Friday, August 9, 2013

Guide to Being Friends with Someone Who Can't Have Babies

As somebody who struggles with infertility, I thought it important to share with you guys how to be a good friend to somebody in my position. If you've ever known anybody who struggles with infertility or having miscarriages, you've probably experienced the emotional minefield you have to sometimes navigate to have a relationship with them.
 
 



Please know that all of these words come from kindness, from a place that wants us to have a good, long lasting, fulfilling relationship. Because I want us to be friends and I know that sometimes it's hard, here's some things you should know to make it a little easier for both of us- a guide to being friends with someone who struggles with infertility.
 
-You are not my doctor. Keep your medial opinions to yourself. You do not have a medical degree and knowledge of all my test results to negate my current diagnosis to give advice. Every case is different. Please don’t tell me how to “fix” my situation. What worked for your cousin or best friend’s mother isn’t necessarily going to work for me. In fact, nothing may work for me.

-I need you to be patient with me. Infertility is an ongoing trial that I work everyday to overcome. Some days I need space. I need privacy. I need quiet. And other days I need a really big hug and a reminder that my worth is not solely dictated by my ability or inability to have children. Some days I might get teary eyed walking through the baby isle of the store, and other days I’ll get excited and want to swoon over all the cute things as I dream about being able to shop for my own baby one day. I know it’s hard to be my friend sometimes. I love you for being here for me despite that.

-Stop trying to lessen the gravity of my infertility. It might not be a big deal to you, but it changed my whole life. It’s something I think about and live with every day. Trust that you couldn’t possibly know what I’m going through if you can have kids, do have kids, or haven’t tried to have kids yet. I need you to be sensitive, don’t minimize my feelings or my trials. Phrases like “It’s just not God’s plan for you to have children yet,” or “It’ll happen when it’s supposed to” only hurt my feelings. In fact it hurts my feelings a lot.

-I agonize over my decisions. I worry about everything. I can’t make decisions about my future, where I should live, what job field I should be in, or what dreams and goals I should have for myself because I don’t know if I will ever be able to have children. What if I buy the house with the big back yard and 5 bedrooms for all those children just to be reminded every day for the rest of my life  of how I was never blessed with children to fill that home. What if I buy the smaller more realistic home, spend the extra money on fertility treatments then conceive and not have the space I wanted for that child because I compromised on my home. I have to choose if I want to gain $60,000 in student loan debt getting my Master’s degree or continue working and saving money instead so I might have enough to try fertility treatments one day. I don’t make these decisions lightly and I worry about them all the time.

-Unless I ask for your advice, don’t give it. Don’t tell me things will get better if I just relax or if I adopt. Don’t give me a list of what you think my options are. Trust me, I have thought of all my options already. Children are a dream I strive to accomplish so badly that I have researched and looked into every possible way of achieving that dream one day. Furthermore, you don’t know what financial constraints I’m working within to accomplish that goal. When you nonchalantly told me I should adopt instead, you were assuming that coming up with $30,000-$50,000 to accomplish that was realistic or easy. I’m sorry but do you have $50,000 laying around? Me neither.

-I need you to be encouraging. Words not based in fact; like “you’ll have a baby one day, I just know it,” crush my heart, because you can’t possibly know that. But words like “you are a great woman with so much strength and compassion,” help remind me that even though I’m broken, I’m still a good person. They help keep me hopeful, and they make me appreciate you even more than I already do.

-I want to be a good friend to you. Even though I might not be able to have them, I love children. Please don’t leave me out of your life when you feel awkward about milestones that might make me sad. I may be sad for a few days if you get pregnant. Let me work through that. Because once I have, I’ll be so excited for you. I will want to celebrate with you and meet your little one, spoil them rotten with sweet kisses and presents. Your child’s fourth birthday may be a reminder that we won’t be raising children together like we planned, and yes it may result in me crying at home for a couple of hours. But please don’t shut me out of your life. I might not be emotionally able to participate in every event, but please let that be my decision. I want to be there for you, I want to celebrate with you. I would be far more hurt by not being invited at all.

-Lastly, I need you to know that my happiness isn’t dictated by my infertility. I will have bad days/weeks or even months sometimes. Where I am sad or discouraged or disappointed. But I know who I am, I love who I am, and I’m never miserable. I am very fortunate to have worked through that part of my journey already. I was sad and angry for a very long time. I’m finally happy though. I am content. I know that my infertility exists and I have come to terms with how that limits me. And I’m sorry for the times I’m not fun to be around. I am thankful that you wait it out for the times I am my happy, fun self. I never want you to feel helpless when I’m sad. I will work through it. My sunshine will come back soon, I promise.



I hope you found this post helpful. I want you to know that I love you and appreciate your presence in my life. It means a lot to me that you make such a strong effort at making sure our friendship isn't negatively affected by my infertility.

If you found my guide to being friends with someone who struggles with infertility helpful, please share it with your loved ones. As many people I can reach out to and help to understand us, the better our relationships are with them

31 comments:

  1. Hi! I just wanted to say I agree with everything in this post! As someone who is going through IF treatments after 3.5 years of ttc, you said it perfectly. I want to wish you luck on your journey!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for you luck Jen! I hope everything goes terrifically for you with IVF. Lots of prayers!

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  2. You laid this out so well and so beautifully. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Perfectly said!! I wish every friend/family member of and infertile would read this! Hit the nail on the head with having good days and bad. Sometimes I feel like I'm crazy being all "ooooh babies!!" to "ugh, I DON'T want to see another baby, pregnant woman, or anything to do with babies!!" Things like this make me feel less alone. Thank you!! <3

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    1. Thank you so much for reading Abbie! I'm so glad you feel a sense of community, I love networking and becoming friends with other's in the same boat because we are so much stronger with the support and encouragement of one another.
      Please do share with your family and friends, as many people I can reach out to and help to understand us, the better our relationships are with them :D

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    1. Thank you so much, Tianna! I try to share my life and journey as honestly as I can. Otherwise I would be missing out on the opportunity to touch so many others who struggle with the same thing :)

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  5. thank you. This is just wonderful.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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  6. thank you. This is just wonderful.

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  7. Wow this is so true and so good I wish everyone read and understood us

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    1. I'm so glad you could relate- please share with your family and friends :) Each person that understands how to interact with us through our struggle is another strong relationship in our lives! And good relationships/friendships are so important when you struggle through something like this :)

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  8. Thank you for this. One of my good friends has been trying for 5 years and has gone through countless tests/ treatments and I often don't know what to say to her, especially since I have a baby. I want to help comfort her but I feel like I say the wrong things. This post has really helped thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading! I'm grateful that I have this chance to help others in similar situations and I'm so happy you found some comfort and help by reading this. Good luck to you and your friend- I hope you guys move forward in an even stronger and better way than before. She's lucky to have you if you're this invested in trying to figure out how to make the friendship work during her time of struggle :)

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  9. So well said!! Thank you so much for writing. Infertility has such a way of separating me from the person I used to be.

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  10. Thank you so much for this post! It was like you we're reading my mind. Everything you said is very thing I've thought just put in much better words. I can't wait to share this with my friends and family! God bless you.

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    1. I'm so glad you found the post and related to it! Please do share, and thank you so much for reading <3

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  11. Wonderful list! Thank you for sharing! Going on 43 cycles with one miscarriage...4 Clomid fails & 4 injectable/double IUI cycles! Check out my blog if interested: http://iamrefusingtosink.weebly.com

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    1. Thanks for reading Julie :) I did stop by your blog! Tried leaving this comment but the website wouldn't let me: "Hey girl, www.ablogaboutlove.com is a great resource. It's where I go when I'm feeling discouraged, angry or sad. Mara, who writes there is so positive and encouraging as she writes about her journey with infertility. "

      Best of luck in everything Julie. I hope you find happiness and healing :D

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    2. Aww thanks Laura! I just shared this link on my FB page! I hope others can be as honest as you and I are! I will check into that site not letting your live comments! Weird!!

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  12. I LOVE this! Everything you said is so true and exactly how I feel and think. My husband and I have been TTC for two years now. It has been an emotional and physical roller coaster! People who have never gone through the struggle don't understand. I have recently been trying to be open about it so others who are also suffering may know they are not the only one. Its really nice knowing that I am not alone! I feel like I have this huge secret inside me that I can't talk about because it has become such a big thing in my life right now. Thank you for sharing! It helps make me feel a little less of a failure of something I can't do so easily!

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    1. You are so very welcome! I am so glad you found my blog and read this post. A sense of community is one of the greatest things we can have going through this struggle! We're stronger, together. You are definately NOT a failure <3 Warm wishes to you and your husband as you walk this road together, I hope and pray for only blessings to your life :)

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  13. What a great post! I wish all of my friends could read this! There are so many times I want to scream at them all of these things! Especially the one about not shutting me out of their lives just because I possibly can't have babies. Most times I feel alone and I think it is because my friends don't know what to say or how to act around me.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :D Feel free to share with your friends, it might help them understand you a little better :)

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  14. What a great post! I wish all of my friends could read this! I feel like most of them (the ones with kids) have shut me out. And then there are the ones that try to give me advice that worked for someone they know. I am so happy I stumbled across you blog today!

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    1. I'm so happy you stumbled across it too!

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Hello gorgeous, I love reading your comments!