As I have mentioned before, the journey to creating our family was an emotional rollercoaster at times. Okay, most of the time. I also mentioned feeling emotionally unstable when I was hepped up on hormones. Okay, highly unstable.
Before I continue the story of our journey down the fertility highway, I thought I would talk more about the emotional side of it. For me, this part had the biggest impact. And still does. The uncomfortable ultrasound or painful injection only lasts a moment, feelings endure much longer.
This topic is somewhat difficult for me because when I get down to the nitty gritty, many of my feeling were (are) ugly. Along with hope and longing there was envy, emptiness and bitterness. And anger. And confusion.
How do you balance those feelings? How do you share the happiness of friends expecting their own bundles of joy? How do you not become overwhelmed by jealousy?
Y'all. It's hard. Terribly hard.
Sometimes I handled it well, sometimes I failed. I felt like my heart was divided, like I had an equator drawn down the middle of my body. Or maybe I was like Sybil. One side was truly happy for my friends and was able to celebrate their joy. I'd even throw the baby shower. Sometimes. The other side was was truly jealous and consumed with feelings of why not me? Sometimes that side took over and I withdrew. Skipped baby showers. Avoided. I'm not proud of that, but it is the truth.
Thankfully my husband and my friends loved me anyway. At least I think they did (do).
Chances are you know someone that is dealing with infertility and are wondering how to offer support through her journey. First, I'd say let your friend set the tone or even ask her directly how she would like you to help her. Since it is such an emotional issue, that changes day to day, it can be difficult for you as a friend too. Should you ask? Should you give your friend some space? It's a fine line. There may even be eggshells. Let her know you are willing to be a listening ear (that is usually always appreciated) as it is needed. Some days she might want to talk about it, other days she might appreciate a message left on her answering machine or a thoughtful card in the mail more. It was comforting to know people cared enough to check in on me but there were certainly days I didn't pick up the phone too.
If you are pregnant or have had a passel of children naturally, please don't avoid your friend out of guilt or worry that you will upset her. Even though I struggled with my emotions, I loved my fertile friends dearly--and still do.
My close friends were wonderfully supportive yet not smothering either. They gave me space when I needed it and a hug and time to listen when I needed that too. They also prayed with me and for me, that was the biggest comfort most of all.
I firmly believe that our life experiences mold us into the humans God wants us to be, even if that molding hurts or leaves us asking why. If I can be an encourager to someone else struggling with infertility, then that makes my experiences all the more worthwhile.
The rest of our fertility journey coming soon...