When 2011 began, I had two very close friends here in town. One of them is pregnant and due in three weeks, and we haven’t spoken in months.
I have spent so much time going over in my head what went wrong with that friendship. I have analyzed every email, text, phone conversation, and facial expression, trying to place fault, to find the moment where the friendship died. I have documented much of this here.
It’s sad to lose a friend. My heart was broken and I felt a lot of anger, but I have healed and now I can see the benefits of the situation.
I have learned how to be direct about my infertility-related needs, and what I realized is that all I really want is compassion. I want acknowledgement of my trials and celebration of the good things that happen to me. I don’t want advice or empty words (there is a plan, everything happens for a reason, blech), I just want people to check in with me from time to time, say “that sucks” when things suck and “I’m happy for you” when things don’t suck. It doesn’t seem like much to ask.
More importantly, I have learned to voice my sincere appreciation to those who do support me through infertility. I tell them now that I know this is an awkward and difficult thing to talk about, but that their support means the world to me.
In the past few months I have grown close with a new woman, and I was terrified to open up to her during my IVF cycle – I thought surely she would run the other way. She has become one of my greatest sources of support.
People can handle this, they just have to want to. They have to prioritize the friendship over their own discomfort with the subject.
My new approach to friendship has worked wonders. I have a vast array of friends that I didn’t have 8 months ago. I have crawled out of my comfort zone and I like it. My social circle and support system is widening.
I have forgiven myself for my friendship that failed this year. I am not a hard friend to have. I do not need you to bail me out of jail. I don’t have an abusive boyfriend I keep running back to. Infertility is my one thing – it is the reason I need support.
If someone else can’t handle that, this is not a reflection on me. It is an indication of a lack of compassion on their part, and it’s time to move on.