Old Friends

It’s been one thing explaining the IVF/”why we don’t have children thing” to new friends, where there is no expectation that they will be understanding because we don’t “know” eachother yet.  It’s been quite another thing to deal with old friends and their various reactions to what we’re going through.
For example:

I went to Uni with X about 15 years ago.  It was a very intense and personal course and we became very good friends.  After Uni we flatted together until she met a guy who became her husband, and I met a guy who became mine.  Once we were married and lived a distance away from eachother we quite naturally saw eachother less.  Though we are not in frequent contact we have been privy to eachother’s successes and challenges.  Her pregnancies.  My IVF.  Two factors that have contributed, I am sure, to our fading friendship. 

During last year she never, not once, sent an email or phoned to see how the IVF was going.   She sent an email recently to see if we could catch up.  She sent in that email a link to a job website – I am currently not looking for work.  She said in that email “I hope you are well?”

How are you meant to  respond to that question from an old friend when you are not actually going well at all.  Should we be all polite and stiff upper lip and protect the old friend from our discomfort?  Or should we come right out and say it?

I said it:  “We are both coming to grips with the fact that IVF was unsuccessful” .

Her reply: “Yes, I kind of figured it hadn’t gone well.  Last year must have been very trying”.  Then she went on to tell me about how her daughter was doing and signed off saying some “mommy” thing about having to go now and clean up all the chaos that the kids had made in the loungeroom.

Does anyone else find this unempathic?  

I’ve just told my friend one of the most disapointing and sorrowful things in my life and she responds that she had worked it out (yet hadn’t checked in to see if I was ok) ; then she supposes that last year must have been hard (honey – it’s not just one year – it’s the implications for the rest of our lives at stake here) ; and then she regales me with stories of her children.

Now….in a new friend…I’d just write this, (and possibly them) off as being not very understanding people.  But  such a response from an old friend?  It’s hurtful that this topic is so uncomfortable for them that they can’t handle it or you, and so you lose contacts, and even if you don’t lose the friend, the friendship is hollowed out somewhat.

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One Response to “Old Friends”

  1. jodie38 Says:

    Yeeowch. I wish people would learn to engage their brains before unleashing their mouths. Unbelievably tough to hear thoughtless things from people you thought knew better. I’m sure she didn’t mean any harm, just didn’t know what to say – but that’s not very helpful to you at this point. Knowing why she was an ass doesn’t take away from the fact that she was an ass. You end up feeling more isolated than ever, wishing she hadn’t bothered. Or maybe I’m just projecting…. 🙂 I wish I had some advice for you, but it seems like it just depends on the person, how they said it and how much you like them.

    I’m really sorry it happened – those kind of experiences can come up way too often on this journey. We’ve ended up being very selective about who we tell about our problems, and even more selective about the people we keep informed about our problems. I don’t mind that people know we’re going through IVF, don’t even really mind about them knowing the donor egg part of the equation. But we keep maybe 6 people in our immediate circle up to date, and one couple is going through their own fertility issues.

    This can be a very isolating, frustrating and lonely time. Hoping you find a comfy crowd to spend time with…..

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