I was always an outsider when I was growing up; I never seemed to make any close girlfriends.  Looking back as an adult, I know a lot of that has to do with how poorly my parents actually parented me.  I was born when they were too young, too poor, and didn’t know what to do with me.  To quote something that I heard once, “Your first child is the one where you know the least and care the most.”  That was very true in my case, and something I resent to this day.  My relationship with my parents is a post in its own right, but suffice to say that I did not have any guidance on how to be a good friend, and as a result I never acquired any good childhood friends.

When I moved away to college, that changed.  I was out from under my parents’ thumbs, and I blossomed into the kind of girl I wished I had been in junior and high school.  I rushed sorority, got into my top pick, and met the group of girls who have become my best friends.  At this point, our group has been together almost ten years.  We’ve gone through dating, drinking, dancing, spring break trips, engagements, marriages, graduations, pregnancy, fights, make-ups, long nights on the phone, too much time together and not enough time ever.  There are enough of us in this group that we have been able to grow apart from some twosome-friends and grow into other twosomes without anyone being permanently scarred or lost from the group.  Right now, four of us live in town, and three others live away.  We get together for weddings, Christmas, pregnancy announcements, some game nights, and anytime one of our girls from out of town comes back for a weekend.

Our group is apparently filled with late-bloomers when it comes to having babies.  I am the youngest, and have been trying for 21 months.  The girl who is just older than me is the only one who has a child, and her baby was born two weeks before I stopped the bcp.  And yes, she was a “it happened the first month” baby (while her dad was at home between tours in Iraq).  So I’ve actually had it pretty easy the past few years with regards to dealing with pg announcments.  At first there was the feeling that I had to get pg before SIL-X* so that we could have the first grandchild and first great-grandchild on Manly’s side of the family.  But then one of his cousins up North had an oops, so that took care of the great-grandchild pressure.  Then Manly’s unmarried sister got involved with adopting the son of one of her friends who couldn’t care for him, so there went the grandchild pressure.  I would still love to get pg before SIL-X, but I gave up on that happening when they announced that they were trying last November.

So as of now, my girlfriend status is this: my SIL is trying, my friend with the baby has hinted that she’d like another but her husband doesn’t, one friend is not married or dating anyone, two want kids but their husbands are putting them off, and one is waiting for another year or so until they remodel their house.  My female relatives consist of three unmarried cousins and one sister still in high school, so I’m not fighting that battle either.  And yet, after almost two years, I’ve never told anyone we’re trying and having problems.  I know my SIL knows we’re trying since Manly told his brother, but I’ve never told her directly.**

I don’t know why I have this block telling these girls what is going on in my life.  These are the women who have been with me throughout my college career(s), my marriage, and my growing into an adult.  They know all my dirt, my character flaws, and they love me anyway.   The heart of it is that I’m afraid that no matter how much they love me, they will not be able to understand, to empathize, and because they can’t do that for me I’ll pull away from them.  And if I pull away, I’ll be back in that lonely place that I was in growing up.    I’m scared of losing these women to my fight with IF because I feel like I’ve already lost so much to it.  I’ve lost the person I used to be, I’ve lost my faith in my body, I’ve lost my confidence that I can do anything I want to do, I’ve lost hope that we’ll be able to have a large family someday.  I don’t want to lose anything else.

I keep telling myself that once we get pregnant, I’ll share our journey with them, to let them know what we went through.  But part of me keeps whispering, why not tell them now?  Why not let them support you?  Especially now that I know my SIL is coming up on their sixth month of trying and another friend has a fairly severe case of endometriosis, I wonder if I should tell them my story.  I wonder if it would be a help and a comfort, or if it would become the elephant in the room when we all get together. 

*see the ‘Cast of Characters’ page

** after I wrote all this, I remembered that I told baby-friend way back in 2005 that we were trying, but I don’t know if she remembers that.  I also told one of my out-of-town friends last November that we were trying, but I didn’t tell here that we were having problems.


5 thoughts on “Girlfriends

  1. If you can’t tell them straight out, then tell them with an email, all the details you can’t say out loud. Attach links to some websites too…like the Stirrup Queens. I think she has some posts and links about things like the right thing to say and the wrong thing to say. You don’t have to tell them about your own blog, just say here are some things to read…

    Just because, support is good, and there just might be an elephant in the room, who knows? Maybe they’ll be grateful?

    Good luck and let us know what happens…

  2. I know it’s hard, but trust them. From what you’ve said, they’ve been with you through a lot – good and bad – let them be there with you for this, too. I’m not saying that one or two of them won’t let you down. Odds are, someone will. But give them a chance, give yourself a chance. Friends on the internets are great, but friends IRL who can physically hug you and bring you dinner when you just can’t cook for yourself because you’re wiped out from a procedure – those friends are priceless.

  3. I was slow to open up about my IF too. But once I started, it was almost like I couldn’t stop! I’ve been amazed at the support I’ve received from my friends in this whole ordeal. So you never know, your friends may well surprise you!

  4. My guess is that you can’t tell them because then it would be real. Does that make any sense to you? There’s a part of you that clings to the idea that there will be a simple solution, and this will negate all of what you have gone through. In essence pretend that it just didn’t happen. (Ok, so that’s at least how I felt about all of that.) However, Jess is right. Once you tell, and out of that infertile closet, you will feel a giant weight off your chest.

    My parents were first told. They then told the family members who were important, and answered their questions. Then, I sent a group email out to everybody. Very factual. Later emotions were discussed. It really helps! My insurance agent had asked for my new work number, and I told him, “I’m not working right now, because my husband and I are going through infertility treatments.” No doubt, his wife went through IVF. You just never know who you will get to connect with now.

    Oh, sorry so long. Want to be a part of the new area infertility support group we are starting?

  5. I could have (and probably did) write that same post. We have told a few friends/family that we are trying, but we make it sound like it’s so light-hearted. You know, practicing is SO fun, yadda, yadda, yadda. I haven’t mustered the strength or confidence to tell anyone the truth, that we have been trying for 2 years and we are so lonely, afraid and tender…

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