This is an idea I have been kicking around for a while, trying to make it fit into a puzzle. It feels like every piece is slightly off, unable to click together to reveal the broken picture. I can’t make sense of this AND I can't either connect or untangle these two ideas. Perhaps I just need another set of eyes on this idea to help me shape it into something manageable and useable.
At least, I think there is something useable in here. I feel like there is a bridge inside of this idea that would help me over a chasm.
I had this friend--let's call her Courtney just because it's a name I like and I've never gotten a chance to use it--and we were growing apart. But we had so much history that we also couldn't really let go of the friendship. Courtney told me that she wanted to be there for me if anything truly terrible happened or if anything wonderful happened--she just couldn't be there for the day-to-day. And that, frankly, isn't a friendship. Or maybe it's a friendship-once-removed or some other strange family-tree-like relationship. But one shouldn't have to weigh what they wanted to discuss--is this truly awful enough to lean on Courtney for support? Is this news good enough to ask Courtney along for a celebration? I mean, how does one weigh something like infertility? A miscarriage, yes, I could see her placing that in the "awful enough" category. But how would she weigh the rest of the feelings? And is there any point in continuing this relationship if she can't even see how much infertility inandof itself is my "awful thing"?
We drifted. September 11th brought us back together as September 11th had the ability to do. I held her hand through a terrible late miscarriage a few years later. That's the sort of thing a strong friendship can weather--moving from a discussion on weighing our news to just jumping into action when you pick up the phone and hear a voice wavering as she says your name. And your heart just knows.
There is a part of me--and I want to preface this by repeating the words "a part of me"--that believes that if you are going to ask people to celebrate with you, you should include them also in the difficult moments of your life. There were certain people that I wanted to jump straight into celebrating with me when we finally achieved a positive so I told them about our losses as well. Not necessarily all the details. And not always every loss. But they were informed of the problems as well as the successes. They were part of my inner circle and I felt as if I owed them the full story. I don't know why. This is one of those pieces of the puzzle that doesn't seem to fit correctly.
Because I also think it is incredibly valid to not share your losses with others. I understand the desire to cocoon. Especially in the face of comments or advice. And looking at the facts, I didn't share every loss or every failed cycle. I shared some. And I can't even say why I didn't share what I didn't share. There is a miscarriage story that I have shared with some people when they have told me theirs, and I have typed it and erased it many times on this blog. And I don't know why. I can't put my finger on why that particular loss feels so much more personal and so much more private than another. It was just another early miscarriage--a chemical pregnancy. But for whatever reason, it didn't make it to most people's ears even though I included them in the celebration of the twins later on.
But here is what I have been tossing around in my mind--the other end of this idea. There were the people who I told about the losses because I felt I owed them if I was asking for them to celebrate with me later on. Meaning, I wanted them to know what they were celebrating. I wanted them to know the real story and the big picture. If I loved them enough to ask them to be in my children's life from point one, I felt they needed to know all of the details. And on that end, these are the people who again will hear every loss, every step in the adoption process if we go that route, every difficult choice because I will also ask them to celebrate with me later. And a real friendship is about giving everything and taking everything. It's not the picking and choosing. It's not the weighing and hiding. It's leaving it all out there and giving them all--the good and the bad.
Mixed in with the people who heard about the losses and cried with me and heard about the positives and celebrated with me were people who heard about the losses and offered no support. And heard about the positives and only wanted to celebrate. And I'm having a hard time with this. This is a puzzle piece that I keep trying to jam in there and it isn't working.
I think I came to this realization a few weeks ago. I was working on the pregnancy loss chapter and out of all of the chapters, it is the one that is giving me the most trouble. And it's not the subject matter. I mean, the interviews are emotionally difficult to read and I feel a huge responsibility to care for your words because...well...because they are your children. Without your children here, these words are your children. And you shared them with me and I will always be grateful. But that's not what is making this chapter the hardest one to write.
I realized that I was yelling at the reader. I was snarling and spitting and accusing the reader. While other chapters have been more of the oh-sweetie-you-really-put-your-foot-in-it-let-me-help-you-repair-your-relationship variety, this pregnancy loss chapter has read more along the lines of you-mother-fucker-you-always-let-me-down-and-I-will-never-get-over-that. A little heavy to put on a reader that I don't actually know...
(Just in case my agent is reading this, I feel like I must write in this space that I am currently reworking this chapter and it will not be nearly as angry when I am finished)
And my anger stems from the people who want to be in the lives of my current children when they were never in the lives of my other children. The ones that aren't here. And I'm talking about a wide range from actual losses to the children that weren't just because it was the cycle that wasn't. The ones who could never be sensitive about infertility and the ones who never were there for me when I was depressed. And who still aren't there for me now.
And it all goes back to what do we owe one another? I've asked this question before, but I'm asking it again because...well...I need to get over this anger. Now that I've identified the emotion, I feel like I can deal with it. If I just find the key out of this room. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps it is fine to just jump in for the celebration without being there for the misery. Maybe I should just accept those friends. Not even pretend to accept it, but actually accept it.
Except...it all goes back to Courtney. I wasn't willing to take a relationship that was halfway to somewhere. Or, more accurately, I wasn't willing to have a friend who was in my inner circle who wasn't fully inside the circle. Who was standing on the fringes, waiting to run to the party table even though I was collapsed in a heap in the center of the circle. Who allowed others to gather around and help me--even just be there for me as a sounding board when I needed to cry--but did nothing themselves. What do we do with these friendships? What do we do with these family members? How do we fit this puzzle together? I'm missing something--a way out of this idea--and I don't really know how to reconcile what I was willing to do in other passages of my life versus what I am willing to do now that there are children involved and other people affected by the idea of holding someone close or letting them go.