In just a few weeks’ time, it will be 18 years since my very first miscarriage. Eighteen years and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Eighteen years ago, I woke up one morning, excited to be pregnant with our precious little honeymoon baby, filled with so much excitement and hopes and dreams for who that little baby would eventually be, only to realize I was lying in a pool of my own blood and that I would NEVER EVER be the same person ever again.
I Can’t Ever Forget
What was to follow was 7 years of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. Seven years, six naturally conceived pregnancies, and one pregnancy conceived on my 5th IVF and all the trauma and pain that went in between. I am forever changed by that experience. Even now, so many years later, it’s almost impossible for me to imagine that I survived that. Granted, I came out alive on the other side but only just. By the time we came out on the other side, I was emotionally shattered, my marriage was in tatters and had to be rebuilt from the ground up. I was physically spent and financially ruined. I had lost so much. My innocence over the miracle of new life was stolen from me. My friends were gone. I was raw and broken.
It’s Very Hard To Be Friends With An Infertile
It took me many years to be able to admit this. But I was a terrible friend, a terrible person, during my years of infertility. It became impossible for me to experience joy, I was rubbed bloodied and raw and everything hurt me. I was unable to escape the prison of me, me, me. I cursed God and I cursed every person who crossed my path pregnant or holding that elusive baby that my soul longed for. That my heart hurt for.
How To Tell Your Infertile Friend You Are Pregnant
I lost so many friends during my walk with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. For two reasons, one because I was just not capable of friendship at that time and two, because my friends didn’t know how to walk that unchartered territory with me. They meant well, but they often hurt me. Pregnancy announcements were excruciating for me. They would plunge me into the pit of despair and depression for weeks and months on end, for years, even now, my inability to carry a pregnancy to term has destroyed my self-esteem, it has damaged my self-worth, at times it’s made me wonder if I’m even a real woman. All I ever really wanted was for my friends and family to give me the space to prepare myself for their big news.
Here’s What I Wish They Knew
Being told in person, while I understood the intention of my friends wanting to tell me face to face because they knew their news would hurt me, was the worst kind of torture for me. I felt like a deer caught in the headlight, like a buck with a bulls-eye on my forehead. Instead of being able to school my face and temper my reaction, I felt like I was in freefall as my face would crumple and my heart would shatter. Certainly not the reaction anyone wants to have to their joyous pregnancy news.
I wish my friends had given me the space to grieve my own loss in the face of their news, in private. I wish they’d sent me a Whatsapp or SMS or even an email, with their pregnancy announcement. That would allow me to process in privacy and work through those emotions so that I could be a part, in some small way, of their journey to motherhood.
Do you know someone who is struggling with infertility?
I hope this shared experience will help you understand your infertile friend? Share this article with them to find out if they agree?