Friday, 23 November 2012

Whingy fertiles

I just saw an item on a tv show about this woman. I'd missed her article when it came out, but it's basically about how she felt abandoned by her infertile friends when she got pregnant with twins.

Now, I've been through infertility, I've been through a pregnancy. I know other people online who must have struggled with me being pregnant and with the wee guy just now, and I do try and edit myself so I'm not being insensitive. So I should be able to see both sides of this.

But I just find Ateh Jewel really, really irritating. I know it must have been very stressful carrying twins, and that it's hard when people aren't happy for you. But I still found her article quite irksome.

For a start, it seems an astronomical coincidence that she has so many infertile friends - at least three, possibly more. Unless you make all your friends down the IVF clinic, that's a bit weird. But possible, I suppose.

But, suspicious that she may be exaggerating aside, you get the impression Jewel both can't see beyond her own arse and expects the world to revolve around it. The first friend she mentioned was apparently her closest friend, they'd known each other for years, yet it came as a complete bolt out of the blue that her friend was struggling to get pregnant... really? Surely she must have had an inkling that her friend wanted babies but they were not appearing.

And the stuff about "picturing her friends screaming with delight", wanting to phone everyone she knew as soon as her blessed pee produced the second line, and wanting to gab endlessly about being pregnant... it seemed like she'd made up a perfect scenario in her head which was unlikely to go to plan anyway. My sympathy levels dropped further at her being upset at abandoning her own baby shower planning (most people don't have baby showers here, and I thought it was bad form to plan your own?).

Jewel also says she got lots of interest and presents from friends who were unattached, who were presumably really interested in her pregnancy. Isn't that enough? Why, when you have people who are interested and want to hear, and you've got most of what you wanted, would you start focusing on the people who aren't in a good place to hear about your pregnancy?

She does seem to be slightly more self-aware when saying she realised her friends didn't want advice from her. But then goes on to whinge about not being able to whinge to them about morning sickness.

On the telly (and there's no clip on YouTube yet), she compared infertility to her father having left when she was young, and how she was pleased for her friends when their father's walked them down the aisle, so they should have been pleased for her pregnancy. This made me grind my teeth a bit.

I mean, I don't get jealous or angry about people who have all the siblings they were born with (although I must admit I do, internally, get a little bit eye-rolly at people who make a massive deal about their aunty dying at the age of 108 or whatever, but I wouldn't avoid them and would always be sympathetic, as just because my granny dying didn't seem like a massive loss in the same way my brother dying was, every family is different).

But infertility is such a nagging pain, that goes away and comes back and can be impossible to resolve as there's nearly always the hope that it might somehow be ok.  Its not the same as a bereavement, which is an ending, or losing a family member through a relationship breakdown-  where you either get a clean break or the chance to take control of the relationship. Which isn't to say that they're easy, or not as bad as infertility - it's just a different sort of pain, and one that is difficult for many people to understand.

Fertility and infertility is difficult in friendships. I think the best way to deal is to accept that some people just aren't appropriate supports all the time - everyone goes through periods of being a supporter and a supportee, if you like - and if both people feel they need support then both parties end up feeling drained. If you excuse the self help style phrasing, friendships should be more like rubber bands, which are stretchy and allow people to retreat and get a bit of space, than bonds of rigid expectation.

Maybe I am too harsh. But it just seems like when you've got a happy thing to look forward to, and people looking out for you who share in your excitement, that its fair to cut some slack to people who aren't in such a happy situation.

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