Patience, reflection and time – Part 2

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments.  They deserve a post of their own and will  get it in Part 3. This is continued where I left off from my prior post “Patience, reflection and time – Part 1.”  

As I started to cry down in the field, my dear friend M tried to comfort me.  She put her arms around me and held me tight.  She cried too and offered many words of encouragement.  “I know that we were destined to have families together.  Just think about it, we went back to school at the same time, we were laid off from our boring jobs at almost the same time – me first and then you a few months later, and I know you will be right behind me with your family.”  I nodded my head, dried my eyes (swearing to myself I wouldn’t cry that day in public again), put on a smile and said, “We’ll see.  I hope so too, that would make an amusing story to tell, wouldn’t it?”  We continued picking and talking for another thirty minutes.  I turned the conversation back to her, their baby and plans for the house and the future.  Eventually our little buckets were full, the blueberries weighed and paid for, then we headed out for lunch.

While eating lunch we talked about many things.  Eventually, she expressed how worried she was about telling me her news.  I gently admitted it was kind of hard for me to have a good friend who I confided in over the years suddenly show up 7 months along.  I understood why she waited but I thought it would have been easier knowing that she was at least trying.  She seemed slightly annoyed and upset at my confession (sting).  She admitted that they didn’t try for very long (another sting).  Then she started to tell me how I would be pregnant soon anyway and how we were going to have our kids play together, take day trips, go to the zoo, etc. 

I told M I wished she would be right, but I didn’t know.  The odds over the years were starting to creep against me and this was making me terribly afraid.  She became a little frustrated, but smiled anyway and hugged me as she was leaving.  She encouraged me to stop being pessimistic, stop being so scientific, looking at odds and statistics.  I needed to have a little more faith in the magic that it would happen.  She knew because she has a great feeling about this and that I’ll see.  “That’s not quite fair” I told her, “I was very much full of hope in the beginning, but realistic expectations must have a place too.  After a while, if you don’t do that, you will absolutely break down.  The potential lifts you up and every month, then the failure crashes you down.  You have not watched your chances slip as each birthday passes.  You have not walked the years and years in my shoes, on my path.  I appreciate the prayers, good hopes, faith and optimism of all my friends.  Wish very very hard for me.  I do too, but respect also my need to protect my heart.” 

She nodded as she got into her car, but she did not understand, and that’s OK.  She doesn’t need to.  I knew I had a cadre of people who unfortunately do understand.  Who appreciate my situation in a unique way and in that I NEVER feel alone.  If if weren’t for this blog, the ALI community, I wouldn’t have made it through that day with a shred of integrity or grace.  So many of you are my heroes, for your kindness, your perseverance, your intelligence, your wit.

I drove home in utter silence, playing the day over in my mind.  No tears hit my eyes.  All I felt was a load of cotton in my throat and a big ball of empty in my chest.  I needed to be home.  I was tired of being in public.  I wanted the opportunity to process all this in solitude. I finally got home, walked down to my garden, sat right next to my wind chimes and waited for the wave of emotion to crash over me.  The tears to come.  The understanding to begin.

It didn’t crash.  No tears came.  I didn’t understand.

All I felt was The Ache.  The Big Empty.  My throat jammed with cotton, each swallow like razorblades. I sat there, unmoving for two hours, trying to understand what The Ache was.  Exactly how and what I truly felt.  I didn’t know.  I searched my mind, my heart, my soul.  The puzzle didn’t fit. What was this empty, cold feeling in my chest?  Anger? Guilt? Worry?  Shame?  Fear?  Bitterness? Jealously? Sorrow? I truly didn’t know.

continued in Part 3…

16 comments on "Patience, reflection and time – Part 2"

One Who Understands on September 3, 2009 at 2:34 PM said...

I think one of the hardest things for me to get people to understand is that I do hope, but I have to be realistic. Happy endings are great, but they are not a guarantee. Sometimes all we need is for people to get that it is hard. It is really stinkin hard.

jill on September 3, 2009 at 2:34 PM said...

Ahh The Ache. Ugh. I know my version of this ache and it's just horrible. It's not anything I could ever really explain to anyone either. The shifty combination of hope and emptiness/loss/failure is so hard to explain to people who haven't experienced it for themselves. It's not really pessimism (not to say we all don't feel pessimistic sometimes) - I think your friend was wrong.

Sending more *hugs* your way.

Kate on September 3, 2009 at 3:27 PM said...

What an eloquent post. Thank God the internet gives us all the chance to connect with others who truly understand the despair and the ache. Even when you want to be positive, the fear that it won't be justified, and your inability to just let go and "enjoy" the ride with confidence.
I'm just impressed that you really tried so hard to make her understand. And didn't break down during the talk. Heck, I was crying on the phone at times during my Ontario infertility panel interview.
Looking forward to part 3

K on September 3, 2009 at 4:46 PM said...

Thanks for part 2. And yes, it was so eloquently done. I GET your emotion and pain. I get it when I read it. I feel it. It makes me cry too and I don't know M or really you, either...sort of. I am hopeful that for you and for your friendship with M, that you will have children growing up playing together. I think that gesture on her part was the best way she knew how to be supportive and encouraging. Thanks again for sharing. Awaiting part 3. :)

Sunny on September 3, 2009 at 5:00 PM said...

Your dear friend, who is no doubt a lovely person if she's your friend, obviously doesn't even have a hint of insight into the rollercoaster of IF -- the need to be hopeful but CAUTIOUS and REALISTIC. That is a good thing for her. I wouldn't wish the heartache on anyone.

But it doesn't feel so good for you. :( I'm sorry you dealt with this, especially in such a public setting.

meinsideout on September 3, 2009 at 5:29 PM said...

I have a friend who has told me to "chill out" more than once and to just relax and blah blah blah throughout all of our struggles. Major sting. It hurts when others do not get it. I finally just quit explaining myself to anyone that did not understand.

I am so grateful for women like you who continue to get vulnerable and share what so many of us feel - we are so not alone.

Phoebe on September 3, 2009 at 6:16 PM said...

It is truly hard to understand what it is like to endure IF treatment unless you have been there. The best kind of support we can get is for someone to say, yeah, it's hard and it sucks. That's the kind of support you'll get from us fellow bloggers who have been down the path you have. We won't be telling you, "just be hopeful and it will happen". We all know it doesn't work that way. We get the grief and how long it takes to work through that. So sorry for this difficult time with your friend.

mekate on September 3, 2009 at 6:55 PM said...

What an amazing and beautifully written post. You are so brave speaking your truth , even if the ears that were right there could not quite hear it. And you are so right about the Ache and the Empty.

and she is right too-- we lose site of the magic. We lose sight of it in the flood of other crapola, the stats, our experiences, our rises and falls, but the magic, it really is there. I have to believe it. I have to. It will not necessarily be *my* magic, and that perhaps is one of the hardest things to deal with.

warm wishes to your brave and strong self.

Rotten on September 3, 2009 at 8:21 PM said...

I am so glad that you have your blogger friends by your side & that you don't feel alone because what you are going through is so hard. Thank you for sharing such a difficult situation.

the infertile breeder on September 4, 2009 at 9:37 AM said...

Oh, what a hard day you had. It seems like the more your friend said, the worse she made it. I know she means well, but sometimes you need to "quit while you're behind."

Sending you ((hugs)) and wishes for a fun and distracting holiday weekend.

JJ on September 4, 2009 at 1:28 PM said...

Thanks for continuing to share this story...I know how many emotions must swirl back through your mind as you write it.

Clare on September 4, 2009 at 10:20 PM said...

There's nothing quite as frustrating as having people tell you to just relax and it will happen.. especially when those people have no experience with IF themselves. It's especially hard to deal with when it's a dear friend who you cherish. She doesn't get it and she won't. It was an intense day for you - the way she revealed her pregnancy to you was quite an ambush, usually when people tell you they're pg you can't see anything, it's not so in your face but at 7 months - there was no escaping it at any point in the day.

You must have felt totally drained when you got home. But i understand the support you feel from the ALI community, without this, I hate to think what emotional wreck I'd be by now. Thinking of you.

Beautiful Mess on September 4, 2009 at 11:59 PM said...

I don't have words to take away your pain, I wish I did. All I can send you is a HUGE hug and hold you close to my heart.

WiseGuy on September 5, 2009 at 6:17 AM said...

I read this post and the Part 1, and I think I would like to tackle the whole incident here only.

I am not going to brickbat your friend M.

But I would have been equally shocked to find somebody I am extremely intimate with to suddenly come out and tell me that they are expecting...and not at six weeks, but almost shy of giving birth.

If it had been so good, what would make seven months pass? But then I know that she kept the info from her own mother as well... and I think that she must have spent a very anxious time the whole way.

Had she started trying very recently, and did she strike lucky immediately.

While I can qualify your friend for being nervous, I won't put her in the ring of being understanding of your situation. Perhaps, a prior hint would have been handy.....or she could have revealed it to you when she revealed it to the world (and her mother).

Am so sorry for your ache. I so know that none of the words can fathom the depth of the hole.

"We will have families together". I would have believed the line had I not known otherwise...DH's cousins are ahead of him, some of my friends are already through with their family building, and some are now actively pursuing kiddo #2....and look at me!

One Big Hug to you!

I hope your friendship survives the tempest!

WiseGuy on September 5, 2009 at 6:28 AM said...

Forgive the grammatical errors...

FET Accompli on September 5, 2009 at 8:33 AM said...

I am just catching up and so part of my comments are in your earliest post.

The Ache: The Ache is filled with a myriad of tangled emotions. The Ache is primal, because as with any species it's something that's typically hard wired into us. The Ache is cerebral, because as humans we have complex emotions and dreams and fantasies and feelings of jealousy and a heart bursting with the hope and unlimited capacity to love a tiny being with so much potential. The Ache is also transcendental, because as we get older we hope that part of us will live on. That last part became particularly evident for me when I got sick.

So the Ache is real, it is complex, and in my experience it is most acutely felt when discovering someone close to you is preggo without any effort at all. I am so sorry, and send you hugs.


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