Monday, March 15, 2010

Scared to pick up the phone...

Not a lot of people in our lives know about our IF struggle as of yet - just our parents and siblings, and my friend N with whom I have this unspoken agreement that we can call each other at any time of day/night when we're having an emotional meltdown. We have this strange but easy relationship where we absolutely do not understand what the other is going through (infertility on my side, a child with developmental issues on N's side) and yet this somehow results in a non-judgmental atmosphere of pure empathy and total support.

One person I have not been able to tell is my best friend M, who lives out of state. We've been friends since high school, we traveled to Europe together after college, she was in my wedding party, etc. One reason is that she has been on me since I got married about having children. She is the one person I can rely on to ask me the, "Are you pregnant yet?" question in every phone conversation.

This actually never bothered me during the years because we weren't even trying. In fact, I would often retort that I was waiting for her to get married herself so we could have kids at the same time.

You can already see what will happen, right? M meets an amazing guy (which I am so thankful for, because there were quite a few losers in between), gets married, and conceives within the first 3 months of trying...right around the time DH and I start.

Now, I should explain that one thing that I'm so very grateful for is my ability to detach from my infertility pain when it comes to other women getting pregnant. It makes me feel wistful and sad for my own situation, but I don't have a hard time putting that away and being genuinely happy for them. I can listen to the pregnancy stories, do the baby showers (though I've always disliked bridal and baby showers - even before IF), and play happily with the kids. This probably isn't a healthy thing (and I suspect this ability comes from some rather unpleasant aspects of my upbringing), but for now I consider it an acceptable coping mechanism.

Even so, ever since M gave birth, I've limited my contact with her to mostly email, Facebook, and cards. Not to avoid the news about her kid, who I love hearing about and is the cutest guy in the world, but to avoid the inevitable question. I know I can't hold out forever, and I'm sure M suspects something is up, but I'm at least hoping I can wait until I'm back in my hometown this summer, and I can blubber my sad story to her over coffee. Or better yet, smoothies, because I'll be pregnant by then (oh the things we tell ourselves)...

But this weekend, M starts emailing me about how long it's been since we've talked over the phone. And then she calls and leaves a message while I'm out to dinner this evening.

So I sit there thinking that maybe I should just be brave and call her tomorrow afternoon and tell her. Because I'm being unfair keeping this kind of information from my best friend, who I know will never be able to say the right thing in return but will be genuinely sympathetic and loving to me.

And then the thought hits me...what if she's not calling to ask me if I'm pregnant? What if she is calling me to tell me that she is pregnant...again?

Detached or not, the thought of this fills me with absolute horror. Because even if I can be happy for her, how can I bring myself to tell her about IF if she is happily expecting? And if I don't tell her now, she will be so hurt when I finally do tell her this summer. Or worse, what if I were to unburden myself before she told me her news? That would put her in a terribly awkward situation.

I can't believe I'm devoting so much energy and worry to a completely hypothetical situation!


  1. Ok, I've rewritten this comment several times, and it just doesn't sound right, no matter how I type it!

    I completely understand feeling nervous to tell a best friend. I just told my best friend, who also lives out of state, about our problems TTC. She was so supportive, and so super sweet about everything. But it took me two weeks of hashing out different scenarios in my mind before I made that call.

    Let me know how it all works out. I'll be silently cheering you on from my corner of the blogosphere!

  2. Hi Amber -

    Yay, my first comment!

    I did make the call, and no, she wasn't pregnant (the things I do to my head, I swear...)

    The talk with M was good. I was surprised at how teary I got talking to her about IF, but I guess that's what good friends are for. She was horrified (in a good way), sympathetic, and supportive.

    The best thing about it was that she understood right away my need not to be treated differently or to be patronized, and I just felt relieved at how "normal" our conversation flowed after that.

    I really have to give my friends a lot more credit than I usually do in my IF-addled state. I am so very fearful of judgment or being pitied or hearing the wrong thing that I isolate myself at a time when I should be reaching out for support.

  3. I'm thrilled that it went well for you! Isn't it a huge relief? I think our friends truly want whats best for us, and are willing to work with us to get there.

    It is hard to reach out though. I find myself scared of telling people for fear of what they will say, and fear of their pity. I often wonder if I would have been so open about all of this if I hadn't told everyone in the beginning that we were trying. I guess things work out the way they do for a reason.

    And the worrying about the friend being pregnant thing? I had the same fear when I called my friend!