Our friends and families have supported our quest to have a child, by whatever means necessary, so unconditionally that the hurtful comments that so many others suffer are a small part of the baggage we are carrying. Having this huge cheering section has come with a huge price, one that I was unaware we were paying until the other day. Over the past week this issue has come up a couple of times and each time it breaks my heart just a little more.
Some of my friends who already have children are having a difficult time conceiving again, secondary infertility. While speaking with my best friend the other day I realized that people who already have children are reluctant to talk about having trouble conceiving another child. Out of all my amazing friends that I am so lucky to have, L is the first person I want to call when I am hurting and when I am overjoyed. L is one of those friends who will stand by you no matter what and over the years, she has seen me through some of the worst times of my life. As a mother, L is incredible and if I am able to be half the mother she is, I will consider myself an excellent mother.
When L told me that she had been trying to have her third child for over a year I nearly fell over. I knew that L wanted more children, but I had no idea that she was even trying at this point. Realizing that she had been suffering for over a year and felt that she could not tell me, made me feel awful. Infertility sucks, hurts and is lonely for many people, but for me that pain has been eased by her support and love. Now here L is going through all the same stuff and felt that she could not tell me. Just because she already has two amazing children, she said that it made her feel guilty for complaining to me because we are trying so hard just to have one.
I know that not all people who have infertility problems feel this way, and I very well may be in a small minority. No matter how many children someone already has, not being able to have another is just as painful as not being able to have the first. Yes, they do already have children. Yes, we are trying to have just one. Yes, they already have what we are working so hard to attain. Yes, they do not have to endure the pain of empty arms. Yes, to any of the thousand reasons why they could just be happy with what they have. Only, they want their children to have siblings, they want to have a larger family, they want another child and are suffering with the pain of infertility.
Baby showers, kids' birthday parties, christenings and many other child related activities are difficult to attend and often I avoid them like the plague. Some days I cannot even watch a television show with children or babies in them because it is just too painful. L mitigates so much of this pain for me simply by believing with all her heart that I will be a mother and constantly telling me that I will be a great mother. Better than all of that, she reminds me that no hard days will matter on the day I can hold my child in my arms. I want to give her that same support. I know where she is, facing so many questions and fears that she should not have to endure alone.
L was the first of my friends that I called when I found out that having a child was going to be very difficult for us. She was the first person to tell me that it did not matter if I gave birth, what mattered was being a mother. When I felt like I was not a "real" woman because my body would not do what it was designed to, L was the one who listened to me cry and said she would support me any way that she could.
I know that she is trying to spare my feelings. She is trying to be compassionate. What she forgot is that I have travelled that road and she was by my side the whole time. I need to be there for her, I need to share my experience with her. Yes, there are going to be days when it is painful for me to listen to, just as it has been painful for her to listen to me. This is not a road anyone should ever travel alone, especially when there is someone who has already been there.
L you are my best friend, my best cheerleader, my shoulder to cry on, my foundation, and most importantly you are my sister. I may not always understand what you are going through, I may not always be the best friend, but I will always be here and I will always love you. Your struggles are my struggles.