Wednesday, June 09, 2004

the kindness of strangers

What is it about infertility that makes people who normally love and support you lose their shit? I've been shocked at the lack of response from my friends. Since we received the news last week, we've only told our families and a few close friends. Keyword: close. And while our families have been more or less great, the response from my friends has been, well, lacking.

I still haven't gotten a response to the emotional, panicked, honest e-mail that I sent to the woman who stood next to me as I said my wedding vows. At first I was hurt. Now I'm just angry. Is she really so busy that she doesn't have a spare moment to dash off even an "I'm so sorry. Don't have time to write right now, but am thinking of you." e-mail? Because that's all I want really.

It's hard enough being 2500 miles away from my friends and my family. Hard enough that I have no network of friends here. That on a good day, someone from my pilates class will strike up a conversation with me, but more often than not my husband is the only person I talk to for days at a time (if you don't count the cashiers at the grocery store). But now, my so called friends don't know what to say.

I know better than to act the part of the needy friend who can only talk about one thing that no one else has experienced, that makes everyone else feel uncomfortable. I know better than to obsess about this all with them. That's what this blog is for- to blow off steam so that I don't find myself in the position of boring people with my tales of woe, of this thing that consumes me. And it does consume me.

What strikes me most, though, is the kindness of complete strangers. I've been amazed at their warmth and support, their ability to offer kind words, their insistence that I write with questions or if I just need to vent.

Yesterday, I sent off six e-mails to various bloggers who write about motherhood, infertility, being a woman and asked them to link me to their sites. All but one wrote back to me, all but one linked me to her site. And the reason the sixth was so unresponsive was because my e-mail to her had been returned to me. Her address was no longer activated. Five complete strangers offered me some comfort and my own Maid of Honor is MIA!

Never mind the ridiculous number of thoughtful responses I got to the questions that I posted on the bulletin board at an infertility site yesterday. Women sharing their most personal stories, the factors influencing the hardest decisions they'll ever have to make. People I've never met, will never meet who were willing to reach out to me. It's quite amazing. Heartwarming even.

I do have to say, for honesty's sake, that the other woman who stood next to me at my wedding sent me an extremely kind e-mail in response to the one where I broke my bad news to her. And I thank her for it. I get to see her at our 10 year college reunion next week and I feel so lucky that she's the friend I'll be spending 4 nostalgic days with. If I had to face bridesmaid #1 right now, I'm sure I would be tempted to give her a swift kick in the ass.


Blogger Indigo Wolf said...

That's horrible! i knew it might be akward for friends when I told them about DH's HIV but I was suprised by how suportive my friends were. But I think when you tell people things like this they don't know how to react appropriately. It's kind of like when someone's loved on dies. What do you say to them? Sorry just doesn't quite cut it. But I do know what you mean. What are your close friends afraid of? They ought to know you well enough.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Monique said...

In my many years of infertility, I have yet to receive any type of "supportive" response from anyone in my family or from my friends. Most of my former friends acted as though my infertility was contagious and simply drifted off from speaking to me. I once blamed everything on the distance between me and them, but in this day of technology, there is no excuse for reaching out to someone in need.

What pisses me off even more is that when one of them found herself going through the same ordeal, my mailbox suddenly filled up with her emails. It took a lot for me to reply but I eventually did.

The greatest amount of support I have received have been from the amazing women online. After 8 years of feeling like I was damaged goods, they took me in and showed me I was not alone. The least I can do is give that back to others.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Scarlett Cyn said...

Oh Chica,

I know JUST how you feel. I was saying the very same thing the other day... and feeling like crap too. Well, now that I've found you.. I'll be here for you.

Adios Muchacha!

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am hoping you will share your story.
kindness for kid

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed your blog had something to do with Pilates. We've been thinking about adding a Pilates program to our Karate School as an alternative aerobic activity. I really enjoyed the info on your site.

8:10 PM  
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