Over the weekend an out of town friend decided to see if myself and my best friend (who lives in town) would be up for a visit? She said her kids were going to be with her mom. We jumped on the opportunity! We all used to live together in university. We had a great visit, and it was nice to catch up. It was such a nice treat!
During the visit my friend told us that she had experienced a miscarriage in late November. I really didn't expect to hear that she was trying again, but knew it wasn't something that was totally off the table for them. They have 2 boys and mentioned in the past they may want to try for a girl.
It was interesting for me to be on the 'giving' end of an (real-life) infertility situation. And for me to watch my best friend do so as well. What was interesting to me was that my social worker best friend talked about it briefly, but when the first chance to change the subject came up she did. (Friend: "You guys didn't know but on our November shopping trip I was pregnant"… a couple minutes later BF: "I really got such great things shopping, I'm so glad we went…" While this friend has done some very sweet things for me during my infertility journey it made me even more aware the shallowness of the conversations that often happen on the topic.
I brought the conversation back to the topic of miscarriage. We talked about her husband's reaction to the news, her mother's and her friends. We talked about hers. She talked about how many people she know were announcing their June pregnancies. It gave me a taste of how hard it is not to jump in with your own feelings on the topic and to know what to say. It was humbling.
It surprised me how much I had to stifle my urge to want to dive into my own experiences. I found myself comparing our feelings. I cringed a bit when I said "I so get how you are feeling". Because even though I have had my own experiences, I still really didn't know what her experience was like.
My miscarriages experience couldn't have been more different than hers in many ways. Mine were after several years of infertility treatments, hers after two children. Her feelings about the pregnancy were different than I expected (her doctor told her it was a grouping of "pregnancy cells" that formed similar to a growth. She seemed comfortable with this explanation and didn't seem to view it as a loss of a baby (in a way), which was vastly different from my experience.
She talked a lot about how great her doctor was in supporting her. She texted her to see how she was doing, and asked for updates. She was grateful to have received such compassionate care that went above and beyond.
When the conversation turned to me, I had a hard time expressing myself. This isn't a new reaction for me. What is new is that lately I choke up and get teary and can't get many words out. I hate it because I can't say what I want to say. I would love to share just how heavy this burden has been for us. I would love for people to have
What usually ends up happening unfortunately is that I feel uncomfortable with the other person's discomfort. Even though they have brought it up. I'm usually able to gain my composure by talking about the timelines and more technical parts of how things are going. After that, I try to change the subject. I suppose it's because I don't want to add to my hurt by having them change the subject first. I also am scared of what might happen once I open the floodgates.
I'm a big believer that if you stuff your feelings down for so long they will eventually find a way out. That feelings don't stay hidden. And when they do, it will probably be worse, which is where I'm at now. Even though I know this, and I want to discuss it with my real life friends in greater detail, it never seems like the right time to break my silence.
I've often thought about writing a letter to my closest friends and family on the topic of our infertility experience. I may do this one day, if I find the right words and the courage.
I wonder what I would write….