I came across tis article recently by Kat Lister and found it very thought provoking. The author wrote about her experience of a friendship that survival and strengthened when her friend became pregnant whilst she was facing her infertility.
During my journey of coming to terms with my childlessness I have found myself questioning if certain friendships will survive. Kat mentioned in her article that “she can no longer send midnight texts to some of my girlfriends when I’m drunk on margaritas in Soho with a “come on down!” which reminded me of when my friend excitedly announced that she was pregnant with her first child, blog post https://findingmyplanb.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/hiding-the-pain-in-their-joy/. At that time I wasn’t facing a life without children but I distinctly remember realising that everything between us would now change. As happy as I was for her, I knew that I would no longer be able to spontaneously call her to arrange a night out because I was bored or just pop in for a girlie chat when I felt like it.
Some years on things have changed, she now has her second child and living her dream of motherhood and I am left wondering what this really means for us. Maybe it is because I am in the process of navigating my way through my grief and cannot fully understand everything that is happening to me and the way it is impacting on my marriage right now, and maybe it is because I do not know how to hold our friendship together (I am probably being unrealistic here) but I am fearful that this change in our friendship will not survive our very different journeys.
Kat’s statement that “What matters most is how we navigate through and the journey makes us stronger” is encouraging and reminds me that friendships are not defined by controlled events but survive because of our differences that make being here such a rich and wonderful experience.
Please feel free to share your experiences of how surviving your grief has impacted (positively or negatively) on your friendships… I would love to hear your stories.
Yvonne J x
I went to a school reunion last night. It was great to catch up with people who I haven’t seen since leaving school in 1987. As excited as I was to go I also found myself anxiously worrying about being asked if I had children. It would be natural for the others to ask as we were catching up on our lives over the past 20+ years but knowing that most of them are parents (through facebook) I couldn’t help but worry about how I would respond. There are times when I just do not know how my grief will respond when faced with certain situations.
So the inevitable question was asked…. coincidently one of the ladies who asked is childless herself. She confidently revealed that she had a miscarriage last year and couldn’t go though the emotions trying again. It would have been easy to hide behind her truth but I bravely talked about Gateway Women and how it is helping me to get through my pain. I was asked if I had considered adoption (well I guess it wouldn’t be a conversation if that question wasn’t asked!!!) and I bravely explained why that was not an option for me.
Since going to GW meetings and understanding my grief I have come to understand why I am being asked such questions. Understanding the question from someone who cares about me helps me to compassionately process the situation. It is such questions from people who do not know me that I now struggle with but I am learning to find suitable responses to those who feel that such a personal question is acceptable. So far my favourites are “oh I didn’t realise we were getting that personal, how much do you earn?” and “so how’s your sex life then”. It would be great to hear some of your favourite responses too…
One aspect of my grief that I have found difficult to deal with is that I will not be giving my parents the grandchildren that they dreamed of. For as long as I can remember my dad had been asking me when was I going to get married and have children. At that time I felt that I had a life of adventures ahead of me and all the time in the world, it never occurred to me that this dream would not be a reality. I now watch my parents enjoy a life with my nieces and nephews wishing that I could have shared that life with them too.
So I am working on forgiving myself for past decisions and walking towards my plan B. During my journey I came across some jewellery from my dad and my aunty that I had kept in the hope of passing them onto my daughter, the daughter that I had named, the daughter who I longed to see in person one day, a daughter who is now a dream deferred…
We were discussing the emotional triggers associated with the up and coming holiday session, at a Gateway Women plan B session, yes the perfect storm for childless women. Thinking about the pending family gathering reminded me of a time, not too long ago, that I had spent with my dad. On both occasions my dad was reminiscing about his granddaughter, my youngest niece. The look on his face as he relayed stories of her antics brought tears to my eyes, tears that I found hard to control. It was difficult to hear the pride and joy in his words realising that he would never be able to share such stories about my children. I will not give him a grandchild who he can create memories with, I will not have children who will carry memories of their grandparents in their hearts. No funny stories, no family holidays, no christmas presents of their own….
So I have received news of another pregnancy. I remember a time when I would have been happy to hear such news but now I just feel numb. Its such a hard reality for me that there are times that I really cannot identify with what I am feeling. So I just cry and today it feels hard not to.
When I think about this recent news I can’t help but ask why could this not have been me? Today for the first time I really wished it was me sharing my joy with my friends, sharing the excitement of what is to come, sharing this special moment with my husband…. and now I am here wondering why could this not have been me?