It seems that I have lost one of my closest friends to infertility. I know that it happens (I bear the scars of others lost), but I cannot stop feeling bitterly disappointed in this friend.
Let me back up, this friend and I met at work, and soon we became more than just work colleagues. We trained at gym together, went to each others houses for braais and dinners, got drunk together and shared our lives with each other. In times of need we were there for each other. Then I got engaged. Shortly thereafter she got engaged. I got married and started ttc. She got married. I was one of her maids of honor at her wedding and things were hunky dory. Then she got pregnant, after one month of being off the pill. I was there for her during her pregnancy in SO many ways even though I was wishing I was in the same boat and was going through failed fertility treatment after failed fertility treatment to get there. Then she moved to another city. It was hard to see her go as I missed her and her new family. But we still remained friends. In her new hometown, she met a lot of really fertile people and constantly told me how fertile all her friends were and how they were all pregnant and how easily they all got their dreams fulfilled. Then she called me out the blue to tell me she was 12 weeks pregnant with # 2 (also conceived within 8 weeks of being off the pill).
Things got a bit shaky cos here we were… me the infertile and her the fertile mertile who was onto baby #2 while I was still battling towards having # 1. BUT she is my friend, so I made the effort and was happy for her and we continued on our merry ways. Somewhere in all of this, I asked her to send weekly pics of her kids so that those of us in Joburg that she left behind would keep up with the growth of her babies… Weekly pics became every three days pics then they became everyday pics. Daily reminders of what I had not been able to accomplish in over 4 years of trying… So after my first IVF resulting in a BFN I started resenting getting the pictures every darn day. They started making me sad instead of happy so I sent her an email asking her to take me off the email list for a short while… This is the email I sent her:
Hi “Friends Name”
Thanks for the pics; it is undoubtedly clear that your family is gorgeous!
I’m not really sure how to put this request to you without hurting your feelings, but please know that this is all about me and what is going on in my head and my heart right now and has absolutely nothing to do with you, your children or my love for all of you. Because I do love you all – A HELL OF A LOT.
As you know our first IVF did not work out for the positive and while I am “fine” and am getting through it, I am still emotionally raw from it. It was a huge step for Cliff and I to take – financially and emotionally, as it really is the last step we can take to realize our dream of having our family in a marginally “normal” way. I am all the more hurt by the fact that the cycle went SO perfectly and SO well only to have my embryo’s not make it when they were put back into my womb. As silly as it sounds I feel responsible for them not taking (logically I know that there is nothing I did or did not do that caused the outcome, but I still feel like my body betrayed me).
I need a massive favor, and as one my best friends I know I can ask you without you being hurt, please can you take me off of your picture email list for a little while? As irrational as this might sound, seeing pictures of your perfect children reminds me very clearly of what my body has not been able to do, of my failure as a wife and a woman. It shows me what I could have and I am terrified of never getting that, so right now I need to protect my heart and not be reminded so clearly of what I have not been able to do in just over 4 long hard years of trying.
I love you and believe that you deserve your wonderful blessings but it’s just painful to see what I desire so much. It’s not forever and I’ll let you know as I am ready to receive the pics again. I don’t mean for you to feel guilt over your success – I am SO happy for you that you have been blessed with a perfect family, but it is just a bit hard right now for me to see the pics of the kids. I don’t think that you will be hurt or angry by this email because I know in my heart what a good friend and kind person you are but I am just so sensitive to everyone’s feelings right now – I guess because mine are so hurt. I would understand though, if you did feel that way especially considering that I was the person who pushed you to start the picture email list in the first place but I am trusting that you will understand, so for a little while please can you take me off the list. I will soon bounce back and be demanding to be put back on, but right now in this headspace I need to not get them.
I really hope you can understand where I am right now. I love you lots my friend and miss you daily.
Lots of love
Since sending this email nearly 2 weeks ago, I have not heard ONE word from her. Not a “fuck you”, not a “sure”, not a “I don’t understand your stupid feelings but ok”.
A friend told me that if we are going to fall out over this simple request then perhaps it is time for me to realise that our season is over… BUT I am angry with this friend. I needed her to understand what *I* am going through JUST ONCE and it seems she cannot do it. She cannot see through the rose shaded fertile glasses long enough to recognise the pain in my heart. She cannot even tell me that she is obviously pissed off at my request.
More than anger though, I feel this immense disappointment, this huge let down by someone who was supposed to be one of my best friends. Perhaps it is time to let the season of our friendship go, but it still hurts. I am tired of being the person who gives my all and ends up getting kicked in the teeth.
I am so tired of this all. I really need my turn to come up soon.