This is the 25th installment of Barren Advice. You can ask questions that are fertility or non-fertility related.
Barren Advice is posted each Tuesday-ish. If you have your own question for Barren Advice, click here to learn how to submit. Please weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section and indicate which question you're addressing if there are multiple questions in the post.
So...early on in my IF blogging, I bonded with another blogger. We had a lot in common and lived in the same city. For a very long time we wrote each other every day, catching up on the trials and tribulations of our IF journey. Now she's pregnant and I'm not. And I'm honestly thrilled for her. But she seems to be having issues with it. I understand the guilt that a successful pregnancy might bring up when those around you haven't been successful but shouldn't friendship transcend that? If I can deal with her success shouldn't she? I'm not really sure how to bring this up with her without sounding clingy. I know that she has a lot on her mind right now but I'd love to share the positive parts of her journey with her just as I shared the hard times.
I think most people are accustomed to seeing the inverse of that situation: the pregnant infertile forgets how difficult it can be to hear pregnancy news and the not-yet-pregnant infertile is grumbling about drowning in emailed sonogram pictures. It's nice to hear the other side, except...er...you still have a problem on your hands. A problem that can be overcome with time if it falls into the first possibility or a problem that may not have a solution if it falls into the second possibility.
Here's hoping that she has picked door #1!
The first possibility for her behaviour is survivor guilt. How the hell do you still communicate with someone who is back in the trenches when you're in the comfort of your living room, away from the chaos of War of the Ovaries? Of course we know it can be done because friendships survive all the time. But still, it can be a bumpy transition from both being on the same side of the stirrups to having one person compiling layette items while the other is still spending their money on fertility drugs.
She may be worried that she's inadvertently hurting your feelings simply by existing and unless you tell her otherwise, she will probably continue to assume this. Unless we help guide another person, they can only go with assumptions and perhaps that is what she thinks she would feel if the situation were reversed.
Behind door #2 is a very different possibility.
Her distance may not be sensitivity for you but could be a desire to distance herself from anything that came before this point--the disappointment, the depression, the physical pain, the financial choices. Just like the celebrities who claim they never had any help getting pregnant with their gorgeous fraternal twins, she may be looking to close the door on the infertile portion of her life and join with other pregnant women.
I once had a close friend from childhood that I drifted apart from once I moved back into town. I didn't work hard to carve out time for her after awhile because all of our nights out had become a running monologue about her new boyfriend, though it was strange how she also pulled away from me at the same time. I was still the same and presented more of a salad approach to conversation--a little whining about my dating life here and a little whining about my apartment search there--whereas she was singing a single note--an aria of "Daaaaaaaaaaaaavid is wonderful and I am in loooooooooooooooove."
I know why I pulled away (a girl can only look at so many pictures from a beach vacation that she didn't attend), but my mother mused that my friend pulled away because I reminded her of the Laura she used to be. The Laura who never had a boyfriend (this was her first serious relationship), who never felt pretty, who never had things work out for her. With that thought in mind, I kept my distance and the few times we have reconnected since have supported my mother's theory: she is happy to talk about the wonderful present, but never wants to remember the past. She pretends she doesn't remember old friends we had in common and brushes off any talk of pre-2000 as unworthy of her attention. She isn't on Facebook--a site that looks back probably a little too much for her tastes.
Your desire for friendship is rooted in soil that is very pure--the best dirt for friendships to grow. You truly love your friend when she's down and you love her when she's up and you never wanted her company solely because misery was screaming for it. If it had happened in the reverse order--if you were pregnant and she were still trying--you may see a very different behaviour just as my friend could be there for me until the thing she wished for most--a relationship--came true for her and suddenly, she didn't want to be with me, not just because I didn't have a boyfriend and therefore we had nothing in common, but because I reminded her of a time period that had been the source for a lot of emotional pain.
My advice is to remain rooted--to still be there as a support. Perhaps even point out the behaviour in case it is merely survivor guilt. You can help her get past the survivor guilt: tell her that you'll guide the conversation so she'll never worry that she's talking about it too much or dumping information on you during a time that you're unable emotionally to hear the details. If this isn't helping the friendship and you still sense her straining away from you, let her go because that's what a good friend does. Hopefully, she'll miss you and return. And, if not, you know that you did your part as a good friend to let the other person do what they need to do in order to be happy.
Even if doing so absolutely sucks for you and you lose the friendship in the moment. Good friends always seem to have a way of returning to your life when the door has been left open for their return.
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