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Inability to be happy for friends

(155 Posts)
butternut80 Thu 16-Jun-11 10:58:58

Does anyone have any advice of what I can do or perhaps offer some hope that things get better. I have been ttc for 16months now with no luck. DH is fine and apparently there is nothing wrong with me either- all bloods fine, early 30s, healthy, clockwork cycles etc etc. But in the meantime I have friends and family falling pregnant left right and centre. Even my bestest friend is pregnant and I find myself thinking awful bitter thoughts about things. However hard I try, it would seem I just can’t be happy for her. She knows our difficulties yet stills regularly emails me to let me know how big she is getting and all the kicking she is feeling. Rather than accept her excitement, I just feel like she is rubbing it in my face and it just makes me angry and upset.

In order to protect myself through my SiL ‘s pregnancy, I did everything to avoid seeing them as I couldn’t cope with hearing about the morning sickness as I just sat there thinking you don’t know how lucky you are. Now they have had their baby , I have no interest in going to see them, I don’t ask DH how they’re getting on– I just don’t want to know as I find it too painful.. I have never been like this before; I know envy/jealousy are horrible traits and don’t help anyone least of all me but I just can’t seem to help it. I dread seeing friends because I worry they are going to tell me they are pregnant. I suppose my greatest fear is that if it never happens for us, I will end up becoming a bitter old hag who has no friends and who driven her husband towards a woman who can give him kids.

Am I truly an awful person or has anyone else felt like this before and if so how did you handle it??

eurochick Thu 16-Jun-11 11:41:57

I have had my moments of feeling like that. I find it helpful to think of it in this way: there is not a finite amount of pregnancy in the world. A friend getting pregnant makes it no less likely that you will.

Most of the time (as I say I have my moments!) I like hearing about other people's pregnancies or looking at the preggo board on here. I am learning quite a lot and feeling more at ease with the idea of being pregnant as time goes on. I find it interesting.

I do have times when jealousy takes over though, and I find they are hormone driven (always during the 2ww so I blame progesterone!). During the first part of my cycle I deal with this stuff much better and find my emotions are on a pretty even keel. Now I have identified this, I know when I am most likely to take pregnancy news badly.

thisisstupid Thu 16-Jun-11 13:33:22

Maybe think how your best friend or sil is feeling pregnancy is not all wonderful its hard, everything changes and there are all sorts of worries that come with, emotional, financial etc. As well as all the excitment that makes you want to talk about it all the time, its horrible when people who should be happy for you can't be, the thing is your worried about ending up bitter and alone if you continue with that attitude you will be, you need to stop worrying about getting pregnant. It will happen but shutting everyone out isn't going to help, maybe explain to your friend how you're feeling, she isn't trying to rub it in your face she's just excited and if you really are her friend you will be too.

LoveInAColdClimate Thu 16-Jun-11 13:55:42

Butternet - I know how you feel. This morning the baby of some friends who got married the week before us was born. I am happy for them but in all honestly I am much more upset for me! I hate feeling this way but I can't help it. I have been reading a book ("Conquering Infertility") which has a whole chapter on this and how normal it is to feel this way, which I found helpful and reassuring.

Eurochick - funnily enough, I have it the other way around. In the 2WW I can look at pregnant women and think "Ooooh, that might be me, maybe it worked this month" - I feel more despairing in the first half of the cycle (where I am now) and around ovulation. In the 2WW I know we did our best and that it might have been successful so, while it's still stressful waiting to find out, it's a different kind of stressful, IYKWIM.

thisisstupid - I don't find your comments helpful or kind. The conception boards are supposed to be a place of support. Butternet - of course you won't end up bitter and alone. Please don't think that.

LoveInAColdClimate Thu 16-Jun-11 14:02:26

In fact, thisisstupid, having read your comments on another conception thread, re how long it took you to conceive (where you say "Pregnancy 1 accident i had an abortion, my firstborn was an accident i was on the injection crazy. Pregnancy 3 i was an accident i didn't use a condom one night which was a stupid thing to do and ended in a second abortion. Pregnancy number 4 first time we had unprotected sex i got pregnant and am 36 weeks now and counting, none of my pregnancies were really planned they just happened best way really you avoid the stress of actually trying" (excuse underlining, for some reason I can't do italics) I would suggest that you perhaps have no idea how painful the inability to conceive can be and that you might wish to refrain from giving hurtful "advice" to people you are clearly unable to empathise with.

eurochick Thu 16-Jun-11 14:16:00

shock

Er, yes. I think thisisstupid might be well advised to stay away from threads about the pain of not being able to conceive....

LIACC my feelings are purely hormone driven. It has nothing to do with logic!

hopehopehope Thu 16-Jun-11 14:24:19

Hi Butternut,

I know how you feel, we've been trying for over a year now to conceive a third child and I've got to the point where I can't be positive about our chances each month anymore. Everywhere I look I find friends and family getting pregnant/having babies and I find it so hard to smile and ask how things are going, give my congratulations etc when really I just want to know why things aren't happening for me.

Found out yesterday two neighbours are both pregnant, due christmas, and found myself crying for the whole day, I just couldn't stop. I'd hoped that it might be us with a new family member in time for christmas 2010, then 2011, now I can't allow myself to be sure that we'll succeed in time for christmas 2012. I hate myself for feeling so jealous as I know how lucky I am to have two children already but I just can't seem to relax and calm down about it all. Really wish I had the answer.

Kendodd Thu 16-Jun-11 14:32:28

I think lovein has given you really good advice about how to be positive, in the second half of each month you might have a tiny start of a baby in there. You are both still young and I would bet the odds are still strongly in your favour. Good luck!

I have three children very close in age (although still struggled to conceive) my eldest is now nearly six. During the whole time from her being born DH's brother and wife have been trying to conceive, still no luck yet. I'm sure because of this they now just about never see us, I don't think they can stand to be around our children because of the pain it must cause them. This makes me really sad especially because the children don't have any other aunts or uncles and have never even gotten a birthday card from them. Please try to be happy for your family and friends or at least don't cut them off.

GreenTeaTastic Thu 16-Jun-11 14:34:29

Hey ButterNut. Just to say that your message really struck a cord with where I am now and wanted to say you are totally not alone in feeling like that. In my journey TTC (18 months, three miscarriages, unquantifiable days and weeks of despair) I have come across so many women on these threads and other support boards saying exactly the same thing about how other people's pregnancies affect them. Please do not feel like a bad person - I echo others who say it is totally normal to feel envy and sadness when it's happening for everyone else and not for you. At the moment several of my good friends are about to give birth (all started ttc after us) and to be honest at the moment I just want to leave the country as it makes me feel so left behind. I'm lucky that most of them have been sensitive to my situation, although it does wear off after a bit and getting emails like "oooh the baby just kicked for the first time" can feel like a kick in the teeth, even though I know they are sharing the excitement with my as a friend.

Like you I have actually avoided seeing people I haven't seen for a while as I can't bear yet another 'oh and by the way I'm pregnant!' moment - I get terrified of people announcing their pregnancies (their first or now increasingly second) out of the blue as I fear I will just burst into tears and (1) seem mental or (2) ruin our friendship forever by seeming like a selfish cow!

I have no advice I'm afraid, except be kind to yourself when you have these feelings and know you're not alone. I have days when I have cursed every woman with a baby or bump I've seen - I feel bad afterwards as I'd never wish anyone ill (esp as many people have had the same challenges getting theirs) and I know that's not really me, it's just the emotional turmoil (and probably hormones) talking. The balance of probabilities is that it will happen for all of us (esp. if tests are all normal) it's the not knowing when the heartbreak will end that's unbearable, in my case anyway.

thisisstupid your comments are unhelpful at best, cruel at worst. From your history on MN it seems you have no idea about the pain of not being able to conceive so if you can't be supportive to someone who is suffering, please don't comment.

poutintrout Thu 16-Jun-11 14:55:10

Butternut I've not got much more to add except that I know exactly what you are feeling. We have been trying for well over a year and my biggest fear is that if I don't conceive I will end up a lonely bitter woman who has shunned everyone because I can't bear being around "normal" women with children.

A family member is due to give birth imminently and to my shame I have felt nothing but jealousy about this pregnancy from the word go and feel resentful that we had been trying for months before they had even started trying. I am dreading DP telling me that the baby has been born, how much it weighs, name etc.. In fact I am secretly hoping that he screws his loaf and just doesn't tell me anything at all.

I also feel resentful of people I see in the street who are pregnant and feel like every time I turn on the flippin' TV there is some new presenter upduffed just to remind me of my barrenness! I have even started to feel resentful about the apparent fecundity on Springwatch with all the new baby birdies - now that is jealously tipped over into the realms of insanity!

I agree with you Loveinacoldclimate about feeling "happier" in the 2ww & enjoying having that little glimmer of optimism that we might have done it that month.

Have faith Butternut and like I have said many, many times (but yet can't take my own advice it would seem) as each month passes you are getting closer to your BFP!

butternut80 Thu 16-Jun-11 15:23:12

thank you thank you for your lovely comments. I know it's an understanding thing and people who have found it easy probably can't comprehend what it's like but it's comforting to know that it's not just me having these awful feelings.
LoveIn - thank you for understanding and for helping me not feel like a complete cow and fighting my corner! .
hopehope - it's interesting that you are even feeling like this when trying for your 3rd child. Did you struggle for your first two? I think if I ever have one, I'll be so amazed and grateful that i won't obssess about number 2. But then again, i've always wanted 2 kids so no doubt the rollercoaster would start again. But one at a time!
Greentea - I'm so sorry that you are going through such a rough time. I can't imagine what it would be like to have 3m/cs. I have found myself in utter despair at just not being able to conceive so it must be even worse for you. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to leave the country. I have been having fantasies about whisking DH off to the Masai Mara or somewhere equally remote where I just never have to worry or hear about other people's births or announcements. And then I would only want to return with a baby in tow!
Anyway thank you ladies. I am not a bad friend, honestly, I guess it's just the juxtaposition of a very exciting time for friends and a worrying time for us.

thisisstupid Fri 17-Jun-11 11:45:17

No i understand it must be hard but i'm seeing it from the other side. I have friends, or supposed friends who are ttc and make me feel guilty for getting pregnant, as though somehow it's my fault they can't. Obviously im excited and happy about having another baby and the fact that my best friends can't be is hurtful. When we go out they make snide comments about my bump refuse point blank to look at maternity clothes when we go shopping and make me feel guilty for not drinking alcohol as though somehow i'm no longer making an effort to socialise properly. I know their behaviour is jealousy and their own pain but it's ruining my pregnancy and to be honest i've written them off, they weren't invited to my baby shower, they won't be invited to the christening, i was going to ask one to be godparent but i've asked someone else who has been more supportive. The point is if you behave like that your pregnant friends will write you off and when you do get pregnant you won't have anyone to be excited about it with.

eurochick Sat 18-Jun-11 11:11:48

thisisstupid could it be that taking friends you know who are ttc maternity clothes shopping could be considered a leeeeeetle bit insensitive? Just a thought....

Journey Sat 18-Jun-11 13:13:36

I think for a friendship to work it involves sensitivity from both sides. If one friend is pregnant she shouldn't be made to feel awkward about it to the point she can't talk about it. Telling a friend who has bad morning sickness or is feeling exhausted whilst pregnant that they are "lucky" because they're pregnant is insensitive.

For a friend to go on about her pregnancy to someone trying to conceive is insensitive.

For those that are trying to conceive what do you expect from your friends when you do fall pregnant? You may think just being pregnant will be enough for you but I'm sure you'd want to share it with your friends.

Talking and saying how you feel, and properly listening to each, is a better approach.

eurochick Sat 18-Jun-11 13:32:17

In my close group of friends we have a real mix including:

-one with 3 IVF kids
-one waiting for IVF
-one having repeat miscarriages
-one taking a while and having investigations (me)
-one PG with her first
-one PG with her second (conceived v quickly)

We are all aware of one another's situations and deal with them with sensitivity with only one difficulty on the surface - the one who has had miscarriage cannot face being around the pregnant girls as they both have similar due dates to the last baby she lost. We all know that feelings run very high around this topic and treat one another accordingly. It is hopeful I think that those of us TTC are open about so that people can be sensitive to what we are going through.

I would say though that before I started trying I had absolutely no idea at all of how hard it is - how long it takes and how mentally tough it is with the expectation/hope and then disappointment month after month. I thought TTC would be fun! And actually the first month was. So I think people who get PG on the first or second time of trying must find it very difficult to imagine what those who have been trying for a long time are going through.

eurochick Sat 18-Jun-11 13:41:18

That should he helpful not hopeful in the second para.

Ariesgirl Sat 18-Jun-11 14:16:43

Buuternut, I think this TTC lark changes us and we feel and behave in ways which we never would ordinarily. No one can say anything which lessens the pain, apart from what you are feeling is completely normal, and we need to try and find ways of protecting ourselves at the same time as not hurting our friends and relatives. Any friend worth their salt would understand that you are finding it very hard but it doesn't mean you love them any the less, if you were to explain it to them.

Ignoring comments like sheisstupid's thisisstupid's would also help I think angry

thisisstupid, was your second post supposed to explain your first comment?

You say you understand how hard it must be - well, clearly you don't.

thisisstupid Sat 18-Jun-11 15:39:13

I understand that its fustrating and i'd probably hate to be infertile not that i have ever really been broody, even now it's hard to be excited about having a baby when i see the damage it's doing to my body and think about the sleepless nights although i'm lucky enough to afford a nanny this time round. But i decided to have my children young so i don't fall into that trap. It's silly to get so worked up over it that you end up making yourself feel so horrible, i'm just saying your friends will have noticed your attitude and if you do manage to fall pregnant you can't expect them to be excited for you when you couldn't reciprocate the feeling and that will have a massive impact on how you feel about your pregnancy, half the excitment is other peoples reactions luckily i have other friends and relatives who are thrilled (more so than i am i think) about us having a baby and its that that helps you get though the nasty bits of pregnancy. All i'm saying is you'll need your friends when you have a baby so don't write them off out of bitterness or jealousy.

BeamReach Sat 18-Jun-11 16:23:34

"so don't write them off out of bitterness or jealousy."

As you have with your friends who are, I suspect, not so much having difficulty with your pregnancy, but more so with your in ability/ unwillingness to be sensitive to their feelings. I reckon I would be really hurt to be excluded from a close friend's shower, but more so if she didn't ask me how I felt/ if I would like an invite...

Butternut, I wonder if you feel able to raise some of how you are feeling with your friend, if you are close enough? she might just be struggling with how much to share, or may not realise how much you are struggling with this... if it is a bit more out in the open, then maybe you won't feel so ashamed of the way you are feeling and have a little space for some joy to creep in around the edges?

BeamReach Sat 18-Jun-11 16:27:04

Incidentally, throwing around words like "infertile" and "i have never really been broody" around here is no way to win any friends. Please stay away from the TTC threads as you have no helpful perspectives to offer, or moderate your language.

1sttimetryer Sat 18-Jun-11 16:36:45

butternut80 i know exactly how your feeling and the words you have written could have come out of my mouth, i love my friends to peices but have only been able to see my best friends baby about 5 times since it was born on the 4th january, i have explained to her in a text exactly how i felt and she was brilliant, she doesnt bring the baby to see me but says if i want to see him just to ask and she will come round with him, they only live 2 doors down, i have not explained to anyone else tho. since ttc about 15 people i know have announced their pregnant and its been soo horrible and i feel so jealous, so i just messaged to say congrats and thats it, my cousin is only about 14weeks and moaning she feels fat so i explained to her that there are many women out there that would love to be in your situation so dont be so ungrateful!!!! think she realised i was on bout me but never mind, i wasnt rude to her!! Lots of love to you and be strong, i know exactly how you feel xxxxx

HarderToKidnap Sat 18-Jun-11 16:48:38

Butternut, what helped me was thinking of it this way - how many women now do you know who actually want children and have a partner to try with and who eventually end up childless? No one. Everyone who wants children ends up with some eventually (either biologically their own or adopted children). Read some of the infertility blogs from the beginning (I recommend www.alittlepregnant.com/alittlepregnant/2003/03/the_story_so_fa.html, and julia.typepad.com/julia/2004/01/index.html, but there are hundreds out there and they end happily).

I have women coming to my clinic at 47, 48, 49, pregnant with their first babies hepled by IVF. I even have women who tried IVF fifteen years ago but technology has so moved on that IVF in their late forties has worked where it didn't in their thirties!. You WILL have children, as long as you actually have a womb or the will to adopt, it will work. Just accept that it will work, at some point, by some way, and then things will get easier. Reproductive technology is so fantastic now, the things it can do are ou amazing. It works for women with no eggs and men with no sperm, for goodness sake, so it will work with you!

At some point you'll have children, it's not possible that someone in your position won't eventually. So every month that passes brings that eventuality slightly closer.

(I was trying for a long time, wasn't always ovulating - am now 14+2. It. Will. Work.)

havealittlefaithbaby Sat 18-Jun-11 17:16:40

I've got two friends about to pop, both "surprises" and one who's just announced her third. I know exactly what you mean.

eurochick Sat 18-Jun-11 17:24:16

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

highlove Sat 18-Jun-11 17:50:11

Hear hear eurochick. thisisstupid I'm actually lost for words at the spiteful insensitivity of what you have posted. Seriously, why??

butternut I dont have much to add to what others have posted except to say you are not alone, your words could be me. It is so tough and it's so unfair.

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