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.