Friday, April 6, 2012

A Hard Question = A Harder Answer - Molly

Don't give me credit for this. I am borrowing from a good friend's blog. She too has experienced loss and has been granted blessings via IVF. She gets it. Always has. I admire her bluntness in answering this question, but I also admire how kindly she answers it. I have always struggled in describing how I feel, what I want to feel or how I expect others to make me feel.

So if you have a friend going through infertility, whether they are being treated or not, here is a great guideline for how to be a better friend to them. It's a hard (and thin) rope to walk on, and I know (those with infertility) don't always make it easy (I am especially guilty).

So in the answer to the question, "how to do you want people to treat you or what do you want people to say to you" - within the regards of infertility (before you find success and have kids) -  here are some ideas.......  

Here's what NOT to do/say:

  • don't try to hide things to "protect" her
  • don't mention how lucky she is that she gets to sleep in or not get woken up in the night, deal with tantrums, etc.
  • don't tell her how great it is that she gets to travel (if she does)
  • don't tell her that pregnancy is horrible and she's lucky she doesn't have to experience it
  • no unsolicited advice is necessary, i.e.:  don't think about it & it will happen; just relax; don't drink/eat _______; try acupuncture; try this position; do a cleanse; maybe you should lose some weight, etc.
  • have you thought about adoption?
You CAN say things projecting into the future with a positive spin like when she gets pregnant
  • You're going to be the best mom/best parents
  • you'll be so appreciative
  • you'll know not to take them for granted
You can say things like "it's not fair," etc.  But it's not fair for anyone.  You wouldn't wish infertility on anyone, except teenage drug users.  :)  You can tell her that you have another dear friend that struggled for years with infertility, and now she has 3 kids... that's at least hopeful. :)

It's just a bum deal, and don't feel the pressure of coming up with the perfect thing to say to her, because there isn't one.  Honestly, there's not much to say, except be honest and be brief, and follow her lead.  If she wants to talk, let her talk.  If she doesn't, best not to bring it up.  Often just the mention of the issue can bring tears, and sometimes, all you want to do is have a moment when you're not thinking about it.  Church is hard, baby showers are hard, kids' birthday party invites are hard, sometimes driving in the car and hearing a song on the radio is hard--she probably fights back tears daily.  She just needs honest, empathetic friends.  The only thing that will really heal her sadness is a baby, and you have no control over that. 

There isn't one thing that I remember being that special "aha" that made me feel better.  But people who hugged me, let me cry, and told me that they knew God had kids waiting to be mine, somehow, someway, helped comfort me.  It wasn't until I lost Wyatt (at 20 weeks along) that I didn't care how babies came to me.  That usually takes some serious soul-searching and heartache to come to that conclusion.  But my own advice, that I came to on my own, was that God had a plan of happiness for me and my family, and that no matter how babies came to me, I would love them, and cherish them, and I would be happy.  

All in all, be a friend. Share. Be happy. Be joyful - especially when your own family is experiencing joy. But try, just try to be mindful. We don't expect people to get it right all the time. Heck, it's a lot to ask of people, and for that, we apologize. I know I don't intend to be difficult or push people away. It's a defense mechanism. I am protecting myself from the hurt, the want, the desire to have what others have. I have always been happy for those around me, those who have gotten pregnant and had babies - I don't wish my hardships on anyone else. It breaks my heart when others have to experience what I have had to experience. I don't want a medal for my trials. I just want support. We (any who have been in my shoes) just want to know we are supported, thought of and loved.  In the end, we just want what you already have. And until we get it, we will always be a little extra sensitive to the fact that we don't have it - yet.

So, if you have a friend that might be struggling. Wrap your arms around them and just be there. It means the world to us.

1 comment:

Olivia Stipe Manke said...

Very well said! It's advice I've given to other people as well when they don't know what to say to me.