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How to handle a friend with fertility issues

(21 Posts)
Shabeth Tue 26-Sep-17 20:55:32

I'm hoping someone has been in a similar situation on either side can help.
I'm 8 weeks pregnant with my first, me and my husband are so happy and excited. My best friend of 20 years has been ttc for nearly a year and been told she has fertility issues, she only started trying because of these issues and didn't want a baby until she was over 30 anyway (she's 28 now)but she's been really struggling with ttc for so long.
She took the news of my pregnancy pretty badly and said she doesn't want anything to do with any women with kids or pregnant women right now. We talked It though and she says she's happy for me but she doesn't know how to deal with it. Since then we've kind of fallen into this state where it never gets mentioned literally the only thing we talk about now are her issues, I don't share anything pregnancy related with her and she doesn't bring It up. She's been very distant I barely see her anymore and she doesn't seem interested in any aspect of my life baby or not.
The last couple weeks I've been struggling, I barely eat and I'm throwing up all day, she asked me what was wrong the other day so I told her. She pretty much told me she wasn't the person I should be moaning about being pregnant to and I should just think about what I'm getting out of it and how lucky I am.

I'm trying to understand what she's going through and I'm trying to give her as much space as possible but soon it's going to come out to the rest of our friends and I won't be able to avoid talking about it. I feel like 20 years of friendship might be over because I got pregnant first.

PurpleDaisies Tue 26-Sep-17 21:01:36

If you're only eight weeks, she really can't have known for that long. Give her proper time to come to terms with your news. Just have a read on the infertility board if you're struggling to understand why she might be finding your pregnancy hard news to take.

She pretty much told me she wasn't the person I should be moaning about being pregnant to and I should just think about what I'm getting out of it and how lucky I am.
To be fair, she's probably not the right person to be supporting you through your pregnancy.

Congratulations by the way.

SleepFreeZone Tue 26-Sep-17 21:06:18

You really are in an impossible situation and I have been both sides of the fence. I think your friend is in the more difficult position however rest assured if she does become pregnant she will want to talk about it all day long and you will feel resentful.

I would just leave her be and carry on as you are in company. It's up to her to not attend events if she can't handle any pregnancy conversation not for you to censor yourself or not go because of her.

ExCoffeeAddict Tue 26-Sep-17 21:07:48

Congratulations on your pregnavy flowers

Your friend will be feeling angry annoyed jealous hurt sad fed up...I know...I've been there...
You say she "never wanted kids until her 30s" but I can assure you making that choice and then being told you may struggle to conceive puts a whole other spin on things.
I'm sure she wants to be a supportive friend but 8w into your pregnancy she is still getting her head around it and coming to terms with her own uncertain path

I'm out the other side as I have dd now and I hope your friend has the outcome she wants but it's hard for her
Everyone wants to be happy for you even she wants to be happy for you and when it's out in the open she will smile along and join in etc but she will be hurting.
This doesn't have to mean the end of your friendship you both just need to show a bit of give and take

Ttbb Tue 26-Sep-17 21:16:36

While I can understand her reservations she's not exactly being the best friend ATM. Couldn't you just talk about non-baby things? You must have other things in your life. It will get harder once baby is born etc but then again maybe she will get over it.

Shabeth Tue 26-Sep-17 21:20:08

Thanks everyone
I'm not trying to have her be the one to support me, she's known since week 4 because she flat out asked me if I was pregnant, she knew something was going on. We tell each other everything and she knew we were trying.
I think when I told her I was really sick she asked I didn't want to lie and she wasn't expecting it to be pregnancy related. I'm doing everything I can around her right now to pretend I'm not pregnant but soon I won't be able to and I need to know how to handle it with her.
It surprises me though because she's never been a baby person she hates other people's kids and up until a year ago she wasn't even sure she wanted them, but I guess it's true it's different when the choice is taken away.
She was already struggling and I've made it a million times worse by getting pregnant.

Shabeth Tue 26-Sep-17 21:21:36

I try to only talk about non baby things but she isn't interested in that either :/ just nods and makes a one worded comment and were back to her and her issues. I've just taken to listening and agreeing

yumchoc Tue 26-Sep-17 21:23:29

In honesty she is being selfish a bitter I tried for 9 years to have my daughter my best friend had two children 7 years apart while I was trying hormone treatment surgery ivf all to no avail
I had a miracle child

and I would never have made a woman who was pregnant feel bad about being happy children are a beautiful blessing she should not be ruining a beautiful experience for you
I was so desperate and disappointed every month but All 10 of my niceness and nephews felt like I had a little bit of that happiness while looking forward to their arrival and having baby cuddles
She needs to look at her infertility differently share the joy of children even if it never happens it will only make her feel worse in the long run

ExCoffeeAddict Tue 26-Sep-17 21:26:05

It's a two way street though...When I was going through my fertility issues I never offloaded to my friends in rl...I did it here. They were all getting pregnant (it seemed to me) effortlessly and none of them could relate to me. Poor DH was the one who got that side of me

She does need to see that friendship us give and take. A little bit of your life a little bit of hers .. But I'm serious about suggesting to her that she can find fantastic support online

BakewellTarts Tue 26-Sep-17 22:01:20

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Fabulous news.

I have been in your friends position and its really hard. I'm sure she is happy for you but probably struggling with so many difficult and conflicting feelings. Struggling to concieve can be a long and lonely path. It can be very hard when all around you (or so it seems) get pregnant easily. I know I tried to be happy for my friends but didn't always succeed. Jealously is hard to deal with and I certainly learned uncomfortable things about myself. My lovely friends gave me the space I needed and we got through it. It might just be that you need to seek support from other friends andso does she.

thegamblersmrs Tue 26-Sep-17 22:45:07

I've just had ivf after 3.5 years trying to conceive. Yes times were hard but I in no way forgot how to be a friend and supportive to others.
I'm delighted for anyone that can get pregnant easily, it's reassuring to know that not everyone is struggling.
I understand how she wouldn't want to listen to 'moans' but it doesn't sound like you're moaning only expressing what you are going through.
I had a similar situation years ago with an ex boyfriends who's mum died of breast ca, we split up when my mum was diagnosed as he couldn't relive it. I always vowed I'd never do to anyone what he did to me but some people just can't cope. I couldn't excuse his behaviour and didn't want someone like that in my life.

Ts27 Tue 26-Sep-17 22:47:39

Your friend is going through a tough time but so are you- it's your first baby and you're not feeling well etc.it's selfish of her to want to keep it one sided. My friend and I got pregnant the same time, I lost the baby and she had her baby 3 weeks before my due date. It hurt and reminds me of my loss but I have never made her feel bad about it or not wanted/asked her about her pregnancy and now baby.

Some people are very selfish and focuss on me me me- you're friend seems like she is one of those.

CL1982 Tue 26-Sep-17 22:58:04

Oh OP sad what a rough spot to be in.

I wasn't quite as, er, aggressive about it but after a year of TTC I also didn't want to be around pregnant friends or hear them talk about their pregnancies. It's so hard. And everyone is different. Some people are better at being more generous of heart at times than theirs. You never know how it will take you sadly...

I do think your friend could be more gracious. But she sounds like she is hurting and is in a very jealous and bitter state at the moment. Could you send her an email (always easier for those suffering to read and reread) just saying you love her, you understand why she's upset and you fully respect that but while you respect her she needs to respect you back. Explain you won't talk about your pregnancy with her but it IS a part of her life and it will impact on things sometimes? You could end by saying you understand why she wants to distance herself but this pregnancy isn't your fault. Also let her know you're there for her. Be firm but also be understanding.

Sometimes it helps to get it all out. She may just need a lot of space right now. Remember, you have something she cannot have and it will be eating her up with frustration and sadness. But it IS NOT YOJR FAULT. And deep down she knows that and feels terrible for his she is behaving.

boopdoop Tue 26-Sep-17 23:53:44

I have been in a very similar position to you, and it's hard as there isn't much you can do. I was very close friends with both of the couple, they had been through three rounds of ivf, all failed, was early 40s, and was coming to terms with the reality that they wouldn't have kids when I got pregnant. We didn't have any contact, their choice, except once during my pregnancy when I was 7-8 months, and it was the unmentionable thing. They did then make an effort when DS was born and we met up a couple of times but ten not really again for a couple of years. We were getting our friendship back a bit, meeting up once a month, and then I got pregnant again. I haven't heard from them since I told them 2 months ago.

It's horrible and I miss them, but I know they find it so difficult. I've tried to make the occasional effort but have said I'll give them space and leave it mainly for them to contact when they feel they want to, and just send a card etc for birthdays etc.

I had a mc last year and my SIL was pregnant almost same due date, and if the took us 10 months to get pregnant again, so I had a small glimpse into how hard it is. And I did find it tough when others got pregnant etc, but I tried really hard to get over it and be positive and excited for them. But realise that's maybe easier when you've already got a kid, than if you're struggling entirely to conceive.

I think you just have to accept for a while it's going to be odd and awkward and not ok... and just do what you can to allow space and grace within the friendship and hopefully in time it'll get easier.

Shabeth Wed 27-Sep-17 09:03:04

Thanks everyone it's made me feel better about how I've been feeling about the way she's acting. I know she's going through a hard time and I'm never going get it. I just know I'd be absolutely devastated if it was me.
Even so I feel like it's taking something away from a time that should be so exciting because I'm constantly worrying about how she's doing.
We've only talked about it over text I think it's easier for her that way so I've just told her I'll be here when she comes around. I'm just hoping she will I can't keep pretending it's not happening forever.

ibuiltahomeforyou Wed 27-Sep-17 09:37:40

If I'm totally honest (and I've been on both sides) it may put a wedge in your friendship if your friend can't be happy for you.

Fertility struggles are hard, but your friend is being bitter. I had to tell a friend who had just had a second round of failed IVF that I was pregnant - she was gracious and thrilled but we kind of drifted away after that as I know she found it too hard to discuss.

Likewise, one of my sisters had a miscarriage while my other sister and I were pregnant - she has coped admirably but it has slightly left its mark.

RavingRoo Wed 27-Sep-17 09:47:26

Do you or have you talked about her infertility and provided best friend type support? Amazes me when people complain their infertile friends aren’t interested in their pregnancies when they haven’t been interested in their infertility. I’m infertile myself and to be honest a lot of my friends (with and without kids) don’t like to talk about it and do I then don’t bother to make the effort for them.

Shabeth Wed 27-Sep-17 10:20:42

I have been with her through every step I listen to everything she's got to say I try to comment where I can I've given her support and advice. I sit with her when she's upset and I'm trying to get her to go and see someone. Problem is now I'm pregnant nothing I say helps her anymore. The post was to ask how to help her deal with it and keep my friend not complain that she isn't interested in my pregnancy

AnUtterIdiot Wed 27-Sep-17 10:53:54

After my miscarriage I did struggle with other people's pregnancies. I had one friend who kept texting me to talk about her pregnancy because we had both been pregnant at the same time, both miscarried at the same time, but then she got pregnant again. I think she didn't understand that it wasn't the same dynamic after I had miscarried - I don't mean me asking how she was and then being unhappy when she mentioned being pregnant, I mean stuff like texting out of the blue to ask about how she got free dental care, or whether I thought she should avoid a colleague with a particular illness because she was pregnant or whether I had experienced a particular thing at a particular stage. I ended up telling her that I was really happy for her and didn't want her never to talk about it but that I thought I wasn't the right person to help her with in-depth questions about pregnancy because of where my head was. It was really hard. I felt bad saying it because I knew she wasn't trying to rub my nose in it. I felt even worse when she ended up miscarrying again.

These situations are hard. It must be really hard for her. I agree with pp that being told you have a fertility problem is a blow even if you thought you weren't that fussed about children or didn't want them yet up until that point. That sort of news is a game changer. I don't think it's about her liking other people's children - I'm not brilliant with other people's children but I have always wanted my own. (I'm getting better now - every meeting with another person's child is an opportunity to practise!) But at the same time, the world is not a child or pregnancy free space. It took a year after my miscarriage to get pregnant again and in that time I had to see and interact with other people who were pregnant, and with other people's children. I agree that you shouldn't be volunteering pregnancy talk but it doesn't sound like you are. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do if she asks what's wrong and you're suffering from morning sickness. I think I would probably just say to her that you really care about her and are trying not to talk about it to her but are not sure what to do if you can't answer her questions about how you are truthfully, and what does she think the answer is?

(I would also just double check that you really aren't talking about it a lot. I talk about being pregnant a lot, but I do try not to talk about it to people who aren't interested or would be upset by it.)

cherryontopp Wed 27-Sep-17 13:09:19

What a shit position to be in.

I've been in both situations. I've been trying for years when friends have announced theirs. Hardest was when my brothers girlfriend (of 5 month) announced she was having my parents first grandchild after I'd been trying for years.
Then I got pregnant after my IVF when a friend was going through IVF and hers failed and mine worked.
Right now just listen and try to support her. Infertility can make people bitter and irrational.

Is she getting tests/treatment done?

MissusBeee Sat 30-Sep-17 19:01:44

Sounds like your friend needs some help to come to terms with her own infertility. The mind is a funny thing and even if you know something rationally, it isn't the same.

My story might help a bit- Married and started TTC mid-20s and when it didn't happen straight away we were quite chilled for a while- but after 4 or 5 years had to face up to the fact that there was a problem. It hit me like a ton of bricks to accept. It took quite a lot of counselling from family and professionals for both of us to come to terms with it. I remember it being so painful being around pregnant women/ young children, I would excuse myself from conversations, social engagements and definitely distanced my self from friends that put me in that position. Counselling (and probably time) helped immeasurably. I finally got to a place where I could be genuinely happy for others at the same time as being sad for myself.

I'd been telling myself that for years, but couldn't make myself actually do it!

We did eventually have success through IVF but my change in mindset came much before that.

Anyway, my point is- it's not you, it's her(!) and it's a huge thing that she is trying to deal with. The only real thing you can do is to be the friend she needs- truly be there for her, help her work through her fertility issues/ encourage her to seek professional help.

(If she's having tests/ treatment, the hospital should have an in-house counsellor)

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