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Feeling so guilty

(7 Posts)
Halfpintmum Fri 05-Aug-16 13:53:53

I'm feeling so guilty about being pregnant! My friend has had a series of miscarriages and I am very conscious of being exactly what she doesn't need. She often cancels if we are due to meet up, but when we do she doesn't speak about the miscarriages but talks about other things and asks me about my pregnancy. I feel terrible and avoid giving her updates about the baby because it seems insensitive, I also didn't tell her about the pregnancy until after the scan because it didn't seem right to be too excited. Because she doesn't really bring up the miscarriage I thought she didn't want to talk about it with me so I didn't push her.

However she has now told me that I haven't been there for her enough and that I talk too much about the pregnancy but at the same time haven't told her enough. I just don't know what to do to make it better. She even said that she has been upset after seeing me, but hadn't let on at all at the time. Obviously I don't want to upset her, but I didn't know. If she needs me then I want to be there but I don't want to be there if it's not helping. I feel like an utter failure as a friend and can't take any joy in this pregnancy, I don't post on social media about it and try not to speak to people too much for fear of upsetting anyone. I'm 8 months now and my hormonal mind is in overdrive, I just cannot figure out what to do.

I was thinking of sending an apology card to my friend simply saying that I am sorry to have let her down, that I am there for her if she needs me but also understand if she needs me to keep my distance. Is that just going to make it worse though?

Has anyone been through this?

figsandalmonds Fri 05-Aug-16 14:34:03

Hi there... I've been on both sides of this. I was pregnant and had my daughter when a friend was battling infertility. And then my daughter died when she was 1.5 yrs old about 18months ago and I really struggled with pregnant friends or friends with small children. It's so difficult...

I would say first of all, that you shouldn't feel guilty about your pregnancy. You should, if possible, try to enjoy it as much as possible - with your partner / family / other expectant parents / friends. Being pregnant is a gift (I know lots of people have difficult pregnancies and I don't want to discount that!) and I think it's important for you (and partner) to make the best of of it.

Your friend is probably in a lot of pain and it will be difficult for her to see you pregnant. But nothing can take that pain away from her - no matter how much you try. I was very angry with a lot of people but really - I was angry with what happened to me. Anyone who tried to tell me that at the time - "you're just angry with your situation, not your friend who really hasn't done anything so bad" - riled me even more and I would just get angry with them too. There are some people I haven't seen since my daughter died, not because they have done anything unforgivable but because I have needed to protect myself from their insensitive ways. It's not ideal and I know people are confused but I have had to put myself first to survive.

There's no perfect solution to this situation. When I was in the depths of my grief I wanted to connect with people who understood so I linked up with other bereaved parents. But I also wanted to feel that my friends loved and cared for me and didn't forget me / my partner / my daughter. It was a very difficult balance at times between wanting to protect myself and not wanting to miss out on what was happening in people's lives - as this might just make me feel more lonely.

If I was your friend, I would probably want to hear things explicitly: that you care and love her, that you are devastated by her pain that you want to support her in any way you can (while acknowledging that you can't understand if you haven't been through this), but that you find it difficult because you worry about causing her pain with your pregnancy. I would want to hear that you want to be there for her if she wants to talk about the miscarriage, and that perhaps you can do this by email or phone if she doesn't want to see you. That if she doesn't want to talk about it, that's ok too, but that you will take your cue from her. I don't know how far along the miscarriage was, but things like referring to a baby by name (if there was one) remembering dates (birthdays and anniversary of death) are really important and those who remember are very very much appreciated (that's my experience - but maybe it's different with miscarriage and some people may not want to be reminded). I would also want to hear that you will only talk about the pregnancy if I explicitly asked because you don't want to upset anyone. But that you will talk about it if she wants. Bland statements are helpful updates if you think she wants something but not too much, I often say - "the pregnancy is progressing uneventfully which is good". I might want to be reminded of all this occasionally - particularly the bits about whether she wants to talk about her feelings and your pregnancy... it's nice to be reminded every so often. You might also want to talk to her about what she would like around the birth of the baby, how she'd like to be told and if / when / how she'd like to see the baby (never (that's me), with other people, alone, as soon as possible, or not, etc)...

It might also be worth looking up the miscarriage association or SANDS to see what advice they give. Anything you can do to understand better will help your relationship.

Ultimately you might have to accept that she will just express feelings of anger towards you for a while, which may seem deeply unfair. But my best friends are those who are able to ride that wave and be there to meet up again on the other side without any hard feelings. It's tough but it's worth it.

You sound like a wonderful friend, but make sure you don't beat yourself up too much.

xo

figsandalmonds Fri 05-Aug-16 14:37:51

From google:

www.babycenter.com/400_how-can-i-help-my-friend-through-a-miscarriage-while-im-preg_500397_1.bc

Halfpintmum Fri 05-Aug-16 22:09:46

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this response. You have been through ( and still are) something unimaginable and are an inspiration to be there helping others. It is really useful to see the other side with a bit more insight. I think the truth is that I can't be what she wants me to be, not only because I am pregnant, but also because it is not possible to make this all better, and the range of problems she is having ( in addition to 3 miscarriages) requires more than a caring friend to fix. Especially one who lives 90 minutes drive away.

I think I will send her an apology card, but will ensure I say the thing that is obvious to me, but perhaps not to her; that I love and care about her and want to find the best way to be supportive. She is a person who loves cards, so hopefully she would appreciate it.

I do think I have made mistakes in how I have handled this since I have been pregnant, mainly through guilt but also because it is just so complicated. It was much easier to be a good friend after the first two miscarriages, not only was I not a visible reminder of what had been lost, but my hormones and energy levels enabled me to think more clearly.

The last thing I need to do is decide how I handle the news of the birth when it happens. It's another thing with no right way of doing it. I think I will send her a message with the main information, but reinforce that she does not have to force herself to visit if that is not a positive thing for her at the time. I really need her to stop sacrificing her own wellbeing for things she feels obliged to do.

samks Fri 05-Aug-16 22:26:58

It's so hard. I'm in the same boat except have had my baby now, he is 9 weeks old and I haven't seen my best friend since November. She previously had 2 miscarriages (one at 6 months) and has had 3 miscarriages since I was pregnant. I miss her so much and we still text but I can't help but feel like we've lost our relationship.

Sorry i cant be any help. Just wanted to say I know how you feel.

Halfpintmum Fri 05-Aug-16 22:38:11

Thanks samks. It helps not to feel so isolated. It's tragic that things like this can ruin previously strong friendships. I just wouldn't have thought of this 3.5 years ago when we were both pregnant at the same time and then had our babies 6 weeks apart.

figsandalmonds Sun 07-Aug-16 08:52:57

It is very difficult and certainly very painful but I don't think this has to last forever. Friendships, even the strongest and closest, can go through phases. You might be reconnect with your friends at a later stage....

Good luck x

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