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Unfair Weather Friends
a blog by murgdan
A diehard baseball fan turns his back on his team when they hit a losing streak. A woman phones up her long lost best friend when she wins the lottery. Two close colleagues who ate lunch together every day for five years lose touch after one is fired from the company.
These are fair weather friends.
An infertile woman loses touch with her acquaintances as they get pregnant. The cycle buddy with the failed IVF halts daily communication with her now-pregnant comrade. A member of an infertility support group stops attending social functions with other members when she learns she is expecting.
Are these unfair weather friends?
As I have plodded through this infertility journey, I have witnessed varying degrees of this phenomenon. Indeed, I have experienced it myself. I feel momentary guilt when I occasionally unsubscribe from the blog of a newly pregnant infertile, unable to bear witness to the daily diary of nausea, lethargy and food preferences of the newly gravid.
I feel shame when I click by without leaving a comment, without a word of encouragement, without reading, knowing I can’t relate to the excitement of a pregnancy announcement, the fear of uncertainty looming in the future, the blow by blow progression from maternity clothes to nursery décor.
Am I merely an unfair weather friend? Does misery love company only of a certain stock? I’ve spent hours feeding myself these questions, beating myself up for my seemingly petty habit of remaining steady and true just until the sun comes out. It’s not that I am unhappy for anyone who gets pregnant, be they infertile or not. I simply can’t relate. At all.
And then it dawned on me. I had a momentary flashback to the me of three years ago, five years ago… ten years ago. I realized I’m not an unfair weather friend, I’m simply human. We gravitate towards those with whom we have things in common.
While this doesn’t apply to those rare friendships that you follow through life, it does serve to reason that I will meet and form friendships with those people who have at least something in common with me.
There was a time when I was just starting my career and living the single life, a time when children weren’t even a consideration. I didn’t not want them, I just didn’t want them. I had friends who were at various stages in their lives. It never failed that they would get pregnant, and we would naturally drift apart. By the time their children were born, discussions veered from career paths and travels, to diaper changing and nap times.
I still do not care about diaper changing and nap times.
Even after I married my husband, we would often get together with other couples. Ultimately, as we had chosen to postpone childbearing, the other couples would get pregnant before us. Our double date partners dwindled down to nothing, as it became difficult to arrange for babysitters and the like. And, of course, these new parents preferred to go out with other new parents who liked to discuss diaper changing and nap times. And child development. And cartoon characters.
While in the fantasies of how I see myself, I’m a big enough person to cheer on every pregnancy clear through childhood, the reality is not only that I am ‘just’ not strong enough for that … I’m also simply not always interested.
No matter how happy I am for your growing belly, and how much support I wish I could muster, sometimes I just can’t relate. I have no need to purchase lollipops for morning sickness or bands that allow me to walk around with my jeans unzipped. Maternity clothes are nothing more than a myth and baby showers have proven to be no less than pure torture at this point.
I felt like I was a victim to infertility; that infertility made me the kind of person who couldn’t share in the excitement of a pregnancy or birth. I made myself out to be a monster, as if infertility could ‘do’ this thing to me. I am not a monster. I have not been bitten with the infertility poison.
I am thrilled when the sisters who have walked this bumpy road get pregnant.
I love that dreams are coming true on a daily basis.
I smile when I imagine the joy on their faces.
I simply have nothing to add to the conversation.
While I hope with every fiber of my being that one day I will magically morph into one of those nauseated, diaper changing, child-rearing, sleep-deprived creatures called a ‘mother,’ I am not one now.
For the moment, I can’t relate. For the moment, I’m not really interested.
I hope you understand I’m not an unfair weather friend. And I hope it’s just for the moment.