Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To those who were.....

I’ve never been the kind of person who lives totally in the present and forgets the past. You know, the kind of person who moves on from one stage of her life to the next, makes new friends, forgets the old, and doesn’t look back. I am in touch with people I went to high school with. My BFF IRL is someone who’s been my best friend since we were two shy 5th graders. We still meet once or twice every year, hang out, talk, remember our childhood and giggle over silly things, while our husbands shake their heads and wonder what got into their wives.

I have always had lasting relationships. I’ve made friends with co-workers and I’m in touch with co-workers I worked with 10-12 years ago, even though we now live in different countries. It’s never been easy for me to give up on a relationship and move on.

We started TTC very optimistically. Then IF hit us. We did not know how rocky the road ahead was. Slowly we saw all our friends move on, get pregnant, have their babies, and start getting immersed in their children’s lives. We were open with our immediate circle about our struggles. Some of our friends broke their pregnancy news to us gently; some came over and told us specially, so we would not hear from others. Some didn’t care, and we got the “Guess what? DS turned one, and on his birthday we decided to have another baby, DS is now 13 months old and I’m pregnant!!” announcements.

Our road kept getting rockier. We stumbled, we fell. We ran into walls and fell again. Got up and tried moving ahead again and again and again. Slowly, people stopped knowing what to say to us, or how to be around us. Slowly our immediate circle crumbled.

This is a post to remember all those relationships, because the memories sure are beautiful.

To you – who moved away, and kept in touch on phone once in a while. I can’t explain to you the torture that we’ve been through. I can’t explain that the reason I don’t answer your calls anymore is because I have nothing to say. I can’t lie and say “All’s well”, and I can’t explain my whole sordid reality to you. No, I am not ignoring you (despite what you may think). I am only protecting myself. But I do have great memories of times spent together.

To you – who heard of my pregnancy last year, and “decided to go for it to have your second child”. Of course I lost my pregnancy and 2 more after that. Your baby must now be 2 months old. We have not received a birth announcement yet. I don’t have the courage to reach out and congratulate you. You probably don’t know what to say to me. I do miss our times together, but I do not think those times are coming back ever again.

To you – who got pregnant the first month trying for each of your children. You never understood where I was in my struggles. You were too immersed in your life, and I don’t think I could have changed that. Again, I cherish the memories – your laughter still rings loud in my ears!

To you and you – who had your babies just before my due date. I cannot tell you the pain I feel in my heart, just by thinking of you. You have something I don’t. I cannot make myself meet you, and see your baby, because my own would be the same age. You have been great by keeping a graceful distance, and I am sorry, but I don’t think I will be able to cover that distance any time soon.

To you and you – who choose to want to be in our lives, but only at a superficial level. It feels like you want to be friends with us, but not with our IF. You want us to hang out with you and be happy, but you will never ask us what is happening in our lives since my miscarriage one year ago. That happy face is hard for us to project. So we retreat.

To you, who knows everything that is going on in my life, yet choose not to reach out to us and talk. Perhaps you don't know what to say. The irony of everything is, you don't have to say anything at all. 

To you, and you and you, who don’t even know what is going on in my life, because I can’t explain it to you. I can’t bring you on the same planet as me, leave alone the same page.

I have great memories of our times with all these friends, but IF came in the way. IF changed me, and changed me in a way that is unfixable. Even if we ever get to hold our baby in our arms, I doubt if the scars of IF will ever fade away.

We’ve lost so many friends and relationships because people don’t get it. I can’t expect everyone to make me the focus of their existence and “get” my problems. Likewise, I can’t put my issues on the back burner and smile for everyone always. IF has taken more from us than our ability to have a child.


I Believe in Miracles said...

Nikki, what a beautiful post.

I am not one to keep up with friends I had from when I was little. Growing up overseas, by the time I was in HS, people were already all spread out. Now they are seriously on almost every continent and in many states. But I feel like I never formed the lasting friendships that some people did when they were little.

I felt I did when I was in college, but the one college friend I told about IF seriously let me down and the first "To you" totally speaks to that for me. They all live far away, so it's easily to just not communicate with them. Even now, I've tended to close myself off to some friends I've made here in Boston because of some of the other "To yous".

Mel encouraged me to continue to reach out, that it would be worth it, but right now I struggle with that so much.

The memories are good though. I will agree.


Nichole said...

Nikki - this is absolutely wonderful! I too have lost so many friends (and have retreated from some family relationships as well) all due to IF. It isn't fair, and the friendship loss just adds insult to injury.

That is why I am so thankful I have people like you that I can pour my heart out to and never be judged. Hang in there...we are here.

g said...

Beautifully written as i believe we all have had more then m/c loss in our IF journeys.. friends and family memebers drift away that like you said "just don't get it". All it takes is a phone call from someone to say "sorry what your going through , and i am here for you" thats all.. no "right" words need to be mustered up just a small token to say they care.. but instead they say mean things or nothing at all so we then decide to "avoid" there calls til their calls are no more.. Its hard and its ahrd on our families and our friends buts its the true ones that are still there in the end! and to look back maybe those "friends" werent realy friends at all.. just mere aquantences.. as a true friend will still be there standing next to you holding you up! ((((HUGS))))

Kymberli said...

Yes, yes, and yes. I almost don't know what to say about this post...I just wish that every friend/family member/whoever that has an infertile in their lives could read this and understand.

Shelby said...

Oh, Nikki this is such a wonderful, beautifully written post that seemed to have come straight from my heart. I am always struggling to find the words to really illustrate how painful IF is and I always fall short. With this post, you picked up right where I left off.

Like you, I have seen so many friendships suffer. IF is so isolating. I am either open about IF and met with avoidance or awkwardness or I don't share it at all and exits in this fake place, never actually connecting. Thank you for putting this into words.

April said...

I think that so many of us could have written this post. All I can say is that I get it. I've had so many of the same feelings and have watched IF change me and my relationships. I have to tell you...I actually experienced these same things when I had cancer, too. People can take the happy news of babies, new jobs, etc...but the challenging news of illness, chronic disease, IF, etc is what helps you see who you are and who you can count on for support and friendship.

...also, that is what this community is all about. helping when real life stuff doesn't stand up to our expectations...

Jackie. said...

This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this. I have also found it interesting how adverse mature adults are to "getting their hands dirty." Away they run.

Darya said...

Beautifully written post. It brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for your IF...and mine...and everyone else's.

debbie said...

Nikki, what a beautiful and poignant post. I think most of us who have dealt or are dealing with IF can identify with these feelings.

Dora said...

Wow, you nailed it, sister.

Thank heavens for this community of women that "get it."

Lorraine said...

Very poignant - and too true. Infertility has wrenched us from our relationships with so many people who accidentally said something that I just couldn't ever forgive them for - they probably have no idea what really happened. I used to think that I just needed a break for them for a while, but after years it's just not ever going to be the same.

Thanks for articulating so well what we all feel to some extent - I hope you know that your writing does put some of that comeraderie and understanding back.

B said...

HI Nikki

I'm gald you found my blog - thanks for leaving a message. I will come back and read through yours shortly but in a rush now.

Did you see my Balanced Translocation blogroll? I will add you to it and you can take a look to see what others with BT are up to. If you know any others for me to add please let me know.

thanks again for visiting


Lisa said...

Oh Nikki, I feel your pain, so raw and vulnerable. It's the same feelings I have. This thing -- infertility -- that changes us so deeply as people. The pain that nobody can ever fully understand. The silent burden we carry everyday. The death of a dream we face day after day. It's as if we are being left behind. Left out from our friends and family. And watching them move on without us, leaves a hole that nobody will ever be able to understand. But you are not alone Nikki. We understand. We feel your pain. And we love you for everything you have been through, even though we have never met face to face. You are strong. And curageous. And a wonderful woman who, I pray, one day will be able find the peace and happiness that you deserve. And join in life again. I pray this for all of us.

And I really do beleive, that even though infertility robs us of something we will never get back -- it also turns us into stronger people than we ever thought was possible.

Just Me. said...

I'm here from Nity's blog and I am here in tears. I've lost many friends and even my BFF since IF hit us.

You've said it all that I've been feeling lately. So well said.

Leslie Laine said...

Thank you for this honest, revealing post. It's a beautiful illustration of the struggles we all face in IF. There are so many heartbreaking losses through this struggle.
You have inspired me with this, and it so closely reflects a situation I'm facing right now in my journey: another friend who let me down. It's so comforting to know I'm not alone.
Thank you for this post.

Stacey said...

Hi Nikki,
I'm visiting from Nity's blog ("I Believe in Miracles") and just wanted to say thanks for this amazing and honest post. I can identify with every word written here.
You articulated it all so well. I'm glad you shared it even though it is a painful and sad subject.

B said...

I'm back.

I think that negotiating loss, infertility in the context of fertile friends has been one of the most difficult aspects of this journey. It is complicated on so, so, many levels.

I also resist the idea that "everything will be OK in our friendship if I fall pregnant".

I have no solutions to offer. Friendships are important and i believe that these people still have things to offer you - even in this time - just as you probably offer more than you think. Even if it is just an honest expression of the deep pain you experience.

How to find a way for those two things to connect without either party getting hurt seems almost impossible.

I think it get's harder too the longer the experience goes on.

Thinking of you


nancy said...

Oh Nikki, this just makes me feel so bad for you. Only because I felt it at some level and I also have a friend who has had 3 losses and many years of ttc under her belt, only to now need to give it up. And I don't know what to say to her. I've been on both sides and I still don't know what to do.

InfertileMadWoman said...

Nikki, this is amazing.... you have put into words what I have felt for so many years. I really does change your whole life, and more when IF strikes. You hang in there sweetie..... your day will come. Just hold on to those who know and understand, because they will always be here for you no matter what.

Hugs from the NC