This is the nineteenth installment of Barren Advice. You can ask questions that are fertility or non-fertility related.
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I've got a strong hunch that my best friend and coworker is pregnant. I know I should be happy for her but I am not. Of course I want her to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Of course I know that she deserves to be pregnant whether or not she's had to suffer through agonizing monthly disappointments and painful and expensive procedures. Of course I wouldn't wish infertility on my worst enemy but I still find it hard not to be a little jealous of people who get pregnant right away - especially when they did it the fun way and it didn't cost them a dime. Am I normal to feel this way?
When I read about similar situations it seems like everybody makes a point of saying that they are happy for their friends. Do you think they really mean it or are they just trying their best to convince themselves? I'm only one year into my infertility nightmare - is being happy for pregnant friends a point of arrival that I can look forward to later? Am I just a selfish and petty person? I'm hoping its a point of arrival because I really DO want to be happy for my friend. If she is pregnant, she deserves a friend who is genuinely happy for her and who will enjoy talking about her pregnancy. I know that I can't do that right now and I don't want to try to fake it. Its already too hard to think about seeing her get bigger and bigger every day at work for nine more months. Can I expect her to understand this and how do I tell her in a way that won't hurt her feelings?
Think about it this way: it is possible for you to have sunny weather and for your friend to be in the same country and be in the middle of a huge storm. Her weather doesn't really affect your weather. Your sky is still sunny. You may appreciate your sunny day a bit more knowing that it's raining elsewhere. You may spend time not appreciating your sunny day because you're worried about a weather change. But, regardless of how you react to your weather, what is happening over someone else's house does not change what is happening over your house.
You are, by the way, currently in the middle of a downpour.
When you're in sunny weather, you can hear about someone else's rain and while it concerns you, your reality is actually quite good. A light breeze. Warm sun. Flowers blooming. It's very different when you're in shitty weather. You're cold and wet and miserable. You have to consider so many things just to move from Point A to Point B. You can't forget weather because it's always there--affecting everything you do and everything you can't do.
Now extend this analogy to infertility and pregnancy. It's very easy to be sympathetic to someone who has had a failed cycle when you are rubbing your own baby bump. You can give them a hug and wish them well and cluck at their situation. And then, you can go back to your happy, sunny world. It is much harder to move in the other direction: to stand in the figurative rain with your empty womb and jump for glee over someone else's good news. Can it be done? Sure. But there are also people who don't mind the rain and run around outside in the middle of a downpour happily. And then there are the rest of us who carry around a soggy umbrella. So it's important to remember that there are different types of people who are capable of very different reactions.
Do I think people truly are happy for their friends? Sure--I can be happy that they have sun and aren't struck in this storm while still feeling rather miserable for myself. My happiness for them doesn't occupy my whole world--it's simply part of my whole. I am cognizant of their happiness and I acknowledge it and even jump around with glee at their house for a bit. But then I have to return to my own rainy world and I soon forget about their happiness while I try to navigate my own weather.
I am the sort who doesn't like the rain; who doesn't see the silver lining and remind myself that rain makes the flowers grow. I'm the sort who wants to get out of the rain and spend the afternoon mapping a plan to move to sunnier climes. And I have to be true to who I am while also balancing out the type of friend I want to be. I always acknowledge the other person's happiness and sunny weather (especially if they return the favour by acknowledging my rain). But it would be out of character to gaily announce that I love the rain because it gives me a chance to wear my cool rainboots. And it sounds like you need to feel what you're going to feel: a little jealousy; a little "why not me?"; and a little happiness that your friend has managed to find a sunny space.
How to tell her? I would recommend by not telling her. You can make it about you without telling her that you're making it about you. Discreetly take the space you need, bow out of events you can't bear to attend, and treat your friend the way you would want to be treated if the situation were reversed. It will be emotionally painful to stare at a dry person bathed in sun while you are beside her with your soggy umbrella. So give yourself the space and permission to cry and set some firm boundaries in your mind (eg. "I can go to her shower, but I sure as hell can't throw it).
I hope your weather changes soon--it almost always does unless you live in Seattle or San Diego.
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