January 19, 2010

Making sense of emotions that don’t make sense

Posted in Infertility tagged , , , at 10:32 am by lifebytheday

I’ve been trying to write this post all weekend, but I kept not being able to find the words to begin.  So, I guess I’ll start with the facts.

On Saturday, I found out that a friend is 12 weeks pregnant, and was DEVASTATED.  Then on Sunday, I found out that another friend is 6 weeks pregnant, and was THRILLED.  Seriously??  What is my problem?!?

I guess I should share some background, by way of explanation.  The first friend (let’s call her SJ) has been a friend for my entire life.  Our mothers were best friends since middle school (until a misunderstanding during my friend’s wedding preparations), and we grew up together with our mothers as honorary “aunts”.  Our friendship has ebbed and flowed – I pulled back for several years because I found her very self-centered, but refreshed our relationship when she met her husband (who seemed to temper her a bit).  Over the past year or so, I’ve pulled back again, mostly because she just didn’t seem to understand what I needed while going through IF treatments.  I don’t necessarily blame her for being self-involved – the sun rises and sets around SJ with her mother – but it just isn’t the kind of person I have wanted around me. 

Perfect example – she and her husband decided to start “trying” around July or August, and when I saw her in early October, she made a comment about how “isn’t it crazy how much effort and money we put into NOT getting pregnant when we’re younger, and then it doesn’t just happen as soon as you go off birth control?”  Of course, that comment was with some meaningless caveat pretending to sympathize with our situation…but to be honest, I wouldn’t have expected anything less (or I guess more) from her.  Oh, and the kicker?  They are BIG planners and had worked out exactly when they needed to get pregnant so that they wouldn’t have the baby during her hubby’s busiest time at work – and actually had planned to try for 3 or 4 months and then take 2-3 months off to avoid that time.  I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about people who are able to plan their children…

Fast forward three months (yes, I’ve avoided her since October), and I started getting all sorts of emails and FB messages saying that we “NEEDED” to get together, that it’s been “SO LONG”, etc.  And S and I just knew that they were pregnant.  So after I felt like I couldn’t ignore her messages any longer, I decided to invite them to our house for dinner, so that we’d be on MY turf in case we ended up being right.  So Saturday night arrived and after SJ elected to drink water and some very awkward silences during the “catching up” part of the evening, she finally told us.  Strangely enough, even knowing that it was coming didn’t make it any easier.  I literally went into shock.  Thank God for my husband – he carried the rest of the evening, asking all of the right questions and being enthusiastic enough for the two of us.  I did of course say all the right platitudes, but I was just sort of numb.

Later, after they left, S forced me to realize that SJ had been unusually compassionate, telling us in a relatively subtle way (not the first thing after they arrived), in person, and before the rest of our friends.  And she did seem very nervous towards the beginning of the evening, which S took to mean that she cared enough about us to be worried about how we’d take the news.  So after crying myself to sleep, and waking up with a crippling migraine, I wrote her an email congratulating her again, thanking her for the way she told us, and apologizing for not being able to react the way I would like.  She actually wrote me a very nice message back, so for now, I’ve decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, and make an effort to support her (as much as I can) in her pregnancy.

My second friend (let’s call her FL) – who mostly told me because I told her about SJ and begged her for some better news 😉 – elicited a completely different reaction.  Again, a lot of this has to do with my “deservedness” scale (completely unfair, I know), but also because I feel closer to her, and am genuinely happy for her and her husband.  FL and I have also been friends most of our lives, since elementary school, but have gotten significantly closer over the past few years (after our hubbies discovered they were soul mates ;-)).  FL and her husband have been trying for a while now (maybe 9 months or so?) and S and I have been anxiously waiting for their announcement.  More than the fact that they “put in their time” (which to be honest, I wish they hadn’t had to do), is the fact that FL has shown a real interest in our IF journey, and always seems to know exactly the right thing to say.  I’m glad I’m able to genuinely be happy for them.

I so wish that I didn’t feel like this, and that I could be happy for everybody because pregnancy is truly a blessing and a miracle…but at this point, I just can’t.  Mid-sobbing/choking/hiccupping on Saturday night, I said to S “I literally gave her (SJ) everything that I could”…and sadly, he recognized that too.  The few congratulations and questions I was able to ask literally took every ounce of emotional energy I had.

As I told SJ in my email –

I’m sorry if I didn’t react the way you had hoped – it’s not the way I would have chosen to react, but at the moment it’s the very best that I can do. I hate feeling the way I do, and what I’ve become as a result, and it makes me very sad that I’m not able to be 100% thrilled for some of my best friends. I wouldn’t wish our struggles on anybody, and I’m so glad you guys didn’t have to go through that, it’s just hard to not know when (or even if) it will ever happen for us.

I’m not saying any of this to make you feel guilty, but just to try and explain where I’m coming from…It’s so hard to separate my various emotions, and I so wish that I could just be happy and excited for you without our struggles entering into the equation.  

After a pretty low Sunday mood-wise (rescued by girls’ night with some of my BFFs!), I managed to regain some of my hope by the time Monday rolled around.  Although I am now again considering transferring two embies (if we have that option), in the hopes that we’ll SOMEHOW get pregnant this time around…I am desperately trying to regain my positive attitude about our upcoming cycle.

In other news, I took my last BC pill last night, at which point S says “does that mean your boobs are going to get smaller again? :-(”  LOL!  I said, “no, probably not, the stims should help them maintain” and he was like “GOOD! And then you’ll be pregnant and they’ll get even bigger, right?!?”  LOLOL…poor S…a boob man stuck with a pair of mosquito bites. 😉

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8 Comments »

  1. Kari said,

    It is so hard to really know how you’ll deal with a pregnancy announcement, and the variations between one person telling you and another can sometimes be difficult to explain or understand. I think it’s somehow normal when you’ve been through what you’ve been through to look at things in sort of a deservedness scale. You don’t mean to, but it just happens. Of course you would never wish IF on anyone, but when people get pregnant more easily, and have the luxury of planning it, understandably we long for those luxuries as well.
    Hoping this cycle results in some big boobs!! 🙂

  2. Myndi said,

    Not sure I’ve commented before though I’ve been reading for awhile. So, hi!

    Honestly, I think your emotions make total sense. It’s interesting because I’ve had this same issue. Happy for some, actually angry at others for daring to get pregnant when I was supposed to be. After examining pretty closely, in my case, it’s a matter of how I feel about that person independent of IF.

    Ever since I found out SIL was trying, I was irritated about it. Then she got pregnant the first month, and I was very, very angry. Thought when I got pregnant, I would get over it. I didn’t. Then we miscarried, and I’m angrier than ever. Yet, I have a girlfriend whom I’m not that close to, who got pregnant naturally a few weeks after me, and I was really excited for her. ‘Course since the loss I can’t stand the idea of being around her, but that’s a different story entirely, isn’t it?

    Anyhow, it sounds like you care about both of these women, but maybe you’re reaction is an indication of how much you care for one vs. the other, or maybe it’s just an indication of how much you identify with each other at this time in your life. Either way, those feelings are such a drag, and it makes it all the worse (as if IF isn’t bad enough on it’s own, right?).

    As for the boobs, my DH got excited as well…and I’m sure you’re in for growing mammaries in the coming weeks. Good luck with your IVF!

  3. K.M. said,

    Your thoughts resonated with me too. The same week we decided to go forward towards IVF, we found out my husband’s best friend’s girlfriend was pregnant. They had been together just six months at that point. And they weren’t even trying! It still feels unfair to me, even though I know I should be happy and supportive.

    Your boob comments made me laugh so thanks. 🙂

  4. jolene1079 said,

    wow, once again, you are amazing! I had NO IDEA you had gotten this news at girls night. You are more resilient than I think you give yourself credit for! I think you handled both situations with grace, dignity, and support, and your post really shows that. Sure, they were different reactions, but they were honest, genuine and not in any way negative. You are AMAZING.

  5. APlusB said,

    You’re so right. Some pregnancy announcements are HARD to take. I know. I have no idea why some are easier than others, but I do have to agree with S that your friend told you in probably the best way they could. Hang in there, soon enough it will be YOU making the announcement 🙂

  6. egghunt said,

    I think it was really sweet of you to send SJ an email after the announcement to explain your reaction and feelings, it shows how much of a good friend you are and that you really do want to be happy for them. I think her response was quite lovely too. It is impossible to separate our own yearning for a child from other peoples pregnancy annoucements and I guess all we can do is say “yes I’m happy for you, but it also reminds me of how sad I am that we aren’t there yet”, and if they are good friends then they’ll understand and if they aren’t then they’ll say something completely off the wall and drive us even further into crazy land. I also have to agree that some announcements hurt more than others, and for me it depends not only on the all important “deservedness scale” but also on what mood I am in at the time, this IF journey is completely hormonal, and those darn hormones have a lot to answer for as they do fuel a lot of our emotional responses. I hope both of us get to make our own annoucements this year. x

  7. jsutera654 said,

    I totally agree with egghunt’s comment – you are totally an amazing and loving friend for doing that. Reminds me why I love ya so much, you are an incredible person and the best friend I could ask for 😉

  8. 21reena said,

    I react so differently too in different situations – guess it’s just the way it is. I think what you wrote to your friend was great and what she wrote back was great too…especially about raising life long friends…glad the bcps are done so you can start the next phase!!


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