From An Awakened Eye

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

There are no rule books for this...

In this journey of IF I believe over 50% of my friends have either had babies or became pregnant. To me it feels like 90%. Just in the past 4 weeks I have heard of 2 "unexpected" pregnancies. I am guessing that I hear of one on estimate about every 2 weeks. It's hard and it hurts. It's a painful reminder. Although while swallowing my pain I am sincerely happy that it was "easy for them" and didn't "take as long as they had thought". I wish they truly knew the blessing of that. The truth is they never will grasp how precious the life inside them is or was unless they have walked beside someone who has experience the IF journey.
  Burden Bearers, for them I am truly grateful. They have stood beside me and prayed that God {speak life into my womb}.  They will {Never} know how incredibly touched and impacted I am by their support and encouragement through this journey. They have been there in the hard days and the horrible days and the days that look like they will never end. Just knowing they are a phone call away is a comfort I can not explain. Just knowing they are there has brought me so much peace. They have truly {cut the hole out of the roof} to lower me down to visit the Master Doctor. Friends like these are hard to find and you {never really know who they are} until you need them to carry you.
Such friends live just miles from me, others 600 miles and some in between. Some I see weekly and others yearly. Regardless of the distance and their busy lives they have taken out countless moments to call and say "just thinking of you today" or share a verse that spoke to them in a devotion for that day. Some are mothers, pregnant and some walking through their own IF journey. Most I know personally and have known for years. Some have found me through my blog. Some have just felt compelled to pray after reading our journey and have sat in the "stands"  cheering us on, having never been on the field themselves in the game. It all means SO much to have prayers and support from each and every  one of them.
Some of you have expressed that you do not feel adequate to pray or pour into me, when all the while it has not been the words, thoughts or scripture, it is simply knowing your there in the stands praying your heart out to the creator on behalf of me and my husband and the desire burning with in us. 
Your doing all the right things for me. Praying. Fasting. Texting scriptures. Emailing sweet words. 
If I could I would have the biggest Spa day for you all and pamper you until your toes were pretty and pink and your skin was softer than you have ever known it! 
I would. That would be my dream to repay you.
You know I wonder how the "guy lowered through the roof" repayed his friends? Really? The Bible doesn't describe specifics. Wonder what methods of thanks he would have in their culture? Oil? Wine? Weaved rug?
So onto the explanation on the title of this post... I can not find a rule book on this anywhere.  I've decided to write my own. Literally. I am in the process of writing a book about this journey for those going through it, friends and family and those who want to just be nosey about the subject.  
I don't expect it to be a thick book, just a useful one.
So here is what one chapter will be about... sneak peak if you will. ;)
Chapter 1
My Best friend is {Pregnant}
First of all this situation is horrible all the way around—no doubt about it. But that’s what friendships (the good ones at least) are all about—dealing with the good and the bad. You can only hope that you are lucky enough to have friendships that survive. For anyone who has been in the IF boat you know this is a hard blow to both involved. No one tells you how to handle this situation and no one plans on having to face it. It just happens,  unexplained spontaneous life into your best friends body and no one has control over the situation.  What you do have control over is how you tell the person your expecting. Unfortunately, you don't always have full control of your reaction. 
   In our 15th month of TTC (trying to conceive) our friends approached us and announced that they were unexpectedly expecting. Although it felt like the breath had been kicked out of me, I was truly happy for them, but could not catch my breath to get the words out. Literally, J had to do all the congratulating. He later told me that I had been rude by not replying with a happy gesture. {This is 101 on men and IF}. This is when I first learned that he and I would not see eye to eye on certain situations during this journey. This was later confirmed by a male friend who had been through 3 IVFs with his wife. He described a similar situation that happened to them with the same end result. He warned me then to not expect J to understand me through all this and know that we will both process things differently and in the end that is a good thing. To this day J will tell you I was rude and I will tell you I was in shock and speechless. Both true of the situation. However the situation could have been different for the both of us and instead of ending in hurtful tears for the both of us ladies involved, it could have been tears of joy, sorrow, morning, excitement, grief and encouragement together for the four of us. Now I'm sure she did some praying on the matter before telling me, however there isn't really a situation in the Bible with details like she needed. {shrug} When in doubt always talk to someone who has been on the other side of the situation so that you can gain insite on what the other person may be feeling. If you don't have a personal resource, you can always find real people with real post on google. I did when I researched to see if every women felt the same way as I did.
In my quest for finding out a what my friend and I could have done better I found the following at """
1. Break the news yourself.

Betsy said, "Kate hurt me by concealing her pregnancy." She explained that she didn’t want to upset me, so she waited until word got around. Her news was easier for me to handle than the fact that I heard it from someone else. When the woman who told me said, ‘Didn’t you know? I thought everybody knew,’ I felt left out and humiliated. Yet mostly I felt insulted—did Kate think I would commit suicide over it?"

2. Tell them in private as soon as possible.

Including an infertile friend among the "first to know" makes her feel important as the member of an elite group. It also gives her time to adjust to the idea before she must smile though the public announcement. Louise said, "When I hear a baby announcement in a crowd, I feel the social pressure to be as gracious as Queen Elizabeth while everyone searches my face to assess what feelings I’m hiding behind the facade. I appreciate being forewarned."

Sharon told her friend, "I know this will be hard for you to hear, but I wanted to tell you before we announce that I’m pregnant. I’ll be telling everyone late next Wednesday, so if you want to slip out early, I’ll understand."

3. Have the attitude that pregnancy is special.

Sometimes by trying to keep from "rubbing it in," happy couples minimize their joy and communicate begrudgingly, "Don’t be jealous of us because this pregnancy is an inconvenience." Yet the idea of an "unwanted pregnancy" seems especially unfair to those with deep yearnings for child.

Lori confided, "Our friends announced they were expecting at a time when I was especially discouraged about our infertility. They emphasized that it was a ‘mistake,’ making it sound like they were taking their child for granted. That attitude upset me."

4. Expect the news to hurt.

Dee said, "I deliver the opposite of what people expect. If they expect me to take it hard, I appreciate their sensitivity so much that I can be happy for them. When they expect me to jump up and down, I’m not as positive because I feel like they’re expecting too much."

Two of Joy’s friends announced their pregnancies within 24 hours of each other. When Gina was the third, she hugged Joy and cried, "I wanted so much for you to be first." Her sensitivity made it easier for Joy to be happy for her.

5. Consider making the announcement in a letter.

Sometimes the most thoughtful way to announce your news is by sparing your friend the face-to-face confrontation. Dropping her a note lets her recover from the painful feelings before she must say anything.

Ruth’s best friend had been trying to conceive for five years. When Ruth discovered she was pregnant with her third child, she wrote, "We are expecting again. I wish I were there to hug you—I don’t know if that would even do any good. I know you’ll be happy for us, but I know it’s painful, too, and that’s okay. Please continue to be honest with me—I want us to be able to keep sharing like we always have. We know our friendship is strong enough to handle it."
When Susan finally conceived after sharing the mutual bond of infertility with a co-worker, she knew her friend would feel isolated. Finally she sent a note that said, "I’ve written this to you three times. I keep tearing it up because it’s too hard to say. The fact is, infertility is just plain hard. I want you to know I had a positive pregnancy test this week. Call me when you feel like it. Believe me, I’ll understand." Her friend ran for the phone.""

For those who are Burden Bearers and have NEVER experienced infertility your self this may help:
1. It IS ok to feel badly for your friend who is going through infertility……it’s a horrible, dark and lonely road.
2. It is NOT ok to brush the subject of infertility under the rug—because it is very real for the 7.3 million women going through it every year.
3. I was always happy for my friends who were pregnant. ALWAYS. I never wanted my unhappiness to overshadow their joy. But that said it was not easy to sit through baby shower after baby shower. Eventually I stopped attending—would always let my friends know why and would send a gift—it was NEVER ABOUT THEM…..It was to difficult for me. I believe this is true for many.
4. It is NOT ok to not invite your infertile friends to your baby shower thinking you are doing them a favor. It is very hurtful.
They will be expecting the invite and when it doesn't arrive, it's like shoving them underthe rug and enjoying the day with your other friends. You wouldn't not invite a friend to a Pampered Chef party when the rest of your girlfriends were invited and you know she couldn't afford anything. That would hurt. Instead write a special note on the invite or write a seperate note to slip into the invite that explains to her that although you do not expect her to come, you want her to feel apart of her life and that you will be thinking of her on the day of the shower.
5. It is NOT ok to let your infertile friends hear about your pregnancy through the grapevine. But that said —I always wondered why sometimes I was the call they made 3 seconds after peeing on the stick. I still get those calls and I will never understand why. I find it strange.
6. When #4 and #5 happened to me it saddened me to think that my friends though so little of me. It is impossible to rise to the occasion when your friends assume that you can’t or won’t.
7. So how do you tell your struggling friends you are pregnant? I always appreciated a friend who called and said this: “I am not sure how to tell you but I love you and I want you to hear it from me. I’m pregnant.” A perfect phone call in a not so perfect situation. I always thought those friends showed true courage and great strength of character. Try to steer away from an impersonal email—-truth is it just shows you don’t have the guts to say it live or face to face.
8. It is NOT ok to complain to your infertile friends how terrible you feel during your pregnancy.
Facebook is a horrible place to post your feelings during pregnancy. Good or bad. I do realize the person has the ability to {hide} your profile, but they are your friend and they may want to check in to see what else you are up too.  There have been many post about cravings and morning sickness that have made me want to reply "be thankful for that!" or "if you only know how I long for that same feeling and how frustrating it is that my body will not conceive like it was created to do."
9. It is NOT ok to say that you wish you weren’t pregnant and that it was unplanned to your infertile friends—this information should be kept to yourself.
10. It IS ok to love your infertile friend.
She would like nothing more than a note in the mail or text message
that states that you just had her on your mind.
11. It IS ok to tell her your heart aches for her.
She wants to know you are there. Just as a person who is grieving the loss of a family member, misscarriages and the inability to conceive carry the same heaviness. Although it may be hard to find words to say, just a simple "my heart aches for you" or "my thoughts are with you today" speaks to the hurting soul of a woman.
12. It IS ok to cry with your infertile friend. I have always been told that when you show emotion with someone in crisis then it lets them know
13. And it is most definitely ok to be over the moon happy for your friend when she becomes a mother—no matter how it happens.
14. Most importantly—always think how you would like to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot. Think before you speak….. evaluate the word that would stand out and be negative to you during a crisis. "Still" "Again" "else"
And if all else fails just say “I’m sorry—that was insensitive” if you put your foot in your mouth……believe me, it happens to the best of us.

Food for thought….

From the other side of the coin….
-unknown author
What do you do when you are the pregnant one with no fertility issues, and suddenly your best infertile friend is (poof) gone? This is what happened to me and it was very hard to deal with. After months and months of being there for my infertile friend, I learned that I was pregnant and bam — she was gone.
Having not walked in those shoes, I certainly tried to understand how hard it must be for someone in this position. But for a moment, can’t I just say “what about me?” Having your first pregnancy/childbirth is a very scary thing. Hormones are a ragin’. The marriage changes, your perspective on work changes. Everything. And what’s a girl to do when she has no BFF to lean on during these somewhat stressful times?
After my first child was born, it took her 3 months to come and visit. I was hurt beyond repair. That was almost 5 years ago and our relationship will never be the same. Thankfully, she now has 2 children of her own and that part of her life is now happily fulfilled.
But I will never forget how she wasn’t there for me, or my child.

Abundance is... Burden bearers, family, friends, hope in prayer to a living God who speaks.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer Lail BivinsJuly 2, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    I went to school with your husband at Cramerton! I just wanted to let you know that I have been where you are and understand everything you are going through! Please know that I pray for you and J on a daily basis for your miracle! God is preparing you for that day! We went through 3 yrs of IF before we got our miracle and she is my world.....God even allowed my mom (dying of cancer) to enjoy her for 6 mos before he called her home on 06/20/2010. I will cherish that forever.....
    God has His perfect timing but I could never see that until it happened. I will continue to pray for you both and for you in these difficult times. When your heart hurts so bad, just know that God has a perfect plan.

    Jennifer Lail Bivins