How to be a friend?

Every infertile or RPL woman has to go through the pain of being surrounded by pregnant women.  Sometimes it’s close friends, sometimes family members, and other times it’s just those random women you run into when you least expect it.

I’m fortunate that I have very few family members in general and the ones who are childbearing age I can just avoid when I’m not on Facebook.  I don’t have that sister or sister-in-law being pregnant in my face and expecting me to throw her baby showers to worry about, which I imagine is particularly difficult.

But I have several friends right now who are pregnant- 3 in particular that I care about still having a relationship with.  They have all told me via text or email, thankfully not in person.  But now I’m struck with wondering what to do to keep that friendship going.

I don’t want to be around pregnant women.  At all.  I can’t trust myself or my emotions- half the time I see them and feel this scary, intense hatred (usually strangers) and the other half of the time I just bust into tears and am reminded how much I hate my life and stupid body.  When I take Sweetie places that I know we’ll be seeing pregnant women, I totally focus on her.  I try to pretend that Sweetie and I are the only people in the room.  That’s not really conducive to going out for coffee with a pregnant friend or having her over for a playdate.

It’s hard because I still love these 3 women as people.  I don’t wish them bad things.  I know that there wasn’t some grand lottery where their babies get to live whereas mine get to die.  I do wish sometimes that they could understand better what I have been through-  I don’t get how in my entire pool of mommy friends that I only know of two who have had miscarriages before going on to have 2 and three kids (oh and the one who always makes a big deal about her chemical pregnancy before she had back-to-back-to-back children one each 12 months- um, don’t think you get it at all).

So I care, but I don’t want to look at them.  I don’t want to attend their baby showers or hear about their perfect OB appointments or be their shoulder to cry on about weight gain or being tired because of pregnancy.

I can’t stand it when I mentally compare myself to them sometimes-  Are they a better mom than I am?  Do they deserve this more than I do?  Why do they get to have 2, 3, 4 healthy babies AND a living mother who is their best friend AND nothing else bad that happens?  Why doesn’t any of this get spread around?

I look at their children and wonder- why do they deserve to have siblings and my Sweetie doesn’t?  Are they going to be more well-rounded than my Sweetie because they grow up with other siblings close in age?

I know, there’s no point in comparing or trying to understand.  But it really does impact relationships and I can’t imagine that ignoring that helps.

So I’m really confused as to how I’m supposed to be a friend anymore.  As if I didn’t need any more ways to feel bad, I feel bad because I don’t even consider myself a good friend anymore.  My mom always said that to have good friends you have to be a good friend.  I have felt so alone and surrounded by ‘bad’ friends because people don’t want to hear about my grief or losses.  But then I look in the mirror and know that I don’t want to hear about their pregnancies or happy family building escapades so I guess it goes both ways.

So what do I do?  What do you do if you’ve faced this?  Do I just tell these friends that I care about them but I don’t want to physically see them until after they have their babies?  I don’t see how that’s going to work well, because who knows how I’ll feel about their newborns (although, pregnant women seem far more difficult for me to see than babies-  but baby girls are still awfully hard).  Do I try to change our relationship to a phone one?  But then it’s not really fair to ask them to never mention pregnancy because I have found that often pregnant women end up feeling like their lives are consumed with the pregnancy and that’s all they can talk and think about.  Or is it fair to ask that?  Will any of this get better if my surrogate gets pregnant soon and I know I have a baby coming half a year or so after theirs is born?

I just feel like I’m destined to have no friends because I cannot be a good friend.  Just another thing Recurrent Pregnancy Loss has stolen from my life and another thing to feel like a giant jerk about.

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12 thoughts on “How to be a friend?

  1. Yep I can totally relate. I just simply cannot be around pregnant friends or friends with babies. Period. I feel like a dick but that’s all I can do. Avoidance 100%. Awful but it’s the only thing that feels right.

  2. I could have written this myself. I have been avoiding my pregnant friends like the plague. Fortunately, they seem to understand, but understanding only goes so far. I think eventually, if I don’t want to lose them (and I don’t), I’m going to have to face my demons. I’m just trying to muster up the courage to see them. Perhaps seeing them and crying it out will help me move through the grieving process? I don’t know. But if I figure out what works for me, I’ll let you know. For today, nothing but hugs and understanding.

  3. Yes. Just yes. To all of it. I haven’t figured it out yet even after all this time. I have one IRL friend who I see and she has no children and doesn’t plan on having any. All the rest have gone by wayside.

  4. Yes. So much yes. It’s still hard for me to see friends who conceived easily. This pain never goes away. Take care of you first – really, that’s all you can do. Much love.

  5. I have totally been there. I think you need to do what you have to do to preserve yourself. And if your friends truly care and value your friendship, they will understand (at least a little bit) that this is difficult for you right now.
    One thing that I found somehwat helpful for myself was that on the good days (when I wasn’t in total despair and bawling my eyes out) I would try to contact my friends, on my terms. Sometimes it was a quick chat, sometimes I actually felt good enough to see them. Some friends I just didn’t talk to for a loooong time.

    *hugs* It sure it hard being the only one not having what everyone else seems to have.

  6. Hi from ICLW. Yes, this is very hard. And I always felt bad trying to talk to someone about it because they thought i should be happy for my friends and my sisters. Yes, I am happy for my sisters, but hearing that BOTH of them were pregnant on the same day was a little much for someone who just had another failed cycle.

  7. I wish I knew what to tell you. The only pregnant women I’ve had to deal with are my cousins, and I can avoid them for long periods without consequence. The few good friends I have are done having kids or not having them at all. I do know that you will have to do something to keep those friendships. You don’t have to meet them half-way, but maybe 30%? If you can’t say it in person, use what you said in this blog post in a letter to them (you said it so well). Be honest about how you feel when you’re around pregnant women, but that you want and need their friendship. Maybe talking more on the phone or via text is best until the babies are born. Be honest if you don’t want to hear about any pregnancy related news or complaints. If they are good friends, they will understand. I hope you figure this out.

  8. aw, hugs.

    It’s hard being a good friend when everyone is getting the one thing you want. Wanting to stay away from them seems to be normal. I know I didn’t want to be — and couldn’t always be — around my pregnant friends after my loss. It was especially hard because three of them had due dates around the same time as our angel baby’s. I hated seeing them reach the milestones I wouldn’t be able to.

    I don’t really know what to tell you other than to be honest with your friends. I agree that you said everything so well in your post. You could email them how you’re feeling. If they are good friends they will understand, or at least try to, and won’t tell you about their appointments, complaints, and won’t invite you to their showers if you don’t want to be invited.

    But, as with any relationship, friendships go both ways. I think you will need to meet them somewhere in the middle-ish if you don’t want to lose them. Maybe a phone call to catch up on other non-baby related things. Or, once the babies are born a lunch date without the babies (they will need some baby-free time!).

    This can be a hard thing to figure out. I def. struggled with it. I hope you figure out what works for you soon 🙂

    ICLW

  9. Hi from ICLW. My sisters were both pregnant while we were TTC and then waiting to adopt, so I know. I so know. It is so hard to see other people get what you want. I was honest with my middle sister, because she and I are close, and it was actually comforting to have her ‘see’ me and the pain I felt when her daughter was born. It made me feel a lot less guilty and ashamed that I was sad while everyone else in the family was so joyful. So maybe there’s one or two trusted friends who can be allies for you? Many blessings to you!

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