This is an awesome guest post from my friend KC. She’s starting her own blog and you can find her at www.kidsncomicsblog.com.
I’m pretty fertile. I’ve never had an OOPS! Pregnancy (so far) but I’ve always gotten pregnant the exact week I wanted to; three times now. One of my closest friends has been trying to conceive, TTC, for about ten years now. She hurts so much so often because she feels a hole in her heart where my cup runeth over, so to speak. I often have to check myself to make sure I’m not causing her any undue pain. My life is basically potty training, breast feeding, attitude checking and just trying to get through this stage. Her life is infertility medications, research, doctor’s appointments and just trying to get through that stage. Everyone has their own struggle. Here’s how I’ve maintained a strong, healthy relationship with someone whose struggle is so vastly different than my own.
First step is easy. Don’t be an asshole. Honest to God, I’ve wanted to write this article for a while, but I feel like this is all just an expanse on that one statement. If she’s your friend, you should probably know most of these anyways. And if not, it’s just because you hadn’t thought of it yet. These are just things I’ve noticed that have (probably) helped.First step is easy. Don’t be an asshole. Click To Tweet
Consider her feelings. Invite her to a baby shower, but give her an out. If she comes to a kid’s birthday or shower, make damn sure to play interference. Don’t let anyone ask her “Do you have any children?” without you there as back up. She’ll probably answer not yet, and you’ll see the pain on her face. Say something like, “You can tell because she doesn’t smell like vomit!” If you’re at a party with her, and everyone there has babies but her, don’t let the conversation be focused entirely on children. You may be able to change the subject, you may want to steer her somewhere else to another conversation. She may do that herself, even. That may lead her to a conversation where she’s the only woman. Or even worse, she’ll wander off on her own. Follow her. She feels alone enough, don’t make it worse.
Understand her pain. This is actually the hardest, I think. Because it requires a lot of empathy and I’m not super great at this. I’ve found that just trusting her is the way to go. She’ll probably tell you how she feels. And if she doesn’t, you may be able to read it on her face. Keep that look in mind when you break happy news about pregnancy to her. And ALWAYS prepare her. Don’t let her be blindsided with a friend’s pregnancy. If this means violating someone else’s trust, then do it. Every time someone gets pregnant her first thought is going to be how she wishes it were her. (Of course it will be!) And she may not be able to mask that. Which isn’t going to feel great for the pregnant friend, either. Brace her, let her have time to come to terms and just tell her to act surprised.
Don’t exclude her. This is one you have to make a conscious effort on. Because you’re going to want to keep her from pain. But infertility causes her pain daily. You aren’t doing it by sharing your life with her. Be excited when your kid gets honor roll. Share with her the pregnancy pains and woes. Even if you know she’s not going to want to come to your baby’s baptism, still invite her. You can’t make her feel like the world is having a party and only baby mommas are allowed. Don’t avoid seeing her because you know she wants a baby and you have one. Don’t avoid her because you think you’ll cause her more pain. She’s struggling with something huge. She’s not a leper.
Accept her. Even when she lashes out. No matter HOW she feels about it; she’s entitled. She feels absence in a way you never have. She gets to feel that pain. And you don’t get to tell her how she can express it. You’re her friend so you get to be her shelter. She needs someone in this. And while her husband may be her best source of strength, he feels his own pain. You don’t feel her pain directly. So bear some for her in any way you can. When you go to bed at night, her infertility won’t keep you up in tears like it does her.
Don’t freakin’ brag. This sounds like a no brainer, huh? Well, bragging may not mean what you think it means.Don’t freakin’ brag. Click To Tweet
If you think it’s a funny anecdote that you get pregnant every time your husband sneezes, don’t say that around her. If you’re upset because you’ve gotten accidentally pregnant, don’t express that. In fact, don’t even tell her it was an oops. Just say you weren’t really planning it, but you weren’t really NOT trying, either. (Because if you really WEREN’T trying, you wouldn’t be pregnant, lady. There are fool proof ways to NOT get pregnant.) If you never had a problem getting pregnant, don’t keep on about it. Don’t talk about all the stupid teen aged girls who get pregnant or all the crack babies in the world. That may not be bragging about you, but you’re bragging about other people AND throwing the cosmic unfairness in her face.
And don’t reverse brag either. While you’re sympathizing, don’t compare any of your struggles with hers. If you’ve had a miscarriage, don’t tell her infertility is easier than miscarriage. Don’t tell her she’s lucky she doesn’t have to clean up after brats. (That’s hardest for me, to be honest.) If you “probably” had a miscarriage, just don’t even say it. We’ve all “probably” had a miscarriage. It’s not about you.
Always be optimistic. She will have a baby. She will be able to carry the baby. She will be a good mother. She absolutely should not give up. You keep the faith and it will help her keep it, too.
Finally, just make sure she knows that no matter what she needs while she’s going through this struggle, you’re going to be there for her.
How do you maintain a friendship with someone struggling with infertility when you don’t?
My name is KC. I’m stay at home mom (for now) who’s a recovering gaming addict and comic lover. I have three gorgeous girls born 2011, 2013 and 2016. I’ve known my husband since grade school and we’ve been married since 2007. He’s a military man; first US Air Force and now the Air National guard. So we’ve moved all over the world together. I used to teach high school English and then became a secretary (or Administrative assistant? Whichever makes you happy) for a squadron commander in the USAF. I absolutely LOVED working in Admin. And absolutely HATED teaching. I have two dogs; an adorable Maltese monster named Oz and a glorious, perfect Lab mix named Cinnamon. We live the closest we’ve ever lived to our hometown now and it’s still about 6 hours away. So my hubby and I are mostly on our own; which works out fine for us. We’ll see how it works for our spawn. After all, we’re just winging it here. Visit me at http://www.kidsncomicsblog.com