I Don't Bite

Sometimes infertility can feel like an elephant in the room. Most people are hesitant or nervous to tell me they’re pregnant, and for the most part, people don’t readily share the details, complaints, and joys of pregnancy or their kids with me. All of which I totally get. The intention behind this is ALWAYS good. My friends are trying to protect my heart (I know, they’re the best). They don’t want their excitement to also be the thing that brings me sorrow.

However, one of the hardest parts of infertility for me has been feeling left out. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing, and I have always been one to feel it easily. I LOVE being around people, and I love when people share with me what’s going on in their lives. I remember telling my life group at one point that I would be more hurt if they kept information from me than if they shared it, no matter how hard it might be for me to hear. Thus far for me, that has proven to be true time after time.

Something I wish other people understood is that their pregnancy isn’t making me sad. I’m sad that I’m not pregnant, not that they are. In fact, 9 times out of 10, when someone tells me they’re pregnant, I’m soooo excited with and for them and don’t feel sad. Of course there’s always the ones that catch me off guard, but that doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it surprises me, so how could someone else see it coming.

I also have friends who feel like they can’t vent about their kids just because I want kids but don’t have them. Response – YES YOU CAN! Kids are hard. Believe me, I know. I taught 1st grade for seven years, so I understand what stinkers those little ones can be. That said, of course you should use discretion and discernment. If someone has just been sobbing about infertility, it probably isn’t the best time to complain about your kids. (But that’s just common sense, right? It really applies to most things. If not, maybe I should teach a class on social cues. Sorry – I’m a little sassy sometimes… Also, let’s be honest, the people who typically complain too much and don’t notice my sad demeanor during their rants, aren’t typically the same people who worry that they complain too much.)

Anyway, back to point. I know you sometimes feel uncomfortable around me when it comes to the topic of kids and pregnancy, but what I really want you to know that I won’t bite if you talk about it. I won’t dissolve into a puddle of tears. I want to hear about your pregnancy and your kids. They’re a huge part of your life, and I care about your life. And if when the conversation does come up, it happens to be a vulnerable moment for me, try not to be scared away. I need to cry sometimes, and it has nothing to do with you. And sometimes you need to cry too – especially those of you braving the terrible twos and threes. I’m already praying for my tongue when a child of that age comes into my life – bless you. So the moral of my story is to talk to me. I love you and I want to know what’s going on in your life. There may be sometimes that I’m not in a good place to hear or talk about it, but as your friend, it’s my job to tell you that. Believe me, I’m not above a quick, “Hey, sorry, I’m a hot mess right now, can we talk about real housewives instead?” But most days, I want to hear from you. Please don’t avoid me because it might get awkward. Yes, I want to be pregnant and have kiddos, but I want to hear about your experiences with it too.

*Disclaimer – my feelings do not necessarily represent the feelings of all women struggling with infertility. If you sense a friend/acquaintance feels sad or uncomfortable when you talk about it, perhaps you should change the subject. I hear the weather is an easy go to – just kidding. But really, ask your friend how she’s doing. Maybe she needs to talk too.

Anna GrishamComment