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.