Monday, 19 May 2008

Weekend Fallout

It's official. I have become my worst nightmare!

I went to a friend's place on Friday night, for a cocktail party where a dull woman undersold the many merits of very expensive plasticware. There was about a dozen women all known to my friend through their children's school, then myself and another friend. I should have known. I shouldn't have gone in the first place. The conversation was all babies and children. I was coping, barely, until a woman near me started to talk about how her 6 month old was born despite her husband having had a vasectomy. The other women huddled around, including my two friends, making comments like "oh you poor thing", "you should sue" and "if I fell pregnant again I would just die". And then it happened... I started crying and had to leave the room. I hid in a bedroom, and the tears just wouldn't stop.

K1 and K2 are my closest friends and we have known each other for 15+ years. They are the only friends who know that DH and I are doing IVF. Both of them are Social Workers, but their reactions couldn't have been more different. K2 came looking for me and apologised for her insensitivity, she said she hadn't put herself in my shoes before and it only just occurred to her that moments like that might be hard for me. She sat and talked with me while I cried. K1, the host of the party, was immensely pissed off and kept coming into the room looking for things then going out again leaving the door wide open. I don't know if she was jealous that K2 and I were doing something without her or if she was just uncomfortable with the open display of emotions. I didn't bother to ask. The next morning we went out for breakfast and K1 announced that we should go to Phu.ket for a week early next year, in celebration of us all turning 40, and because "its the first time in 10 years that none of us are pregnant or breastfeeding".

Does everyone else have trouble maintaining friendships IRL? Should I try to explain things, ask for more support and sensitivity from them, or just let it go? Its so hard. I wouldn't cope at all if it wasn't for my soul mate, my darling husband. And you guys are just brilliant, you always comment with love and are a great support to me, even when you are having a tough time yourselves. Yet my RL friends won't even ring me in the next few weeks to check if I'm ok. Perhaps I am too high maintenance for them now?


Melbagirl said...

What a nightmare.

Even social workers are human. Some people are simply terrible at dealing with emotions. They don't understand and they don't know how to react. Perhaps they react as their own parent would have reacted and they themselves don't even understand why they are doing what they are doing. She's still your friend, perhaps not as close right now as she once was.

Perhaps she thinks the two of you don't have that much in common at the moment.

Here's a stupid thing I did: An extremely close friend of mine got pregnant a while ago. I hardly spoke to her while she was pregnant and I haven't spoken to her since she gave birth. We were thick as thieves and knew all each others dark secrets. Her boy must be two or three years old now. I've never met him. Now, I'm a nice person but I handled that all wrong. I wasn't rude to her; I just didn't stay in touch (yeah, you're right, that's rude). I would describe it by saying that the basis for the friendship no longer existed to me and at no time since she gave birth have I known what to say to her ... I haven't even had the guts to pick up the phone. I don't know if I'm jealous or humiliated. Now, in real life I am a 'deadly tricky management consultant' who always knows what the best thing is for *other people* to do. But, I am human.

Perhaps I'm boring everyone but she's possibly just as confused as you are.

However, my sympathies are with you. You are the one in the horrible predicament and, as far as you are aware, she is not.

Morrisa said...

I also have had trouble maintaining friendships throughout this whole IF nightmare. All of my friends either got married and had children easily and therefore didn't understand, or don't want children and therefore also don't understand. People just don't realize what a miracle it is to conceive in the privacy of your own home. I'm so sorry you had to endure such an insensitive comment like that. ((hugs))

Joy said...

It sounds horribly painful. I have always been a "teller" and that has helped a lot. I have heard that one-third of friends and family will be wonderful, one-third will suck, and one-third will be somewhere in the middle. The one-third that will be wonderful may surprise you, so I vote for giving as much information as you can. Friends who don't know or don't know much about your situation won't know what to be sensitive about. Another thing that has helped me is to acknowledge my strong emotions without apologizing for them. A friend announced her pregnancy in a public setting which set off a storm of upset in me. I later was able to tell her that I was sorry it happened that way, that I couldn't celebrate with her, but that I also don't have a choice about how much I hurt right now and I'm doing my best. It's very hard to be hoping to be a mom just when others are age are getting done with it, and I know the pain of not fitting in and feeling left behind.

Mr. & Mrs. M@sk said...

I'm glad that K2 finally came around and realised how you may be affected at times like this. I am shocked and disgusted at K1's behaviour though at the party and with the following days announcement.

My friendships have suffered and I now know who my real friends are - they ones that really do care and are there for me during the good and bad. I had to mourn these friendships though and it was difficult to let them go.

Wordgirl said...

Oh. I'm sorry.

I do understand -- I moved back to my hometown after ten years away -- and in the interim everyone, of course, had married and had children -- and while I was always sort of the odd man out -- the one who moved away, the one who made 'different' choices -- when I moved home I wanted to reconnect.

I find that we are just different people than we were -- and very often they just don't know what to say. I had a HUGE falling out with my very best friend from college -- but not a loud falling out -- one of those quiet ones...where suddenly you don't talk, they don't call, you don't write -- they feel foolish for asking the umpteenth time about babies...and you resent them for not having the sensitivity to approach it differently.

I think it's just that people have no idea. They honestly can't imagine what it's like and so they may make feeble attempts to bridge the gap, but sometimes its too late.

So. I understand completely.



Portia P said...

I'm sorry for how your friends are being.

IF had done irreparable damage to even my closest friendships. Girls i've known for nearly 30(!) years started being scared to call me after i'd had several failed cycles. I've lost closeness with quite a few that i'm not sure i'll ever get back.

I'm don't think any fertile friend IRL will ever really get it. I've even lost closeness with a very good friend who'd struggled with IF and got pg after 5 years. I think that was more about my inability to deal with her total change of focus but it still damaged our friendship.

I'm not sure how we can get past this. It's just a good thing we've got each other in blogworld.

Knock Me Up said...

Oh, this is such a problem. I have found one friend in particular with whom I can just no longer interact. When I first told her that we were doing IVF she said "well if that's how you want to spend your money go ahead but I wouldn't spend my money on it". Duh! She has a little girl and had an earlier pregnancy which she chose to end -- of course she wouldn't spend money on TTC -- SHE'S FREAKING FERTILE. I tried to overlook it and move on -- we'd been friends for a long time, but well, you know. She still doesn't know understand why I've pulled away.

You were in such a painful and awkward situation and your friend totally disregarded it then rubbed your nose in it the next day. I try to think that people don't really know what they are doing and how it affects others, but someone who really cares about you just doesn't act that way -- she should have at least acknowledged that you were having a hard time even if she still had to go out and host the party. I'm so sorry. This sucks.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I had something similar happen to me when my first IVF failed. I think you don't really know how much it's going to affect you because you are in shock for the first day or so. Allow yourself some time to grieve. Hold the grief as much as you can, then let it go, until you come back to it. It might feel overwhelming at first, but eventually, it becomes less and less over time.

Joonie said...

Sweetie, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. For me also, It has been extremely difficult to keep friendships going while going through IF. The fertile world just doesn't understand us. Even my sister, who has been my friend and confidante all through life doesn't understand. Even though she knows the dates of my procedures and everything she never calls to check on me. I know she loves me, it just makes her uncomfortable to talk about IF.
I'm so glad that you have a wonderful and supporting husband. And you know that we are all here for you as well.

sara said...

First of all, you are definitely not too high maintenance! I have trouble with IRL people very often because of the lack of sensitivity. I wish that they just knew what to say, or not say. I am so sorry about those comments that you had to be around, they sound awful! Don't beat yourself up for the lack of sensitivity of others...I find myself doing that all the time. Hugs..

Bee Cee said...

Real life friends are a tough one. The one's you expect to just know and understand don't and I have found that there's always one that surprises you. The one that rises to the top and just gets it. It has nothing to do with IF, it's just emotional intelligence on their part. It's just a shame there is not more of them around.