Sunday, October 10, 2010

What to say?

I've been thinking for over a week about what to say to two friends who both made variants on the "just relax and it will happen" comment. They both really hurt, but I don't want to cut these people out of my life.

It's worth mentioning (as an aside) that I am a champion grudge-holder. No joke, I still haven't forgiven my third grade teacher for putting me in the wrong spelling group. So, for instance, I will never not hate the awful doctor on a study that I participated in who read me a twenty-minute-long lecture on just relaxing. But with these friends the situation is different.

I'm relatively young (28) and I'm from a place where higher education is the norm, so almost no one I know has kids yet. Most of them are nowhere close. As a result, I'm the first friend for almost everyone I know who's dealing with this (obviously as far as I know, but in terms of educating people around me, other people's silent struggles are less relevant). I know their insensitive comments are made only because they don't realize how it will make me feel. So it seems like it might be worth mentioning how it made me feel, so that they are less likely to say things like that in the future. I also feel like it's going to be hard for me to be open with them in the future if I don't say something, because I'll be afraid of it happening again.

So I should probably say something. But the question is what. I think it's pretty obvious that both of them say this (one by email, one in person) because they see/hear how stressed and upset I am about the uncertainty of not being able to have children, and they want me not to be sad/stressed. (Obviously it has the opposite effect, but I think their hearts are in the right place.) But I don't know whether it will help to say this. The main concern is that they may feel like I'm correcting them, and will be uncomfortable talking to me in the future.

The one who said it in person, I immediately explained that "what you need to do is just relax and live and love" is not applicable to me - that I'm ready for the next step and that's all I want. She seemed to get that, so I don't know whether I should even follow up with her. I just figure it might be beneficial to explain that "jut relax" is never advice any infertile woman is ever going to want, so that she knows not to say it to anyone else either.

The one who emailed to say we just need to take a vacation, and it will happen for us is a slightly different situation. She's a very close friend, and she worries that she will face infertility in the future. When she wrote that, she had just gone to a seminar on adoption with me. I think she was feeling overwhelmed by how hard it all is (ART and adoption), and how much she hopes we can avoid IVF and adoption. But I still can't figure out how to reply and not point out how much I need her to support me where I actually am, and avoid wishful thinking as much as possible.

Any advice would be much appreciated! These women are both important to me, and are two out of the three friends I have told about what we're going through.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I am such a champion grudge holder, too! I try to let go -- really -- I just can't seem to do it.

    I guess my advice is that if you feel comfortable doing so, definitely talk to both of them. At first I was going to say that the one who you already said something to you wouldn't need to. But, I think phrasing it in a way to say "I just want to make sure you know where I'm coming from" and maybe in written form would probably be helpful. I know that when I look back on some of the things I said to people before I went through IF, I wish I hadn't said them (and I certainly never told anyone to "just relax") and wish someone would have helped me be more sensitive.

    What to say? I'm not sure. I'm not great at communicating that sort of thing. I wrote a convoluted e-mail to my friend about it that came out really oddly. But, it seemed to have opened some communication lines between us and was definitely good.