This is hardest post I’ve written so far. I’ve reread and rewritten it so many times. Seeing it written down doesn’t make me feel any better about it either. If I’m honest seeing a lot of it written down make me feel like a bad person and a bad friend. It was hard to get down in words what I wanted to say but from the DMs and emails I received from other women over the last few weeks I know how many of us have or are struggling with similar feelings.
I feel like I’ve come along way, it’s been hard but I’m now at a place where I can be happy for others, while acknowledging my jealousy and for me I think that’s ok. In the beginning, when my hormones were still so raw, this was not the case. It was painful, made worse because we hadn’t been trying for that long and I felt like I didn’t really have a right to feel desperate at that point but I already did.
It was like a punch to the stomach every time someone announced a pregnancy, it still is if I’m honest. It felt like everyone around me was getting pregnant, but at first those people were just women I knew from work or second hand. It was easy to be angry and let my frustrations out that way. It was a relief from just feeling pathetic. It was easy to avoid talking to them at work or avoid social situations where I would have to interact with them.
But then a close friend fell pregnant, after around five months of trying, her and husband had started trying about two months before us. We’d shared a lot of the same frustrations in the beginning and even though I was anxious at not getting pregnant straight away it was comforting that someone else was in the same boat. We were around three months into TTC when she announced her pregnancy, maybe four by the time she told me. Shamefully I have to admit the first thing I did was burst into tears. I was so ashamed that I might have taken away from her excitement by doing that. In my defence my hormones were really all over the place at that point and I found it really hard to not spontaneously burst into tears for no reason anyhow.
At the time if felt like I had lost the only person who really understood what I was going through. I kept seeing her through out her pregnancy but I have to admit I found it very difficult. I am by nature a jealous person, I can admit that, but this was on a scale I hadn’t know before.
Later the same year one of my three closest friends had a miscarriage, this coincided with another friend’s baby shower. I was heart broken for her and as anyone would do I went round to offer cups of tea and hugs. We were able to comfort each other a bit and share our frustrations and pain at the thought of going to baby shower but wanting to be there for our friend and be happy for her. And even though she already had a little one, again I am ashamed how good it felt to know someone else was in a similar boat. That she totally got how I was feeling. It made me feel less of a horrible person. She did quickly get pregnant again and I am so happy to report went on to have a healthy baby boy. But here’s the thing again I lost the person I felt could understand what I was going through.
My three best friends from school all have between one and three children each. And as time has gone on I feel more and more left behind. Not because of how they treat me but just because they share so much more of their lives. They do things with their kids during the week when Im at work for example and get to see each other way more regularly than I do. We still do things in the evenings from time to time but understandably that’s less often now they’ve got wee ones to put to bed and look after.
As time went on it became easier to avoid seeing them, I was busy with work and our schedules were so different that really all I had to do was stop making an effort rather than actively avoid seeing them. For a long time I don’t even think I was consciously aware I was doing it.
Then last year I met a women through my yoga class who had tried for three years before having her son, only finally getting pregnant after going on the wait list for IVF. It was amazing to have someone I could talk to who understood how I was feeling and I was able to admit how hard I was finding it to be around my friends who were pregnant or had just had babies. She was very plain with me, she understood exactly how I was feeling but she told me to get my head out of ass frankly. And she was right. She said your friends are there for you and you need to be there for them. She told me she totally understood where I was coming from but that I would need them in the long run wether we went on to have a family or not. She was totally right. It was time to sort myself out.
I started making an effort again and I started to be more open with my friends about how I was feeling. They all knew we were trying but instead of closing down the conversation after the usual ‘how are things going’ I started talking to them about how I was feeling and how frustrated I was. I started to realise that even though none of them are going through this just now, so many of them have had their own struggles with fertility too. Some much longer and more difficult than I had been aware of. It didn’t matter that they weren’t going through it just now, they totally got what I was going through and understood how I was feeling.
My friends are amazing and so supportive. A special mention has to go my log suffering pals who aren’t even interested in kids, some for just now and some cause they just aren’t, they have really been there for me too. They listen to me going on like broken record and have never once told me to shut up or made fun of me for being baby obsessed.
Another friend who very recently announced her pregnancy messaged me after my list went out on Clemmie’s blog to apologise for the way she had announced her pregnancy. This made me so sad. The last thing I want is for my friends to feel like they can’t be happy around me or shouldn’t talk to me about what is the biggest biggest thing in their lives. I want to be there for them the way they have been there for me.
Of course its hard, even painful, when couples around you are getting pregnant with what appears like ease, and sometimes its easier to hide from or push away from those friends. But if I had continued to do that I would have lost not only some of dearest oldest friends but also a massive part of my support system. The more I share here the more I really believe we need to open up and talk to each other more. I’m not saying everyone needs to air their dirty laundry as publicly as I do but do open up to your friends. I really believe the more we can break down this taboo around talking about TTC and fertility the better and less alone we will all feel.