Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dilemma

When S and I were undergoing fertility treatment, we didn't tell anyone. No family or friends knew that we were trying to conceive, much less that we were having problems. We kept it to ourselves, mainly because we didn't want to deal with unhelpful comments and constant questions. Once we were pregnant and past the first trimester, we were not shy about letting people know a bit about what it took for us to get here. So, many of our friends know now how hard it was for us to get pregnant. But, not all of them know, because we weren't ramming it down people's throats; we just mentioned it when it seemed appropriate in a conversation, which doesn't always happen.

Among our local group of friends, we were one of the last married couples to get pregnant or have kids. (To be fair, however, we're also one of the youngest couples.) Two remaining couples are pregnant right now as well. That leaves just one couple in our immediate circle, T and H, who are not pregnant and don't have kids. They've been married for a few years. When they were first engaged, H mentioned to me that she wanted to have kids fairly early in their marriage, because she was worried about her age (mid-late 30s). She hasn't said anything since then about having kids.

Early in my pregnancy, S and I went out with T and H fairly often. Lately, however, we haven't seen them much at all. They're never free when we ask them to go out with us, and H hasn't been at most of the large group functions that we've attended lately. The one event she showed up to, last weekend, she was never within shouting distance of most of the women there, including me. This week, S heard through the grapevine (T told a friend who told a coworker who told S) that T and H were trying to conceive and were having trouble. I suspect that they've been avoiding us because it's difficult for them to be around me while pregnant, and that H has been avoiding events where she'll be "exposed" to a lot of pregnancy and children. Totally understandable.

I'm fairly certain that T and H don't know that S and I also had trouble conceiving. I don't remember it ever coming up around them. I remember feeling pretty lonely and isolated when I was undergoing treatment, because I didn't know anyone else who had any trouble at all conceiving. (Every single other couple in our circle got pregnant within 7 months of trying.) I feel like maybe I should say something to H, to let her know that I know what she's going through, and she can talk to me if she wants to, without fear of the ignorant comments she might get from someone who doesn't understand.

There are problems, though. First, she hasn't "announced" that they're trying, so it might be awkward to let her know that I know. Second, I'm not sure that I DO know -- we heard about it so indirectly that the information might just be wrong, and they're not trying at all. Third, the fact that I'm pregnant might make me a less than ideal person to offer her comfort right now. And fourth, given that I don't actually know what their situation really is, I can't be sure of how much help I'll actually be. Offering myself as an understanding sounding board based on past experience, only to discover that she's been through surgeries or multiple rounds of IVF while I "only" had to endure a few months of Clomid and IUIs, might make things worse.

So, what do I do? Mind my own business, or try to offer assistance? My favorite option is to try to casually bring up our fertility treatments when H is around, then leave it up to her whether she wants to open up to me. But given that she seems to be avoiding me these days, I'm not likely to have the chance. Any thoughts?

3 comments:

Jen said...

Personally, I think the mind your own business approach is best given that you don't know the whole situation and are only too aware how hard it can be to take support from a preggo when you're still in the middle of trying. That said, if you do find a convenient opportunity to mention your own troubles in conversation, then do so. That way it is up to her as to whether she wants to consult you. Overall, I'd say you are being very sensitive to the situation which is the most you can do sometimes.

Mel said...

That's such a hard call... I had several people around us start to suspect what was going on and they would flat out just ask what was up and that felt so invasive.
I would probably just take the most casual approach possible. If you see her and there is a comfortable way to include it in passing conversation, there you go. Because even if she is going through it herself, she may still not want to talk to you about it, you know? It's just so personal for each person, some want a lot of support and others just want to be alone.
I wish you luck on this one!!

Happy Not-So-Newlywed said...

I agree with Jen and Mel- try to casually bring up the fact that you guys had trouble and see if she responds. I think that no matter what treatments an infertile person uses- the pain is the same for everyone, so even though you "only" did clomid/IUI- having someone understand her pain might be just what she needs.

Keep your ears open for an appropriate moment.