Too bad

Monday, December 06, 2010

My friend, my beautiful infertile-friendly friend, finally revealed that she is a mere mortal after all, not some angel sent with special background on how to deal with me.

She emailed me yesterday to see how I was doing. Which was awesome in the first place. But after I responded that it has been a pretty tough season so far, and that I am numb to all the excitement that everyone else is feeling, and how Christmas with adults is so anticlimatic, and how it's the worst time to be on the outside looking in, she writes:

"I know what you really want is a baby (and we do pray for that), but what I really want is for you to find happiness and fulfillment with your life, however that works out."



That is all fine and good, objectively, because don't we all want happiness and fulfillment in our lives?

But come on, this kind of sentiment coming from an effortlessly fertile person is like a knife to my heart. Why don't I just drive down to the housing projects in my nice car with my clean clothes and my full stomach on my lunch break from my great job and tell the first person I see that, I'm really sorry you don't have a job or a safe home or food for dinner, but I hope that you're happy and fulfilled anyway, no matter if you have to live in awful conditions the rest of your life.

Am I being dramatic?

I agree with her, I really want to live a fulfilled, happy life. And wouldn't it be great if tomorrow I could wake up and give two shakes of a rats tail about filling any of our bedrooms with children. But I seriously doubt that will happen, tomorrow, or any day. Wouldn't it be great if I could just decide, hey, I am going to pick {whatever} amazing goal that will change the world and go after it with as much zeal as I have. But everything I think of now seems like a failing substitute for what is in my heart.

And, sort of on the flip side, I wish I was better about carrying this damn dang cross of mine. I wish that I could carry it with a smile on my face and say, hey look at me, I have this awful life struggle, but I am totally happy and fulfilled and I am 100% sure that God will take this cross off my broken back some day!!

But let's face it, I am not 100% sure. Because He does call some people to be childless, and even if I can somehow fake being happy and fulfilled and pretend that my (for example) new philanthropy at the animal shelter is just as rewarding as raising babies, this cross will always hurt in some way. I am sure of it.

I have given her the link to this blog, but I don't think she reads it. I write this post with utter honesty, and I hope she will understand that if she comes here. She has been one of the TWO of my friends who has been genuinely supportive of us, and I know no one's perfect, so I am attempting to give her a pass this time. It's too bad, though, because now I sort of feel like she thinks I should just shut up already about it.

And at the end of the day, I am staunchly maintaining that Christmas is the worst time to be on the outside looking in.


Melissa said...

Oh, I'm sorry your friend wrote that. That's a terrible thing to write or say to an IFer. And no, you are not being dramatic.

I understand what you're getting at...there will always be something lacking, a whole in your heart...something missing without kiddos.

And what she wrote is the same as people telling us "relax, it'll happen!" Pfft, begin eye roll.

Plus ya know, what she wrote reminds me of an adult talking to a kid. "I know what you want is XX but I want you to have XX" Seriously?

In the end, I believe you want someone who will be there for you - no matter HOW many times you tell her your struggles or wants or want her to just be there for you. A normal friend.

We'll still be here for you :)

Katie said...

That kind of comment bothers me very much. It makes me think that fertile women think we are all bitter and unhappy people because we can't get pregnant. You know what? Yes, we are bitter and unhappy sometimes. We have our moments - just like anyone else. But to imply that we need to find happiness is a little pretentious. I agree with Melissa: it's almost the same as telling someone that they should relax. What, if we don't find complete happiness and joy in life, does that mean we won't get pregnant? I just don't get it.

I'm sorry she said that to you. I don't think that people realize that all we want is someone to hold our hand and say, "This really stinks. It's not fair. It's horrible. I'm sorry you are going through this, and I am here for you."

callmemama said...

No matter how supportive someone is, they just can't understand the pain of IF unless they've been through it. It's as if you had cancer and needed to cry on her shoulder about the effects of the chemo or how you were worried about dying, and she told you that you just needed to concentrate on the life you have, not the uncertainties of the future.
Christmas is hard. Any time when we gather as a family is hard. Holidays with a focus on babies (hello, birth of Jesus Christ!) is going to be hard.
If she broke her leg and complained about how she's been in a cast for 6 wks already and she's tired and in pain, wouldn't she expect you to just be sympathetic and listen? Yes, I'm pretty sure she would.
All that said, I don't think she was getting frustrated at your complaining (at least, I like to give friends the benefit of the doubt), but people tend to get this "fix-it" attitude - they always know what's best for us. Do this treatment, feel this way, relax, just adopt, etc.

Coco said...

Oh A, I'm so sorry. It hurts SO much when people that we care about say things like that.

But I really think that she didn't mean any harm. I don't think she's sick of you crying on her shoulder. I think she just didn't know how else to say it. It hurts her to see you hurt, and she'd like to have all that pain go away. Of course, she has NO IDEA, but I think her heart was in the right place.

I think us IF women should come with instructions, or disclaimers... or maybe a long printed t-shirt... with rules about how to talk to us and treat us. Top on my list of "never say" would be ... "You should really relax about this and focus on the blessings you DO have"... "You know my brother divorced his wife because she was so obsessed about her IF, maybe you shouldn't take it so seriously"... "Maybe God isn't giving you children because He knows you can't handle it"... "So you're not pregnant, look at the bright side; you have time to diet now." :) Hahaha. Funny in retrospect, but I wanted to punch people when they said them.

Hang in there. *hugs*

the misfit said...

It's funny, if I heard that comment from another IFer, I would think it was wise; I have said it often about myself, because I have realized that in my case, the change in who I am is scarier than the childlessness itself. But if I heard it from a fertile friend, unless maybe it were someone who had really suffered terribly in life, I would react the same way you did - I would assume that she had filled her quota of listening to me be upset, and decided that mourning one's non-existent children was a problem best solved by an attitude adjustment. I guess it's true that even if we can appreciate the ones who TRY to be good to us, nobody will ever understand this who hasn't lived it.

Melissa said...

The cross is a hard one. Some days are better than others. I carried the cross for over 3 years. I had my good days and the days when I turned my head at the mall to hide the tears because I saw a family. You really have to take each day at a time. When we couldn't get preggo and were not sure the route to take we decided to "make the best of it" and do some traveling. After that we decided to adopt which didn't pan out and then we did IVF which worked. I think people who have not gone down the road of infertilty do not know how painful it is. You can't know how painful it is until you have been in our shoes. I don't think your friend meant anything bad by it, she just wants to see you happy. Your right...the holidays are a hard time. If God gave you the desire to be a Mommy it may happen by other means if not by the way you would plan. That is one thing that helped me. Again, I know the road your traveling and I never forget about you girls that are still on it. Praying for you.

JC said...

My best friend said something very smilar to me before also. It hurt a lot. That kind of comment basically closes me off and I don't talk to the person about IF anymore b/c obviously they don't "get it". I still love her and see her occasionally but don't confide in her or pour my heart out to her or anyone for that matter. Unless they've walked in our shoes they won't "get it". I'm really sorry she said that and I'm sorry it hurt and disappointed you.

Hillary said...

So sorry I have not been commenting....but I have been thinking about this post since I read it a couple days ago.

My heart broke for you as I read what your friend said. She may not "get it," she probably "meant well," but I know this was one of the few people in your life (other than Mr. A) who have been supportive of your infertility - it must have been such a blow. I am so, so sorry.

I feel like a broken record, but this is hard. This is where we are at. We won't always be here, but we are here now.