To my friend struggling with infertility…
Oh, for heaven’s sake. All I can say is “hi there”? I had this whole letter composed in my head last night, but now that I settle to write it, I can’t think of anything more to say.
I see you.
I see you as a whole person and not just someone trying to get pregnant, as if “trying to get pregnant” is even a decent category to put someone in. Let me just tell you right off… you are certainly more than your struggles to grow your family. That’s something I know (or suspect) to be part of your life, but it’s just information about you. That’s not YOU as far as I’m concerned.
Just the same, it’s there.
You’ve told me casually that you’re trying to start a family, but that was a year ago and you’re still slim and lovely as ever, but no bump.
Or you’ve shared your heartbreak with me aloud.
Or someone else mentioned that you’re struggling with infertility.
Or I suspect it based on the way you interact with me and my kids, so maybe it’s a medical thing or maybe it’s just not time yet, which isn’t so easy, either.
Or perhaps I know nothing. And you’re just someone I know who’s hurting in this particular way and I just wander [cluelessly] through your world from time to time.
Whatever’s going on, you want to have babies and you don’t and it’s messing with your heart and your marriage and your faith. (Ok, I don’t know any of that. I can’t even pretend to know what you’re feeling- those are just guesses based on a reasonable imagination and conversations I’ve had with friends who have also walked this road. But I don’t know. Because my life is different than that.)
Because I’m a breeder.
This is painfully obvious to us both, all the time. It’s only a few kids, but based on their movement and number of words, it feels a little like seventeen. Everywhere I go, I’m surrounded by a vortex of joyful (or not so joyful) chaos.
I’m tired. I’m 200 [percent] preoccupied with the kids. I can’t seem to find anything else to talk about, and I’m certain that’s annoying, at least sometimes.
And then the other day I complained about it.
I suspect that this is a struggle of yours. But still, I got going on yet another kid story (sorry) and I made some comment about my sleep deprivation or how I’m completely over gestating right now and I heard the words and I knew they were poorly timed but they were falling out before I could stop them and I couldn’t scoop them back up and I didn’t know how to fix it.
Would you allow me a second to back up? I honestly didn’t know what to do at the time, except to awkwardly move on.
I’m so sorry.
I know you’d love to have the issues I was just complaining about. Pregnancy and parenting are gifts. They have challenges — anything worth having does. And I’m sorry that I was being an ungrateful brat about something that you want so much. That’s pretty graceless of me, and I feel like it probably rubbed salt in a wound and I’m so, so sorry.
I don’t know why this baby-having thing is easy for me and not so much for you. It’s certainly not a value or ability thing. I think you’ll be a pretty great mama. I can see it in the way you interact with kids that are around you. You’re kind and loving and wholehearted both with them and with me, even though I’m sure sometimes it hurts to be those things when they’re all tangled up with desires unfulfilled so far.
You’re a whole person. And you’re breathtaking. And I’m sorry that sometimes I poke at tender spots. I’ll learn. I will. And in the [meantime], I’m sure glad you’re in my life. Thanks for being gracious when I’m not so good at it.
This article originally appeared at RobinDChapman.com.