Thursday, 30 August 2012

People move on

Infertility took its toll on my friendships. Well, some friendships. It seemed to strengthen one set of friendships with people I now know are my true friends. However, there's another set of friends who it did the opposite to.

Ones who never got in touch after pregnancy losses, ask my husband how we were getting on. It also felt, sometimes, like I was a sort of a bad luck charm, a scapegoat for pregnancy loss, and that engaging with me would take the shine off other pregnancies. Maybe that's irrational, maybe not- but I think the "I don't know what to say" excuse for not getting in touch for people who are bereaved or ill could often translate as "I'm irrationally frightened to speak to you in case what happened to you happens to me". Although it was pretty horrible at the time, I've resolved it with myself. Although it's easy to say with hindsight, infertility helped me sort the wheat from the chaff, friendship-wise.

Most of the people who didn't say anything weren't that close friends anyway. And possibly didn't know what to say. Or just weren't that interested. Well, I can live with that. It might make them a bit thoughtless but, well, I've been thoughtless too sometimes.  It just doesn't hurt anymore.

Nearly all of them have been in touch since I had the Boy. And that's fine, it's nice of them to do that.

There's a couple of associates that I still feel rather bitter towards, however. Who knew a bit about the IVF, how long we'd been trying, the full record of losses. They knew because I trusted them enough to tell them.

One in particular knew fine that she should have got in touch after the miscarriages. She went around telling people she would, presumably because it made her look very concerned and deep. When I did see after a particularly heartbreaking loss, she breezed past and went, "Aw, Sushi!". She didn't tell me about her pregnancy, presumably because it was a tiny bit difficult for her. Either that or she thought it would be much easier for me if she just didn't say anything (it wasn't). The next time I saw her she waved from a distance and I thought, just-fuck-off-and-die, and ran in the other direction. Me and my husband sent a congratulations when she had the baby, she didn't get in touch. At the time I probably dwelled on it too much, but it all really, really hurt. All the more so because the stuff she was telling other people, asking for my address to send a card and that sort of thing, suggested she knew exactly how bad it all was but just didn't want to make the effort.

Predictably, she was then madly overly-friendly when I got pregnant. Facebook was about the only method of contact I had with her, and then only on my filtered friend list. She was giving it all "Oooh, your baby's going to have the same birthday as mine!", and that sort of thing. Like she was trying to re-establish a bond, but without making any more effort than writing overly familiar on my status. Like the previous two or three years hadn't happened.

Except, by that point I'd come to the conclusion that I didn't particularly want to have anything to do with her. I still don't. I've moved on from feeling angry about things, a process that had begun before I got pregnant myself. Now, the Boy takes up most of my time and energy and I concentrate on seeing friends I actually like.

I've been, well, not exactly avoiding her - our paths don't cross that much. But there have been a couple of times we have nearly been at the same event. And it's only a matter of time before I decide what to do when I do see her. Which is why I've got a tiny little bit of headspace wondering what to do when I do see her. I don't have the rage, but nor are we friends anymore, and I don't want to play her stupid false friendliness games.

Maybe the answer is to focus on the Boy literally as well as metaphorically. I can just go "hmmm" at her, take him out the room to look at the pretty leaves, or find one of my actual, real mates for us to talk to.


  1. You can be friendly but distant, as you would with a casual acquaintance? Would that work? I'd try not to plan it out too much, but just go with how you feel when you see her. I know - easier said than done!

    1. That might work. I imagine I'll just try and keep my distance. It's like she thought having the Boy has erased my memory and we've leapt back to two years ago, friendship-wise!