Thursday, June 21, 2007

On rallying...

Right around the time I moved back up from DC, two of my housemates from college—B and C—and I found ourselves living within shouting distance of each other for the first time since college. It was serendipitous—none of us really thought we’d end up here, but here we are. And we get to see each other some much more often than before we all moved to the area, and it’s wonderful.

It’s funny, though. We all started in the same place—we met in college, we all studied abroad in different countries, we shared so many similar experiences and were in the same place for so long.

But, in the years since college, our lives have taken such wildly different turns. Most acutely in the past few years. C, who was the first among us to get married, is now in the midst of a divorce. B, who was always the straight-arrow of the group (wanted to go to Harvard Law, marry a rich man, have a house in the burbs, etc.) became a middle school teacher and married a stand-up comic and lives in a one-bedroom apartment in the city. (And is really happy with it—it’s been wonderful to watch her throw away her plans to truly follow her heart where it led.) And I, well I turned out to be the one to move to the ‘burbs with her hubby and her dog when I NEVER dreamed I’d do that. Ever.

But, despite the different directions our lives have taken, we’ve remained very close. In fact, in some ways, we’ve become even closer—we’ve learned to lean on each other in ways we’d never thought we’d need to.

I remember, after one particularly painful pregnancy announcement, confiding in C that I was just feeling really bad about it all—that I didn’t feel the pure joy you’re supposed to feel for a friend when she announces such wonderful news, and that I felt like a horrible person because of it. After the conversation, C sent me an email that simply said:

"But Oh! The blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearless on any subject, with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - have neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." - Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, "A Life for a Life", 1866

And I cried. Not because she understood what I was going through or feeling, per se, but because I knew that she was there for me, with no pity, no judgment, and no agenda.

But now I am worried. You see, I know that B and her husband went off birth control in November, and I’ve been really nervous about when she was going to announce their pregnancy. I know it’s selfish and horrible, but I really, really just wanted to be pregnant before she did. I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter, but because of everything we've been going through, I just knew it would be hard for me if she got pregnant first. And I just didn't want to deal with that kind of a fallout on our friendship.

But, B just sent an email to C and me that said:

Hey ladies? Does July 3rd, 5th or 6th work for a dinner in the city? I'm not sure if you are going away for the 4th or not. Anyway, let me know & hope all is well! B

And I’m terrified that she’s bringing us together for dinner to announce her good news. And I fucking HATE that IF could ever cloud such a wonderful and happy announcement. But I know myself well enough to know it will be hard to hear--if only at first.

And I know that I need to rally to be happy for her and not let my own struggles get in the way. If she is pregnant, it’s wonderful news. They will be wonderful parents, and I will be a happy aunt.

But I’m still scared of my reaction. And I’m scared of what kind of a strain it will put on our friendship if I feel the need to hide my feelings from her, when I never have had to do that before. But I also know that I can’t cloud her good news with my struggle. Not this time.

I don't mean to sound melodramatic. But in case I’m right, I need to prepare myself for the announcement so I can put on an especially brave face for her. She deserves it (and more). So, I need to rally!


Erin said...

You don't sound melodramatic! You sound like someone who wants to protect herself and there's nothing wrong with that! Is there anyway you can email B to ask her ahead of the dinner? If it is true, you can take some time before you see her to process your feelings and then be able to rally for the dinner. Just a thought. That way you might be able to avoid doing what I usually do, saying nothing but "Wow, that's so cool" over and over while slowly dying inside...

Now that last bit, THAT's melodrama! God, it's weird when you're typing away and see such sadness coming out of your (my) own fingers.

Loved your post about your husband - so sweet!! Mmm...soft serve. There is just not enough soft serve on the west coast!

Caro said...

I agree on needing to know beforehand maybe you could get C to ask B for you?

Ms. Planner said...

I totally agree with Erin and Caro. If B has even the slightest inkling about what you are going through then I don't think it is fair to pop out a surprise announcement in public.

Am not sure if you are still in the closet with these friends. Can you beg off the dinner until after your IVF cycle is over? You need as less stress as possible.

Or maybe come prepared to make a toast to your upcoming IVF cycle if and when B makes a pg announcement.

Or call and just ask her beforehand. It will take a lot of courage to make that call, but I would prefer to cry on the cute boy's shoulder at home rather than in the restroom of a restaurant.

Sorry for the assvice. You can and will be happy for her later. But these things are hard to deal with for sure. Go easy on yourself. Being sad for a time does not mean you are any less of a friend.

I totally know what you mean though. My 2nd girlfriend in our threesome from grad school will start TTC in July and I will spend the rest of the summer avoiding her because I am chicken sh*t.

Thinking of you.

Chris said...

It really isn't any fun being blindsighted by such announcements, and even less fun when you fear it is coming. I had one of those last fall. My SIL knew what we had been going through and the day before my second IUI she felt the timing was right to tell me she was pregnant with her 2nd. I was devastated, as I had really wanted to get pregnant with my first before she was pregnant with her second.

You have received some really good advice on how to head off your friend. Go for it, and good luck.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

You aren't being melodramatic at all. I think every woman who has been in our shoes feels nervous about pregnancy announcements from close friends or relatives. I know I brace myself on lots of occassions!

Dianne/Flutter said...

You are so not melodramatic, heck if you are I am. I just went thru this. My best friend started to conceive in July of last year and I knew it would be quick. I was right. She is due in 20 days.

And I am grateful that she told me that it was going to happen. So that I could prepare myself for the big announcement.

You will be fine. If you need to cry after the dinner out, do it. It is OK to be sad for yourself and happy for her. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Let yourself feel the feelings you feel, because hiding them from yourself will cause ulcers :).

But, I do think that you will be able to get thru the dinner. Actually, I know you will with emense grace.

Belly Laughs said...

I can totally relate. Every time I turn around another friend is PG. It is SO HARD. I would either email in advance (because I don't care for the phone much either, because you have to fake your excitement then too) and you could also be a little coy in the email "Ooohh, do we have something fun to discuss at dinner? Or do you just miss me?" I feel like you can learn alot about the emails people send you. My favorite is when pg friends ask me to go have a drink when I know full well that they will NOT be having my kind of drink!

Anyway, chin up. Breathe deeply and always have something in your back pocket to help get you through (a call from the hubby that the bathroom is leaking about 30 minutes into dinner and you just have to run home). Big hugs. It is so hard to have your friends move ahead and then say things like "Someday you'll see..."

tipsymarie said...

I love belly laugh's idea! That way you could find out in advance so you can prepare yourself. And, she may not even be pregnant. So either way, whatever the news, you can find out ahead of time and your lunch/dinner can be much more enjoyable.

And, that post about your husband was too sweet! You are a lucky lady!

Amy said...

I agree with belly laughs and tipsymarie -- try to feel her out if there is a big announcement. If she says yes, then you have to decide if your ready to hear it on the phone (have the lovey hubby standing by). But you aren't a drama queen to worry, you just want to be a good friend without hurting yourself. I think recruiting C is a good idea too. Maybe she can make the call to scope things out?

Take a deep breath and don't let eat you up! And don't let it interfere with your serenity while growing those great follies.

Amy said...

I hear you SB. :) There's no easy way to deal with these kinds of things. I'm assuming B knows about your IF? I'm hoping that if she does, that she'll understand your reaction. I'm hoping that if it is the news you are dreading, she'll be 'aware' of the impact the news will have on you, just like you'll be 'aware' of her feelings for her happiness also. This is what I've been trying to tell myself over and over again today regarding my friend that I blogged about earlier. Its so hard to remember that the world doesn't revolve around us and our IF issues, even though it really really should :)

megan said...

i didn't read any melodrama there. knowing beforehand is definitely a good idea. even if C has to tell B why she is trying to find out in advance...
no matter how you rally before the day arrives you may find that you're just having a heavy IF day that day and such a surprise might be really hard to take.
it's so hard and sad dealing with and trying to anticipate these announcements. take care of yourself and do what you need to do to enjoy the time with your friends.

CAM said...

I recently had a similar situation. I have a group of grade school friends and every time we get together one of them announces a pregnancy! They knew about my IF, but I canceled two times in a row just to avoid it. Finally, the last time we met I sent them an email beforehand. I just said that 'I cannot predict what my reactions will be to pregnancy news right now so please if anyone has news let me know before we go out' THEY WERE GREAT about it. Your friends seem like they are wonderful caring people, so asking her before is ok. Do it through email, she will understand. :)
We are all here for you and TOTALLY understand all of your emotions about this.

KarenO said...

You know what? You don't have to ask B what the announcement is, you are already expecting the most hurtfull situation for you: her being PG. So just go ahead and prepare yourself as good as you can, and no need to put up a brave face and mask.

They are great friends from what you said, and they love you and care about your feelings. So if you want to cry when B says she's PG, go ahead and cry! You'll look beautiful with a smile through the tears and then your friends will understand without you having to say anything.

It's not easy, and no amount of advice will make it easier for you. But you're a strong woman, and even though you might feel weak and vulnerable, you'll be OK. Thinking of you! :)

Becks said...

Your hubby sounds lucky thing!!

Most of us know about the dreaded feeling of a friends pregnancy announcement.

I had the rollercoaster of all rides recently with one of my closest friends, and the awful outcome for her made me think I don't ever want to be 'that' friend that distances herself again. Not sure I can do it for real, but I'm certainly going to try.

Its always better to get this kind of news over the phone or by email, so do all you can to protect yourself from a situation where you have to 'act' your way through it. Good luck.