My last post was about how to mend myself and come to terms with pregnancy after infertility. I am trying to "recover" and allow myself joy, but not forget what I have been through. I really thank you for your comments and advice as I sift through that internal mess. But yesterday a phone call from a friend made me realize it's not just a road to recovery for myself, but it's also a hard road to recovering and mending and redefining friendships I've left behind.
My comfort level of disclosure has been limited to family and 2 very close friends and all of you. The bloggers and IVF buddies have been a life line and the foundation for sanity. Family has been family- they love, they try to understand, they blunder and misstep, they push my buttons, but they support in the best way then can. My two close friends I chose because we share everything with each other and I can see them regularly which makes a big difference to me. But outside of that, a few friends know generally we've had loss and that we are "doing fertility treatments." For those people I've put up the road signs saying "detour," "temporarily closed," "under construction." I have relegated them to stay off the main road toward me and even turn around and go the other direction.
Again, I have felt justified in that I simply don't have any energy to update several people of what's going on when there are moments I can barely stop crying, I can barely feel my heart beating. Depression leaves me feeling non conversational and burdened by social pressure. I also find it upsetting to have to recount loss and grief to multiple people over and over again. It becomes exhausting having to say, "It didn't work again." It's also daunting that I might not get a reaction I want, or worse, a reaction that might make me hate them. So I do none of it. I leave them out.
Yesterday I called an out of town friend who knows we are going through infertility. I hadn't been in touch for a couple months and she's a friend who demands a lot of attention, which I can't give to her right now. So I tried to call and catch up and she was cold, mean, distant, and withholding. I asked her why and she said she feels "awkward,"cut out, and I've been out of touch and that effects our friendship. I became irritated. I could have predicted that reaction from her, but even knowing this, still doesn't compel me yet to change my behavior. I know I have to be aware of the people who need more from me, but it still comes down to how much water is in the well. I know people are thirsty but if I barely have any water, I can only ration out what I can.
So I do feel overburdened by dealing with my own feelings about what I have been through and then feeling like certain friends may resent me for not sharing or being there for them. It's a vicious cycle. Some people really do take it personally as if by not sharing with them about this I am not trusting, or they are not worthy, or I don't value their friendship. I never saw it that way. I always felt like it was obvious that when people go through shitty things that they may not want to share every detail. The best you can do is tell them you are there for them and leave it to them to decide.
I do realize that in losing myself to infertility, others have lost me too. That's a loss for them. They miss me. I miss me too. I am not sure where that person went. There are some friendships that need special time to repair and there are others who don't expect me to explain myself. Most people don't hold this against me. But some do. It's hard because I am tired. I have no brain power to worry about other people's reactions to my tragedy and how it effects them. But I know I will have to think about that and try to make amends.
When the signs come down, and my road is open again, by nature the road is different. People who've been on that road before may want it to be exactly the same. They might have missed certain things it provided for them that maybe harder to find along this new repaired road. Trees were cut down, new pavement was put down, certain scenery along the road is different so they might get disoriented, cranky, and say, "I want the old road." Others will immediately see improvements, appreciate the change, appreciate just the fact that it is open.