Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Feeling pissy about some of my friends

Some of my friends and our family have come through on the empathy and support department.    Especially when they first heard the news of what had happened.  Kind words flowed in, and they lovingly expressed that they were "there to talk whenever".  At that time, I didn't feel like I could form a sentence through my tears.  I thanked them, and tried to leave the conversation open.

I hoped that maybe after some time had passed, that they would have reached out with a call, or sent a card.  Very least, sent a text to check in.

I am disappointed in those who haven't.

I feel like even saying this makes me ungrateful for the people have shown up for us.  I feel like a  hypocrite, because I knew in advance that not everyone would behave the way I hoped.   I thought that I would be able to wash the bad down with the overflowing good.

That isn't exactly how things have gone.

There are a few people that have not reached out and it's very hurtful to me.   I try to remind myself of how busy they are, about how they may not realize that this is such a big deal.   I try to remind myself about how we have so much more support in general this time, because we have shared our journey more widely.

Today, though, I'm feeling angry, and very, very sad.   It's like my grief has pointed a laser beam onto the unpleasant truth that some people in our lives have NOT shown up.

Today, despite knowing how ugly it sounds, I am saying "Fuck those people that are too busy with their beautiful little families to spend five seconds of their lives seeing how we are.  Don't they know how traumatic this is?"

I don't think they get the pain and grief that is associated with everything we have been through.  How could they, I guess?  I've never spelled it out.  I'm their only chronically infertile friend, so I don't think they are getting a sense of things from anyone else.

I wonder angrily, if they think that a person who aborts baby in the toilet for the third time after six years of bad fertility news, just easily slips back to feeling like herself?  Do they think it's not a huge, life changing ordeal to have gone through all of this bullshit?  Do they not realize that this has affected our lives in so many ways - socially, spiritually, economically, physically, mentally?  Do they know isolating this experience is, and how absolutely deafening their silence is? 

I know it's probably mostly my grief talking.  It's seeping out and trying to poison otherwise healthy, longterm friendships with these thoughts.  It's trying to encourage me to say things that I will regret, share feelings that I should have left bottled.

I don't want to be a person that habitually dumps on their friends.  And honestly,  I haven't been that person.  I've gotten this far without doing that.  They don't know that this loss feels different, the wound is deeper, everything about it stings more, because they haven't asked.

I think about a weekend gathering that we were planning at the end of May.  I was going to host 5 of these friends at our place.  These are people that I lived with for four years in university and have kept in touch with for 15 years.  I consider myself close with all but one of the women, and I think they would say the same.  One of them is my best friend.

At the gathering, I was planning on telling them that I was 15 weeks pregnant.

Instead, a few weeks ago, I told my best friend, and then another one of them about the miscarriage.  She asked if I wanted her to tell the others.  I said yes, please.

I wanted to share with them what had happened so I could have their support.  I wanted to share because I didn't want to tell them at our weekend together.  I want their help now, when I need it the most, and so we could focus on just enjoying our weekend together.

Aside from my best friend, I got two texts back.  Ouch.

And while I know my best friend cares deeply, I feel disappointed in her too.

I find myself imagining this supposed to be special weekend, now that there has been so much quiet surrounding all of this.

I'm torn between thinking that I shouldn't need to burden them with my problems, and on the other hand, feeling upset about their silence.

Part of me just wants to cancel the weekend.  Show them in a big way that I am not ok.

I think this is a situation where I need to decide if I a) want to give up and accept their lack of support; telling myself that I guess we aren't that close anymore or b) discuss the situation now by making contact with them or c) dampening the mood that weekend by spelling out just how devastating this has been to us or d) do what I've always done in the past and just suck it up, and pretend like everything's peachy.

What should I do?  I don't know how much is too much to expect from them.  I can't tell what is reasonable right now, which is why I won't be doing anything for a little while regardless.

I would like to think that if one of them was down and out, that we would rally around her - support her, find ways to be there.   I know I would want to do that for them.

All I want is to be asked, "how you doing?", or "what this has been like for you?" And for them to sit back and have a good long listen.

I guess that's exactly what I do in this place, and what you do for me.   Thank you so much.   I am grateful once again, for you beautiful gentle people.


45 comments:

  1. I have found that many friends don't know what to say to me…so they say nothing. It's easier for them, and yes, hurtful to me. And obviously, to you. You should absolutely be effected by what you've gone through and I'm deeply sorry that your close friends aren't more present in what you are currently going through.

    I too, am so thankful every day for what this community has given me in support, love, cheers and even tears. I know this is difficult right now and I wish I was closer and could help in some way, but I am here if you need anything, even if it's just to vent. Sending you much love today, sweet Julia.

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  2. I think Suzanne nailed it... silence is their was of responding because they don't know what to say. BUT, that doesn't change the fact that their silence can be very hurtful. Navigating this mess can be really difficult for everyone involved, especially when you're hurting. I think it's worth reaching out to the friends you value... harboring bitterness certainly won't help you or your friendship with them. I think humbleness and honesty is the way to go... but give yourself some time to grieve. I never say what I mean to say when I'm really emotional. BIG HUGS to you!

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    1. It is the bitterness I am afraid of. I wish I could fast forward and know if this is just my hormones and grief talking, or if it's really worth diving into.

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  3. I am so, so sorry. As unnecessary as it sounds, I suggest telling them exactly what you need from them. A mass text would work to say something like - I know we haven't been as open with our infertility battle before but as we share more I am realizing how much more support I need from loved ones...this is so devastating and hurtful to our core...I really need for those who care about us to reach out and offer support in the form of texts to check in on me, phone calls to say you are thinking of me...etc. I think you willl be pleasantly surprised as those who have not been here generally do nothing only because they don't know what to do and not because they don't care. Also prepare yourself for stumbling comments that may hurt but were said to help (everything happens for a reason, thank goodness it was early, try to relax, etc.). When said, take a deep breath and respond with a thank you for trying to help and while that may seem helpful it actually hurts because we have struggled for so long or we have loved every baby from the moment of possible conception, etc. It sucks we have to educate but once you do then you will likely get far more support. In the meantime, be as angry and upset as you want to be because your hurt and anger is very valid. Hugs to you.

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    1. I'm working on a letter. I'm not sure if I'll send it yet. I guess it depends on how good I can make it.

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  4. I'm so sorry you're not receiving the support you need. I hope you feel the kindness and support from this community, as I know it's the only place that hasn't let me down when I needed it the most. I hope you are able to reconnect with your friends and that they learn to show you they care even when it's difficult. Until then, I hope you find comfort in this community. Please let me know if there's anything you need.

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  5. I hear what you are all saying, and I think your advice is good.

    I think what is holding me back is that part of me feels like when you have to ask for it, that what you receive isn't sincere. I think that is a huge part of what is stopping me from reaching out. Sigh.

    This crap isn't easy.

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  6. "I think what is holding me back is that part of me feels like when you have to ask for it, that what you receive isn't sincere." You are completely entitled to feeling this way, but in some cases it simply isn't true. Sometimes people don't know how to respond to grief. My father died over 10 years ago. A year ago I ran into someone who asked me about him and I had to awkwardly explain that he passed away a long time ago. That person immediately apologized to me repeatedly and stated "I'm so sorry to have brought back painful memories." And that's just it... Maybe your friends are afraid that by reaching out they would be reminding you of the pain. They may think that they are doing the right thing by being silent and allowing you to initiate conversation about how you are feeling. It's not that they don't care - it's that they don't know how to support you in the way you need. The best way to get the support you want from the friends who are lacking is by having an open dialogue with them. If they truly are great friends, they will give you exactly what you need. If not, screw them for being heartless crummy people.

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    1. I agree that they don't know what to do. They might think of it for a little bit, get distracted and then forget about it. I'm feeling like I don't have time in my life for crummy people either. It might just be better to find out once and for all. For the record though, I don't think they are crummy. I'm hoping they just don't know what to say.

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  7. This is so tough. When I lost J and B it was a HUGE range. Some people were in my face are-you-okay type thing (I actually appreciated it) while others, especilaly co-workers, looked away when I came back and acted like nothing ever happend. Some best friends listened for hours while others were awkardly silent.
    The thing that KILLED me the most was the fact that I felt SO much pain, so much sadness and that when people heard my story they would think "that is so sad" and the move on with ther day. They could laugh, they could enjoy their children, they 'felt bad" for me while I was left in teh trenchs bleeding to death. I vented about this on a online support group and someone pointed out that there is no way for people to feel the sorrow at the depths that the suffereing person is (unless it happens to them) because if this were the case, we would all be super depressed/sad ALL the time. For some reason that helped me. I'm sorry some people have disappointed you :( Infertility unfortanatly makes us the awkward white elephant in the room. It has helped me to give the benefit of the dought/grace (while having an agry freakout about it to my huband) and then chalking it up to them not knowing how to respond.
    We are here for you. I promise you there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about your sweet little family and the amazing fight you are doing daily to bring home that child. You are SO full of love for him/her. I cannot image that love/desire is there for no reason. Hugs to you sweet friend.

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    1. "...there is no way for people to feel the sorrow at the depths that the suffereing person is (unless it happens to them) because if this were the case, we would all be super depressed/sad ALL the time."
      This makes so much sense to me. I've never thought of it that way.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and kind words.

      I have so much respect for you and your journey.

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  8. I am new to your blog but I just wanted to say that I understand. I'm so sorry for your loss, for each one of your losses, and for all of your pain. I may be a stranger but I have you in my thoughts & prayers now too. ((hugs))

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    1. Thank you, you're not a stranger anymore. :)

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    2. meant to say... glad you're not a stranger anymore

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  9. I'm sorry for your loss and for the rift with your friends.

    Infertility and the aftermath (mostly the aftermath) separated my friends and me, permanently. Sometimes it just happens. Sometime your lives diverge too much.

    But sometimes it's worth the conversation. Maybe since they got the news second-hand, they didn't know if it was ok to contact you. Maybe they didn't know what to say or do, or think too much time has passed and now it's just weird.

    Reach out. Give them the chance. And if they fail to take it, there's no shame in stepping back, in looking out for yourself so they can't add to the hurt. You can always reconnect with them in the future, when things are more settled, when you are not as vulnerable.

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    1. I need to give them a chance. They are worth it to me.

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  10. I too, think that people who haven't been through anything like this just don't know what to say so they just don't say anything. I also found after our miscarriage that people I knew for sure would say something, didn't say anything like it didn't even happen. But I also had the situation with my MIL where she herself struggled for 7 years to have my husband and she never really said anything to me after the miscarriage because according to my husband it's too painful for her to talk about. So I don't know, it just seems like there are all kinds of situations but it is nice when someone will just listen :)

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    1. Wow, to the MIL thing. I think I'm wired differently. After almost TTC for 7 years myself, I can't imagine not talking with my daughter in law about it. I guess times were different, and there was probably so much more taboo surrounding it.

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  11. I'm so sorry! The lack of support just makes a terrible situation that much worse. I would strongly recommend NOT doing D. Either let go or talk to them directly. You won't win any medals, or have healthy relationships, by "sucking it up." Praying for you.

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    1. D is my go-to. It's going to be a hard habit to break.

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    2. Especially because I'm not sure if they did enough to me to warrant an email. Some of them did reach out, even if their attempts were super lame. ... This by the way is my inner chicken just trying to get out of having a difficult conversation.

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  12. These thoughts/feelings are very normal for where you currently are in your grief process. Have you watched the Empty Arms video online (google Empty Arms infertility and you should be able to find it)? When we were at our absolute lowest, we sent this out to some of our friends with an honest explanation that we didn't exactly know what we needed, but that we needed their friendship. People responded really well. Just a thought...

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    1. Watched it again, and then again. Oh man, the tears flowed. I just might tag this onto my email to them, if I go that way.

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  13. Hello, another new reader here. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

    And I'm so sorry that these friends of yours are behaving in such an insensitive manner. You may very well not be as close as you once were, and in that case maybe they could be forgiven if they did nothing more than send a text, but to say nothing at all? I know I would struggle to excuse someone of that.

    If it's of any consolation to you, their lack of understanding of infertility may not be the cause of their behavior, but rather it's due their ignorance of basic etiquette, which sadly is a huge problem these days among probably the vast majority of people under the age of 50. There is no excuse for not saying anything because "you don't know what to say" in this day and age, where the answer to any question is a couple of mouse clicks away. The first thing I did after learning of a friend's miscarriage was to get ideas about how to best support her from a few websites on the topic.

    Big hug to you.

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    1. I think we have drifted apart a little. Especially as they have all become mothers to their young families. I think drifting is kind of what happens at this stage of life.

      I hate that a big part of IF is that exactly when you need your friends the most, they are all off having babies.

      I agree with the google comment. And it makes me a little more angry to be honest. Adds fuel to the "let 'em have it" fire.

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  14. People handle things differently! Give them time. There are also different forms of friendship. I totally relate tot what you are saying tho and have felt the same way!
    Now you know who to be there for first!

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    1. Sad thing is, I feel like I've been there for them (except for one) through their difficult stuff...death of a parent, emergency/vacationing child care, sick parent, divorcing parent. I'm not perfect certainly, but I feel like I've tried.

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  15. Suzanne's comment is spot on. I think that people just don't know what to say or how to act. I've had people flat out tell me that they haven't asked me how things are going because they don't want to seem nosy or get me upset. I think pretty much everyone is like that to some degree. Even my own mom has said that she doesn't want to upset me, and she figures I'll talk to her when I need it. I think a lot of your friends think they're doing the best by you and don't realize that in reality giving you space is absolutely not what you need.

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    1. These friends have said things in the past to me along these lines (years ago). I've always been very open with them on this IF crap. Even when it wasn't easy - talking about sperm counts and donor embryos and donor eggs. I would honestly probably talk about IF for as long as someone would let me. The only reason why I ever stop is because I don't want to be a downer or a conversation hog.

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  16. I so wish I could come over with a bottle of wine and listen and talk and cry -- and even laugh -- with you.

    It's funny, I have been planning the exact same kind of post, just trying to figure out how to word it, b/c I've been afraid those people who have been there might feel like chopped liver.

    I don't think I buy this whole thing of people not knowing what to do. FIGURE IT OUT. If a friend's grandparent dies, do you just ignore that news? No, you do not. It's just ridiculous and frankly unacceptable.

    Alice Hoffman has a great book called Survival Lessons -- did I tell you about it? She wrote it when diagnosed with breast cancer. She talks about this same phenomenon, how friends just disappeared. And she said she basically let those friendships go, because she decided if they couldn't be there then, what was the point? And I think that's where I am on it. Life is too short and I am too old for this kind of friend. I mean, people in my new town who I barely know made us dinner the entire first two weeks after my loss. If a friend or family member can't even say something appropriate, it seems inexcusable.

    I think you would just need to decide whether you're comfortable with friendships that are there for fun times and just know in the back of your head they're not necessarily going to be there when the shit comes down. I don't have many of this type of friend left these days but I don't think there's anything wrong with it, either, unless we both have realistic expectations about what they offer us.

    Keep coming to us for the real stuff.

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    1. I would love to share a bottle of wine and a good cry and chat with so many of you ladies.

      Couldn't agree with what you've written more. And no, I haven't heard of the book. I haven't read anything in a while. I'll check it out.

      Thank you.

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  17. So sorry to hear you're feeling let down by your friends. I was hurt when my best friend didn't send a card or flowers after any of my miscarriages or failed cycles. I sent her flowers when she put her cat to sleep and when her husband's grandmother died (a woman I had never met) but the fact that she couldn't see what a big deal this was to me really hurt. And the hurt still lingers. Wishing I could give you a hug.

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    1. I get this. They sent my friend's mother flowers this week for being in the hospital for crying out loud! Fak!

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  18. People just don't get it. I'm so sorry you're not receiving the comfort you need from those you would have expected it most. :( xoxo...

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    1. Thanks. Thinking good things for your beta coming up.

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  19. I can so relate, and I'm sorry you're going through this, too. I'll write a post of my own on this rather than an endless comment, although for the most part I've tried to concentrate on those experiences that were kind and supportive. Like you, I initially just couldn't talk to anyone about it, and then later it seemed awkward to approach people, as from their perspective it was "long ago" even though for me the pain still was/is fresh. I'm so grateful for those few that kept checking in later. And I definitely wouldn't pretend to your friends that everything is fine. Maybe you can find a way to spend some time talking about your loss, but then also have time for other topics? (At least I sometimes need a break from focusing on being sad.)

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    1. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the topic.

      IF usually comes up into conversation, but often only for a few minutes. I also welcome a break from my own depressing crap.

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  20. I'm going to give advice that I wish I myself had been able to follow: Educate them, if you can stomach it, if you have the energy. Send them links that help them understand what you're going through, and what you need right now. It's so much to ask of you right now, gah. But I think it is the best solution, to preserve relationships. Because losing the relationships just deepens the chasm of isolation we're already in. If, after being gently guided there is still silence---well, then, I don't know, but that's pretty cowardly. But you'd have to decide which relationships are expendable and which are not. I'm so fucking sorry you are going through this.

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    1. I don't want to lose these friends. I think this could be an opportunity to strengthen the relationships. I want to have the courage to educate them. The email's been drafted. I just don't know if I can pull the trigger.

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  21. Depending on how your crass/insensitive your friends are, you might feel better with the silence. I have lost many long-term friends after a series of life tragedies that they simply couldn't understand. I know they're not evil people, but they're just immature. All the same, I needed them out of my life for my own mental health.

    A former friend of mine actually suggested that I get a hobby so I would stop grieving. My life was completely turned upside-down (not fertility-related), and this "advice" was pretty condescending. The same so-called friend found out she was pregnant 2 weeks after I had a stillbirth, and actually offered to let me babysit her kid so I would "feel better." How would that make me feel better? Does she not know what it's like to lose a full-term baby? (Answer: no). And this dumb broad was a bridesmaid at my wedding! What did I ever do to deserve her?

    I won't get into it, but she & a few of my other close friends have said some pretty crass things about my life tragedies, and I know that they can't possibly understand. And I think I would be better off with silence than their stupid comments that were meant to make THEMSELVES feel better.

    Sorry that this response was about me, not you. But grief changes people, and now I realize that i have nothing in common with my former friends. Nothing at all. I wish I could meet all you IF bloggers in real life, because I do need new friends now--ones that have been through the wringer like me.

    --Edita

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    1. Your old "friends" sound like complete assholes. I am so sorry you had to endure that. Would love to meet you IFers in real life one day too.

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  22. I go back and forth all the time between being enraged--how hard is it to send a text saying "thinking of you"--and excusing their behavior because they just don't seem able to get it. I am bitter about it now, and like you I don't like to act out while upset so I don't regret it later. Mostly I rant to my husband and online support group. I don't feel the same about a lot of people anymore. I don't have any great advice, but you are not crazy.

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    1. EXACTLY!!! A f-ing text message or two would have made a world of difference.

      I feel like saying "Oh! You have time to upload an Easter album of your kids on Facebook, but no time to text me?"

      I rant to hubby all the time too. I feel bad for him sometimes.

      Thanks for saying I'm not crazy, or alone.

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