Friday, September 18, 2009

Support systems and friendships

I felt so much better after blogging the other day. I just needed to get some of that stuff off my chest and it reminded me so well why I started Blogging in the first place.

Sometimes you just can't talk to people about this infertility stuff. When I try talking to my girlfriends about infertility, they usually feel uncomfortable or they start asking 100 questions and the entire conversation ends up me educating them on infertility which isn't what I need sometimes. I am very grateful they want to learn and become familiar, but just once I would like to curl up in a friends arms and just cry and scream and yell about how unfair this is and how much this hurts. I just want her to hold my head, hand me a tissue and say "I know sweetie."

Don't get me wrong, I have WONDERFUL friends, I just don't know how to reach out to them when it comes to infertility. When the Dr. found my cyst a couple of months ago, I tried. It failed miserably. It was so uncomfortable talking to my friend, I wanted her to put her arm around me and comfort me like I did for her when her Grandpa passed away. I wanted her to let me cry on her shoulder, but sadly I guess our friendship just isn't that way. Now she is pregnant, so she is busy and I feel like it is SO awkward for her to be around me now, so she pretty much avoids me. (They got pregnant their first month of "not preventing)

I just wish I knew how to open up to others. I used to pour my heart out to Pace all the time and cry in his arms, but I realize now that I was making it so much harder for him. It broke his heart to see me so upset and so angry, I totally relied on him alone when we lost the baby and he is traumatized still to this day. He is terrified of trying again because he doesn't want to see me hurting like that ever again.

So - I am interested - do you ladies have friends that you can call and cry to? What kind of in-person (not over the Internet) support system do you have? If you have a girlfriend that you an cry to, how did you get to that point, or has your friendship always allowed for that?


Jess said...

Your the last post of the week! :)

You don't have to post this because I'm going to be honest with you!

First, I have you! I know I can call you any time and you will listen to me because you are a wonderful friend. However, you do not let yourself open up to people. I tried so many times to be there for you and it would break my heart to see you hurting and then you would confirm it with a blog but never told me how you were feeling and I had seen you the day before. I don't know why you do it, but you push people away when you are hurt. Actually, I do know why you do don't want to put your burdens on someone elses shoulders but your friends love you and we don't mind at least, I don't! I know we aren't as great friends now but at one time we were or at least I thought we were but you had a hard time opening up to me and you know I would have been there for you holding you while you cried, gave you a freezer cold beer and said it is okay sweetie! :)

Now to the other part of your question. I have three best friends and one of them is hardly a friend anymore because she doesn't care about my infertility because she never wanted a kid but got pregnant, so she just doesn't understand. We'll talk about her problems (finding a boyfriend) and to her it is much worse than trying to get pregnant, so we avoid the topic and in return, I've pushed her away.

My other best friend is a doll! She knows by my FB messages when I'm blue and she makes me have dinner with her or call her and we talk about it. I think she is more invested in our friendship than my other friend but she is also going to be our baby's god mom, so I know she is biased (she wants that title, lol).

My third best friend/sister is in Australia and she is miles away. She reads my blogs faithfully and leaves me e-mails and we now have a bond over infertility.

So, in conclusion: one friendship went to the shitter, the other grew stronger and the third blossomed over IF.

Prayingforamiracle said...

I don't really have any girlfriends that I talk to about IF issues. They don't really understand and Lord knows they try, but they have never lived through this hell so it is hard for them to grasp what has been going on. I have met several friends on IF Boards that I talk to and they understand where I'm at, but they are not here to give me a hug or cry with me so I think that kind of sucks. My poor husband also was like Pace, afraid to try again. He couldn't deal with picking me up off the kitchen floor again, couldn't deal with me laying in bed for days despondant. I can't really say that I blame him, but in the end I always believed that God would not have me travel down this path without there being a reason.
I'd like to tell you a short version of my story and you don't need to post my comment, but I hope it gives you a glimmer of hope.
After years of trying and countless failed IUI's we took the plunge and started IVF. My prayer was always that God would give us a healthy baby. It was a lot of money and because I was 36 they would not let me do one of those pay 20,000 and get 3 or 6 cycle deals. So after losing a little weight we started our meds and got to ER and had 8 eggs 5 of which were mature. I was devasted to find out that with ICSI NONE of them fertilized. I remember the RE calling and telling me and all I could say was this was just not meant to be. He said not this time, but maybe next time. 17,00 spend and maybe next time? I think I was in shock I was crying and standing in my bathroom when all of the sudden I just said okay Lord you have a plan and a purpose please help me survive this and figure out what comes next. Four days later I got a phone call from my mother saying she had a friend who had a friend that was expecting and she was looking for someone to adopted her child. Honestly we had not talked about adoption. I phoned the girl who was 18 and almost 8 months pregnant with no pre-natal care and she was just looking for a good home for her baby. I went and met with an adoption agency the next day. She was seen by a doctor within a week and two months later we were walking into our home with our beautiful baby girl for the very first time. There is no other way to describe it but a miracle from above. The adoption will be official at the end of the month.
It wound up costing us about 14,000 and I don't ever think of her as not my own. She is simply the best thing ever. What you were saying the other day about being Native American is true. There are laws prohibiting any non-Native Americans from adopting a Native American baby. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to fundraise to reach your dreams. I have a friend that makes homemade jewelry and sells it on a website to help defer costs. I have another friend who is trying to get her family to be contestants on Family Feud with the goal being any money raised goes towards building her family whatever way her and her husband decide is best for them (IVF, adoption).
I think IF really breaks you down and gives you so many feelings of being inadequate. It does build bitterness and feelings of helplessness. The only thing that got me through that was my faith. My knowing that God would not give me this desire to have a child for no reason. I also admit that there were many days on this very long journey that I almost gave up. Gave up trying, gave up praying, gave up believing. It just seems to swallow you at times. Give yourself a break in those times. Don't be mad at yourself for not charting, not keeping your calendar up to date, not know where you are at, it's okay. Sometimes we just need to breathe.

Amanda said...

I never had any kind of IRL support system. A lot of my friends knew of my PCOS and if I mentioned IF they just pretended like they didn't hear me (asking questions would have been an improvement). My mother was unsympathetic and I didn't really have anyone to turn too. I had a couple of conversations with my SIL and one other friend I occassionally would see, but that was it.

Actually the best thing that happened was mentioning IF at my neighborhood's bunco group. A couple other women had been through IF and nearly all of them had miscarriages at some point. It was an amazing conversation to have and made me feel kinda normal. But it was only a conversation and not really support. I will also say it might have made a difference that these women are older than me and most have teenage or adult children (or are grandmothers even). I think younger women frequently forget that the universe extends past their noses.

Luckily, I probably never had the length or depth of pain you must feel. Have you tried connecting with a member of your support group outside of group meetings? I think to truly find the support you're looking for, you've got to find someone else that has been through IF... regular women just don't get it.

Angelwingsbaby said...

I was never the same after going through infertility and even doing foster care and having child after child taken away.It is sad to say but once the rose colored glasses come off they are off.Even when you get pregnant you never stop worrying that somehow you will lose the baby as that is something I deal with everyday.Will you do me a favor and tell dana I would love to be invited to her blog. I used to follow her until she disappeared.You should have my email still and if you need it again just let me know thanks so much! -Megan

Nichole said...

Jess - Thank you for your honesty. I needed to hear that and you are exactly correct. When I am hurting, I shut down. I go into my shell and don't come out until I have worked through whatever it is on my own.

I don't know why I do it. I don't like feeling vulnerable maybe? Maybe it is some sick way of trying to control at least some portion of this mess. I really don't know.

I thank you, thank you for your ability to be honest, thank you for staying in touch with me and hanging in there with me even though I try to distance myself (not because of you, but because of me) Thank you for being such a good friend.

Michelle said...

I have a few friends IRL that know & listen. There are 2 that will tell me "That sucks" instead of "why not adoption?". The comment of "that sucks" is usually as I need to feel comforted and better. I would be lost without these 2 girls and my blogger friends.

Bec said...

To be honest, the only friends who really get it are those who had trouble falling pregnant themselves. No one else gets it like they do, so I just don't bother anymore. I know that's not ideal though.

The Unproductive One said...

I have no friends in real life that I can turn to about this InFertility stuff because even though a few have been there themselves, they've all gotten through it and now have children and they either can't or don't want to relate to how I feel not having children.

Nichole, I have to say, what Jess said how you push people away when you're hurt, thats me all over too but no one bothers to try to push past those boundaries and reach me which hurts beyond comprehension. I've had friends who put the walls up too but I always push past them, take the effort to find out whats wrong, it hurts that no one bothers to do that for me.


♥ ♥ Just a Girl in Love w/ a Soldier ♥ ♥ said...

Girl, Im sorry to hear that things are going well.... not so great right now. I wish there was something that I could do or say to make everything go away for you.
I do have a few (maybe 2 or 3 ) friends that I know I can call and just vent my heart out and cry to or go see in a time of need or stress. Here in hawaii its not as easy because it takes time to build up that strong friendship to trust some one enough with your deepest darkest thoughts and issues but I have managed to meet one girl that I have come pretty close to so that helps. But I am very much like you, I like to just close off when something is wrong and deal with it in my own way and time. I feel as if I bring other people in to my problems than its just more to deal with. I think that everyone has their own way of handling stress and personal issues and no one should judge you or see you differently bc of that. You and the whole IF journey that you are on right now makes you NO different than any other woman out there and I do not believe that people should treat you differently or act different around you. It they are your friends they will alway be there no matter what you or they are going through.
I hope that you are able to find your way out of this rut that you are in right now and find a sense of peace that really EVERYthing will be ok and something good will come out of all this. Putting your thoughs out there even if its just for us to read and you to get off your chest, that you cry on our shoulders and that is what we (I) am here for. dont ever forget who your friends are.
Love you Girl so much and miss you even more.
:) Keep a Smile on your face and in your HEART!!!

Jeremy and Emily said...

well, fortunately for me, my best friend from highschool and I have stayed close to eachother. She also experienced infertility (for about four years)But I honestly think God did that to her so she could be there for me and understand what I was going through too. We leaned on eachother. We still do, but She has 3 kids now (no fertility problems anymore) and sometimes I still get a little jealous about that, but I'm so happy for her too. I know that you and I aren't super close to eachother, but I want you to know I understand a lot of the pain you're going through and if you ever just want to vent, just give me a call. I'm so sorry you're hurting so much. I wish there were something I could do to make things easier for you, but I know that there really aren't any words or anything that can fix it. I will pray for you to find peace and comfort.

the misfit said...

I'm open with friends in terms of sharing information and I'll answer whatever questions until I hear "why not just adopt?" at which point we are going to change the subject. I have one dear IRL friend who is going through the same thing and we vent to each other. That's a blessing. But I don't cry for anybody but myself. I used to cry in front of my husband but I realized that that just made things awful. He is happier if I am not taking it so hard, so I try not to be. The only thing worse than IF is having a perpetual fight with your husband about IF. I just don't have the energy. I have tried on a few occasions to be a little more open about it with other people - more emotion in the voice about how angry I am, or how hard it is. Just a tiny bit. I always regret it immediately. Maybe my response is unhealthy and not to be recommended, but you show me one human being I know who can deal with listening to me yell or cry without making me feel worse, and I will listen to a talk about the health benefits of being emotionally open. IF: bad for you on pretty much every level.

This isn't remotely reassuring - and I'm sorry. But if nothing else, I want you to know that you're not a freak. Almost all of us do almost all of this alone. That's why the internet is such a blessing.

Lauren said...

I don't really have much of a support system IRL. My husband is great, but I don't want to get him too down, either. My sisters-in-law and other family members are sympathetic, but I don't vent much to them. As for my friends, I don't share my heartache with them much at all. That's partly my fault -- I'm not good at unloading on people. I always feel like a burden.
My blogger and message board "friends" are the best -- but they're scattered across the country. I wish they were all closer.....

Anonymous said...

I am pretty bad about reaching out to people about anything personal...especially about infertility. It doesn't help that people who are aware of what we are going through are hesitant to bring it up first "in case I don't want to talk about it." Not really the best combination for getting me the support I need.

Fortunately, I do have one friend who is super "nosy" (in the best way possible) and is always asking me how things are going, etc. She has PCOS as well and is not planning to TTC until she's finished grad school in a couple years. She jokes that I am the guinea pig for clinics and treatments and I don't have to worry about her surprising me with a pregnancy announcement.

Clare said...

The short answer to that is no. There are no IRL friends I go to when I need to cry. The only place I have is my blog and fellow IFers online - which is a huge source of support for me. My husband has also learned over time how to deal with my downs - he is good at it now. The problem with my IRL girlfriends is that none of them have experienced IF. Fertiles do not understand people dealing with infertility and so it's hard for you to get what you need from girlfriends who have never walked in your shoes. We are always here for you though!