Friday, April 19, 2013

What To Expect When Your Friend Is Not Expecting~ Part Two

 Please click here Part One and try to read before continuing. Even the lazy ones like me. Go ahead click the link. You procrasinators.

Ok folks, for those of you who already read part one. This is the nitty gritty, the meat and potatoes, the friendship saving, family relationship glue guidebook chapter of "What to Expect..." This is the juicy information that will help you not get punched in the face or lose an eye while eating dinner with one of your friends. I would like to think that no eye gouging has ever happened along the lines of infertility. That wouldn't be cool. But if it has please comment below. Just kidding. Pictures would be great. Thanks.

I do know that friends have been lost, family's have been split and hearts all around have been broken during the fight against infertility. Sometimes it is inevitable. Sadly that statement is very true. But I do believe if you follow along and soak in some of these things below(my own and favorite ones I've found online) there are ways to jump over those hurdles or avoid a head on, bitterness, never talking to you again collision. You may  even come back and mend a broken relationship with a new found perspective on the before situation.

These things below are how to avoid disaster and what not to say to a women pumped full of fertility drugs enduring months of emotional, physical and financial procedures (IUI, IVF,  ICSI's), miscarriages or the result of any of these ending in a miscarriage which can happen multiple times. Not excluding adoption and failed placement adoptions.

1) You need to relax, or take a vacation.

Wrong. Studies and scientific evidence prove that relaxing and taking a vacation will not naturally make an infertile woman pregnant. You might want to consider what came first the stress or the infertility. Your infertile friend probably wasn't stressed out about getting pregnant until she discovered it wasn't happening the way it should. Not to mention the PCOS, endometriosis, male factor infertility, annovulation, blocked tubes, and unexplained diagnosis that may be going on. Thanks but I think I will skip the 2000 dollar cruise to the tropics and opt for a real solution.

2) Never send a surprise text message/phone call telling your infertile friend you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or a picture of someones newborn. EVER.

I call it common sense, but you will be surprised how many times it is has happened to me or women that I know. Take for example, lets say you just got diagnosed with breast cancer and found out that you were going to have to have a mastectomy because you are in stage 4.  Then later that day, ring ring..(incoming picture from your knowing best friend)..."I have decided I want a boob job and not sure if I want to go with full C's or a D cup..HELP?!?"(insert pictures of both boob jobs).  My point being is that you do not know what kind of day someone has had in the first place. Maybe your friend just had a D&C from her miscarriage or is at her 60th month mark of getting a negative on a test. Regardless of any of those things, it is never appropriate to send a picture or let a friend know you are pregnant or anything to do with a pregnancy via a text message. Have the common courtesy to tell them in person. Or for the love of God in an email. And never use anything along the lines of  "we didn't even plan for this to happen" "total accident, whoopsies."

3) Always leave an invitation open for us to decide.

Not sending an invitation to a baby shower or kids birthday party in fear of hurting my feelings will in the end hurt my feelings just as much. Yes the majority of the time I would rather not go depending on what place I am at emotionally in this journey. But that choice should be mine to make. This struggle already takes away so much from us and not being included in life events just adds to it. You do not have to send an actual invitation but an email giving me the option to be present is greater than leaving me out of your important event all together.

4) It could be worse. It could be cancer.
This is about as comforting as telling a friend who has just lost their father, "Well, it could be worse. Your mother and your father could have died." Please don't act as the compassion police, determining who deserves compassion and who doesn't.
Interestingly enough, research has found that the emotional distress experienced by women with infertility is similar to the distress experienced by cancer, HIV, and chronic pain patients. (The comments on this blog post, which talk about comparing infertility to cancer, have some heartbreaking responses from former cancer patients who are now infertile.)
5)  So-and-so tried for 10 years to get pregnant.  Finally, when she gave up, it happened.

  That’s great for so-and-so.  What does her body have to do with mine, anyway?  Oh.  She has the secret sauce ingredient to “getting” pregnant, does she?  Hmm…she does have a lot of cute new purses.  I haven’t tried buying purses yet….maybe I should try that?  Any excuse to shop!

6)  I know exactly how you feel.  

Really?  Like the time when I really felt like I wanted a mocha with all of the fat, including extra whipped cream, but you got me a skinny latte?  Like that?

7)  Everything will happen when it is supposed to happen. 

 True.  But the waiting…it’s not easy.  Kinda like when you order some cool new thing from Amazon and forget to ship it 2 day.  It can be agonizing!

8) It'll happen in God's time.

This statement shouldn’t  be taken harshly, because the person who says it is almost always a well-meaning little old lady. But it can be very hard to hear, for while intended to be consoling, it’s actually quite loaded. It assumes:

- that you know what God will or will not do for me (He WILL grant you children, just not right now)
- that I'm not accepting His will for me right now
- that I'm not being patient because I dare to desire children now instead of waiting passively

We will die in God’s time. It will rain in God’s time. Everything happens in God’s time. You’re actually stating the obvious and it’s not really relevant to the conversation. It gives hope for something that may never happen, and berates the woman in the meantime. Far from being helpful and consoling, this statement used to rile my feathers more than most of the others. Now I just smile and nod.

9Why don’t you just adopt?

“Why don’t you just adopt?” Oh, the answer to all of life’s most crushing pains could be so easily answered by such a simple solution.

“It’s never going to happen for you. Why don’t you just give up all of this nonsense of conceiving a child in the life-giving love of your marriage, growing bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh within your womb for nine months, sacrificing your body while giving birth, nourishing your child with her mother’s milk, bearing a child with your husband’s radiant eyes and sheepish smile… you’ll still have a kid and will be helping someone else out, too!”

Adoption is a calling, it’s not a fallback plan when all other methods fail. You don’t tell a woman in her mid thirties who hasn’t found a spouse yet, “Why don’t you just become a nun? Clearly you’ll never find a man so why don’t you just give up, give of yourself and go don the veil?”

Of course it’s a worthy call! Of course it’s a good thing to do! But you can’t guilt a noble calling upon someone because the desire of her heart isn’t happening.

Adoption doesn’t cure infertility, it eliminates childlessness. Something very real… entirely integral to what it means to be a woman, the primary purpose of her marriage, the centrality of her very being, is lost by the inability to conceive and bear children, to procreate. You can’t just plop a baby on her lap and expect everything to be all better.

And you know what? Maybe we do want to adopt. Maybe it is our calling. But your question requires a response I may just not want to give you.

The question proposes a quick and easy solution for a process that is far from quick and easy. The question assumes we can handle wait lists (especially for infants) that could last several years. The question assumes we are prepared for an adoption that can fall through at the last second, causing unspeakable emotional agony. The question assumes we have a separate bedroom in our house and a stable enough income to pass the home study. The question assumes we have the $30,000+ required to adopt. Let me open my house, my bank statements, and my heart to you to answer your “simple solution” question.

Adoption isn’t as easy as going to the local group home, picking up a cheery cherub and taking her home. That’s what your question makes it sound like. Please, don’t think a) your simple solution hasn’t occurred to us, or b) your simple solution is, in fact, so simple.

 10) How is getting pregnant coming along? 

Hmm.  Kinda thought that I could only be one of two things:  pregnant, or not pregnant.   Since I haven’t mentioned it to you, assume the latter.  Were you worried that I might not know the basics of how to “get” pregnant?  Was that it?

What do I say you might ask???   Sometimes, correction, the majority of the time, you need to say nothing. How about, “I have no idea what to say” or "I'm praying for you." those are both excellent things to say. I will never turn down a prayer or criticize you for not having the right words to say. Its not your fault. I fully understand that. Now its your turn to understand where I am coming from and how some of the above can make me feel.

What should I do??? The greatest gift you can give is to be an open ear and a shoulder to cry on. You do not have to give advice or find the perfect words of encouragement. Just know that because someone doesn't want to talk about something so personal because you will never understand doesn't mean they don't want you in their life. We have to distance ourselves at times to regain strength. To reflect and gather our emotions, to cope or to keep moving forward. It sounds like loads of fun having someone around blabbing in our ear all this amazing advice. Or does it. 

Most important thing you can do is share this on any social media that you are involved in. Get the word out! It is National Infertility Awareness Week starting on Sunday ya know! Even if it wasn't I would still badger you into sharing with the uneducated, misinformed, know it all advice giving public at large. Thank you and thanks for your support and comments! 

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