Sunday, March 7, 2010

You can be my stake in the ground

One of the most difficult and confusing aspects of my journey through RPL has been my friendships with women. I have a long history of difficulty negotiating the complex world of friendships. I've always been a solitary person, only rarely coming across someone I wanted to expose my innermost self to. In elementary school, I would stick close to one friend or find something on the playground that interested me more than the superficiality of acquaintances. Throughout junior high, high school, and college, I often had only one serious friend at a time. If that friend moved away, I would take lots of time to heal before opening up to a new one.

The complexities of RPL invade every aspect of your life. One aspect that is unavoidable is that once you reach a certain age and have been married for a time, everyone in your inner circle of friends starts having children. As a member of this unwelcome society, I was getting pregnant and losing babies faster than my friends were starting their families. Eventually, though, they caught up. Then they passed me. I have one living son while my friends are on their second and third children. Have you ever experienced sitting at a stop light and once the light turned from red to green, everyone took off down the road while you were left sitting in your stalled car not going anywhere? It's like that. I'm stomping on the gas pedal, yelling out the window for them to wait up, wanting so badly to move forward and get where they are going, but being trapped inside a broken car.

I feel left out in this game we call "building our families." I've been pregnant more times than 99% of the people I know, and yet I've gotten the raw end of the deal. The short stick. The low card. The bad egg. Even before I had miscarriages, making friends was hard. Now, it feels impossible. Earlier in my journey, I thought I couldn't be friends with someone who hadn't had a loss. I thought we wouldn't be able to relate to one another. I realize now that isn't true. I've made connections with women who don't have children of their own, and I've been turned off by women who have had similar losses to my own. So, thankfully, that simple explanation doesn't explain it. I think it's that I have always valued depth in a relationship. I value those who can go deep with their emotions, who can bear witness to seeing mine, however painful. We are inherently social creatures. It's in our biology to connect. I have to go way beneath the surface with someone to connect with them. If someone can't tolerate those depths with me, I move on. I go far away, and it would take a lot for me to return.

I don't impose my pain on to people who don't want it. I am selective about how I share my journey. I am aware that my journey is hard for others to understand and they don't know what to say. It's never my intention to burden someone with something they can't handle or don't want to be a part of. I will let you off the hook. I am not Humpty Dumpty. You are not here to pick up my pieces to put me back together again. I am a willow tree. I will bend. I will not break. If the wind gets very strong, and you can handle it, you can be a stake that braces me in the wind. And, together, we will weather the storm.


Christa said...

Cynthia, oh how I wish we lived in the same city. I'm sure we'd be instant friends. I am amazed at how much we think and feel alike. It's not very often that I run into someone who goes as deeply as I do. Not only do you speak from your heart, your style of writing is breathtaking. I find myself in awe of your talent. I always read your posts nodding in agreement to your every thought. It's such an amazing feeling to read that someone else "gets it".

I'm sorry you're feeling left behind everyone these days. I know exactly what you mean though. Our friends are whizzing past us, and we can't get our damn engines running. It's completely frustrating. As for making friends, I hear you. I have a tough time trusting women with my deepest emotions about my losses. I've still only really been able to share my surface thoughts with most. Thank goodness I have my blog friends, otherwise I think I would explode. It's the only place I can tell the real truth.

I wish there was something I could say to make things easier, but we both know I can't. So I'm sending you a (HUG) and my support. Keep your chin up, you are a phenomenal woman and I am so glad I have met you. Your support is always deeply appreciated. Take care.

Anonymous said...


I am part of a new community where I was (and am) hoping to make friends. I am friendly and active in various activities, but what you are talking about is more intimate than I've yet to find here. I didn't anticipate my second pregnancy and miscarriage to happen so quickly but here it is - interfering with my friend-making/community plan.

My dear friends have all moved away from my city because I live in a place where people come and go and also because my closest friends are still my college friends and we graduated 20 years ago now. It's so hard to replace them. We stay in touch by phone and visit over the years of course and it certainly helps. But I miss the type of closeness you are talking about.

It seems from the couple of women I've either talked to or read from that even those with friends experience a big bump in the road when it comes to pregnancy loss and infertility.

Thanks for putting words to the experience. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog.

Anonymous said...

All the friends who have written us off because we can't participate in play dates and relate to endless conversations about diapers and daycare, pediatricians and tricycles... I understand completely. And the fellow infertility friends we make sometimes "graduate" to parenthood, leaving another gaping hole where friends used to be. Sometimes I think only family can possibly be relied upon. Even then, how can I bear to add to their pain, and how can I stand to hear about every cousin with a baby?

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