Saturday, June 20, 2009

Road to Repair

In my tunnel vision toward babyland, it's been easy to justify a certain amount of isolation and space from my social world. I have always felt that creating boundaries of what I share, who I share it with, and when I interact with the outside world was my prerogative. I am the one suffering, therefore it's my call who, when, where, and how I let people in. My reproductive life is my business and anyone who expects to be privy to more than what I am willing to give is simply out of line. It's my choice how much I share.

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.


Infertile In the City said...

The way I see life/friends is that if I am your friend, i am your friend, there will be times when we do not talk, you will be busy, life will be complicated, but we are friends, and whenever they want to come back into my life - they are welcome.

We also limit our friends and limit who knows what - very few friends know (and of those who do only 1 is not infertile herself). It is exhausting. Family does not know - and we do not feel any reason to share.

For me - i have to protect me, and my relationship, my sanity, I have friends going through divorces, and they are doing the same thing, isolating theirselves for a while, taking care of theirselve's - it just makes sense for those of us that have been through REALLY REALLY HARD HARD crap. those who do not understand have either very different personalities OR have never ever experienced this kind of thing (or in my opinion, I would just not need in my life).

I too miss "me" that person before all of this - I keep trying to find her - I am working hard at it.

I am happy for you, I am happy that things are going well, I want joy and a baby in your life soon, and I hope your friends are more understanding.

Lisa said...

My approach to friendship mirrors Infertile in the City's above - and I tend to expect my friends to have the same attitude. But of course some don't. I hate finding that out!

I'm in a similar phase of re-entering my life/others' lives after severely limiting contact with just about everyone while undergoing treatments and losses. It's hard enough to get back to "me" or to create the new me, and I find I'm more comfortable moving on from someone that's only able to view the way I had to deal with things -- which often included not telling her squat -- as an inconvenience, or a terrible slight.

Ultimately, you need to take care of your needs and let the chips of any iffy or unbalanced friendships fall where they may. Your real friends will always support and work with you, not make you work to "win" them over.

HometownGirl. said...

gosh, i know exactly how you feel... people get awkward, don't want to talk, tell you that you're "too serious", "not yourself"... and it HURTS! This is the time I need people the MOST!!!

Hugs to you!!!

Shinejil said...

It's always hard to lose or feel like you may lose a friend over something as delicate and difficult as IF experience. You have to shelter yourself, and your friends are (in my book) there to assist you with that--and sometimes that means not knowing and not even indicating the need or desire to know.

I hope the new road opens up some new vistas with new companions to share them.

Elizabeth said...

I wish that friends didn't resent us for not meeting their needs when we are incapable of doing so. We have a similar situation with a couple who were formerly extremely close friends, especially with Husband with whom the friendship dates from high school. While the wife and I have somewhat mended our friendship, her husband is angry that we didn't let him be there for us and doesn't want to reach out now that everything is hunky dory with us since we didn't reach out when things weren't. To me that's a load of crap b/c he knew what was going on, but oh well. Try not to worry too much about those people. They are more stress than you need right now.