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losing friends after difficult pregnancies+loss - now in last tri and lonely...

(28 Posts)
halen Thu 28-May-09 11:35:54

Hi - am new to mumsnet and thought this might be the right place to post as I am 30 weeks pregnant.
Please be gentle with me as it has taken a lot of courage to write... but think that it might do me some good to get some opinions; the worry is not doing me any good.

Background is that the last five years have been difficult - first pregnancy difficult then baby too premature to survive, major surgery to correct gynae issues, fertility treatment, a miscarriage, now pregnant again and again a difficult pregnancy.

I feel that I have lost many friends over this time - some just could not handle the sad end to the first pregnancy and have blamed it on me not keeping in touch (at a time when I could barely get up in the morning!); others feel awkward as they have kids, or they don't have kids and my problems make them worry about their own fertility; some have been supportive but have recently not been returning calls or emails - lives are busy - and I just feel everyone is probably thinking "not again"!

Things are hopefully at a point where it will be a good outcome - the hospital are being very positive.
I am careful to always be as upbeat as possible with friends so they don't get compassion fatigue and always am interested in their lives and what they are up to.

I know that it has really sorted out those who truly care about me from those who don't; I feel sad at how few are in the former group as few people have come to see me.
My ex best friend has been awful and I don't think our friendship will ever truly recover and I feel incredibly sad about how an old group of mates has behaved - they now all meet up without me and blame me for being the one to lose touch - when I think if you are going through a hellish time the onus is on your friends to see how you are.

I know that in a few weeks I will have a lovely new baby and life will feel a lot better - though after everything that has happened it is not wise to accept that this is likely to be reality until the child is actually here.

I am hoping that by writing this down, I will feel better having got it off my chest. I don't know if I sound playgroundy/whiny - or just anxious in pregnancy/lonely - I probably have a bit too much time on my hands now I am on maternity leave to worry about things.. but please be gentle in any replies..

Eek, going to press the Create conversation button!

slushy06 Thu 28-May-09 11:48:34

Halen I am so sad to hear of your loss. I had a difficult first pg that threatned both my and my unborn childs life. Luckily he came through it fine. However it took me a long time after he was born to feel safe that he was here to stay. I lost all my friends too except one who is gay and can never have children. These people are not friends if they deserted you in your time of need. Even without difficult pgs people lose alot of friends. But you do make more once baby has arrived. How far gone were you when you miscarried. I hope all turns out well for you.

Longtalljosie Thu 28-May-09 11:56:17

Halen I'm so sorry for all you've been through. The sad fact seems to be that while we imagine our friends will rally round when things get difficult, often they don't. I think it's because they simply don't understand what it's like.

I suspect when you have your baby a lot of friends who are secretly feeling guilty will use the opportunity to get back in touch. You need then to decide what you'd like to do. Are you going to NCT, or somewhere you can meet new people, without the previous history?

ladyhelenatealltheeggs Thu 28-May-09 12:06:39

halen my heart goes out to you. What a tough time you have had. I think Longtalljosie is right. I too suspect that soem of your friends will reappear when you have had your baby.I really hope that all turns out well for you.

I have found that having a baby opens a whole new world of friendships though. Either through ante natal groups or through the nursery where my DS now goes and these are the ones that me and DH now see more regularly. So don't despair! Try and get to some groups both before and after your LO arrives.

Good luck with everything, and enjoy your maternity leave!

halen Thu 28-May-09 12:46:14

Thank you for such gentle lovely replies - and so quickly too!!
Answers to the questions are: I was 6months pregnant when it went wrong first time and I am due to start NCT soon.
I must admit to being a bit worried about the classes and whether telling people about what happened to us will "put them off" - or whether we should just go along and not mentioned the past.. but maybe will just play it by ear and see. I don't want to scare the other people there!

There are loads of things going on locally for when LO is here and am really looking forward to going to them; very few of my "former" friends live locally so whether they get back in touch or not, it is something I need to do!
If they do get back in touch I will be delighted, but it will perhaps not be the same as it was.

Thank you for replies.. because having babies has not been straightforward was already feeling like a misfit - to lose my friends doubled this feeling.. but the lovely replies on here have helped me so much, already, in just over an hour after posting! I am glad I did!! The more relaxed I am the better the outcome for baby!!! Thanks loads!!!

CarGirl Thu 28-May-09 12:54:04

My heart goes out to you too. I have 4dc and have had no problems conceiving or carrying etc etc. I find it very hard when other people have problems (I have friends across the whole spectrum that you have described) what can I say to them apart from try and share in their sadness and grief. It is hard for people to know what to say/do/behave because you do worry about hurting them more with what you say/do/behave so many people just avoid.

However that is no excuse, you have changed forever because of what you have been through and they should have accepted that and made an effort to stay in touch. One of my (sadly) childless friends said to me a few weeks ago that I'm the only Mum friend that she has that talks about things other than her dc, so I took that as a compliment - she still enjoys spending time with me with or without my dc being around because she's my friend and I like & love her.

I hope it all goes fabulous this time and you meet some new people who will become your amazing friends for the future.

Chooster Thu 28-May-09 13:09:31

Hi Halen, So sorry that you've had a tough time. This pregnancy stuff is not always easy is it smile.

I've been in a similar position in a way... I had Ds1 (now 5) before any of my friends and felt that I really had to try to keep up the contact and make sure I didn't talk about my gorgeous wee boy too much when we got together... Then I was pregnant again and after a difficult pregnancy with multiple tests, I gave birth to my second son at 21 weeks. At this time I really curled up a bit and for a while I really didn't want to talk about it too much. But then when things started to get better I found my friends just didn't refer to it. I remember going out for dinner with 5 people about 3 months after he died and no-one mentioned it at all, not once sad. I'm sure they found it awkward and they weren't sure how I would react but it hurt so much and came across like they either didn't care or couldn't (both probably) relate to it. I've gone on to have another son and a lot of my friends have kids as well now so we've got more in common but I can say my friendships aren't the same as they were.

I think generally friendships change as we get older but I agree that when someone goes through a rough time, I think you really do find out who genuinely cares and who is just a friend as long as times are good. As the others have said you will so many new friends after having your baby and while they may not the kind of best friends that you've shared a big history with, you'll have loads in common and you wont be lonely!

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and as you say if your friends make more effort then great - if not then thats fine! smile

Fliss01 Thu 28-May-09 13:26:08

Wow you have had a tough time. I have found from past experience (close family deaths when I was younger) nothing to do with my pregnancy, the essence of a tragedy is pity and terror.

People will pity you from afar which is no bloody good and they are also very scared to come into contact with such terrible events because irrational though it is they believe it is somehow contagious.

I have found in the past that people when faced with the raw reality of a tragedy of a close friend protect themselves from it by cutting off from you at a time when you need them most.

This is not true of all people however just some. So although you have been badly burned there are some lovely people out there who really will be true and supportive friends. Good luck with everything, from a fellow worrier now at 6months.

halen Thu 28-May-09 14:36:08

Thanks ladies
Just been reading through your answers again..... and feeling really positive.. it's helped me categorise this as more to do with other people's self-protection mechanisms; as well as the fact lives are busy and people don't have time for their own problems let alone anyone else's (sad but true).
Hopefully the future holds better things in store and bit by bit will be able to build friendships up again...

Really appreciate anyone who took the trouble to post


Longtalljosie Thu 28-May-09 19:32:56

Just on your point about whether to tell people at antenatal classes - I wouldn't, at first. Once you get to know people better - and after the babies are all born, you could do so then?

I say this because I had a series of very unpleasant events a few years ago which pretty much defined me for a while. And it was hugely difficult to meet new people without saying "this is what happened". But I only really started to put it behind me when I did stop telling people about it. I did like the fact that people saw more of me than someone who'd had a very bad time...

DawnAS Thu 28-May-09 19:56:36

Halen, you have been through awful times and when you needed your friends, they weren't there for you. That is very sad but unfortunately all too common...

I have been through something similar. I had three best friends who I was very close to. Last year I suffered a MC, very early at 5 weeks. Two of the three friends said "oh well, at least it was early". One has two children of her own and the other doesn't have any. I was shocked and upset by their response.

I am now 38 weeks PG and I have only seen those two friends probably once or twice during this PG, whereas the third friend keeps in touch with me all the time.

I am still shocked at their treatment of me, but now know that it's more common than I thought...

I really hope that things work out for you this time, I'm sure they will and you will make loads of new friends. My Dsis gave birth 4 weeks ago (on Saturday) and was given a whole list of classes to go to with her LO, including Baby Massage and Mother and Baby groups. Join as much as you can and open up a whole new world for you and your LO!! grin


poppy34 Thu 28-May-09 21:51:32

halen - I am so sorry to hear of all you've been through. I do hope sharing it did ease the burden a little.

I think what you're feeling is not at all weird/unusual - I had 2 m/c,and then had a baby die at 21 weeks and then went through a successful preganncy . I know what you mean about NCT - I was massively apprehensive about going to NCT as it wasn't as if I was going all happy/glossy re first pregnancy. I actually was pleasantly surprised about how nice they were (I decided after much heart searching to be honest) and have found some of the friends I made there a real treasure/support. That said I couldn't have got through my pregnancy (or my loss) without mumsnet so I do hope you feel comfortable sharing here.

and as for those that lost touch over your first pregnancy..that is their issue not yours -as others have said that is not the way friends behave. Yes I had my share of bollocks too (the particular gem being one friend saying to me after I was in pieces having lost my son - oh I think I had a m/c too, it was a bit like a heavy period.. I still wonder why I didn't hit her!!)

all the best for the rest of your pregnancy xxx

lilacpink Thu 28-May-09 22:09:59

Halen as one of my newer friends said to me, children are 'social passports* as long as you join Mums and children groups and go regularly, talk to people, ignore those who aren't friendly. You can meet new friends who have DCs of a similar age to yours. I took my DD to library rhymetime when she was a few months old (it's free and short!)

I chose to break friends with one of my best friends when my DD was around 3 months old, as her behaviour throughout my preg and with a newborn was so selfish, I cried everytime she left. My other best friend has gone on with her social life and is 'loved-up' with a new bloke. So I joined groups, and gradually made friends and 3 years on I'm happier now then when I was 'freer' to have a more flexible social life. I think NCT sounds great and I'm early stages of my third preg (2nd ended around week 8 with ERPC), so I want to be ok and join NCT ASAP (I didn't in first preg, but a friend did and she's stil in contact with those friends years after). My advice is to go for it, and put the effort in to make new friends. Assume ok unless you know otherwise!

seaside72 Thu 28-May-09 22:31:57

halen I am so sorry for your losses, you have been through one of the worst things anyone can experience and I would imagine it has forever changed you and your life.

I have had 2 dear friends lose LO in the past few years and ime it does alter your relationships with many people and unfortunately it can determine the future of friendships. Both of my friends found that they were surprised by reactions to their losses, they were both disappointed by many "old" "good" friends, but conversely it was actually the solid foundation for my friendships with both of them, having previously been a newish friend/neighbour.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I have always felt that we have certain friends for certain periods in our lives - some come in and out some are just there for a short time then disappear forever.

You will make some wonderful new friends at NCT/baby groups and maybe some of those old friends will reappear and maybe you will accept their friendship back, but you will always know the boundaries of that friendship iykwim.

The only thing I would say is that, again from my experience of being with my friends once they went on to have new babies after their losses, one of the commonest most innocent question which caused them a great deal of pain was "is this your first?" always said with a smile and tremendous good will but nonetheless very hard, so my one bit of advice is maybe prepare yourself for that one.

I wish you all the luck in the world with the rest of your pg and with your beautiful new baby smile

halen Fri 29-May-09 11:03:27

Thanks for more lovely replies!
I feel a lot better about the future and am looking forwards to meeting new people.. love the expression "social passport"!!

I was reading on another thread somewhere else that after bereavement, you not only have to re-evalulate how the loss has affected you, but also re-evaluate your friendships.
I guess, being pregnant, one of my main worries is about social support networks after baby is here and hubby back at work, and hence why this has been on my mind so much.
It sounds like NCT will have that covered - I will play it by ear and if people seem approachable, may tell them about the loss as a way of explaining why we may seem comparatively guarded about the pregnancy. There may be people there who have had m/cs (after all it happens to 1 in 4.. ) and so mentioning things may even feel appropriate. But I will go in there with my positive hat on as that is the best way to make new friends - and not bleat on, as don't want to get labelled as "the ones who had a bad last 5 years"

What I struggle with is that losing my "friends" also feels like a "loss"; I guess I could pick up the phone (tho one has moved and not given me new no.) - but these people are not who I thought they were so I a)don't think the friendships are worth salvaging and b)feel pain that I was a poor judge of character - these people were my girls and I guess I thought they were a bit like me, including being compassionate in crunch situations - and to find out otherwise, and realise you have to start from scratch again is a biggie. I always knew that the group could be catty, but thought that when it came down to it, they were deep-down nice people.
At least true colours have been demonstrated. Justifications can be made in theory - people find loss hard, people with kids feel awkward, people without kids get worried about their own clocks..... but not from people who you thought had got your back.
I suppose the difficulty letting go is that I want to think the best of people, I want there to be a simple explanation; but I don't think that there is apart from selfishness and fair-weather friendship.

I built up some new friendships last year - girls who were single no kids yet - so I know that I am not some sort of social misfit.. now that I am pregnant, we are at different life stages.. but 2 of them are being lovely.. calling every so often or wanting to meet at weekends (they are at work in the day).. and 2 mutual friends who live some distance away have stopped returning calls and emails this last month.. they have been supportive but I know they have found everything that has happened to me very upsetting and I guess it is just self-preservation which I can understand.

I have one last question. One friend have expressed annoyance that I have not visited her children; I have been gently frank about why (that it is just too difficult to be around kids of the same age at that particular point in time) - but I have always made sure to send a gift (usually a large amount of vouchers) - but still the expression of annoyance has persisted. Clearly they have not understood how painful the loss was for us.
My question? Well not having a child yet, perhaps I have got it wrong, but I don't think I would mind who came to visit or not (apart from close family) - and if I knew someone was having problems would definitely understand if they did not come round and needed space.

Once you have kids though, does it change? Does maternal instinct kick in so strongly that you feel everyone should want to come round, and be mortally offended if they don't despite what being told what is going on for them?

halen Fri 29-May-09 11:58:37

Sorry feel a bit daft for posting that last post - and worried about what reponses I might get.
I guess I realise that it is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other; my friend is probably justified in feeling hurt - I saw a lot of her first child, but 2nd was too close in age to our lost one, and she is now on to no 3.. which just makes it so difficult to go up - to expect her to understand that is a big ask, but I guess from a self-preservation point of view it has been the only thing possible.
Anyhow please no-one judge me harshly, have done the best I could!

Chooster Fri 29-May-09 13:10:16

Halen, In no way should you feel guilty about not going to see your friends second child. You say that you saw a lot of her first and have sent gifts that show you care, and in my mind her annoyance is SO self-centred. Yes you are proud when you become a mum and yes you want everyone to admire the most handsome / beautiful child thats ever walked earth wink, but there is no way it would annoy me that a friend hadn't visited, even if they hadn't suffered a loss. As you say, the loss you suffered was great and you will feel that all teh more when you see children that are around the same age as your child would have been. I have 2 living sons but still remember exactly how old my middle son would be and think about what he would be doing now.

I hate to say it but again that sounds like a friendship thats not worth investing much more energy in... You've explained, she should understand... In my circle of friends we have one person who has not visited ANY of the children born over the last 3 years or so - and that must be about 12 kids... But we just joke about it and when someone else has a baby she groans that thats just one more she has to feel guilty about smile. But its all just having a laugh and no-one is offended.

anniemac Fri 29-May-09 13:51:03

Message withdrawn

halen Fri 29-May-09 15:54:48

Thanks girls - you have helped me so much. I feel much more sorted about the whole thing for having shared - and being relaxed is so important for this current pregnancy's wellbeing that I am glad I posted and grateful you replied!
I think that I have way too much time on my hands - definitely been over-thinking!! And being a bit paranoid! The friend who I thought was ignoring my calls has actually had things planned on the day of the week that we normally chat (we just had a lovely long chat on the phone as usual); I made sure to sound bright and breezy and mainly talk about things other than the pregnancy - well, mainly cos I remember how head-doing preg/babychat is when you are at a different life stage - and she is someone who has been consistently supportive through everything.

Hopefully having got this out of my system I will be able to feel more chilled about past let-downs, build on what friendships remain and be open to meeting new people in the coming months!
Thanks to everyone for sharing so openly - those who have been good friends to people going through a sad time; and sorry to everyone who has lost a LO/other loved one or have been through other tough times.

bevlin Fri 05-Jun-09 16:10:17

Hi halen

Im sorry for the horrible time you have had. I just wanted to add one more point. You mentioned possibly telling people about your past at the ante-natel classes and I just wanted to point something out. At an Ante-natel class, you won't know who is having a low risk pregnancy and who is having a high risk pregnancy. I had a high risk pregnancy and was being scanned every week to make sure the baby was still growing. I had been warned I could go into labour at anytime or loose the baby at anytime and my list of problems was endless. Nobody knows the details of your pregnancy so alot of the girls in my class were low risk and talking about home births and birthing pools etc. You could tell everyone about your terrible experiences and send some already terrified girl home in a state of panic! I kept in touch with my class and after all the babies were born healthy (inc mine) we got to know each other, past miscarraiges and details of the pregnancy's/ births good and bad. I think you might have a more enjoyable experience as a healthy mum with a healthy baby like everyone else. grin On another note, I had a friend who had a big fight with me because she reckoned I didn't make enough of her son. Apparently my trecks to her home an hour away every 2 weeks for the first year and all the babysitting Id done not to mention the expensive presents and listening to her ramble on about him for hours on end, were just not enough!! 4 years later when I had my DS (now 2) I can count on one hand how many times she has visited. Nowt as Queer as folk. Sometimes it's good to find out who your friends are and you will certainly find new ones with your new baby. x

lastboxoftampons Fri 05-Jun-09 16:28:03

Halen, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby sad As others have said, it's very sad that your friends weren't there for you in your time of need. But just one thought - perhaps they took a cue from you and thought you didn't want to see them? or anyone for that matter? You shouldn't be expected to have to worry or think of anyone else when you're experiencing such tragedy, but maybe they didn't want to impose and now it's even more awkward since so much time has gone by. It's in no way an excuse for their behaviour, but if you do want to revive some of the friendships, then it might just be worth a phone call, as some of it could "just" be down to misunderstanding? But please don't feel you have to be "bright and breezy" all the time for the benefit of your friends. You should be true to your feelings and if they're good friends, they won't expect you to be "up" all the time and will enjoy the good times and weather the bad with you.

Also, like everyone mentions, you will meet people at NCT and then even more once the baby is here. We just had our first NCT class this past week and I've already thought why don't they start these classes earlier in pregnancy, I could've used these girls throughout?!?! smile It's amazing how quickly you can bond with people when they're going through the same as you.

Best of luck with your little one!! smile

halen Fri 05-Jun-09 16:51:49

Thanks for replies.
Someone else has been horrible to me today. Got a weird email reply from her, so called her up to explain things, and but things seem to have been made worse.

I feel very stressed and upset, and have got what feels like the start of labour pains, but am hoping it will settle down.

Feel like crying.

I guess I just have to take a deep breath, nowt so queer as folk as you say, but did not need it at this point in time! Going to have a lie down!

halen Fri 05-Jun-09 17:21:15

Pain worn off with lie down.
Still feeling pretty upset though, hey ho, hopefully life will get better soon!

Catitainahatita Fri 05-Jun-09 17:38:01

I would just say after reading your thread that depression, anxiety about the future etc are very normal things in pregnancy, even without all the added concerns you are dealing with. Your homones are going haywire (I feel like I have PMT every day for example) and that in itself makes everything harder to deal with.

Be kind yourself. Give yourself lots of treats and make sure you try and get a lot of rest. being tired also doesn't help you feel wonderful.

None of what I say will solve anything, I know. I just thought I'd try and help you live with yourself for the next 10 weeks. Good luck. What all the other poster have said is true, you are sure to find new friends at NCT or at a mum and baby group later on.

Catitainahatita Fri 05-Jun-09 17:40:13

And if so-called friends are horrible to you, I would be inclined to stop contacting them. You don't need the hassle and stress.

Big hugs for you. You can do it!

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