Two Years and Counting

IF and Friendships
January 9, 2008, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve decided that I need to let a few more real life friends in on what M and I are going through with IF, even though we’re just at the beginning stages (unless you count the entire past year!) This conclusion has come after a while of feeling a general in-between-ness with my friends. I tend to be a sort of reserved person anyway, even with friends I know well, and having this IF stuff looming as the elephant in the room, or at least in my room, has had an effect on my relationships. I know my friends don’t sense anything strange because I cover it up well, but for me, when someone asks me what’s going on with me and how I’m doing, it’s hard to not be able to tell the truth, and it’s affecting how close I feel to these friends. It makes me feel like I’m unfairly putting up a wall between us, even if I’m the only one who can sense this wall.

I told M about my need to divulge this information to a few more people, and he’s on board with it, even if he doesn’t entirely understand my need to do so. He’s told a couple of his closer friends, and I’m sure they talk about it some, but as a man, he doesn’t feel a need to let many other people know about it. For me, I have a need to connect with other women, and I don’t feel like I can while I’m keeping this a secret. I have a couple of friends in my day-to-day life who know that we’ve been trying to conceive and that we’re moving onto other options, but for the most part, I haven’t told anyone else. I’m even still at the point where when people ask me if we’re thinking about children, my answer is along the lines of, “Oh, one day, when we’re ready.”

Part of my reason for doing this has been to keep at bay the people who I feel will constantly badger me about whether or not I’m pregnant. But deep down, I know another reason for it is that sometimes I have a hard time feeling like I connect with people, and I worry about bothering people with my problems, so I stay quiet and say everything is fine. And it’s not that I have a whole lot of problems, it’s just that I have a hard time talking about what’s going on with me, for fear of boring someone, or something. I worry that if I say something more than just “fine” and actually start to talk about something bigger going on, they’ll lose interest, or will think, “Gee, I was just asking to be polite.” But it’s gotten to the point with a few women friends in my life where I need to be able to tell them what’s going on with this stuff so that I at least feel like I’m making steps to force myself to be vulnerable. When I really think about it, if one of my girlfriends were going through something like this, I’d hope they’d feel comfortable telling me, and I’d want to know so I could support them. I need to do the same for them and give them an opportunity to care for me. And pray for us, too.

I’m hoping that as I begin to force myself to open up a bit more, it’ll help remedy the out of sorts feeling I have with my friendships. I think this general feeling may also be part of the “on hold” feeling of a person who’s been trying for a while to get pregnant but hasn’t had any luck. I don’t feel quite like I fit into any one group. Not with the single people anymore, not as much with my married-but-childless-by-choice friends because I’m wanting to move into the next phase and they’re not there yet, and not with the mothers either, because I have nothing to contribute to conversations except silence. I’ve been thinking lately that I’d love to find people who are in my same stage of life who I can connect with. But, I think I’ve maybe been holding on too tightly to that desire, and forgetting about the friendships I have right now. It’s fine to connect with similar people, but at 28, I don’t think it’s reasonable or smart to expect to connect a whole new group of friends, just because they’re in my same stage of life, at the expense of the women who are in my life right now. M made me realize that maybe I need to invest more fully into the friendships I currently have, regardless of their stage of life. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in this insight.

So my plan is to try to be more present in the friendships I have, and share our “secret” when the opportunity arises and I feel like it’ll be a natural time and place for me to talk about it. I don’t have a specific list of people I’m going to tell, but I’m glad to have the freedom to divulge it if the situation merits it. I think it’ll take a lot of pressure off me, and make me feel freer and less bound by secrecy and walls. Meanwhile, I don’t expect the “on hold” feeling to go away, because the truth is, M and I are in a sort of holding pattern, waiting to see what God’s future plans are for us. But we’ve talked about not missing out on things in life just because we’re in this waiting game. Our life hasn’t stopped, it’s just taken on a new twist for the time being.

In other news, I mentioned a while back that my orders from the doctor were to use the OPKs and call when I have an LH surge, then come in the next morning. They instructed me to not pay attention to the OPK directions that say to wait for a test line that’s equal to or darker than the control line, but to come in when I see any color in the test area. Well, last night I did the OPK, waited the obligatory 10 minutes, and didn’t see a thing in the test area, which I suspected since it’s still a few days before I usually ovulate (as seen by my charts.) Well, last night after dinner, several hours after I did the OPK, on an impulse I took another look at the stick, and saw a very faint line in the test area–so faint though I almost had to squint to see it. Well, we deliberated for a while tryign to decide if this counts as the “any color” they told us to look for. We thought through what that meant as far as when to time sex for the PCT test they want to do (post coital test) and what work I’ll have to miss when I missed a few hours yesterday for a totally unrelated thing. We ended up deciding to ignore that tiny faint line, since what they’re looking for is my ovulation (I think), and I knew if I went in today, they’d take a look and tell me to come back tomorrow since I wouldn’t have ovulated yet. My temps this morning confirmed that I have not ovulated. So I’ll check the stick again tonight, and if I see a faint line, I’ll go ahead and go in tomorrow, even though I still think actual ovulation will be more like Friday or Saturday. Whew, I think women in infertility treatment could rival any biology student as far as knowledge about the female reproductive processes!


5 Comments so far
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I just came across your blog and thought I’d share my experience with friends. We were basically open with friends and family about TTC from the beginning. And when that led to fertility treatments, we were very open with that at all. For the most part, I really have not regretted that situation. People rarely make insensitive remarks, and it is good to feel all of their support. Also, I’ve gotten to chat with many of my friends who have had or are currently experiencing infertility or multiple miscarriages also. IF is really very widespread but rarely discussed.

On the OPK, I’m surprised your doctor said to ignore the instructions. I’ve always gotten a line equal to the control line right before ovulation. But perhaps they just want to make sure that they don’t miss O.

Comment by Jennifer

Hi Jennifer–Yea, I think it was mainly so we didn’t miss ovulation. Maybe they’ve had women who waited too long, then when they came in, they had already missed it. I’m sensing that my doctor doesn’t go by the temps charts all that much, but because I use them, I know for sure around what time I ovulate, which is really helpful. Kept me from making a pointless trip to the doctor this morning!

Comment by Lauren

Friendships can be so tricky to navigate when dealing with IF (or any trial or crisis, really). We’ve been pretty wide open about things, and most people seem interested in hearing about what we’ve gone through. That said, I have to be careful to give people the benefit of the doubt when they don’t respond the way I’d prefer, keeping in mind that it is hard and sometimes awkward to BE a friend to a person who is suffering IF. Friends don’t always know what to say or do, but I know they mean well.

Hope the PCT goes well for you!

Comment by andrea_jennine

I give a solid ‘amen’ to Andrea’s comments. It took me a while to really open up with my friends about the emotional issues I was carrying around even over this past year when we were just ‘trying.’ And even though it was a relief to begin to share with my friends, I started to realize that I had expectations of how people should react to me, and treat me. I am starting to learn what it means to educate my friends in the kind of support that I need. But even when I feel like it’s the “wrong” kind of support – i.e. maybe not what I wanted specifically – it’s still invaluable to have your community walk with you and offer support to you through this time.

Comment by Heather

Lauren – thank you for your encouragement yesterday, I really appreciate it. I’ve been pretty open with a lot of people about our infertility issues, but I realize that I have to be more selective. My really close friends can handle it and are very supportive, but my not so close friends don’t know what to say and are uncomfortable so I stopped talking about IF to certain people. Oh and did you get your surge on the opk?

Comment by soapchick

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