When I was younger I used to collect friends. Everywhere I went, every job I had, every party I went to, I would come away with new friends; people to add on Facebook and get my friend count up. And the truth is I’ve never been short of friends however, the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realised when it comes to friends it’s definitely quality over quantity. Nowadays it’s the opposite; I’m always trying to whittle down my friends list on Facebook and Instagram; very conscious of only having people on their that I know wish me well.
When we decided to share our fertility story we knew that we were opening up a very personal side of our lives. We talked it over for a long time before actually posting our first blog. I am a natural sharer in life anyway; I like to talk about things, get them out there. I’m definitely not one for bottling things up. But even I had to take pause and really think about what sharing this part of our lives would mean. Despite my natural inclination to share I’m actually a person who is always concerned about safety. A previous bad relationship haunted me for a long time after it was over and my privacy was compromised on several occasions which was a very scary time. Since then I’ve always been conscious of only people I choose having access to my life. My social media accounts are as private as they can be and I’m forever changing passwords etc.
More than that however, when we decided to put our story out there we were scared of judgement, of people not understanding, for questioning why we would decide to share our journey. And of course, the main reason was to try and help other people; make others going through the same thing realise that they’re not alone – there are others struggling to have a child too. And in that regard, I feel we have achieved our goal. I just have to read the hundreds of messages I’ve received since our first blog post went live to know that.
As much as I love my friends I don’t think I quite realised how much I valued them until these past few years when we’ve been battling our infertility.
One of my good friends and I often talk about the term ‘adulting’ which the urban dictionary defines as “to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals”. We often joke that we don’t want to ‘adult’ anymore. We want to go back to being kids when the biggest thing you had to worry about was how much pocket money you were getting that week. Despite most of my friends only being in their mid-30’s like me, there’s been a lot of ‘adult’ issues between us over the past few years: marital problems, divorce, health worries, money troubles, co-parenting etc. And despite always wanting my friends to be happy and healthy, it has made me keep things in perspective with regards to our infertility issues. It’s made me realise that it’s not just me who has problems; and for that, in a strange way, it’s made me thankful. Everyone has their own worries that they’re going through, and being there for my friends and listening to their problems often keeps me distracted from my own and allows me to feel useful in a very small way. And I’m more than happy to do that for without the love and support from my friends over the past few years I don’t know what I would have done. It’s often hard to understand something unless you’ve been through it yourself, and my friends have never claimed to understand my fertility struggle, but the important thing is that they’ve been there, they’ve listened, they’ve given me a hug and they’ve made me laugh. And for that I don’t know how I’ll ever thank them.
There are many women I know suffering with fertility issues who find it very hard to be around pregnant women and I can completely understand why. When the very thing you want so badly is staring you in the face it’s hard not to get upset by it. But I must admit it’s not something I’ve ever struggled with too much. Mainly for the simple fact that if I didn’t want to be around pregnant people, I would never see half my friends! It’s the time in our lives where all my friends have pretty much settled down, getting married and having kids and I just have to accept that it’s an ever-present situation in my life. And truthfully, despite wanting nothing more in the world than being pregnant myself, I’m always happy to be around my pregnant friends and meeting their new-borns. The bottom line is that I love kids and if I’m never able to have my own, then I will always have plenty of kids in my life to spend time with.
Just lately I have really learned how important it is so sometimes put your own troubles aside and just try to be there for your friends. One of my really good friends who is almost 9 months pregnant has been going through an awful time, and the next few months for her and her family are going to be the worst and most worrying time of their lives. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and there is nothing I or anyone else can do to help. I wish more than anything I could take it all away from her and make it better, but all I can do is make sure she knows I’m there for her and show my support wherever and however possible. It’s so hard to see your friend go through something so devastating and despite how low I often feel about not being able to have a baby of my own, it’s really made me feel how lucky I am overall that Dave and I are healthy and happy. Sometimes you should just be thankful for what you’ve got and not always just concentrate on what you don’t have.
And one thing I know I do have in droves is fantastic friends. So, this post is dedicated to all of them, without whom I wouldn’t be able to get through the tough times; and especially to my friend who has many hard times to come but is one of the strongest people I know. Hopefully when we’re 80 years old we will all look back and laugh, and realise that everything worked out just as it was supposed to.