Monday, October 6, 2008

How to deal when other's get pregnant.

This is a great question:

I find it very difficult to wrap my head around people who just end up pregnant without trying. I understand that it happens but it just is so strange to me. So, how do you deal with friends that just end up pregnant? How do you deal with the idea of doing it once and having it work for them?

Secondly, if you can get over the fact that for some people this just happens, how do you make your friend comfortable with telling you that they are expecting? I feel like a lot of times, I get angry that this happens to my friends/family.

How do I not put pressure on my friends (that know we’re having trouble), to the point where they don’t feel comfortable even announcing their pregnancy to me?

How do we get over these hurtles?

Rachel's Answer:

First off I hated hearing about people who were trying to get pregnant. All I could think was “great another person who will be pg before me.” That’s the honest truth. I started to look at everyone around me as ticking time bombs... will that cousin get pg again before me? What about my newly married brother? Will I have a friend get pg before they even get married? How would I deal with that? I couldn’t be there for them…


Harsh as it may seem, I so often felt that way. Each friend who helped me along the way would instantly jump to the “other side” the second she announced her pregnancy. And thus would begin yet another pregnancy to “deal with”.

I feel sick even writing this, because I HATE that I ever felt this way towards other people. And I pray that anyone close to me reading this will be protected against old wounds opening back up. I would never want to re-hurt anyone by sharing from my experience.

But that’s my intro!

To answer the question more specifically, I struggled A LOT with the fact that some people just got pregnant. When you break down all that has to go into an IVF cycle (or any cycle for that matter), all the obstacles the sperm have to go through, and then you add the bonus of misshapen/misguided/mismade/confused sperm to the issue… it seriously seems impossible that ANYONE could ever get pg.

And yet they do. And often. I had a really hard time wrapping my head around the basic scientific facts. What is so easy for 5/6 people in this world, was almost impossible for us. And that hurt. It seems SO SIMPLE. Why couldn’t our bodies do it right? We were clearly made for each other, so why didn’t we work?

What was worse was that I often compared my life to the said pregnantee. It was so easy for me to line up our perfect plan next to their plan and list the many many reasons why we should have been pregnant first, and not them.

But the cold hard truth is it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter who had more money in the bank or who had been married longer or who had been trying longer (or trying at all) because it was simple. Life doesn’t work that way.

I had to tell myself this over and over and over and over (and then over again). Life isn’t fair. It’s not how it works.

I refer back to my previous post about my realization that I deserve nothing I have in life. Many people deserve the husband I have, the family I have, the house I have, the life I have much more than me. And MANY people live through a lot crappier things than I have and they don’t deserve that either. So I just had to remind myself of that. Life doesn’t work like checks and balance. It’s not always fair and pretty.

So I stopped making the lists. They were only serving to drive me more insane and angry. And they could only hurt my relationships along the way.

As far as making my friends comfortable? Well I am NO expert on this subject. It’s by God’s grace alone that some very close people to me (including my sister) didn’t run for the hills after telling me they were pg.

I think of all the blogs I’ve ever read, I truly reacted the worst to pregnancy announcements. For me there wasn’t the “I’m happy for you, just sad for me”. I wasn’t happy, not for a LOOOONG time. A few people were the exception… but I general it took months of prayer and healing to move passed the anger I felt towards the whole rotten situation.

Because it wasn’t fair.

I didn’t hate my friends; I didn’t hate their baby’s or their pregnancy’s. I just hated all of it… the fact that I was infertile and they were not. And the fact that all I could think was angry thoughts while sobbing for days on end when they were experiencing the happiest time of their lives.

The fact that their joy caused me pain.

So how did I make them comfortable? I didn’t L I most likely made it worse. But I made it very clear to all my friends that if they got pg they were to tell me over email. I couldn’t handle face to face or phone conversations. I needed them to know that, so they didn’t have to try and figure out how to tell me.

And often after I’d find out someone was pg, I’d tell them exactly what I needed. I needed space, I needed time to heal. I needed their patience, I needed their forgiveness… I still needed their support.

It was all about me, me, me. And honestly looking back I don’t know how I could have done it any different. Even just thinking about it now makes me ache to the core. I remember so vividly the pain I went through with each announcement. And as much as I hated going through it, I hated that I put my friends through that.

So after I asked for space, or told them what I needed, I would slowly start asking them questions about their pregnancy. ONLY when I could, and only when I had it in me. But I’d made sure they knew I genuinely wanted to know and I genuinely cared. Those times were far and few, but I took extreme advantage of the times I could step out of my selfish shell and offer support to them. I only wish it had come more often.

I only had one openly struggle with me not being there for her when she had walked with me through so much.

The only thing I had to offer in explanation was I couldn’t justify my behavior, it was completely irrational and I hated it, but I had to protect myself the only way I knew how.

Was I right? I don’t know…. It’s so hard to know. But I continued to pray FERVEROUSLY that God would change my heart and change it fast, because that was my only ally.

If I did NOT answer your question, we can absolutely email more about this :-)

Melissa's Answer:

Being the person on the “other side” of this issue, I can not possibly tell you how to go about being there for your friends when it can hurt you so much.

However, one thing that I can say for sure, is no matter how easy of a time one of your friends or family members had in getting pregnant….they have their struggles. So, as hard as it is for you to watch them get pregnant, it may be that hard for them watching you in a happy marriage.

Or have, not only enough money to pay your bills, but also enough to go on vacations, or remodel your house.

Or, they may see you with your parents or siblings and grieve to the core that yours are still alive. Or in your life.

Or or or…..I obviously could go on and on.

One thing I DID struggle with in this journey is feeling like to Rachel, NONE of these things compared to her struggle. For me personally, finances have been a veeerrryyy hard thing for my husband and I (some our own doing…most not). It was SO hard to watch Rachel and Joey go on vacation after vacation amongst other things, but I knew that they had every right to do so. But, it was so hard when Rachel would say things or insinuate things such as “well, at least you have kids”. Her hurt and my hurt were not comparable…but that didn’t mean they weren’t both real. And I wondered, if her hurt was so bad, why did it make her ANGRY that I did not have to endure that same hurt? Would it be easier on her if I had had to struggle for years to get pregnant? I pray that she NEVER knows financial struggles the way we have.

I know full well that no matter what, you will hurt over the struggle to have a baby. I know full well that what I am about to suggest will NOT take that hurt away.

However, the more you can look at other people, the less your hurt will consume you. So, my encouragement would be that you look at each of these friends and family members…I mean REALLY look…and see what is in their lives that is hurting them…possibly to the point of consuming them. And, in doing this, reach out to them. Walk through their pain with them. It will make them walking through your pain with you much easier.


WantWait&Pray said...

Such an inspiration, both of you. Thanks for bearing your souls and opening up your life to others so that we can learn from you both. I have followed Rachel's journey and taken so much out of her humility through her experience. As we get started on IVF ourselves- I hope I can handle this next huge step with grace and undying faith. Thanks again, I will look forward to seeing future entries. In His Love- God Bless.

Paige said...

This was and is a struggle for me. I have several friends who did struggle with fertility but not to the lengths that we have and it really bothered me that they ended up pregnant. I remember on several of them saying to myself "but they have marriage problems or they just filed bankruptcy why do they get a baby". i am very good at slapping a smile on and letting them think i am overly happy for them.

the worst time for me was a couple who struggled with secondary infertility and when they did get pregnant they felt we needed to be involved in every aspect of the ordeal. we were the first ones they called and they told us first it was a boy. it really hurt that they were throwing it in our face but in reality they wanted to share their joy. we aren't as close any more only because for my sanity i had to take a step back.

thanks girls for sharing your stories.

hopeful #1 said...

Thank you!

Thank you for being honest.

Thank you for pouring your hearts out about this situation that so many of us are faced with.

Thank you for giving us all hope and a place to turn to.

Thank you!

Nate and Kristin said...

During our 2 years of "trying," it was always better for me if I knew a friend was trying, rather than being blindsided by the news. I also agree that email was better for me because it gave me time to process and have my selfish reaction, then be able to be happy and express that to my friend.

Melissa, thanks so much for your perspective on this too. I look back and hate how selfish I was, thinking my pain was worse than everyone else's. Hopefully in the future, I can be thankful for what I do have and know that I am blessed beyond measure, and I should stop comparing myself to other people.

Meredith said...

Rachel - I feel like you and I (and probably 98% of infertiles) have felt the same thing w/ pregnancy announcements. I can remember my husband coming home on several occassions w/ a scared look on his face ... b/c he had to "break the news" to me again. I will never forget all the feelings I have had through each and every one of those announcements.
Also, I wanted to tell you that I just wrote an entry in my (private) blog about this - after being inspired from one of your posts. You will have to check it out!

Shanny said...

This is such a great blog idea, its so great that you are both sharing it with us.

I can certainly see both points of view on this issue and I know you are helping a lot of people out there that are either dealing with infertility or have a loved one that has infertility. You are offering an inmense support, thank you!

Jen said...

You two are so brave to be so honest about your feelings. And the fact that you have been through so much in your relationship and can still talk about this openly is such a great testament to your love for each other. I am looking forward to more blog entries!

Marisa said...

I have really enjoyed reading this blog and getting a candid perspective from both sides of the fertility issue. It was awkward for me to break the news to a friend who had been trying for years to have a baby that I was pg. I tried not to talk about it in front of her to avoid hurting her feelings, and instead made a point of asking her questions about her progress towards adopting. She was very, very gracious towards me and made a point of asking about my pregnancy when she could. I am still amazed at her attitude and spirit. I don't think I could have been that gracious if the shoe was on the other foot.

I'm glad Melissa shared that even though she was able to have children easily, she bore her own struggles. My husband and I have struggled with finances ourselves ever since we got married, and I remember envying my friends who didn't seem to have this problem to the point of consumption. Just because you might not have trouble getting pg, you could still be hurting in other, real ways.

Meegs said...

Thanks for sharing your stories. I'm just starting my TTC journey (in my first tww right now), but I have a lot of friends who have struggled for years to get pregnant. It's a blessing to hear both sides of the story here.

I was wondering if you could talk more about some of the (specific) difficult times you went through, and how you got past them to maintain your amazing relationship. Thanks!

girlykat said...

WOW!! that was an amazing blog entry I just read. EVERY SINGLE THING Rachel said has popped into my head a million times in the past 22 cycles. Right now I work with 2 pg girls, that I literally see and interact with for 40 hours a week. One of the girls I am close with, and prior to her announcing her pregnancy I had the feeling she was pg already. I remember the moment so vividly. I got a wierd vibe from her and basically figured out she was pg. AF was 2 days late and my HPT was still a BFN and for both of those 2 days I had the greatest hope ever that it had finally worked. Literally the day AF came was the day I realized she was pg. I remember crying my eyeballs out in the bathroom at work as i was texting DH to tell him we were onto another cycle and all I could think about was "how am i not going to cry when she announces her pregnancy?" "how can i pretend to be happy for her when she tells me she is having her third child?" all I want is one. and she can get pg so easily with 3. It was really hard to do, but I congratulated her without tears and it is making it easier to see her every day and it makes it easier to deal with other people's pgs. Anyway I was really touched by your all your honesty and feelings. You two truly inspire me and I know I will come out of this IF mess a stronger and happier person. Thank you! May God Bless You Both!

Abbi said...

i don't know you and you don't know me....i read your blog off of someone elses....i just wanted you to know we're all sisters in christ and i'm praying for you! i have a b/f that's going threw exact same thing and know words came make it better all i can do is let her know i'm praying for her and i wanted you to know the same!she struggles with the exact same situations! i wish you the best! God always has a will!!!! I know he will bless you in some way and how!! God bless you!!!

abbi said...

i don't know you and you don't know me....just read your blog off of someone elses! my friend is going threw the same trails you are! i just want you to know i'm praying for you! she struggles with the same exact things you...the only i know how to encourage her is to let her know i'm praying for her and God has a will! and i'm letting you know the same! God bless you!

Abbi said...

i've tried send this comment serval times and i can't figure out what keeps happening! but i am determined to get this message to you!! satan keeps attacking but i want back!
i don't know you and you don't know me....i read your blog off of someone elses! i have a friend that's going threw exact same trails you are! she struggles with the same situations! all i know to do is to encourage her! to let her know i'm praying for her and i'm here for her! i want you to know the same! i'm praying for you! we're all sisters in christ and we need to take advantage of that! we need to lean on each other!! i wish you the best and i'm praying for you!!