Many of my friendships have suffered as a result of my struggles with infertility. But, the state of one of my friendships is particularly troubling to me. I will refer to her as L.
I met L about 11 years ago when I was 24. She was 32 and married. We would go out with a group of girlfriends and have a grand old time. We would talk about our careers, men, sex, fashion, food and all sorts of things. At the time, I was in relationship, but marriage and especially kids were far, far from my consciousness.
As the years went by, the kid thing started to enter my radar screen. And, by the time I was 29, it kind of donned on me that L didn't have kids yet. And, I learned that she was having trouble getting pregnant. I didn't really do anything with this knowledge. Basically, I just never brought it up. Frankly, I was kind of scared of the topic. I'm not sure why, but talking about having kids was always a very private, difficult to talk about subject for me. And, for some reason, I always thought I might have hard time getting pregnant. I now regret not supporting her more during this time.
A few years later, I got hired at L's company. And, we starting working (and still do) in very close proximity, on an open trading floor. At this point, I was engaged and had started to think about having kids. And, L was still not pregnant. I continued to be fearful of raising the topic but a few times she mentioned she had been trying for many years and all I could offer was "I'm sorry". At another point she told me that she had been able to get pregnant but had had multiple miscarriages. Again, I had few words to offer. On top of this, her marriage was falling apart (this is something we did talk about at length), partly due to the infertility struggles. And, she ended up getting divorced at age 39. I can't imagine having dealing with infertility and a strained marriage (thank you DH!). She had been through so much.
The good news is, she soon met someone else and got pregnant (naturally) a few months into her 40s. By this time, I was a year or so into the "trying" phase. Even though it stung to see another friend pregnant, I felt so happy for her given her past. I shared this with her and confided in her about my struggles. She was understanding and said she was "there if I needed her". A few times over the next year or so, I shared things such as when I started an IVF cycle and the pain I felt after my first miscarriage. She had some nice and empathetic words for me. But, there was never any follow up. It's now a year and half later and she provides almost no support for me on the IF front. She never even asks if we're doing ok. We'll be in a private place and she'll ask me about some random work thing or whatever. I didn't tell her about my last miscarriage.
This hurts beyond belief. Some days, I am simmering with anger when I see her at work, thinking that she is really not a friend. I admit that when she was going through it all, I was far, far from the friend I should have been. But, I was ignorant. I don't understand how someone that has gone through it would not help another. IF has made me more compassionate and understanding of other going through IF or really any difficult life challenge (e.g. loss of a parent, difficult marriage, etc.). I've learned to be a better listener. I've learned not to shy away from difficult topics with friends as this is what most people do and it's really easy to feel alone. I feel that anyone who goes through multiple years of infertility and multiple miscarriage should have a special bond. But, L and I have only grown apart.
Infertility is a very private matter. And, I shouldn't judge others for how they deal with it. All of us are just trying to make the most of the crappy hand that we've been dealt. But, I still fixate on reasons why L behaves like this:
1. Maybe she was really hurt that I wasn't a better friend during her struggles (again, justified but it's different)
2. Maybe she really hated sharing and talking about her own issues and figures I want to be as private as possible. However, I've opened my heart to her a few times so I feel like she should know I need her.
3. Maybe it's too painful for her to revisit the subject. She needs to move onto her "new life".
Whatever the case, I feel like L is no longer a friend. And, I want to tell her that. But, because we work in the same room everyday, I don't think I can. I've thought about having a heart to heart with her or writing her a letter, but again, I am worried about the fallout and the work situation. So, I'm writing it here, hoping this will help get it off my chest a bit.