Another friend is pregnant.
But she’s not just any friend. No casual acquaintance or Facebook psuedo-friend. Lillian is a very close friend and the one who has helped me along through the last nine months. She’s 36 and, in many ways, she’s one of us. Technically, she doesn’t have trouble getting pregnant. She has trouble staying pregnant. She has a daughter now who will be three in April, but before conceiving her little lady in 2009, Lillian suffered three miscarriages over the course of nine months. She knows the ins and outs of charting and temping. She’s all-too-familiar with the pain of wondering if she will ever hold her precious child in her arms. She understands why pregnancy announcements and baby showers are hard for me, why it’s difficult to see or hold a newborn right now, without explanation.
When I lost Teddy Graham, Lillian was there like no one else could be. At the time, she was one of only two people whom I personally knew who had experienced the loss of a pregnancy, and she was the only local one. No other friend even knew I was pregnant. Lillian had guessed just by looking at me, and I feel that must have been something orchestrated by God, because she was the best one to turn to in my loss. She guided me through all of it. She invited me over for playdates and out for ice cream so we could talk. She offered to watch Cupcake if I just needed to be alone in my grief. And I give her all the credit for this blog. She may not have written the words for each post, but she is the one who encouraged me to do so because that is how she navigated this when she was facing RPL. Because of Lillian, I have all of you.
Last night, Lillian and I had dinner at a local Indian restaurant. Because we both started TTC at the same time after my miscarriage, and have spent many hours in the past sharing the nitty-gritty details of our cycles, she knew we would be discussing the most personal things over our curries. And she did not want to lie to me, so she sent me an e-mail last week to break the news, an e-mail because she remembers that’s what I wanted from my sister. She did and said all the right things. She treated me with the tenderness, gentleness, and sensitivity that my sis never has (which, until now, has been my barometer to judge all of this). She gave me the option of canceling our dinner date and she welcomed me to express to her how I felt about her news. And when I did, completely and truthfully, she responded not with hostility, bitterness, or condemnation, but repeated thanks for my honesty. I did not know it was possible that someone like this existed.
Last Wednesday, when I read that e-mail first thing in the morning, it crushed me. I cried until sundown. I felt more defeated, more hopeless, than I ever have since the start of this journey. I could not respond to Lillian’s e-mail at the time. I was not a pleasant person to be around. This one little pregnancy announcement from someone I love and respect felt like the end of the world. And I said things I am not proud of and did not mean, things like how much easier this would all be if life just didn’t continue. That was a very dark day.
Let me be clear: I have no ill will towards Lillian. None at all. She has done everything perfectly. She has treated me exactly the way I hope I would treat someone else if I was in her shoes. At dinner, she did not go on and on about her pregnancy, but apologized whenever she did mention it. She let me talk and worry over my journey, and sympathized with everything I said. She is the friend I have always wanted. I would be lying if I said I was not jealous, but that jealousy does not lead me to anger or bitterness or ugly thoughts. It only makes me weepy, and thankful that she understands.
It is still early for Lillian. This pregnancy is very new. She is only five weeks along. She is scared because she does not know if history will repeat itself. I am scared for her. And happy for her, too. And sad for me. But most of all, I feel left behind. By everyone. My Reader is full of bumpdates and positive peestick photos, but that is the very least of my heartache. Every one of you deserve this. I am happy and hopeful for all of you, my friends. But there are pregnancy announcements everywhere I turn. I was *lucky* enough, while TTC my darling Cupcake, to know only one person who was pregnant…and I didn’t learn about her pregnancy until two months before my own BFP. I did not have to wade through any of this kind of pain. In this moment, I have cousins, old and new friends, acquaintances, and a sister who are expecting or have recently given birth. Some of them are first babies, but many are second or third or even fourth. And now, my own in-real-life ally has crossed to the other side, too. I will be the only regular in our mom’s group who does not have more than one child. It is not fair of me to feel abandoned because I know Lillian will be there for me whether she gets to have this baby or not…even whether she has ten or twelve or a hundred babies. But I do. I feel utterly alone.
But this is not all about me. I know that. Lillian is worried about and fearful for what these next few weeks bring. I want to support her like she has supported me. I will be checking in with her frequently. And I have offered to watch her daughter if she just needs some rest or has a bad bout of morning sickness. This is what friends are for. She has given me permission to pull away, to take time off from our relationship, to not feel any joy about her joyous news, but I will not do any of that. I pride myself on being thoughtful and selfless in my friendships, on being everything my sister has failed to be to me. In my relationship with my sis, I have been there for her in other ways. I have really tried to be the kind of sister she wants. I have made gifts for her and I spent way too much money on a baby that hasn’t even been born yet. But in my relationship with Lillian, I want to do better. This is my opportunity for redemption. This is my second chance.