to commit to dates”. Err Hello? I just said we were pregnant again and about to lose another baby!? I shouldn’t have to explain myself and reveal my pregnancy anyway, just because I am getting a guilt trip about not going out next weekend.
I’m 35 years old, I don’t have to explain my decisions to anyone – if I want to stay in on a weekend, not meet people, not party – then I can do that! Back off people!
IF affects EVERYTHING!
Hubby and have gradually slipped more and more into our own little bubble of safety. We prefer our own company and don’t like the public. Heck, we don’t even like socialising with our friends at the moment, never mind anyone else. That’s not to say we don’t care about them or don’t want to see them or talk to them ever again. But at the moment it has to be on our terms. We have no friends who have been through IF to this extent (the occasional single unlucky miscarriage, but nothing like our problems). We know no one who can even attempt to understand how IF affects every second of every minute of every day; that it’s a roller coaster of hopes and heartbreak; massive highs and rock-bottom lows; that it repeats itself; that it gets worse, not better. Sometimes, when something non-IF related consumes your brain completely, for a brief moment you can forget the pain, but no quicker than you have forgotten, it all comes flooding back to drown you in your own tears!
I read an article from Our Bodies Ourselves recently which said:
Infertility is about so much more than the inability to conceive. It can rock a woman’s very foundations — her sense of control over her own future, her faith in her own body, and her feelings about herself as a woman. It can result in a loss of innocence, as a woman finds herself on the wrong side of the statistics. Suddenly, bad things don’t just happen to other people. Despite all her efforts, she is unable to achieve the experience that many women see as a birthright. Pregnancy likely cannot be achieved except with substantial medical help, and may very well never be achieved at all.
I think this (almost) sums it up. I would never wish IF on anyone, but sometimes I just wish I could let friends step into our shoes just for a single day to feel how hard it is. Then I would tell them to multiply that by 365 days, for 3 years! I’ve known it for a while, there is no getting away from it: IF affects EVERYTHING!!! And the sooner everyone accepts it the better.