Friendship Loss

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. 


19 thoughts on “Friendship Loss

  1. Aw Sam, that is so not the kind of response you deserved. Your request was put forward so lovingly and eloquently. I wish you had gotten the nice response that your email deserved. But you didn’t. I battle with the same thing, people don’t react to my pain in the sensitive way I would have liked them to. The only way I can make sense of it and lessen the pain inflicted is to realize that only people who have gone through exactly the same can understand exactly how I feel. Infertility has a way of making new parents and expectant parents extremely uncomfortable. It’s as if they feel so guilty for getting something so easily that the fertility-challenged work so hard for (and might never have).

    If you want, you can give your friend the benefit of the doubt- maybe she’s just trying to gather the courage to deal with this properly, or she’s been so busy with her baby and pregnancy that she hasn’t gotten around to it.

    Or… you could let the friendship go for now and still remember the good times. Also remember, there are lots of people who know from own experience what you are going through, maybe these are the friendships worth nurturing for now.

    Good luck and I’m sending you a virtual hug!


  2. Oh Sam,
    I almost started to cry when I read your post. Its all too familiar for me too. I think everyone of us that has walked on the IF road long enough has experienced this in someway or another.
    You know the story behind my 2BFF’s that I lost when I had my last MC and they went on to have their healthy pregnancies. Well all I can say is that the pain, hurt and disappointment will get better in time.
    I think Ingrid has responded beautifully above, I don’t think there is more to add.
    I’m here for you friend, one battered and bruised soul to another. Ok?


  3. Sam,

    For what it’s worth, you did the right thing. My motto in life is to surround myself with REAL friends and keep the rest at arm’s length. A very good way to find out where people belong is to do what you did, and your friend is using her vote of silence put herself in the latter category. I’m cruel like that…

    Perhaps a cue for you to reinvest your efforts in places where it really matters.

    Keep it real my friend, keep it real!


  4. I’m so sorry darling. I don’t see anything wrong in your email; you obviously spent a lot of time choosing the right words and trying to get the exact feelings down. I hope that your friend is just in a busy place right now and not that she’s not responding because she’s being insensitive. Many hugs!


  5. that’s a load of crap. there is nothing wrong with that email. jsut a simple request. remember, most people are morons when it comes to responding to infertility. she may just not know what to say. though, that’s a freakin cop out.
    i am sorry. sorry that you are here. and that it appears your friend has copped out.
    bad fertile. no cookie.


  6. That was a beautiful email. I’m so sorry that she isn’t taking it right.

    My only thought is, perhaps you might want to call her? I know the tone of your email because, like you, I had a “great” IVF cycle with nothing to show for it. Perhaps she didn’t get the tone. Sometimes speaking via phone helps a lot.

    I’m so sorry this is happening to you.


  7. Dear Sam – what a beautiful email! Came over from L&F to give you some support. I’ve not told any of my fertile mertiles (with the exception of one dear, dear friend) that we’re having trouble simply because they wouldn’t understand. I do hope your friend will give you some support and love. BIG HUG.


  8. That was a wonderful email and I dont understand why your friend cannot see what you are going thru and be more understanding. Maybe she is not sure how to respond. Give it a few more days.


  9. I cannot believe that any other sentient human being could read your email to your friend without realising that you chose your words incredibly carefully, were petrified that you might offend, and were really, really hurting. If I could put a positive spin on it my only explanation would be she doesn’t know how to respond so has gone quiet on you. If you have upset her then she truly lacks any kind of empathy and I’m sorry you have lost a friend but you need support just now so should look elsewhere. I too am surrounded by fertile women but they are very sensitive and usually I have to drag the baby stories out of them because they don’t want to upset me by talking about their kids too much. Good luck.


  10. I’m so sorry. This is never an easy thing and hopefully she just needs some time herself and will come back to being your friend again. If not I hope the hurt fades for you.


  11. Oh Sam – such a familiar story to me. The details may be different, but the results so similar. Another effect of this IF cross we bear – it really can be a relationship killer.

    In this case, you gave her so much to go on, so many opportunities to see your pain through your words and not only think about how your request affected HER…but she didn’t take the bait.

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way, and that this had to happen like this. While it may be true what your friend said about it maybe being time to let this one go, I know all to well that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

    Hugs to you, my friend.


  12. I had this happen to me last month. I’m so sorry you had to go through it too. I think your email was very open and honest. I don’t know why she didn’t reply. It sucks when stuff like this happens. Keep yourself surrounded by caring and supportive people. {{hugs}} to you!!!
    p.s. I started a new blog (If):
    you can read about my story there


  13. Oh Sam, That’s so awful! I can’t believe that on top of your already hurt and broken heart that you have to deal with this too.

    I have a feeling that she feels removed from you as it is, and maybe just maybe she didn’t know how to respond and simply just removed you from her email list until you ask to be put back. I don’t want you to be a sucker for punishment, but maybe a phone call to her might clear the air. You don’t have to discuss anything, but just hearing the tone in her voice will give you a clear understanding of where this friendship is.

    I can tell that you love her dearly and you are tremendously hurt by this, but you will never really know what her intentions were unless you find out. Obviously if she’s ‘snippy’ to you, then you will have to say goodbye in your heart and move on.



  14. I have lost most friends due to infertility and know how hard it is. I had a question. Have the email pics stopped? I am asking to see if she responded by taking you off the list at least. It may be that she has no idea how to respond even if she doesn’t feel anger, it may be not but unless you talk making assumptions only makes ya crazy. I am hoping for the former and sending love.


  15. I have lost 2 friends through infertility….both sides of the fence – one was utterly insensitive with me after she got preg in 3 seconds flat, and another had a m/c from her final IVF while I had gotten pregnant naturally on number 2. It’s all so emotive, I hope you can work it out, if that’s what you want xxx


  16. This is so hard. The email you sent was extremely eloquent and reasonable and I think it’s really sh*tty that your friend didn’t respond. I, too, am soooo sick of birth announcements and baby pictures. Of course, I’m happy for my friends, but it’s really a slap in the face to us infertiles. My BFF got pg her first month off BCPs, so I feel your pain.

    Sending lots of hugs your way.


  17. Pingback: Been thinking… « Communiqué

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