It’s been quite a while (April, actually) since we had an entry for the Act of Kindness category, but that’s just an oversight on my part. The “acts” have been happening from women who have been trying to figure out just what is going on inside the head of their infertile sisters. You only have to read my email to see it. So it’s time to surface a few of them to demonstrate that there are some big hearts out there.
From Shonda, I received this email:
“…one of my oldest friends was drowning in the infertility pool. Each month she would call me with a sad report that her period had, in fact, arrived. I remember that it reminded me of the weekly death tolls reported during a war. As it is, she is married to perhaps one of the greatest men in the world and his support and patience during this process was moving.
“Over too many beers at a cookout, he confided to me that, even though he was having intercourse more than any other time in his life, he missed his sex life. After a year of ovulation sticks and temperature taking before sex could be approved, he said he felt like an emotionless robot. With all of this going on in her life, I didn’t know how to proceed with her with my own pregnancy. We’ve been friends since we were five years old and this was the most exciting thing I’d ever been through. I had wanted a kid since I was a kid. But, deep in my spirit, I knew this was hard for her. I knew she didn’t want to be jealous, I knew she wanted to help me decorate the nursery, but I could see in her eyes and hear in her voice that it was just too hard. So, I just decided not to bring the subject up with her, to let her bring it up with me. Because she loves me, I knew she would. And she did. This way we still got to talk about it, I just knew it was on days that she wasn’t mourning the arrival of her period. Reading your stories, I remembered all that my friend went through. Had I not watched so closely as my friend sought after a pregnancy almost like a heart-broken lover chasing a fleeting lover, I probably wouldn’t have thought so much about this subject.
…Even more than that, I already knew that had she not had her baby, this sting would never fade away. I don’t know if you are allowed to have “fertiles” for friends or admiring readers, but you have one in me anyways. So, keep blogging not just for IF women, but also for those of us who don’t want to be insensitive.”
Thanks, Shonda, for being a good friend (and yes, I welcome friendship from women who are as wonderful as you clearly are.) May others follow your lead and take the time to understand how hard this experience can be for those who live it every day.
And from Danielle:
“A best girlfriend of mine – we’ve known each other since we were 13 – was going through a lot trying to get pregnant. When her trials started, she distanced herself from her friends. She has always been a private person, so I suspected that she was going through a lot and I didn’t want to pry and wanted to respect her privacy. However, I wanted to be a good friend and remain open enough, hoping that she would open up to me one day, on her terms, with her comfort level. But she never even said the word “boo” about trying to conceive – good, bad, or ugly. When I became pregnant (rather quickly, despite many doctors telling me otherwise) our friendship virtually vanished. I felt guilty and sad, but I could not hide my “fertile” self.
I’ve wanted to be able to understand what she was going through, to help shoulder some worry. To know how to act, to understand her sensitivities, but there was a big wall there, so I couldn’t. Your blog has helped me understand a little better. So you are not only helping women and couples who are infertile, but friendships among women too. Thank you.”
I’m sorry, Danielle, that your friendship suffered. Speaking as one who built a huge wall to fortify myself (literally) during the worst years of my infertility, I’m sure your friend was only trying to protect herself from pain that wasn’t caused by you but instead by the awful knowledge and the constant reminders that infertility was robbing her of an important and much desired set of life experiences.
Please feel free to share your stories. I’m sure readers would appreciate hearing from those on the other side who look to help those with infertility. Just know that there’s a desire to make a difference and understanding helps take the edge off.