I have wonderful friends who make me laugh, inspire me and keep me grounded. And, several of my friendships have endured the test of time, as life is full of different stages, challenges and surprises. However, I feel my connectedness to my friends slipping away with each passing month and/or each disappointment I have suffered in recent years. Infertility is REALLY isolating.
I find it difficult to share the struggles I've had with fertility. I think some of it is because I usually don't get the reactions and/or support that I want. Friends often fall into these categories:
1. Clueless - Not trying and hasn't tried getting pregnant. Not all that interested and not aware of the depth of the issue.
2. Silent - After I confide in them, they never raise the issue again. Obviously they're not comfortable with the topic and probably are afraid to raise a tough issue.
3. "Just relax" - You just need to stop worrying about it and it will happen when it is time. It is not that big of a deal.
All of these reactions drive me kind of batty! But, I know that I probably wouldn't have been a great friend five years ago (I think I would have been the "silent" type). And, I know that my friends have only good intentions. So, in addition to feeling hurt by some of their behaviors, I then feel guilty for doing so. It's fun.
Despite this, I will continue to share for a few reasons:
1. I think it's important for people to know about infertility and to make the topic less taboo. Who knows if someone I confide in will have similar struggles someday or know someone else who does?
2. I have shared with a couple friends who have been absolutely amazing through all of this. They are supportive, understanding and comfortable talking about things with me. Just having a few amazing "fertility friends" makes all the difference.
3. When I don't share with people, I feel as though they really don't know me. I almost feel as if I'm being dishonest - and honesty is incredibly important to me. So, I just have to get it off my chest sometimes...even though it sometimes just leads to other frustrations.
I wish I didn't feel this isolation. I wish my friendships didn't have to become more complicated because of this. But, they have.