Sunday, February 8, 2009

Officially Lapped

Back in November, I went to coffee with a good friend of mine who I was sure was going to confirm what I already knew - that she was pregnant with #2.

The confirmation didn't come that night.

The evening was uneventful, and in the days that followed, before I knew it, two months had passed since we had spoken. This was previously a very close relationship, - we just seem to have less and less in common lately. It just feels like we don't fit anymore.

Nonetheless, I received the following e-mail from her last week:

Dear Leslie,

First of all, I apologize that I am writing you this in an email - please don't misunderstand it as impersonal or a lack of courage. I know that I can only try to imagine how you are feeling right now, but I think that I would prefer to receive these news in a way where I get a chance to digest it and do not have to make a happy face to my friend's bittersweet news. I guess, in the end, there is no perfect way to say this...

I am writing you today to tell you that I am pregnant. I know how hard it must be for you to hear yet another pregnancy announcement right now and how much it must hurt you. But not telling you wouldn't be fair either. Please do not feel like you have to react to this email right away. I am also not expecting you to sound excited when we do talk. I understand. I just want you to be yourself and say what you're feeling. Let's get together for coffee soon. Just let me know when is good for you.

I'm sorry, Leslie.

I have been so pained by this that I haven't responded, and I'm struggling with what to do here. Yes, I realize that it was incredibly thoughtful of her, and she is a very special person. I do not want to lose this relationship.

However, I don't feel like I can handle this right now. "Not talking about it" would be like ignoring the elephant in the living room, and sitting there across from her at coffee would be so painful for me. I remember when she told me she was pregnant with #1 - we had just gotten married and were getting ready to start trying ourselves. It's amazing to me that here we are, almost three years later and we're still running in place.

I'm interested in your thoughts and opinions about this before I respond.

Is it possible to take a Friendship Holiday?


Mo and Will said...

i have no good solutions to this. i am currently taking friendship and family holidays from a number of people but i don't think that's ideal either. it is just so tough.

womb for improvement said...

I think that email was incredibly thoughtful. She is clearly really worried about hurting you and has spent a while composing a careful email. Every pregnancy announcement is like a kick in the guts, but the longer you put off meeting up with her the harder it will be to catch up when she is showing. Saying that, I've just ducked out of hanging out with a pregnant woman for the weekend so do what you feel comfortable with.

Alex and Jill said...

I have received close to a dozen pregnancy announcements (half of those being from immediate family), since we started trying. Here we are, 2-1/2 years later, and it's still extremely hard to hear. I do believe, it's important not to isolate ourselves from all things pregnancy related. I always want to be able to congratulate them and be happy for them, just as I would want them to do/be, if it were me pregnant and them not able to conceive. It helps me to remember, that their being able to conceive has absolutely nothing to do with my not being able to conceive. Every child is a miracle...even those that are so easily conceived. How can I not be thankful to God on their behalf? :)

It's important to take your time, that you can react in a way that is pleasing to God. There's no harm or shame in taking your time to process it.

Always praying for you, girl. Our day will come.


Megan said...

I think you may have the one fertile friend who is trying successfully to understand what you are going through. I would respond with honesty. Tell her how much you appreciate her sensitivity. Tell her that it is very difficult for you to hear her news right now. Tell her that you don't want to lose her friendship, but tell her that you need a little break right now. I think her email indicates that she might understand all these things.

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this...

~*~Bodhi~*~ said...

The email was extremely thoughtful of her and I think she really thought long and hard before she wrote it and thought it was probably the best way to tell you.

If I was you and you feel you need some time away from her, I'd send her an email back, thanking her for the thoughtful way she broke the news to and just explain that you can't deal with or handle news like this at the moment and that you need some "time", trust me, she WILL understand.

I think she'd prefer to give you "time" and "space" than lose the friendship.

Good luck...


'Murgdan' said...

Wow. I don't know what to tell you. On the one hand she at least displayed sensitivity towards the whole thing, but on the other hand I can't stand people feeling like they have to walk on eggshells around me or treat me 'special' the meanwhile, 'friendship holiday' or not, there's nothing wrong with taking some time to figure out your next move.


I hate pregnancy announcements.

mommy of girls said...

Hey, doll...praying for you. There probably is no ideal way to handle these situations. But you and I both know, that once you add "space" in a relationship (of any kind) it's hard to get it back the way it was....for both parties involved...just remember that as you process all these changes with your fertile friends. I know you. You have a brilliant mind and a tender heart. You will handle things well. I know you will. Just remember that YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Don't not take care of YOU. You, L., your family, your friends and the "baby of your heart" NEED you to take care of YOU. I love you, doll. I do. My heart breaks for you. I still believe. Praying DAILY for God to grant your womb with a baby. Love you.

Sammy said...

Hey Leslie, I am a brand new reader of your blog and was struck by this question. It's one I have grappled with a lot.

It just gets too hard to maintain some friendships over time especially if the infertility is a long journey.
It just hurt too much for me to be around some people when we have been lapped up to 3 times! I would try to overcome the pain but it was too huge.

We are still infertile but adopted a little baby boy last year. One particular friendship took a lot of strain as this girl got pregnant first try both times and is a lot younger than me. I love her dearly but it hurt too much to be around her and her bubs/ bumps. But when we got Reuben, I could relate again as the pain was not there anymore (to an extent). My friend said to me that it's like she got me back again . She was willing to wait for me.

Others were not willing to wait and although we see them, it's not the same. We moved in different directions and I know that even though they say they understand our journey and why we had to keep a distance for our sanity sake, they still carry offense and hurt. And that's ok. After all we were the ones who needed the distance, not them.
So I think it honestly depends on the friendship. I would have loved to celebrate my friends victories with babies but it felt like a knife at times. So at the end of the infertility strengthens some friendships and destroys others. It refines us, our friends and our families.
None of us will ever be the same but hopefully we will be stronger and better!

Penny said...

Obviously she knew that you wouldn't take the news with a huge smile on your face,so I think she will totally understand if you e-mail her and just tell her the truth - that you are just not ready to see her in person,although you're very happy for her,and would like some time to adjust to the news.If,of course,that is how you feel.You're not writing her off,just coming to terms with your feelings.Which is a much better alternative to bottling up your feelings.

Penny said...

The email was considerate, but you know, my heart dropped out of my chest when _I_ read that email, and I don't even know her (and am in a different situation as well). So, thoughtful but still somehow gut wrenching.

I think you should email her something quick - as painful as it may be, something acknowledging the email, congratulating her, and then saying something to the effect of "I'm not in a good place so forgive me if I'm absent for a while, your friendship means a lot to be but the infertility stuff is a lot to deal with right now."

Or something.

Then run away for a good long time.

The secret diary of an infertile said...

I had a very similar experience with a friend of mine. She took over a year to conceive her first child so she does know what it feels like to go through this shit but, at the end of the day, she now has a child and another on the way.

It was shortly after we had found out the results of my husband's SA, I emailed my friend to tell her and I didn't get an email back for about two weeks. I had a feeling she was pregnant because she usually responds to emails of that nature far quicker than that. Anyway, she sent an email on a similar line to the email you received. It took me a couple of days to compose a response but basically I said that I'm glad that she told me and that I understand that people have their lives to live and so I was pleased for them. I met up with her shortly after that and, although it wasn't great, it was OK. Since then email correspondence has been slack. I am glad that my friend told me in email rather than to my face and that she showed some consideration.

Emily said...

Oh the dreaded pregnancy-had to-tell-you-in-an-email-because-you-are-just-too-fragile announcement. Been there, done that. I have so many mixed feelings - I appreciate it and some ways, but resent it in others. I did an entire post about this several months ago when getting an almost identical email.
Honestly, I have not seen that friend since she announced her pg, we have talked, but that's it and it works for us. I did get the shower invite though -ugh. Friendship holidays are ok. Be honest about your feelings. Sending you HUGS!

Silya said...

There's no easy or right answer, as every friendship is different, but it does seem that this friend can handle you being honest about what you need right now (even if that involves taking a Friendship Holiday). I think you can let her know how important her friendship is to you, and at the same time explain that you're not in a place where you can spend time with her right now. Good luck and I'm sorry you're facing this.

just me said...

The same time I had my miscarriage, I had one friend to announce she was expecting and a family member gave birth. Since it was family, I had no choice but to "suck" it up and "deal" with it. I use those words for lack of a better description. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Even today it is hard to look at my friends rather large baby bump or the new baby, but I treasure the relationship I have with that child.

I applaud your friend for understanding. She knew, like a lot of others wouldn't, that it was going to be hard for you to hear. She gave you the space and time to take the news in and digest it. As for taking a friend break, if that is what you need, than do it! Take care of you!! You are #1!

Still praying!

Faith said...

It's just hard. It does sound like she's trying, which may or may not be salt in your wound. I do think it's okay to take a friendship (or family, for that matter) holiday. Guarding your heart wasn't just about not dating the guy who rode the motorcycle. It applies here, too.

LANIE said...

Leslie- The weekend we did our retrieval, it was valentine's weekend. 4 yrs ago. After the horrible 2 wks wait to find out we were not pregnant...guess what? My sister "accidently got pregnant & ended up getting married because of that pregnancy. So at that time I felt like I was a giant joke for God to laugh at. Not only did I have to flush 10,000 dollars down the drain, I get to watch someone who didn't even want a baby have another. Being nice about it was the hardest thing I have ever done. And people would tell me, At least you have your health, or it wasn't meant to be. Bull---T!!! Sometimes it's okay to distance yourself away from people. For your own sanity. If they are really your friend they will understand. It seems to me she understands that's why she sent the email like that. right now you need to concentrate on you...Don't worry about anything else...Love,Lanie

Carolyne said...

I took a friendship holiday away from my best friend last year. She knew how hard we'd been TTC and yest each tome I saw her she'd talk non stop about how she never intended on falling pregnant and kept repeating herself with the line "It's such a hassle I could do without". After the 4th or 5th conversation with the same content I stopped calling/emailing for a good few months. She eventually got in touch as our wedding approached and asked how I was.
To this day (now her little boy is 8 months) she often speaks of him as a burden. She has no regard for my feelings but I switch off.
I hope you can come to a decision as to what to do/say to your friend.
Take care.

rgram962 said...

Hey Friend,
I am usually very selective on my posts here because I cannot begin to understand your pain. Although I hurt for you and want so much for your happiness I will not pretend that I know what you are going through.
That being said I think the email was very kind. I think your friend loves you dearly and will do anything possible to minimize your pain. It was obvious that she was hurting to have to tell you her news. A friend like that will be patient and understand if you can't be around right now. Do what you can Les, take care of yourself, but just know a lot of people love you! How could we not? You are your worst critic, you always have been. You will not do anything without thinking it over a million times. You have a beautiful heart and will do and say the right things.
I love you and know God has the perfect plan for you and L. You WILL be a mother someday and that little boy or girl will be the luckiest baby in the world!!!

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