Saturday, 31 May 2008

A list of choices

I'm angry.

Just the usual cause - a friend, referred to often in this blog just told me she was pregnant.

Well, it was a pretty clumsy affair in all and I am simultaneously managing to cast judgement on her lack of strength while understanding that there is no OK way for a person close to me, to come and tell me they are pregnant. But a tip for young players, don't do it at the beginning of a long interaction if you can't manage to then look at the other person. 

I had a moment when I looked at her and thought "I am so much stronger than you". But so what. What if I am stronger. What difference does that make? I guess I can give the old pregnancy hormone excuse to account for some of her weirdness.... 

So we aborted the planned bike ride, and she went home and I was left with a lot of energy with no place to go. Hubby stepped in and we took the dog for a walk together. I struggled to escape my own head and the angry thoughts which are as inappropriate as always. Because who exactly am I allowed to get angry at. It's no ones fault that my baby died and two years later after extensive procedures I am not pregnant. But the fact that it is no-ones fault does not make these moments less. Less painful. Less tragic. Less consuming. Whatever. It would be nice if someone was to blame cause then at least I could fuckin let them know how I feel about it. And the fact that it is not my friends fault doesn't stop me feeling angry at her.  Because she/they made a choice that she knows hurts me. I don't judge it. I would make the same choice myself. But she made it and it hurts me. And now I hurt again.

I typed "hurting angry how would they know" into Google and someone somewhere had a neat article on anger and all the right things to do with it. Which is almost enough to make you blow if you already have a bit of steam lifting your lid. Still, it did suggest I write down the options available and take a look at them and see where they lead me.


No 1. IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE.  Ignore her, ignore the fact that she is pregnant (at least for a bit) Ignore the weirdness with which she told me. leading to ever increasing amounts of weirdness and ignoring in the friendship until it is but a shadow of what it was, a memory of something good. 

N0 2. Is very difficult to think of because all of me seems inclined towards number 1.

Would appreciate your feedback.

I'm needing the wisdom of some IF old-timers .

What are my options? Don't be wussy and tell me do whatever feels right. Just think of as many different ways I could approach this and let 'em fly.


Thank you.


luna said...

B, I feel for you on this one. been there. like you, two years later after my baby died and a bunch of procedures later (surgeries and treatments), I still have not managed to get pregnant again, and now must try to accept that I probably won't.

those announcements are never easy -- they always make me cry, make me angry, frustrated. I hate feeling resentful but can't help it.

I don't know enough about your situation to suggest what you should do, but I know I'd need to put some serious space there to protect myself.

case in point: after I ran into one friend at a bed bath store (who is much younger than me and not even in love with her bf) and she announced her 5wk pregnancy right there, I broke away. baby is now 3 months, I've never met her, though I did send a shower gift. another friend I tolerated her 1st but pulled away after the 2nd. it's just too much and I can't handle all those awful emotions that arise when I have to deal with these people. the alienation was easier to deal with, but it sucks too.

if you feel the need to vent your anger, you could always tell her why you were unhappy with the insensitive way she told you. I think it depends on whether this is a friend you anticipate wanting in your life in the future. will an explanation help her understand or is it just to vent? there are those who will appreciate your frustration and need for distance, and those who won't. I think you just have to protect yourself, in every way possible. you've been through enough.

I'm rambling here, sorry. best of luck.

Lori said...

The HUSBAND of my best friend came to my WORK one day (shortly after being told we had zero chance of conceiving) to tell me their blessed news.

My friend was HORRIFIED with him and he spent a few days in the doghouse.

Nevertheless, I told her, and she completely understood, that I needed some space from her during her pregnancy.

She allowed me to control the access during the time I needed control. I am grateful to her for that.

If your friend has any amount of empathy, this can work. If not, you might have to say "goodbye, friend" for awhile.

Who needs friends without empathy?

Sunny said...

I am a firm believer of ignoring. You can still hang out with your friend, you just NEVER talk about her being pregnant. If I had to begin talking about it I shower the friend with gifts and still not talk about it. It is hard and really doesn't get easier.


Sunny said...

Oh by the way I have had those lovely insensitive announcements. One was at a bar, I yelled to the bartender I NEED ANOTHER ONE! Another emailed. I have had face to face ones. Chat moments. Phone calls. I have had people wait for MONTHS before they share with me. It never gets easy. It is always hard. I always end it with I am so happy for you with a high pitched shreaking voice.

I now just know it sucks for them having to tell me so I have to cut them some slack. But I still ignore it all.


I don't think any of that made sense. HA!

Pamela Jeanne said...

You are by far the stronger person. I don't know how I couldn't be angry or hurt given the circumstances. Getting some distance has always been my way of self-preservation. Being candid about the how the news affected me. Accepting that some friendships are going to end if the person is not equipped with the sensitivity to understand my difficulty. Channeling the anger in a way that allows me to feel in control and strong -- exercise and writing are two ways that help me.

There is, frankly, no easy way to prepare or cope when this type of news comes. It's work plain and simple, and it takes more than a little effort to digest.

Rachel said...

I'm so sorry, B. It is so difficult. It kills me even when mere acquaintances tell me they're pregnant. Can you tell her what you told us? That you're angry and it's not her fault and that you didn't like the way she told you, but really there is no way she could have told you that you'd be okay with and that you don't know how to act toward her now. Is that a possibility?

Again. I know how much this sucks and how hard it is and I'm really, really sorry.

niobe said...

I've tried a number of strategies:

1. Without any explanation, cutting off all contact with the person -- not returning calls or emails, cancelling all plans to see her.

2. Same as #1, but saying "It's not your fault, but it hurts me too much to see you/talk to you right now."

3. Continuing to see the person, but changing the topic whenever she mentions her pregnancy/baby

4. Continuing to see the person and letting her go on and on about her pregnancy/baby.

5. Continuing to see the person and *encouraging* her to go on and on about her pregnancy/baby.

Honestly, none of these options made me feel any better.

chicklet said...

Lori couldn't have said it better - tell her, and take your space. If she's a gooder, she'll get it. If she's not, it's one of those horrible side-effects that happens in this horrible land. Whatever you do though, be angry, vent, write angry posts, kick a fence - for me, being angry helps. Sometimes I don't like how angry I am, but it helps me deal.

mrsmuelly said...

I had to work with my friend who got pregnant right after my first loss. I didn't have the option of ignoring her. I think that "forced" interaction actually helped. It definitely wasn't easy at all though. We just didn't mention her "condition" for the first three months. I ignored certain things - like her not drinking, or not eating lunch meet...and she was very good about never complaining or letting me see how bad she felt with her morning sickness. We kind of eased into her later months - when I couldn't ignore her belly.

I guess it depends on how close the relationship is and if you think it can withstand not talking. I had to tell myself everyday (and still do tell myself) that it's not her fault and it's not the baby's fault either. I hate that she has her miracle (b/c after going through IF you know what a miracle a baby is) and I don't have mine. It's something I work at every day. (She comes back to work this week - glowing with baby pics)

Now, I do come from a slightly different place with the IF (injections worked for me previously...we will see this time), so I don't pretend to completely understand that side of it. I'm constantly amazed by the strength of the ladies that I "meet" online. We are all so much stronger than your friend...and it's not fair.

Emily (Apron Strings) said...

Ugh. These announcements are never easy, regardless of when the other person tells you. And the resentment that you feel, although perfectly normal and justified, still makes you feel like such a shitty friend.

This how it's been with my SIL and her two pregnancies within 14 months. The first one (Liam) I dealt with very crappily. (Scary how "crappily" rhymes with "happily" ... but I digress.) And the way she told me about it wasn't very appropriate, if you ask me. (Left a f*cking message on my answering machine.) It hurt me beyond words, but I honestly gathered enough strength to tell her how I felt about how she told me and all the bad emotions I felt about it.

Now, at this point would be the time that I tell you that things worked out okay in the end. But they didn't. Because less than a week later, my SIL found out that Liam would be born with some "imperfections." So then suddenly, that seemed to ... ahem ... "trump" my infertility "issues." At least that's how I perceived that she thought that way. And then things still remained strained up until the day that I held Liam for the first time. And that moment was only weeks before Liam died.

This pregnancy, I'd like to think I'm handling it better. But I am honestly keeping myself at a distance. And my SIL knows this and the reason behind it. And, while I'm not 100% positive, I think she's okay with it.

But the thing is ... even though the timing of things during the first pregnancy was just way too screwy (me having a heart-to-heart with her and then the news about Liam) ... I do believe that by talking to her DID help her realize exactly how the simple act of her being pregnant and being able to carry out the pregnancy to birth hurt me.

So that's my simple ass-vice. I think you have every right to approach her about how you feel and the way that she told you. And I think you have every right to dictate exactly how much contact you want to have with her after that.

I'm just so sorry. I wish ... for all of us ... that things could be different.


Kami said...

I like Niobe's 1 and 2 suggestions. I always distance myself from pg people.

I also vent to DH a lot and often put down the pg person. DH knows I don't necessarily mean it (but maybe I do).

I like "Why does that ugly, stupid, choice phrase, get to have a baby?!" or "God, the people that get to breed." or "Pregnant people? I hate them all." Sometimes I even think, "I hope her baby dies. Then she might now how it feels."

In this particular case, I think I would tell her how it affected me and how poorly she delivered the news. Then I would tell her we can talk on the phone, don't want to see her and never mention the pregnancy.

katedaphne said...

Drat, I typed a long comment and the Internet ate it. Will try again...

My take is a bit different from previous commenters as I do not think there is any point in telling your friend how poorly you think she handled the telling of the news. It's past, and the conversation can't fix or change anything, and it is just food for more drama and conflict. Frankly, we all know there's no good way to tell, so anything she did would've been wrong (though of course, some people do manage to be less wrong than others).

I've been thru this a few times, with friends and with family. There's nothing wrong with the IGNORE AND AVOID plan of action. Sometimes, or all the time, it may be exactly what you need.

If you're hoping to stay in contact with your friend, you'll have to have a heart-to-heart. Be honest: Tell her that through no fault of her own, her pg hurts you and you'll need to take care of yourself but that you hope to keep her in your life. Tell her what you need: Her to not talk about baby plans or complain about pg, etc. I've found it helps to be understanding of her side too. Let her know these are legitimate topics for her and that you hope she has some other friends who can support her that way through her pg. You'd prefer to be her other-than-the-pg friend. I like what a PP said about letting you control the access; you could ask her if it's ok if you call her when you are feeling up to it, rather than her risk getting the "upset you" b/c she didn't know (couldn't have known) it was a bad day for you.

Most of all, whatever you decide to do, don't apologize. You have to take care of yourself. What you need is what you need.

Michele said...

How I understand. For me, it is harder to hear "We're having twins". But any pregnancy is hard to deal with. Especially, for me, the ones who think nothing could ever go wrong. How I wish I could be one of those again... But, subsequent pregnancies will never be that way... My prayers are going out to you.