One of my best friends has for the past five months been trying to get pregnant. She conceived for the first time immediately but then sadly lost the baby at eight weeks. She then conceived immediately again but then tragically lost this second pregnancy at 12 weeks. I was devastated for her and have been helping her through her grief as friends do.
She’s had lots of support from others too – but surprisingly, this is what I am finding irritating. She’s told many people about her loss, which usually I would say is great as I think being open and honest can be very healing. But instead I find myself angry at the support she’s been getting. Probably because I can’t get the same support. For example she can say she has miscarried twice over the past five months. Many people identify with that as they may have experienced the same sad loss. They then share stories and bond.
Meanwhile, what can my husband and I say? That we can never have our own biological baby and have been dealing with that loss now for almost five years. That I went through early menopause in my 30s and have been mourning the loss of my youth and womanhood. These things just don’t have the same ring, plus how do you bring it up in conversation? Well, you just don’t, as you don’t want to see people squirming in discomfort or at a loss for words for what to say.
Then to rub salt in the wound, my friend said that she didn’t know what would be worse – what she’s been through or what I’ve been through. That really grated but also confused me. I feel I should be able to claim the monopoly on grief for what I’ve been through as it’s been for longer, is double-edged (infertility and early menopause) but then again, how can I say that? I’ve never miscarried so how would I know what is worse? Both our losses are intense.
My friend is now booked to see an IVF doctor. This makes me steaming mad as I feel she is hopping on the infertility bandwagon when she has not earned a place on it yet and when there is every chance in the world she’ll be able to have her own child if she falls pregnant again.
Being infertile is not something I’d wish on my best friend, but her actions are making me feel she is belittling the enormity of it. To say you are infertile means you cannot have your own child. This unwelcome title should never be claimed by someone who has just started dabbling in the ‘trying-to-have-a-baby’ realm as it is so insulting to those who reluctantly have to wear these stripes.
PS: my apologies for my vitriole and also to my friend, who I know is just trying to work her way through her own grief in the best way she can. I obviously have some issues still to work through myself. But hopefully this will resonate with someone else out there when they read it.