I think the hardest thing for me when I was going through infertility was when my girlfriends got pregnant. And it didn’t matter if they got pregnant after infertility either. I wanted to be happy for them – but mostly I felt like I was losing a friend. The gulf between my childless world and the world of pregnancy and pre-school just seemed insurmountable.
If my friend was someone that I was sharing my infertility journey with, I was losing someone to cry with. And she was now in the place that I longed for. These are difficult feelings to express. They feel selfish, and small – and I often felt selfish and small when I was feeling them. Sure, I wanted to be thrilled for my friend – but mostly I died a little inside. Let’s face it – my friend’s life was about to radically change with the birth of a baby – and I was still doing cycles of IVF. But my friend’s were precious to me, and I had to figure out how to cope. Eventually I figured out a few tips to survive the ups and downs of lives going in different directions.
1) Allow Space
There was a time when my best friend Lisa and I would just leave phone messages and texts for each other on our phones! We want to keep in touch, and express our love for each other – but we really couldn’t do more than that. So that is what we did and it worked until our lives changed again – and we could share more deeply in each other’s lives again.
2) Schedule Time Away Girl Friend Retreats
Plan for time away with each other that does not include husbands, partners, family building schedules and kids. Leave behind the stuff that can trigger either one of you – and connect around the things that you love to share with each other.
3) Share Time in Each Others Lives When You Can
I now that it can feel hard to step into the world of fertility when you feel like you are on the outside. But your friend’s new role as a mother is huge for her. Find a day when you are feeling like you can handle to step into her world, and share her joy. You can also invite her into your work or social life – in a way that she might not be able to usually participate in because of young children. You could also invite her to support you by going to a doctor’s visit or support group.
My friend Lisa and I have been friends for almost 45 years. We went through almost everything together: school, marriage, work, infertility, pregnancy and parenting. There were time when we gave each other a lot of space and there were times when we talked every day. Just keep the love shining in. Lives change a lot – and friendships really can last forever and even survive infertility.