They said it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t see it coming. The
odds makers had it down as a long shot. In the end “it” led to the bestowal of
another “Act of Kindness Award.”
What’s all the fuss? I spent the weekend with a pregnant woman living, eating
and sleeping under my roof. Yes. I’m still in a bit of shock myself.
She came at my invitation although I extended the offer a few weeks ago with a
host of emotionally charged misgivings.
You may recall not long ago that I wrote about what it feels like to be, in
essence, left behind with my small CCC
(circle of childless companions — thank you Matthew for the acronym) growing
ever smaller. In the post I wrote about friends who surprised us with their
pregnancy news at a 40th birthday party.
I’ve since “outed” myself with this couple. It started when I grew guilty
about being “mysteriously” unavailable. I wrote my friend an email.
The note started like this: “I wanted to let you know one of the reasons
I’ve been somewhat preoccupied and hard to reach. I’ve been dealing with the
devastating effects of infertility. I’ve also been writing a book and a
blog about it. I have only disclosed the blog’s existence so far to those I
trust will be able to treat the content with sensitivity. I hesitated,
truthfully, to point it out to you because I don’t want to in any way dampen
the joy you are experiencing expecting your own child. I’m very happy for you
— especially as you indicated it was taking more time to get there than you
expected it might. At the same time I felt as friends that you deserve to know
more about a very important part of who I am and why I sometimes seem to
withdraw socially. It is not at all personal…”
My friend responded after receiving my email and exploring my blog: “I
have been reading your blog with much heartache and admiration. I found your
‘time warp’ entry about the conversation at the birthday party. This
was no coincidence. I consciously looked for the date and was wondering about
that incident, because I felt your reaction in my gut when I broke the news. I
knew, with just a few seconds delay, that right then and there, I probably had
committed a blunder of the type [Note to self: my ability to conceal my emotions needs a bit of work!] I myself suffered from when other momzillas
announced their latest pregnancy, not considering that this might be a subject
of much pain to the other party. Ugh. I am so sorry. Please let this
be the occasion of more talking and a heart to heart between us, not an
occasion for another loss. I think we have it in us to make this a
positive experience. But I won’t presume. You didn’t rain on our
parade, but you couldn’t fool me either. I am not ‘on the other side’ now–very
much the contrary.”
I was very touched (and relieved) by her response. I decided it was time to
put my plan: “Karma is as Karma Does” to work. We found a date on the
calendar when the four of us could enjoy some time together.
Within minutes of arriving on the scene our friends acknowledged the difficulty
most people have understanding the complexity of infertility. They expressed a
sincere desire not to lose our friendship as a result of moving down different
paths. The next day my pregnant friend and I had a longer heart to heart about
the various treatments, decisions and emotional body blows we’d each
She and her husband have more than earned the “Act of
Kindness Award,” and I, with much surprise and relief, have proven that I can
comfortably co-exist with a pregnant woman.
August 5, 2007 11:39 pm
Karma is as Karma does. I like that. I hope that the universe does work this way myself.
I think that your friend sounds like a wonderful person to try and understand the world of IF. I also think that you showed great strength of character to work through your feelings with her as a sounding board.
I often wonder about this same situation myself. Is the isolation that I am trying to protect myself with helping or hurting me? Right now, I am not sure….
August 6, 2007 2:31 am
Your post tells many things. (1) you communicated your feelings well to your friend. (2) your friend has a good heart. And (3) you have taken a big step in your grieving/healing process.
Good karma, good momentum.
August 6, 2007 12:24 pm
I’m glad that it was a positive experience for BOTH of you.
August 6, 2007 5:07 pm
That is a nice story. I think you deserve the award too – for being a great hostess in a difficult situation. I read your post from May too. The school analogy is perfect!
August 6, 2007 6:09 pm
I have seen many letters start off much like yours from other bloggers. Unfortunately, it is rare to get a response as emphathetic and sincere as your friend’s.
I also admire you for sharing your blog with her. Again I have tried that in the past and it usually backfires when the friend takes a rant personally. I hope your friend continues to understand how important it is for you to not censor yourself here.
August 6, 2007 7:40 pm
Oh well done indeed. What a brave thing to do. The e-mail, brilliant. If more people would only feel, or could only feel safe enough to open up about their fears, what sort of marvelous world would we have? They certainly, as you well know, will not evaporate but what a HUGE step you took. As your friend I am so proud. Well done!
August 7, 2007 6:01 am
Wow, now that’s a true friend. It’s so hard to explain to other people and even more so when they are pregnant. Sometimes when they give birth they seem to forget that not everyone has success with IVF. You’ve come a long way, baby! Sometimes you cheat people out of knowing the real you when you seek to protect you (or them) from your real feelings.
August 7, 2007 12:05 pm
A well-deserved award. I’m glad you two can be around each other like this.
August 7, 2007 5:11 pm
I think it is great that you were so honest with her. And Bravo to her for being a thoughtful, true friend.
August 8, 2007 9:03 pm
I have always believed in the power of open communication. I’m so glad your story turned out so well.
Your analogy (from a couple of months ago, I think) of the IF “classroom,” in which some people are stuck, some advance, and some advance only to come back again, has stuck with me. It’s too bad that IF has to become “us vs. them” in some cases. It’s nice to hear about cases like your where both “sides” are trying, really hard, to relate to each other.
August 11, 2007 5:48 am
I admire your courage to be so open with your friend. And I’m so glad and I think its so wonderful how she has shown you to be a true friend. Through my IF, I’ve tried to be as honest and open as I can about my journey to people and there were friends who were amazingly there for me (even when they had kids or got pregnant) and than there were those who were too self absorbed to even care about what I was going through. Not everyone is a true friend but when you do find one, I think its such a gift. You both are very blessed to have each other.