Rage, sadness, pregnant friends, and not being able to participate in life

I have a lot to catch up on—I want to write about my regroup with Dr. Schoolcraft and more about LI IVF—but this morning, I need to write about something else.

Am sitting here with swollen eyes again. Great!

I was doing fine. Good, even. A friend of mine from college, someone I haven’t been in touch with for years, got back in touch, leaving a voicemail, and in an effort to participate in his life, I looked at photos of his three children on FB. A year ago, they had a third child, and I thought I should (finally) take a look at him. He is gorgeous, one of the cutest babies I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I see both his mother and father features in him. I felt funny after looking at the photos. It wasn’t just the baby–it was the montage of images of a fun, full family life. But I took it on the chin and even though I felt preoccupied by my feelings of loss and lacking and envy, I knew that I could give him a call back, still, and ask after his family.

But first: the ongoing project of turning the not-nursery into an office/den/art-music studio. DH and I were tackling putting together the shelves, the chairs, the file cabinet…

And in the middle of this, I get an email from another friend. I’ll call her Elle. In it, she tells me about the children’s book she is writing, the one starring her twin daughters, and how great it is to explore children’s literature. She closes with some words about how sorry she is for what I’m going through, but “at least you and DH have each other.” I swallow the blip of rage this causes, although I want to write back to her: “If something ever happens to your daughters, I’ll be sure to remember those words for you and your husband.” But I let it pass over me and let it go.

Then another friend calls. I’ll call her Rae. This is a girlfriend who I thought was calling to offer me support after what I’ve gone through (not one friend has called me since I got back from Colorado, which I find interesting—I’ve gotten some emails, but no calls. And my father hasn’t said or written anything to me at all, not because he doesn’t care, but because, let’s face it, he’s a coward and can’t handle it).

Moments after I pick up the phone, when I say, “How are you,”  she blurts: “I’m pregnant.”

What was she thinking? Blurting that out like that?

She is only nine weeks along—couldn’t she have waited a month or two to tell me, give me a little time to heal from my most recent devastation? I got back from CCRM only a couple of weeks ago! Couldn’t she have spent a few minutes asking after me, maybe trying to gauge a little where I’m at before blurting this news? She went on to explain how she is shocked but ecstatic—she had not been trying to get pregnant. She’d had some worries that she might have difficulty conceiving, because of some minor hormone problems she’d had. She explained that she and her fiancé had gotten married right away, because of the pregnancy. Etcetera.

Somewhere in there, I managed to say, “Congratulations.” And somewhere in there, she asked, awkwardly, “So, how–how are you? How’s your, how’s things?”

I honestly didn’t know what to say. I paused, my head swimming. She knew how I was. She knew what I’d just gone through. In a faint voice, I said, “I’ve had five miscarriages and just spent thirty thousand dollars on a failed IVF and will not be able to conceive children.”

I don’t recall what she said to that.

“I really don’t think I’m the person to be talking to about your news right now,” I said gently.

“I’m not calling to rub it in,” she said, quickly. “I just thought–I just didn’t want you to hear it from somebody else. Because I’ve told people from school,and I just didn’t want you to hear it from them.”

“No, it’s okay, I understand.”

There was a lot of awkward words on her end—I can’t recall what they were. I said, “No, everyone’s pregnant, don’t worry, I’m getting used to it,”and I started to cry.

“Oh, God,” she whispered.

“I have to go,” I managed to say.

And she very eagerly said, “Okay.”

I wrote her an email. I let her know that that was a hurtful experience. I let her know that the timing was not good, that she should have waited a little while. I asked what was she thinking, blurting that news out moments after I picked up the phone. I let her know because people, in general,  have absolutely no idea how to perspective-take when it comes to this territory. Even social workers like her.

But what upsets me the most is that I can’t participate in life in the way that I want. I want to congratulate her with my full heart. I want to be happy for her. I want to be pregnant with her and to share in that adventure. If I had been able to conceive, I would have many more friends right now, and I would be writing and talking to them about precisely what I want to be writing and talking about, exactly what I want to share in—motherhood, children, family life, building it all. Instead, I am out here in this strange land I don’t recognize. I am in limbo. If I were in that world with them, with all my pregnant friends, all of my mother friends, how different life would be! How much happier, how much more fun, how much more. I am so tired of crying. So, so tired of crying. I am so tired of healing I could scream! How long do I have to go through this? How long do I have to live life in this strange, truncated way? It seems so much of my time and energy is spent simply managing my sadness and rage. Trying to keep it in place, trying to keep the pieces of myself together. That is no way to live!

Last night, I balled up my blanket and held it in my arms and imagined, for a just a second, that it was my baby. I wasn’t trying to be morbid. I wasn’t trying to wallow. I just needed to try to feel what it would feel like, for just a second, because that is a desire that I am constantly battling, beating down, burying, hiding. What is all that burying doing to me?

What is this rawness, and the constant management of it, doing to me?




Leave a comment


  1. Chris

     /  February 19, 2013

    OMG! I read your post and I know this person is your friend but I cannot believe the insensitivity of some people! I have many stories along the same lines that have left me angry, hurt, and have destroyed friendships. People don’t realize the gravity of some situations. I will not go on as I know this woman is your friend but I have a few words in my head right now. :) Anyway….. take some time for YOU these next few days and treat yourself with the KINDNESS that some people fail to offer.

    • Thank you SO much for your comment, for empathizing, for knowing what I’m talking about—sometimes I feel like no one in the world understands. I’m so sorry you’ve experienced the same.Strained friendships, lost friendships—this is the last thing we need right now. I know I am responsible for my own reactions; I know if I were enlightened (in the eastern sense) none of this would bother me. But I’m not, and it hurts, and it is isolating. I am going to meet up with a dear friend today, I hope, who is a blessing to this earth and to my life—that will be a good antidote.

  2. Just so you know, you’re not the only one to hold something in your arms and imagine it to be the baby you couldn’t keep. I read this post in tears. For you, for me, for all of us. Hang in there!

    • Oh god–thank you for saying this. I was feeling a little self-conscious about revealing that, like I’d shared something too deep, too dark. But while you’ve normalized it for me, I’m so sad to hear that you’ve experienced the same. Much love to you, and hang in there, too. xoxo


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