Our paths have always been parallel…from first jobs, demanding bosses, blind dates, breakups, engagements, first homes, and marriages. Similar weaving paths have strengthened our decade-long friendship.
Then it came to the pivotal milestone of starting families, and suddenly we found ourselves on opposite sides of fertility.
You had your feet firmly planted on the side of IUIs, insurance coverage, false hope, Clomid, injections, praying for a miracle, and countless pregnancy tests. I was on the other side, where I have never seen a negative pregnancy test.
When I found out I was pregnant with our second. I cried. Honestly, I was in shock. The truth is we weren’t trying. I peed on a stick while our 12-month old pulled up on the side of the bathtub and gummily chewed on her new rubber ducky that she just got from Santa.
That night I sobbed again for you. How was I going to tell you? I wept into my husband’s shoulder about how unfair it was. Weeks later, when I did tell you, I tried to be sensitive. I googled “What is the best way to tell a close friend you are pregnant when they are struggling with infertility.” There were conflicting responses about telling you in person or sending a text or email – this way, you could react in private without censoring your feelings.
All I could think is, what if you read my text/email while doing your weekly shopping at Whole Foods and ended up having a breakdown while paying for overly priced multi-colored carrots.
But I called. I called, and the first thing you said was, “You’re pregnant.” Because you knew, there has always been this unspoken connection between us. You congratulated me, but we switched topics quickly.
That night I went back to my trusted yet questionably reliable friend Google and researched every infertility acronym there was. That is a total overstatement because the truth is there is so much information about infertility that one could never research everything. And even if I spent hours or days researching, you and your husband practically have a “doctorate” in infertility.
But I wanted so badly to understand. I felt like if I could “speak your language,” I could in some very small way be a better friend to you. I am a “fixer” by nature, and I wanted to help you, heal you, console you… so that I could ease your pain.
Here is the truth…I will never understand!
There is no conceivable way for me ever to understand what it was like for you to host my baby shower and loving to hold my girls when the thing you wanted the most in the world was such a struggle. I will never know, and I don’t pretend to relate or empathize with your experience.
You are on one side of fertility, and I am on the OTHER.
Even now, when we are both in over our heads with sleepless nights, pumping horror stories, baby food making, toddler tantrums, and more, we entered this phase of mommy-hood in very different ways, and that is okay. We are friends, no matter what side we are on.