so I have this friend…
Actually it’s a couple, we’ve been friends for a while, but it ain’t like it used to be… You see in the years we’ve been ttc and our lives have unraveled, theirs has come together seemingly effortlessly. In this time they’ve had two beautiful and perfect little girls, conceived on the first and second try, with blissful pregnancies and flawless births. Their daughters are happy and healthy. To hear their sweet laughter would bring joy to your heart. But their good fortune is not the problem.
It’s not just that it has come so “easy” to them while we have struggled. Yet it may come as no surprise that, as with many of our friends with newborns and toddlers, they can sometimes be hard to be around. Besides the constant talk of babies and kids (to which we are unable/unwilling to contribute) – e.g., whose having them (everyone) and what they’re doing – it simply serves as a painful reminder of what is missing from our lives.
Children may be the best indicators of the passage of time. Watch them grow and see the years pass by. For instance, a six-year old child would have been born when I first learned I might never conceive or carry a child. A four year old would have been born just before we started trying to make a baby. A two year old would have been born about when I lost my only child during pregnancy. A one and a half year old toddler would be the same age as my little boy would have been… You get the idea. In a sense, every newborn can be a reminder of a BFN from a certain month. I know it’s wrong, but I cannot escape measuring the universe in terms of what could have or should have been…
Anyway, when we first started ttc, we shared our excitement with this couple. Of course as time has passed, they’ve had their children and we have not. Their first is six months older than our son would have been, and when she was seven months old, we inadvertently learned they were trying again. I knew it wouldn’t take long, so I had to prepare myself for the inevitable. But at the time I couldn’t help but blurt out, “wow, so soon?” in a way that surprised myself and even made the Amazing M uncomfortable. (You see I have an inability to hold back, though I’m working on my tact…) The response? “Well, yeah, we just want to get it over with.” Get it over with. Ouch. Kicked in the gut. Guess I asked for it?
Over time, it’s become harder to be around these people. Their girls are darling and I truly adore and enjoy spending time with them. But in truth, as more and more of our friends have had their kids and watched them grow, we have less and less in common with them. Sadly, we have grown apart from many people we thought were our friends, people who we had hoped to count on for support in our time of need. Both when we lost the baby and since we have struggled so long to conceive again. But not only has there been a lack of support, our time with certain friends has been dominated by constant reminders of our own loss and emptiness.
So we withdrew. Every once in a while there is an attempt to re-connect. Sometimes these friends will ask us to babysit in a pinch, even though we pretty much stopped seeing them socially. Recently though we learned we were not invited to their daughter’s 2nd birthday party. Only family plus friends with small children. They did not even tell us about it. Now while I might have declined anyway, something about this just felt wrong. Maybe we’re just not close enough anymore, which is fine. But I can only assume they chose not to include us because they either figured we wouldn’t come, or they simply didn’t want us there, for whatever reason. Now I’m not going to analyze every potential reason. I just know for my own self-preservation, it is impossible and unwise to try to maintain such a relationship. And no, it’s not just about a child’s party. This has been a long time coming. These days, our real friends are few and far between, but it’s quality over quantity that matters. Besides, with friends like these, who needs them?