IVF makes some friends disappear

When I started IVF I talked to most of my friends about it. I suck at hiding things. My friend’s support got me through IVF #1. They shared my excitement, my fears, listened to me, supported me… But IVF didn’t work and people often get tired of bad news and problems. Then most of my friends started TTC and got pregnant within a few months (I’m surrounded by super-fertiles). In most cases they disappeared: they stopped calling and often answering to emails. I called or emailed every now and then to get news but they either didn’t answer or it was clear that they felt uneasy talking to me. So after a while I gave up.

I can imagine that it takes a lot of organisation to get ready for the arrival of a baby. But it is a bit weird to disappear for months or even over a year. People do not disappear because they are busy but because they are uncomfortable around me. I know the reasoning by now: she can’t have babies so she won’t be happy to have us around or hear from us. Truth is, I would much rather not be cut out of my friend’s life. I know some people prefer to be left alone. But not me. At very least, I’d like to be asked and given the option.

I’ve been feeling very lonely this year. In fact if it weren’t for this blog and my friends abroad who read this blog I don’t know how I would have coped. But, funny enough, just as I got used to being lonely, lately there’s been a massive come back phase. After months with hardly any communication these same friends are coming back to ask THE question: “So, how’s it going with your things?”, “Do you have any news?”, “Has it worked yet?”, “Have you tried again?” or, worst of all “But how are you?” (add worried tone and pity eyes).

The problem is this question can come at any time, since they do not have any idea of what is going on in my life. They don’t know whether at that moment I’m ok or I’m stuffed with hormones; if I’m calm or recovering from bad news, if I’m simply taking a break and do not want to talk about it or if I’m open to talk. They don’t have any idea of what is going on because they completely disappeared without even finding the time to send me a little text with a nice word. And I don’t like that.

But let me give you two examples of why I’m annoyed at this come back phase.

A friend from work stopped talking to me right after she got pregnant. I tried to be there for her and ask about the pregnancy but I gave up after it got clear that she didn’t want to talk to me about it. A few days after the end of my chemical pregnancy, she came to ask me how I was doing (accompanied by a massive and beautiful baby bump). I couldn’t just pretend all was ok and I told her I found it hard to talk to her after she disappeared for months (I swear, I said it nicely!). She immediately started sobbing saying that she was sorry but she avoided me because she didn’t want to hurt me with her pregnancy, she felt guilty about being pregnant in my presence and she didn’t know how to handle things. Last thing I want is to upset a very pregnant girl, so I comforted her and said everything was ok and that I understood. I know all this happened because she was worried about me, but after all, I am the one who ended up cheering up a pregnant woman about the fact that she shouldn’t worry to be pregnant in my presence, and all this right after losing that tiny bit of pregnancy I had. Why on earth do I have to bear with stuff like this? Why don’t people grow up? Why do they cut me out and think it’s ok to come and cry to me? I don’t need this unnecessary drama. I have enough of it already! If they feel they’ve made a mistake, they should come apologize but normally, not sobbing!

Another friend, and this one was hard because he is a very very close friend, disappeared after his wife got pregnant. He called me to announce that she was pregnant, I was honestly happy for them. When I called to get news I realised he felt uncomfortable so I wrote him an email to reassure him that I was ok and that I wanted to be there for him. But he never replied. He got in touch with me after over a year because he needed help with moving to the city where I live. Of course I helped but I wasn’t too happy. When he moved here, I met up with him, his wife and little daughter. After a while they asked about treatments. I really didn’t want to be asked then, in the middle of the happy reunion to meet his daughter and with his wife there, with whom I had never talked about my problems. And this was also right after the transfer, during a TWW. So I lied saying we weren’t trying anymore. A few days later I felt bad and called to tell him what was really going on. He said he had been wondering how to reconnect, after he had realized he had been too absent for a long while. He felt very guilty about disappearing for so long, for not answering my messages etc, etc. I’m glad we’re talking again and I’m glad I said things in the open so there is no tension anymore. But why does it have to be so complicated?!?!?

Maybe I’m missing something. Truth is that I resent them. I don’t resent them for having babies or for getting on with their lives. I understand that the show of life must go on without us. I also understand that people need time for themselves and that often they don’t have extra energy for others. But I was there for them even when things were hard or very busy for me. And disappearing for like a year is a bit much. I guess it would have been ok if the came back had been a bit softer, like “Sorry I haven’t asked in a while, but I’ve been thinking of you while I was busy. How are you?”. But the nonchalance “So, you knocked up yet?” really doesn’t do it for me…

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15 Responses to IVF makes some friends disappear

  1. damelapin says:

    Oh, How I totally recognize myself in this article. I don”t know what’s the saddest – people acting weirdly around you, or being totally absent. It doesn’t come from a bad thought – they just don’t want to hurt us. But people forget about communication, they don’t think that, by acting like that, we’d feel like plague they have to avoid. And it’s sad

  2. barrenbetty says:

    It’s sad, and the same thing has definitely happened to me. I’m starting to get annoyed by it – I’m sure it’s harder for me to be positive and happy for my friends who are pregnant have having children given what is happening to me, but I do it. I haven’t disappeared. Is it as hard for them? Feeling a bit awkward around me because they are pregnant and I’m not? I doubt it!!! How is it that we can manage when our lives are so tough and hard at the moment, but they can’t when they are all happy and pregnant!! I’ve not got the energy to chase them down anymore. It’s not fair to only be friends in the happy times, you need to be there for your friends when they are struggling. I can’t be faffed with fair weather friends anymore.

    • kiftsgate says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I have chased down this one friends, because I could see he was trying, and because I really care a lot about him. The others I really don’t have the energy for it anymore..

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I have shut so many people out of my life because if they cared more, they would ask. I hate those insensitive questions too. I think part of the problem is- we think about it ALL the time, so when a friend only asks every once in a while we know how little they think about us.😦

    • kiftsgate says:

      It’s true. We think about it all the time. And lots happens in our lives, even if to an external eye it looks like nothing goes on, so being asked once a year is just annoying!

  4. KS says:

    I could have wrote this myself. I have also experienced comforting people who are absent or have been a horrible friend when I tried so hard to be present. It is getting old and I have decided it is a 2 way street. If someone checks out on me because it’s too hard on them to be friends with an infertile friend… Then they are not someone I need in my life anymore. Sad but true. Glad you have found friendships and support through the blogging community!!

    • kiftsgate says:

      Yup, friendship should definitely be a 2 way street. Maybe not all the time but at least overall.. I also let go on a lot of friendships. It was sad at first but I’m much better off now. After all, I really need to prioritize my mental sanity and my own happiness…

  5. eli says:

    I so identify. It’s a tough road to walk! And it hurts the most with those who are closest, because they’re the ones who are supposed to get it – or who are supposed to at least try. And I know it’s hard on their end too, but they could at least ask what we need / ask how to be helpful – and realize that what is helpful might change for us, so maybe they could ask more than once. Also, that “so, how ARE you” question – ARRG!! It basically forces you to say, “Um, well, since we’ve just been talking about how we both are, I’m going to have to assume that you’re now referring to my infertility, is that correct?” I really wish that fertile people read infertility blogs. I feel like it would help us all.

  6. ecila69 says:

    I find you very brave and mature regarding your friend’s pregnancies. I’m not a fertile person anymore and I am the one who doesn’t want to give and have news from my very fertile friends anymore. In fact, I’m pretty sure the great majority of people doesn’t know how to react when sadness, infertility, bad fate come into life…
    If you still feel ok with how you act and what you say to your friends, you are the “winner” of this little stupid game. Because when your turn will come (and I’m sure it will), and they will miracly contact you again, you will dare looking at them, proudly, right in the eyes and still feel confortable with yourself. I’m not sure they will feel the same… (sorry for my grammar I’m not as good in english as I though in first place🙂 Cheers up !

    • kiftsgate says:

      Thank you for this nice comment. I do feel ok with myself. At least now. I was probably too resentful before but now I have either talked to my friends or let go. You speak great English, plus I’m not mother tongue either so no worries!🙂

  7. E v e l y n says:

    I think this might be the measure of who our real friends are. I had one who became silent after one of my miscarriages. When I asked him if he was okay he explained that he had been going through a break up. The problem is, he knew what I was going through and didn’t once ask how I was doing. All of our conversations were me making him feel better. I stopped emailing after that because I realized, even though he was great company and a nice person, that our relationship was about him and my role was to be there for him. It’s really disappointing.

    My two best friends are there for me and supportive and when I hear about stuff like this post I’m realize how lucky I am to have them. I hope you have one or two that are still there too. They are the ones to not let go of.

    • kiftsgate says:

      I totally agree: this is a measure of real friendship. On both sides. Real friends will stick to us even through long-term tough times. And we’ll be a lot more motivated to check what is going on when we do not hear from them. Some friends were easier to give up on.. I do still have supportive friends in my life, though most of them are abroad unfortunately. Long live the internet!

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