James and Rachel had Joe and I over for dinner and euchre. We had a really nice time that evening. Before we left, they told us they had something to tell us.
I was shocked. I had NO idea this was a possibility. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I felt sick. I cried. I tried my best to be polite. But this changed everything.
I’ve never welcomed change with open arms. Change scares me as did this situation.
Things started off okay. After I got over the initial shock and got of my some questions answered, things seemed to be going pretty well. I was able to see blessings during this painful time. I was grateful for Rachel’s love, compassion, and kindness during this difficult time. I began writing postcards to Rachel from her baby; a special way for me to love her during her pregnancy.
In September of 2015, my therapist thought it was a good idea to start me on a low dose of an antidepressants. I was doing okay. But I needed some help. After only a few days, I started to feel so much better. I was so grateful to see the clouds lifting.
As Rachel started to show, it became more and more difficult to be around her. Why her and not me? I felt jealousy, anger, and resentment towards her. We had been trying for years. We’d been to the doctor and done testing. We’d been taking medication. We’d gone through procedures. We’d spent more money to get pregnant than they did. They didn’t have to put forth any effort and POOF! It didn’t seem fair. It hurt. A lot. Growing up, I never thought that someone being pregnant would be painful! I don’t think it’s something that many people experience. Many of you may think it’s silly. That such a beautiful thing shouldn’t hurt. It should be a happy time for everyone involved. I wish that were so.
During those 9 months, I tried my best to be considerate and loving. I sent cards, took flowers to her shower, took her a post delivery pamper gift, and made a special gift for her. I did many of those things to make sure she knew that I loved her and supported her. I think I did some of those things because I wanted them in return as well. She had this beautiful blessing and I felt I went above and beyond to support her. Part of me felt like those things should have been done for me because it was a more painful time for me. I know this situation was hard for both of us. But she was pregnant and I wasn’t.
We both continued to put forth effort but it became increasingly difficult for both of us. We both were uncomfortable. We didn’t know what we could talk about. Things weren’t the way they were before. I couldn’t complain about infertility stuff that hurt me because that was her life now. How can friendship work when you can’t talk about your life?
During the last months of her pregnancy, things were said and done, and not done, and not said, that hurt.
Some important things I’ve taken away from this experience are:
-Communicate with each other. If both parties are able, speak candidly with one another. Letting each other know what you need is very helpful. It keeps each other from guessing what’s truly best for you.
-Don’t have expectations. It’s hard not to. I fail terribly at this, therefore, I’m disappointed. The less expectations we have of others, the happier we will be.
-Don’t be scared of the outcome. The end will come whether you want it to or not. Try to not be fearful of the future.
-Be kind to your friend. If you are able, try to put them first. Do things for them to make them feel special, supported, and loved.
-Find the support you need. Finding people who can support you the way you need is important. Lean on other people that can relate.
-Be kind to yourself. Do things that make you feel good. Take care of yourself during these difficult times.
–It’s okay if things change. Things are going to change and that’s okay.
My relationship with Rachel today looks and feels different. I’ve been very hurt by things that have been said and done. I’m sad, furious, hateful, jealous, irritable, and bitter. My heart aches because of it. Today I choose forgiveness. I choose to let the hurt and pain go. I want peace and joy. It’s a choice. It isn’t easy and this doesn’t mean those feelings will go away. But damn it, I’m gonna give it my best shot.
I also can acknowledge the amount of effort put forth on both sides. We chose to communicate instead of giving up. We chose to meet in the middle instead of running away. We chose to love one another the best we could, even when it hurt.
I have no idea what things are going to look like. I have no idea what the future holds. We are in very different parts of our lives right now and that makes friendship much more challenging. We both have grown through this experience. At this point, I have a lot of questions that probably will never be answered. I don’t even know if I could form the questions. But we are continuing forward the best way we know how, with love and understanding.