On Happiness, Hurting, and Healing

Not so long ago, I wrote a post about a friendship that was floundering. I have known Kat for years. She was the one who knew me best in my adolescence and the one I could be my true self with. Five years ago, she was also the Matron of Honor at our wedding. But time, distance, and a double triple dose of infertility (hers + mine x 2) have caused a rift that I now see as irreparable. On Thursday, only thanks to Facebook, I learned that she is expecting boy/girl twins in October. I expect they are IVF babies since the last I knew, she was at a crossroads between IVF or adoption. But really, all I know for sure is that she has babies on the way, due around the same time as Skittle, and I found out through damn social media.

First of all, I want to express the most important sentiment: I am so happy for her. No matter what she has done to me, she deserves this after two and a half years of infertility.  And she will make a wonderful mother. Kat has an extraordinary way with children that I find so rare and so special. When I first learned of her TTC struggles, I made a commitment to pray for her every day, that she may one day get her miracle, too. I have done that, and I am 0nce again humbled and touched by God’s goodness. I want Kat to be happy, to be a mother, to experience what every woman has the right to. I am so glad that she is well on her way.

But I am also reeling. For two reasons. It is hard to admit to, but I guess there is a small part of me that is jealous. I have always felt like Kat is a better version of myself: better grades (she was a valedictorian in high school, I had two lousy B’s), better education (she got her Master’s), prettier, better job, more popular, more outgoing. When I had Cupcake, it was nice to finally have something that she did not. But now she has twins on the way, and how can you possibly compete with that except to have triplets? And it’s not that I even want twins. Though I would welcome any babies into my life, having more than one baby at a time has never been part of the dream. It is not something I have ever coveted. But in one fell swoop, Kat has outdone me again and it’s annoying. It brings me back to all those years of feeling inadequate when standing beside her. And yes, I know I am being petty and ridiculous. I am not proud of these feelings, but they are what they are.

There is something in my heart that is much stronger than jealousy, though. I am hurt. Before my FB post about Skittle, I e-mailed her to tell her our news because I hate being blindsided by unexpected pregnancy announcements. Even when I know they come from a fellow infertile and I myself am expecting, they still sting. In fact, in some ways, they sting more because I am constantly fearful that my baby will die and they will go on to have theirs and I will have to watch their child grow up while mine doesn’t. It’s totally an unreasonable, unfounded fear, but it’s constantly there. I can’t explain it. I just hate finding an unexpected announcement around every corner. So I wanted to spare Kat as much pain and discomfort as I could by telling her my news privately. And it kills me that she did not have the decency to do the same. It is the biggest slap in the face that she could possibly have given me. And to think that when I sent her that e-mail, she already knew about her babies and didn’t feel the need to say a single word in regards to anything. I understand if, perhaps, she just wasn’t ready to share her news. That’s a personal decision that we each have to make on our own. But would it have been so hard to be more supportive about my good news? To acknowledge how hard it is for me to conceive, to offer her sympathy for what it took to get here and her understanding about how scared I still must be? I feel incredibly disregarded and disrespected, and I hate myself for letting it get to me.

I don’t know why I still care so much. I had a good cry on the day I learned about it, lost sleep over it that night, and in the days since, have been working hard to let it go. Things have changed between us; I am still trying to accept it. In the days before Cupcake was born, Kat texted me frequently for updates. She made a beautiful blanket for my baby girl and it arrived the same day we returned home from the hospital. I still have that blanket, and I still love it, but I am under no illusions that she will do the same for Skittle. And I don’t intend to reciprocate in any way. In another lifetime, I would have gone above and beyond in buying baby gifts for her, desperate for a way to connect with her and prove myself. But remember when I said I was done in my last post? I really am. In response to her announcement, I wrote a generic, “Wonderful news! Congratulations!” She liked the comment. The End. It is the most I was able to give her at the time. It is all I will get from her. I have to be okay with that. (In a moment of weakness, I may have e-mailed her to further express my delight over her little miracles, but let’s forget that happened, okay? And nevermind that I haven’t heard back from her — and that I’m trying not to care.)

It saddens me to think that our babies, her twins and my Skittle, will be the same age and yet never know each other. It saddens me that the friend who was my Matron of Honor is now a stranger, and that I am not there to celebrate her good news, just as she has not been here for me. It saddens me that we can’t share this, and go through this together, especially knowing how close our due dates are. I am just deeply, deeply sad. I feel it every day. But in the comments section of my last post about Kat, someone mentioned that perhaps some friends are not meant to be lifelong. And I do believe that’s true. Friends come and go. They may just be meant to be here for a season, not a lifetime. Maybe that’s Kat. She made high school, college, and my life as a newlywed easier. In ways, she also made them harder, but I learned and grew from those challenging times. But now, I feel like we have nothing left to offer each other. No good can come from this “friendship” being dragged on and on. My mom suggested that, if I really wanted to, I could send her an e-mail to express how I feel. It has crossed my mind, as has sending her a link to the last post I wrote about her (gasp! can you imagine???), but I think we are long past that. At another time, that might have been a good idea. Now, I just think it would be hurtful and pointless.

The end of this friendship feels like a death to me. I am still grieving it. I am trying to put it behind me and move forward. But I am very familiar with death and I know, with time, it does get easier. There may be moments in the years ahead when I am caught off guard by a memory of our years together, or when something that someone says or does reminds me of the friend I used to have. I will have to catch my breath, I will think momentarily of Kat, and then I will move on. I have been through much worse and I know that when my heart is ready to let go, it will. It will let go, and then it will start to heal.

R.I.P., Kat. And may you, and your babies, live happily ever after.

10 thoughts on “On Happiness, Hurting, and Healing

  1. Sometimes you just have to let go. I had a friend all through college with whom I thought I was particularly close. Both of us got married last year, about a month apart, and just a couple weeks after my wedding, she announced that she was pregnant–before the pee was even dry on the stick. It hurt, because we were already trying to get pregnant and she knew that and though I knew it was irrational I felt in some way like she was doing it (the announcing) to spite me, though I didn’t know why she would do that. I went to her wedding, offered her congratulations, and then just out of nowhere about a month later, she just cut me out. Unfriended me, wouldn’t respond to text messages, nothing. And that hurt because I didn’t know what I’d done other than try to be a supportive friend for her–I don’t know, did I not show enough support and enthusiasm for her pregnancy? Did I not get her a good enough wedding gift? I have no idea. It sucks to just be cut out like that because unlike distance and time coming between you, there is no particularly good reason for it. On Mother’s Day, she sent me a text message wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day–which means she found out somehow, through some mutual friend, that I am pregnant too. It just confused me, why would she be reaching out and doing so so indirectly? If she wanted to reconnect it was a lousy way of doing so. My husband wanted me to write back to her but I just couldn’t. I had let go of her and that’s the way it had to be. If she really wanted to be back in my life she would have done a better job–or maybe she wouldn’t have just cut me out entirely in the first place with no explanation. I think sometimes holding onto that hope that friendship might survive is just detrimental to us and sometimes when we know things are no good we have to let it go.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. You’re probably right about letting go. My husband keeps telling me just to cut my losses and move on. I don’t always see it as so black and white, but I do know that this friendship is causing me more pain than joy (and has been for some time) and, when that starts to happen, it’s time to move on. That’s the advice I would give to everyone else…I’m just finding it hard to follow myself. 😦

  2. I have a very similar situation with a college friend of mine. She changed a lot after getting her MBA and we have drifted apart. The only reason I still know what is going on with her life is because we have mutual friends. I think that the commenter was right- some people are not supposed to be life-long friends. Lives take different turns and people change.

  3. I know that this is hard because it feels like she is supposed to be a lifelong friend and maybe that’s what she is meant to be. I honestly don’t know. I do know that infertility and the ride that comes with it has the potential to change every relationship you have. You do things you would never do, like shutting down, cease communicating, and even pushing people away that you never would. Maybe your friend falls under this category? Sadly, sometimes, it is all about survival.

    The fact that you’ve both dealt with infertility makes this all the more complicated and challenging.
    I know how I react to certain things such as Facebook pregnancy announcements and tend to think that since I have an emotional reaction that every other infertile person will have that reaction, too. I have to remind myself that not everyone has the same sensitivities that I do and that’s ok. It could be that your friend sees certain behaviors as these (FB pregnancy announcements, not offering support or communication on a regular basis, etc.) as acceptable. Maybe, maybe not.

    You say that some part of you is jealous of her but I’m willing to bet that there’s a part of her that is jealous of you as well. You just never know. I do think you deserve some support from her and it may come as she gets more comfortable with her own pregnancy. I hope you two are able to reconnect. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is sharing our feelings with those we were once closest to.

    • You have such a great, honest perspective about all of this. I’ve been thinking some of the same things that you have — that infertility takes a toll on each of us in different ways and we each have our own ways of getting through it. And you are probably right — she just may not view things the same way I do, even though we’ve both taken similar journeys. It’s hard to ignore the hurt that she has caused me (whether intentional or not), but I am trying to just be forgiving and merciful as well. I do have hope that one day we will find our way back to each other, but until then, I just want to find some closure and move forward.

  4. I’ve also have a similar situation with a friend from college. It hurts to let a friendship die, but sometimes it’s for the best. Grieving it is natural and takes as long as it takes. Sending you hugs and strength to move forward.

  5. I have the same situation with one of my college friends/roommates. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding as was her older sister. To complicate matters, her older sister and I were roommates for 3.5 years and we are still close. For a variety of reasons, none of which I’m particularly sure of, J decided to cut me out of her life. More than that, she has pretty much scorned me. This is partly due to religion (I am no longer Catholic and chose not to be married in the Catholic church) and partly due to her husband being friends with a guy I dated briefly in college. But regardless, I just found out on FB that she’s expecting a boy in October.

    A couple of years ago, she emailed me to ask if I was planning to come to her wedding, and I sent an email back explaining why I was so hurt and basically not taking her crap any more. She’s one of those people who you always feel like you’re trying to please and “gain” their friendship. That was the last time we “spoke.” I dream of her often, like I dream of my ex boyfriend with whom I’ve never had closure. The old me would fbook message her a congratulations, but I just can’t bring myself to do that now and face the let down that’s inevitable when she doesn’t message me back. The old me would mail her gifts and try to meet up with her–she lives only 45 minutes away. But I can’t. I can’t apologize to her for the last two years when I’ve done nothing wrong, and I know that’s what it would come down to.

    I’m so sorry for you because I know how much it hurts. But I also believe that God puts people in our lives for a time and a season. You needed Kat for all those years like I needed J, and now being in a different place in your life, maybe you don’t need her anymore and that’s why this is all happening.

    Thinking of you and little Skittle 🙂 xoxo

    • Thank you so much for your comment, friend. I do believe God gives us people when we need them the most and sometimes they drift away when our need for them has diminished. So now I’ve been praying just for a peaceful heart and the ability to let go…and that maybe, in a different time and place, Kat and I will be able to reconnect on a different level. I think it’s probably going to be hard to move on feeling like I haven’t had any sort of resolution to this, but I know it can be done, step by step, day by day.

  6. While I don’t have any new perspectives to give you since your lovely bloggy friends have said it all so well, I do so feel for you my friend. Don’t ever disregard your feelings though. I don’t think you’re being petty or ridiculous at all. I would be hurt in the same situation. Though things have ended very differently than you would have ever expected, remember the good in your friend and leave it at that. It’s unfortunate that your kiddos won’t grow up together, but maybe another door has been opened for you to find a different kind of friend. As I’m so fond of saying, be easy with yourself. *hugs*

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