“tired of being sensitive to my infertile friend”
This was an actual search that brought someone to my blog. Sadly, it wasn’t the only one along that theme. It makes my blood boil! Oh, boo hoo, you’re tired of exercising sensitivity toward your friend? Your friend? Well, let me tell you some things your friend is probably tired of:
She’s tired of hoping and praying, month after month, that this month will be, by some miracle, THE MONTHShe’s tired of her body letting her down, month after month.She’s tired of feeling broken.She’s tired of crying herself to sleep.She’s tired of invasive and painful tests.She’s tired of medications that make her ovaries work overtime and take her on an emotional roller coaster ride, month after month (not to mention all the fun side effects, like nausea, fatigue, sleeplessness, hot flashes, night sweats, and headaches)She’s tired of watching her savings account being drained to pay for treatments that may or may not work.She’s tired of putting on a happy face and holding back tears every time she hears a pregnancy announcement, attends a baby shower, or gets trapped in a conversation about kids.She’s tired of hearing her fertile friends complain about their kids.She’s tired of fighting with her husband and worrying that the stress of infertility might be too much for their marriage.She’s tired of all the mommy worship that goes on constantly in our society.She’s tired of feeling like less of a woman because she can’t have a baby.She’s tired of scheduling her life around fertility treatments.She’s tired of all the questions and comments about her empty arms and empty uterus.She’s tired of seeing abusive or drug-addicted women have baby after baby.She’s tired of being unhappy.She’s tired of wondering how she’s going to live her life without children.(Feel free to comment below if I left anything out.)
Oh, I know it’s exhausting to make an effort to hold your tongue about your growing baby bump, or your adorable-but-what-a-handful little bundle of joy. How awful it must be that you can’t complain to your infertile friend about how tired your kids make you, how messy they are, or how you wish you had just 5 minutes to yourself. It must suck to have a friend to whom you cannot rave about how awesome it is to be a mom, or how you can’t imagine your life without your kids.
Think about this: You have one friend who requires a little sensitivity when it comes to pregnancy and kids. Your friend has to deal with dozens of friends, family members, and coworkers who can’t seem to talk about anything other than kids. So, while I’m sure you’re sick and tired of walking on eggshells around her, believe me, your friend is even more sick and tired of the pain–physical and emotional–that infertility inflicts upon her every day. Remember, this is in addition to all the other stress life throws at all of us: work, relationships, paying the bills. Your friend deserves sensitivity, especially from her friend, when it comes to her infertility. That’s what friends do.
Your infertile friend probably feels like a terrible friend, because her life is so wrapped up in all things infertility that she doesn’t always have the time or energy to give her friends the support they need, or even enjoy a night out with them. Trust me; I know. I often have to make an effort to be completely present when listening to a friend. Some days, I just can’t do it, and it makes me feel extremely guilty, even though my friends understand.
I’m not saying that you should give your infertile friend a permanent pass. At some point, any friend who only takes and does not give is not much of a friend at all. But, if you love your friend and value your friendship, you will cut her some slack and help her heal so that she can feel like a whole person again.