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On Infertility and Friendship

I was married in December of 2008, in a lovely ceremony in a historic chapel, surrounded by the people I love.

Standing by my side were five bridesmaids: old friends, cherished friends, childhood friends, best friends, family.

Between those five women, they currently have eight children, and one more on the way.

I am still trying.

And it hurts that I will never catch up.

I love these girls.  They are the people with whom I’ve grown up, learned, made mistakes, got into mischief, and experienced life.  They are the people I can count on through anything.

I have known my best friend since we were six years old.  We played Barbies together, and built forts in the woods together.  We got boy-crazy together (…well, she did; I had Coke-bottle glasses until I was fifteen, so it took me a bit longer.).  We dreamed together, graduated together, went off to separate colleges, fell in love, grieved losses, and in all that time managed to keep us together.

She was married just three months before I was, and we were each other’s maids-of-honor.  We have a close relationship to this day, and I know that we always will.

Six months after her wedding, she was pregnant.  I was thrilled, and expected that I’d be right behind her on the baby train.

I wasn’t.

I’m still not.

By the time her daughter was born in January of 2010, I was ready for my time to come.  By the time another great friend’s daughter was born in August of 2010, I was ready.  By the time another beautiful bridesmaid had her third child in December of 2010, I was ready.

By the time the last two of my bridesmaids came to me with their expectant news in 2011, I was beyond ready.

I was getting bitter.  With life, with my circumstances, but not with my friends.

Infertility has definitely had an impact on some of my relationships.

It’s a tough to pinpoint when exactly, but this journey – and life in general, I think – has caused some of my friendships to fray at the edges a bit.  The cloth is still intact and capable of standing the test of time, but we occasionally need to reestablish our boundaries to keep the integrity of the relationship.

Don’t misunderstand; I love these girls, and I love these children.  They are my nieces and nephews and godchildren.  I would do anything for any of them.

It’s a confusing and difficult thing to explain to people how this grief, this process, has changed me as a person, and thus changed the dynamic of some of my closest, most important relationships.

I think a big part of the occasional tension is just general getting-older-and-on-with-our-own-lives growing pains.

We have all started our adult lives with spouses and significant others, and moved to all corners of the state.  We all have jobs, and lives, and families, and in-laws, and vacations, and chores, and bills, and other relationships to manage.

Within all of that chaos, there are children.

For them.

Children take time, and effort, and pretty much every minute of your entire life from the time they are conceived.  I get that.  I get that my friends would have less time to talk to me about my life, let alone my sad and pathetic infertility, let alone manage any other friendships, because they have their own families to attend.

And this is where it gets hard, and a little depressing, to define:  Sometimes it feels like we don’t have anything in common any more, aside from the fact that we have history.

I know this isn’t entirely true.  These girls care about me.  I care about them.  We will always have bonds that transcend whatever life throws our way.

Our struggles bring us together and make us stronger.  …Even if they are hard to understand and relate to on occasion.

There has been more than one instance where I’ve had to back out of plans because of blood work/ultrasounds/insemination/other infertility drama, and it’s never easy to explain.

I know that I only feel that way because infertility has become so much of my daily life; I try not to let it define me, but there are some days that I feel like just that:  an Infertile.

And nothing else.

Yes, they all know what is going on with me, and they all understand.

Well…  In a way, they understand.

In the way that they want the best for me, and hope and pray that I will get what they all have, but not in a way where they’ve been through this.  Not in a way where they’ve known this kind of desperation, or loss, or grief, or all-encompassing, nauseating sadness.

…Not in a way that I would ever want any of them to know firsthand.

Now, on the flip side, I have other relationships that have been formed, renewed and strengthened due entirely to this infertility journey.

In that way, I feel fortunate.  I am able to relate to a whole new group of people, and I am able to share what I am going through with others who may not understand.

I can bring some enlightenment to the Fertile masses by sharing my story, and that’s something special, I think.

I have grown apart from some, and closer to others.

Wax and wane.

Sunshine and rain.

Life goes on, and we all go on with it.

I am thankful for the great friendships I have, and am thankful for all that they have endured.  I know that they will survive through this trial, and probably through many others as the years go by.

I may never be able to properly explain the impact infertility has had on my friendships.  I only hope that I can continue to count on this core group of ladies to support me in this, and guide me in whatever form of motherhood comes my way in the future.

Because it will.

And I will need them even more when it does.

17 comments on “On Infertility and Friendship

  1. akismet-85fd13bbe48421f209c93d1f8f703c79
    July 26, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Beautiful. Heartbreaking, but beautiful. I know exactly how you feel. And when my babies finally found me, I was able to count on those friends just as I had before. But something changed in me, and I will never quite be the me that I once was.

    Like

    • Tracy
      July 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      There are so many things that can change a person’s course in life, and it’s a sad thing to lose a friend for any reason.

      I am truly thankful that I have such great friends, and am extremely grateful that none of them have started avoiding my phone calls. One can only talk about a friend’s uterus for so long… 😉

      Like

  2. Julie Conley
    July 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Well written, as always. I don’t wish the physical or emotional pain of infertility on anyone, but I am glad that we “met” and became friends, at least by Facebook’s definition. ;). Keep on keepin on, my friend.

    Like

    • Tracy
      July 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      I completely agree! I would be a mess without you girls, and the fact that you beat this bitch makes me so much more hopeful for my own victory in the infertility fight. 🙂

      Like

  3. Katie
    July 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    This is such a good post. So honest and true.

    Like

    • Tracy
      July 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      Thank you, Katie. 🙂

      I don’t know what I’d do without the internet and the online IF community… I might go crazy!

      Like

  4. Stupid Stork
    July 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Gorgeous.

    And SO true. We’re a member of a club that no one can really understand unless they’ve been in it… which, unfortunately, instantly makes us different whether we like it or not.

    But yay for online friends! I’m tellin’ ya, it feels so good to escape the world of the fertile and find my sisters in shittiness.

    Like

    • Tracy
      July 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      Ahahaha! Shit-Sisters we are! 😉

      Like

  5. Jenny
    July 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    This was a beautiful post.

    That feeling of being left behind is incredibly painful, but infertility has opened up a new world to me that I didn’t even know existed. So, despite the pain, there is gratitude as well. Without infertility, I wouldn’t have gotten to know so many amazing women.

    Best of luck to you.

    ICLW #51

    Like

  6. Jen
    July 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Ah, I really know how you feel. About all of it. Feeling left behind, happy for your friends but left out and sad, and the feeling that you just don’t have anything in commons with friends of days past.

    What I love about your posts is that you talk about the hardest, most crushing parts of infertility but you manage to find something positive too. Thank you!

    Like

  7. Tyger
    July 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    You don’t know me, and this is the first time I have read your blog. I found it through Google, and find it giving me renewed hope. I am in the tww after the most promising cycle I have had. I love how positive you remain, and hope to learn from this example. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Like

  8. Selena
    July 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Thanks Tracy for this post. I can definitely relate to this especially since two of my friends called me last week to let me know they are expecting. While I am happy for them, at the same time, I cried after getting off the phone because I didn’t know when it would ever be my time to call them with some good news. Let’s just say that after four years ttc, I am kind of down and depressed about this whole thing. But reading your blog inspires and motivates me to keep on going. Good luck this month and hopefully you won’t need many more shots this week.

    Like

  9. Desiree Carroll
    May 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Very well written. it’s as if you just described my infertile life to-a-t! glad i found this blog, helps to connect with others out there who can def. relate!

    Like

  10. Justin Carroll
    May 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Reblogged this on Young & Barren and commented:
    This is a great insight the affects of infertility on friendships. If you’re up to it give her blog a read or two. We really enjoy her wit and above all her ability to put such complicated emotions into words.

    Like

  11. LC
    September 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    http://laurarahel.blogspot.com/2013/08/guide-to-being-friends-with-someone-who.html

    another post I found about being friends with somebody with infertility

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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