Friday, January 10, 2014

Brave Enough to Be A Good Friend




I had no clue what to call this post.


At first I wanted to call it "How to tell your infertile friend you are pregnant", but that was boring.


Then I wanted to call it "How to not be a complete butt to your infertile friend", but that was too harsh.


Then I thought about calling it "How not to treat your infertile friend", but that didn't feel right either.


So I finally decided I needed to just be honest and call it like it is, "Brave Enough to Be a Good Friend."  I know it sounds a little cheesy but I think that's what it boils down to- being a good friend.  And being a good friend takes bravery.


I've been very honest here and shared how I went through a whole calendar year where literally all of my church friends (who also happen to be 97% of my friends in general) were pregnant.  The only one of my group of friends from church who was not pregnant was my pastor's wife, and she didn't want to be!   


I can't overemphasize how hard that year was for me.  I was honestly happy for my friends- all of them.  But it was hard.


Thankfully, God gave me the distraction of my trip to Uganda that summer to help keep my mind off of it.  But then coming home was hard too.  Listening to some of my friends complain about their pregnancy after serving women who were 38 weeks pregnant and had walked 2 miles to come to the clinic was more than I could handle.


Struggling with infertility is hard.  {Understatement of the year!}


And I know it's not a walk in the park to tell a friend like me that you are pregnant.  Trust me, I understand that.  With that being said, there is still a right way and a wrong way to do it.


Right way----> Just tell me.  I'm 33 years old.  I'm a college graduate.  I am a mother.  I can handle it.


Do you know I actually had a friend tell me once as we were hanging up the phone: "Well, I may as well tell you before ______ does- I'm pregnant!"  {insert chirping crickets.} I literally had no clue what to say.  What do you say to that?  Like she wasn't going to tell me but she was worried so-and-so would beat her to it and she didn't want me to hear it from her.  Really.  Come on.  Just tell me.


I also had a friend call me in tears and actually apologize because she was pregnant.  While I thought the apology was unnecessary, I totally appreciated her heart.  I actually hung up the phone and I felt so honored that she thought so much of me and my feelings.


There is a right way and a wrong way.


Wrong way---> Don't tell me.  But please go ahead and tell everyone else so I feel really left out.  Again, I'm a grown woman.  I can handle it.


Like I said, there is a right way and a wrong way.  Several of them to be exact.  The common factor between them is this:  The right way to tell your friend is to be conscious of their feelings and to be sensitive.  The wrong way to tell your friend is also to be conscious of their feelings and to be sensitive. 


The right way is to be humble and to just speak to your friend as your friend.  Tell them how you feel and be honest. 


The wrong way is to assume that your friend will fly off the handle or melt into the floor and have a temper tantrum like a two-year-old and therefore because of your hormonal state decide to let them hear it from someone else. 


Let me tell you from experience- this is really hurtful.  Really, really hurtful.


The last thing that a person struggling with infertility needs is for someone else to assume how they are feeling.  It's like an insult to our feelings when you assume what they are.  We want to feel what we want to feel and we don't need you assuming what we are feeling before we even have a chance to feel it. 


Please do me and all of us a favor and just be our friend.  Be honest.  Be truthful.  Be happy.  And be open about your pregnancy.


We want to be normal.  We want to be treated like anyone else.  We want to be your friend. 


With that said, I also acknowledge that women struggling with infertility do a lot to perpetuate this cycle of misunderstanding.


Women (you- struggling with infertility) please be honest with your friends.  Tonight as I was talking about this with my husband my daughter (who is 5!) whispered to my husband "She just needs to tell her friends how she feels".  I told my husband I didn't think I was brave enough.  My daughter's right.  I do need to be honest.  We do need to be honest.

I've been honest with a few of them.  It really depends how close I am to you how honest I am.  I've always been like that.  I thought I was doing that to protect my friends but the more I think about it, I think I might be protecting myself.  My close friends know me better and so they are more forgiving when I'm wierd and emotional.  And that's ok.  I'm honest with them and they know how I feel.

Infertility and friendships require bravery.  But even after 10+ years I still don't feel like I'm the bravest.  I'm just building up my muscles.  I want to be more brave and more honest.  I don't want friends who are afraid to tell me things.  I want friends who care enough about me to be honest with me.

Brave is honest.  And I choose to be brave.


Will you choose to be honest?  Will you choose to be brave?  Your friends deserve it and so do you.
   

5 comments:

  1. I love your heart and I am so grateful for your words here. It helps me better understand friends and anyone I come in contact with that are struggling that I need to be and should be normal around them. We are here to bring Him glory and we should rejoice with each other in our joys and weep together in our pain. Thank you!

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  2. Well said Kerry. Just tell me....I would add, don't feel the need to tell me in person- e-mail will do just fine! Then I am able to feel whatever I'm feeling at that time and tell you I'm really happy for you later....which I am though I can't always show it. : )

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  3. Yes, Kelly that is a great idea. I did just read that the other day and I totally agreed. It does take some time to adjust sometimes.

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  4. Thank you for this post. I can relate. I think sometimes friends feel awkward, so they don't mind letting me find out second-hand. That method is much more hurtful. I really liked this part of your post: "Please do me and all of us a favor and just be our friend. Be honest. Be truthful. Be happy. And be open about your pregnancy. We want to be normal. We want to be treated like anyone else. We want to be your friend." I was just trying to explain that to someone the other day.

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