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When an Infertility Buddy Becomes Pregnant
a blog by Ellen Glazer, February 28, 2014
One of the most effective ways of dealing with infertility is to connect with others going through a similar experience. I have found this to be especially true for women who so often cherish the opportunity to connect with others, to share and to feel that they are no longer”going it alone.” Infertility friends can be an enormous source of support and comfort and companionship. That is until she gets pregnant.
Learning that your infertility buddy is pregnant may bring on a flood of unanticipated feelings. You prepared long ago for the sting that comes when a fertile friend announces she is pregnant, but you thought it would be completely different if you heard this news from someone struggling as you are. Why then, you wonder, does it hurt so very much when you hear this news from an infertility buddy? I think there are a few reasons….
First, remember why and how you became friends—you found each other because you had something compelling in common: infertility. The friendship, most likely a fairly new one, is grounded in your shared experience. Among other things, learning an infertility friend is pregnant most may mean losing a friendship. This would be different if the two of you had a long history, but if it is a new relationship and it’s foundation is shaken, there is little to keep it going.
Next, there is the renewed feeling of “why me?” How is it that even your infertility friends can become pregnant? You have grown accustomed to the “fertile world” conceiving with ease but had also become accustomed to knowing others who are struggling. When someone “crosses over’ into the promised land of pregnancy, the sting can be all the more painful. It can make you feel “like a failure” and highlight the fact that even with treatment, things don’t seem to be working out for you. At least not so far.
And there can be some magical thinking. It can feel like pregnancies are apportioned out to those who seek them and if your infertility buddy becomes pregnant that may mean that she has claimed one of these coveted spots. Having read all too many statistics, you know that some percentage of infertility patients have babies and another percentage does not. If she has landed in one column, does this someone increase your chances of landing in the other?
These are some complicated feelings and reactions that are hard to deal with on top of everything else you are coping with. Most of all, I encourage you to go easy on yourself and not “feel guilty” for being unhappy or surely less than enthusiastic when your infertility buddy conceives. I suggest also that you take things slow with her—you don’t know how her pregnancy will go and you don’t know if you will get some good news for yourself a month or so from now. Over time, you will sort out your relationship. If it has the makings of a long term friendship, you will both find a way to make that happen. If it turns out that her pregnancy permanently alters things, you move on and find other traveling companions. Either way, give yourselves time. Lasting friendships do not begin or end over short periods of time.