Failing in friendships: fertility vs friends

Dear friends,

I probably owe you an explanation. I know I’ve been absent these last few years, and I don’t intend on always being in hiding, so I hope that door is still going to be open in the future.

Some of you have tried to reach out, to offer to meet, have a coffee, do something fun. But I can’t do it. You see, every single day, there’s a comment or a work situation that presents itself to me which will trigger all of my own pain over not yet having a baby. Even going to work is its own trigger because right now the “plan” was to be at home caring for my baby. So everyday I have to muster the strength to not let these daily occurrences break me. If I break then I can’t carry on with this journey. Meeting up and having friends close to me should be a welcome relief- but, it isn’t. There was a point when it was manageable, when I felt like I could still hear about your families, your babies and your lives moving forward without drawing comparisons to my own delays, inadequacies and failures as a woman. But that ship sailed a while ago. What’s left behind is fractured and broken and requires every last bit of energy to hold the pieces together so as to present a brave face.

Even on holiday, whilst attempting to cross the iron cast language barrier and introduce my mother to the caretaker of the shared property we were staying in, I get asked the inevitable; “Bebe?”. What? Surely not, I panic and ask her to repeat it, praying it wasn’t what I thought, but again “Bebe?”. “No. No”, I say. Then crash. That’s it. My day gone. It was only 9am. As easy and quick as that. It took one word and I crumbled. This is how difficult it has become. Now I know why the high chair has been left out both times I’ve been away here this year. She is mistaken and assumes, like most others, we have a baby. Both times, even seeing that high chair has caused ripples of pain, hurt and anger. I can’t look at it. I can’t picture the scene of what should have been by now. Me, my husband, our baby, on this holiday and using that high chair. Both times I’ve had to get my husband to dismantle it. The pain is too much to bear.

The lack of control over every single aspect of this journey is tiresome and testing.  It’s a battle of fertility versus friendships, and the brute force of fertility struggles means it will always win.  Omnipotent in its path of destruction, taking everything with it including my friendships: I have no control about the random daily events or comments which cause so much turbulence. And, in the same manner, my friends have become a risk. Every social situation or friend that I put myself in front of, carries with it the huge risk of causing hurt. I can’t risk hearing about how you are going to start trying for a baby, your pregnancy announcement, your pregnancy, your baby, about your second pregnancy, your second or third baby. I can’t do it. I’ll probably survive the time we spend together, I’ll even try to smile through it, but after I will fall apart and honestly, it can take a week to recover. It is nothing personal. I wish it wasn’t this way. I dreamt of us having this conversation together, I dreamt of play dates with your children, but I’m stuck on the other side of the table, empty handed and still, an empty womb. It’s one of the only areas which I can attempt to control, so I’m learning that no matter how isolated it has made me, the safer option is to avoid seeing anyone, to avoid social gatherings and to avoid this hurt.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’ve not been there for you. I’m sorry I’ve been so immensely preoccupied in this mess. I never knew that trying to make a baby would become such a full time job: the hospital appointments, the blood tests, the grieving, the hope, the hopes crashed. It’s never ending and it is all consuming.

I truly hope we can rekindle our friendship soon. I truly hope you will understand why I’ve been so absent. If you’ve offered any support ever, particularly if you’ve been one of only a couple of friends to really have been there and hold my hand, showing me how you understand the loss, the journey, the pain, and to actually ask me where I am at with things and show some empathy, then thank you. I miss you all.

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