It’s Time to Get Back Into the Friendship Game

It is raining outside.

I am currently sitting on the couch under a cozy blanket, snuggling with our dog thinking about our weekend and our lives.

I’ll set the stage with a brief description of our weekend – We’ve spent the weekend with very dear friends who got married. My husband was one of the groomsmen so it’s been a very busy weekend. Friday night dinner and rehearsal. Saturday wedding. Sunday gift opening. My husband’s weekend has been dictated by the wedding and while mine has revolved around the wedding, I have had more flexibility. I went to dinner on Friday. I went obviously went to the wedding and but I skipped the gift opening today. The husband went solo because I was slightly hung-over all day long.  But truthful, I also just didn’t want to go.

The friends who got married have a beautiful 9 month old baby. They’ve been really supportive of us not being around as much as we really should. Friday was actually only the second time I’ve physically been around their baby and it was also the first time I’ve held him.  That’s really rather pathetic of me.

So, here’s the reason I am sharing all of this – I made a decision at the wedding night (no, not the adoption decision).  I finally figured out that this is our problem not our friends. While it completely sucks, I’m so unbelievably tired of letting RPL dictate our life. I’m tired of being at a social gathering with tonnes of our friends, and being the odd ones out. We are the ones who don’t get to have children and may never. I’m tired of listening to cute little kid stories and smiling along. I’m tired of having people dance around us because they don’t want to say the wrong thing (yet, I am ever so grateful when our friends are sensitive).

So, since this is our problem, we cannot expect our friends to not talk about their kids. We have to make it safe for them to be them, just like they are trying to do for us. At the end of the day, this is our curse, but ultimately we have to decide how we are going to live with it at least for the time being until we either get a healthy baby on our own or choose to live childfree or jump fully into adoption.  It’s already been 2 years, and it could be years more before this is all figured out.  Our lives may not be proceeding as expected, but there’s are, and we cannot sit out the next few years and expect our friendships to remain strong. Our friends deserve better of us.

We have to change our attitude.

If we want to keep our friends, we have to get over the hurt that comes along with visiting their babies.

This is our issue.

We need to find a way to deal so that we can be active members of their extended family of friends.

We’ve been shitty friends for the last 2 years, to the majority of our friends. Yes, we’ve been protecting ourselves, we’ve been guarding our emotions while we get through each miscarriage. I’m not going to apologize for that, we’ve done what we’ve needed to do.  So, while this is okay to do, it’s not okay to do permanently and to live in hiding. We have to do better and we have to be better. We owe it to our friends who have supported us.

Friendships take active participation from all people. Almost all of our friends have been amazing (you can see an exception to that here), but it’s time for us to step up and get back into the friendship game.

I know this won’t always be easy, there will still be tough days, but I know we have to do it.

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27 Comments on “It’s Time to Get Back Into the Friendship Game

  1. I really hear you. I have lost friends during the four and a half years we’ve been trying to conceive and facing RPL (having a high-risk pregnancy after our first 2 losses, an emergency delivery and going back to work when baby was 6 months old wasn’t particularly conducive to friendships, either, for a whole bunch of other reasons). I have also been a shitty friend sometimes. And, for better or worse,I don’t really care anymore on one hand because the friends I’ve kept know and understand and the ones I’ve lost, well, I can’t say I miss them (as bad as that sounds). Like you, I *do* care about the friends who are left and I have been thinking (and our grief counselor has been encouraging) that I need to make an effort again. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s on the agenda. Your post reminds me to make it more of a priority – thank you.

    Oh, and I abhor gift openings. I wouldn’t have gone even if I wasn’t hung over. 😉

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    • We to have lost friends and been hurt by many people who are insensitive. But, those who have stood by us, deserve more from us now that we are more able (of course, this could change when we get pregnant again). I’m not saying we’ll participate in every activity, but we have to make a better effort for them. Not for the friends we’ve lost – I agree, I just don’t care anymore. In the scheme of my life, it’s just not worth working to keep bad friends. But, I want to make more of an effort with the good friends.

      I refuse to go to gift openings of any sort – baby showers, wedding showers, wedding gift openings – I truly don’t care to watch people open gifts! I am happy to send a gift, but don’t expect to see me there. (and this has been my attitude long before RPL)

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      • Ha! I could have written this! We’d be pals – the antisocial girls who hate gift openings and who have to make a concerted effort to see their friends. Except that I have a shoe obsession and you seem much more practical and frugal in that regard. I’ll forgive you for that shortcoming if you do the sand though. 😉

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      • My first job ever was at a shoe store, and the addiction started then!! I make a big effort to avoid shoe shopping because I tend to go crazy. My addiction is so bad in fact that my husband and I have a rule – I don’t ask about his fly rods and he doesn’t ask about my shoes!
        Two peas in a pod?

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  2. funny you wrote this. I was just invited to a baby shower which I opted out for an obvious reason, cannot sustain the all the “wow”, “ah, beautiful baby”, part. I decided to visit myself to see her instead, avoiding the crowds. Your post really reminded me how I need to be a better friend, when time allows. 🙂

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    • Funny enough, even before RPL, I did the exact same thing. I do not go to baby showers, wedding gift openings or wedding showers – I just don’t care to watch people open gifts. I particularly despise baby showers before the baby is born – what’s the point? But, with all of our friends babies, we go meet with them on our own. It’s way better quality time. And now with RPL, I figure meeting them one-on-one is also going to be more appropriate if I have a mental breakdown with them (it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m always prepared).

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  3. This is an odd scenario to relate your post to, but I’m going for it. My uncle has been a raging alcoholic for years and years. About 3 months ago, he started going to group therapy and quit drinking. In one of his sessions, the counselor told them that they need to start their lives over. To find new friends and to avoid their old friends. My uncle argued with her that HIS drinking is not the fault of his friends, and so they should not be punished for his issues. His goal is to learn to control himself so that he can be around the people he loves and not have to build walls. It hit home for me because I realized that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been punishing people for my problems. My (very local) cousin has a freaking adorable 6 month old baby and I have never even met him. I avoid all gatherings where they will be present. I didn’t go to my Nana’s 86th birthday party because the baby was there. WHO AM I? Anyway, point being–I hear you, and you’re right. There’s a fine line between self-preservation and selfishness. I hope I can take a page from your book and learn to walk the line a bit more carefully.

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    • I get how this relates – regardless of the problem, we cannot isolate ourselves indefinitely, and we cannot expect our friends to be awesome all the time while we continually be a drain on the friendship. Obviously there is a time and place.
      I also get skipping family events. We live at least a few hours away from all our family, so it’s easy for us to skip the events. For example, this year we skipped Easter. We do not need to be around all the siblings and cousins with infants. Particularly because I know, virtually none of them would come to see us if we had a child. And truth be told, I wasn’t even thinking of these people when I wrote this post – and I’ll still probably skip big family events where I’m surrounded by multiple babies (I figure situations with possible emotional overload should still be avoided).
      I have definitely been selfish, but now that I feel more able, I feel the need to do better for those who have stood by us. 🙂

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  4. I hear you. We have been living like total hermits since we lost our baby – one of my good friends I haven’t seen since April, another since May. They both have young kids, of course, and my best friend told me a few weeks ago she was pregnant. I haven’t been able to talk to her since because I feel all choked up inside. It’s so hard to want to be there for your friends and also to protect yourself. It’s a balancing act and some of us do better than others. Right now I am not doing so good at it. But your post definitely speaks to me and makes me take another look at this. You’re right, it’s not their fault or their curse. Sometimes we have to make the sacrifice even though it’s hard and we know it might sting.

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    • Thanks for sharing. I would only add that some days some of us do better then others at the balancing act. Some days are good days. Some days are not. And I think the key is finding the balance to know when we can make the sacrifice without hurting ourselves too much – like you said, it’s a balancing act.

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  5. I’m proud of you. I seem to have an opposite problem. I’ve always been the one there for my friends and have gotten the short end of the stick. So many friends didn’t even acknowledge our heartache. I’m so glad you have friends who have been good friends and that you are willing to try.

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    • I am thankful for the good friends we do have, but I understand the short end of the stick – one of my absolute closest friends has not talked to me in almost a year. Not since I told her what we had been going through. I’ve come to be okay with the fact that the friendship is over, but it still hurts and I’m so disappointing that she didn’t even want to make an effort.
      I am sorry that so many of your friends are not being there for you in a the way you need them. I wish this wasn’t the case for anyone, and I know you definitely deserve support from everyone in your life!

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  6. I can completely relate to this. I have done a lot of the same thing – avoiding friends and family because I could handle being around their children without wanting to cry. My husband understood but always tried to encourage me to try once in a while. You are absolutely correct that it isn’t anyone else’s problem. Hard thing is though sucking up your feelings and putting yourself in a position you’re not comfortable in – at least that’s how it was for me. Everyone will choose to handle it in their own way and I hope you’re able to find the strength and courage to proceed with your plan.

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    • I completely agree about the hard part of this – putting myself into a hard position where I’m not comfortable. I think this will be a fine line to walk – a balancing act. I know I’m not going to start turning up at every event, or every kid thing, but I guess I can do simple things like meet them for lunch at a family friendly place instead of a pub. It wont be perfect, and it may not be pretty, but at least right now, I need to give it a try.

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  7. I feel you. I have left many friends hanging over the past 6 months because I’m too miserable or feeling crappy to go out. You are so fortunate to have so many friends who have stuck by you.

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    • It definitely sucks being the person who feels to crappy to go out with friends – I have done this more times then I can count. And, I’m not promising I’ll be awesome at, but I’m going to make a better effort when I’m up for it, because you are right, we are fortunate to have friends who have stuck by us. 🙂

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  8. I completely understand hon. It sounds like the ones who are still in the picture are keepers and I’m sure they completely understand. With each of my losses, it took me forever to resurface, and I only recently have been able to attend baby related events. Thankfully, most of my friends have been pretty understanding too. And the ones who weren’t are no longer in the picture. I think it’s awesome that you feel strong enough now to start doing it, but it’s okay if some days are easier than others.

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  9. So hard to be around people with little ones when you are going through this. Don’t feel bad you have found it so hard for the last few years, but also well done for finding the strength to get through that. People with children want their close friends to love their children and see their awesomeness. You might get something wonderful with some of your friends children by letting them in to your life. And you know what, it doesn’t hurt anymore by being around your friends with children. It hurts whatever right?! Xxx

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    • Thank you for sharing such an important perspective – our friends wanting us to be part of there children’s lives. Not having children, my opinion on this would be non-existent or at least not based in real life experience, but what you said sounds so true. And, I think this just adds to the reason of why we need to step up and start being better friends, because we are likely letting our friends down by not being involved.

      Thank you again. 🙂

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      • We are struggling with secondary issues, but I understand somewhat how hard it is to be around friends kids. As a parent though, I also know how much pressure and responsibility being a mother brings, and I love to watch our little one build lovely relationships with important people. I feel better knowing there are people who love her and whom she would feel safe and secure with should anything happen to us. We don’t have much family near by, and so our friends have become an important network for us in terms of support with raising little one. I guess it would really depend on the personalities and situations of your friends but I know that it would be hard for me if my close friends didn’t have strong feelings for my child. 🙂 xxxx

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  10. I wish I could be as strong as you… Maybe I’ll get there at some point, but I’m certainly not there yet. Cancelling our plans last weekend pretty much proved I’m not ready to be ‘the good’ friend everyone expects me to be 😦

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    • I don’t know that it really comes from strength or just time. Or maybe some combination of both?

      It’s been a few months since our last miscarriage was complete, so I think it’s just that I’m resurfacing and feeling more ready to join the real world again.

      That said, I got a phone call from a friend who had a baby a few weeks ago and I’m still putting off seeing her and meeting the baby. So, I’m still not ‘the goo’ friend, and I’m sure my strength will vary depending on the day.

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  11. Pingback: I Am More Then 1 in 6 | My Perfect Breakdown

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