Monday, July 11, 2011

What to do?

I had Liam's 9 month letter prepped and ready to post today (yes, it's over 2 weeks late) but I felt the need to post this instead.

About six weeks ago, I wrote this post, about needing to tell a good friend of mine that I was pregnant with Baby #2. She's been struggling with infertility since before we started TTC. It was hard to tell her I was pregnant with Liam. It was even more difficult to tell her about this baby. I've now had two pregnancies before she's had one. And I can't imagine how difficult that is for her.

This is a friend who I consider to be very close (sorority sister, college roommate, bridesmaid) but not someone that I keep in touch with as often as I’d like—especially over the past several years. I really didn't want to tell her at all, but I didn't want keeping the secret to damage our friendship either, so I decided to keep it short and sweet. I sent this email at the beginning of June:

Hi Hon,

I feel like it’s been ages since we've talked!! Our schedules seem to be opposite and we're always playing phone tag. I hope that things are great in XX and that you get to spend some time at the beach when you travel to XXX with XX. We're going down to a friend's beach house in Panama City over the 4th of July and I can't wait!

We're doing well-- It's really hot here already. I read the other day that it's about 15 degrees hotter than the average for this time of year. Luckily, my parents' neighborhood has a pool & I think we'll be living in it this summer! They're doing great and really enjoying keeping Liam on Tues & Thurs while I work part time. It's a great schedule-- I get a break and get to get out of the house and make a little money, but we aren't paying for childcare and Liam gets to spend time with his grandparents. It's worked out awesome.

Now for the news... I'm pregnant.

As you know, we struggled to get pregnant with Liam and were so happy to finally be successful with the help of our fertility specialist. This baby was a complete surprise. Since we had so much trouble having Liam, we really figured we'd struggle again-- we were not trying to get pregnant, but we were not taking any precautions against it either. Rob's sister Barbara, who delivered Jack about a week before I had Liam, called me one day to tell me that (surprise!) she was pregnant. After we got off the phone, I just had this nagging feeling that I should take a test, based on some of the symptoms she mentioned. I pushed it out of my mind for a few hours, but later, took a test and it was positive. (Sadly, Barbara found out at 14 weeks that the baby had stopped growing around 8 weeks. It's been very hard on her and hard on us.)

Hon, when we were trying to get pregnant with Liam, it just about killed me every time someone announced that they were pregnant. While I couldn't wait to share this news with you, I also know that you guys have been trying to start your family for some time now. We haven't talked in a while & I would love to hear about where you guys are and if you've made any decisions about potentially seeing a fertility specialist? It was a really hard step for Rob and I to take, but it was ultimately, what brought us Liam.

I miss you and think about you often! I'm sorry we're not in touch more, but I would love to hear all about what's going on with you guys.

I love you!


I waited. And waited. And waited. I never got a response. I thought, “Maybe she just needs some time to process this and she’ll respond later.”

But a response never came.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot. Saturday morning (over a month later), I sent her a text and said, “Not sure if you got my email and a month or so ago, but I’ve been thinking about you a lot.”

No response. 

I asked Rob what he thought I should do & he thought I should just pick up the phone and call her. So, I did. After I put Liam down for a nap today, with shaky hands, I called her. It rang once, then I was forwarded to voicemail.

It was hard not to cry as I left her a message… “Hey honey, it’s Stef. I’ve tried to get in touch with you a few times over the past month or so, but haven’t been able to reach you—I’m a little worried. If you can, please let me know you’re ok. I love you.”

I realize, as I write this, that I’m being selfish in my need for a response from her. I want her to tell me it’s ok & maybe I want to hear that she forgives me. But maybe it’s not ok. Maybe my pregnancy announcement is the one that finally broke her fragile heart—and as much as I want to make things ok, I can’t. I can't change our circumstances. Perhaps my repeated attempts to make contact are hurting her more and pushing her further away.

I don’t know.

Please help, friends. Do I just stop? Is there something else I can do? I want our friendship to continue…but more importantly, I don’t want to hurt her.  I'm afraid that I already have.


  1. That's really hard and she is probably hurting right now but IMO, she is being a bad friend by ignoring you. We all have our struggles and need to be able to put those aside when it's time for our friends to have their moment. I thought your email was well written and I don't think you cross any boundaries. It's tough but the ball is on her court now.

  2. I feel like you have done just what you should have up to this point. I don't feel like you are being selfish by asking her to check in with you, (regardless of whether she gives you a reaction to your pregnancy news or not - just to let you know what she is OK at this point!) I'd say, now, to just stop and give it some time. Like Kristin said, the ball is in her court and if she is hurting and needs more time, then the best thing you can do is to give it to her. She needs to be the one to make the next move. Hopefully you will hear from her soon and you guys can move on from there. Don't beat yourself up...sounds like you've done all you can to be the most thoughtful friend possible in the situation.

  3. You're not a bad friend, you're a great friend. You have shown her tremendous compassion and sympathy because you have been--at least a little bit--in her shoes and you can relate. I think that comes through in all your messages.

    She might be furious at you and know that's not fair. She might be furious at the world. She might be sick of being happy for other people. She might be really busy at work. She might be pregnant herself, crazy anxious about it, and not able to tell anyone yet. We don't know what she's thinking or feeling right now.

    But you've done your best to reach out to her, to let her know you care and that you're willing to be there for her. Now it's her turn. Eventually, she'll come around. It took me about a month to talk to my friend last spring who sprung the broke-the-camel's-back pregnancy announcement to me. And when I did, it was by sending her a congratulations card and gift in which I let her know that I was happy for her but sad for me and needed some space. She might be sending you the same message with her silence.

    It's hard to just wait and be, but sometimes that's all we can do.

  4. i'm soo sorry you are going through this. it is hard to read minds and to know exactly what is going on in hers. time might heal this though. :(

  5. This is a hard situation. I imagine you're friend is having a really, really difficult time dealing with it. Of course it's not your fault and you shouldn't feel guilty but I think you might need to extend your understanding and compassion to her and let her do what she needs to do for herself right now. I would send another email that is all about this situation and not about anything else. I would tell her you've tried to get a hold of her a few times and make clear your assumptions that she doesn't want to reach out in return because it's too difficult. Tell her that you are thinking of her and there for her but that you don't want to put pressure on her or make her feel bad, so you're going to step back and give her space to make the next move. Tell her you'll check in again in a few months if you still haven't heard from her because you love her and want to make sure she's okay. Make sure she knows that whatever she feels comfortable doing is okay with you and that you'll be there for her no matter what she's capable of now.

    I personally think that it is asking a lot of her to respond to you right now. She has been trying longer than you and now you've had two pregnancies and she's had none. That is really, really hard (as you seem to realize). I don't think I could handle that if I were her. Honestly, I don't. I would know I was being a "bad" friend but it wouldn't matter. Being in the throes of IF is like being in survival mode. You have to do what you have to do.

    Anyway, that is what I would do. I hope I'm not over stepping bounds; you asked for advice and I'm giving it to you. Of course you should do whatever feels best for you.

  6. Oh, Stef. That is so hard. I think you've done everything in your power to be compassionate and sensitive to how much pain your friend must be in—not because of YOU, but because of what she wants so badly. Now that you have left her a vmail, I would just let her be the one to come around. She seems to need the space and you have def let her know you are there for her, so it may just take some time for her to feel okay reaching out to you. xoxo

  7. I think you have done everything right, but she just might need some time. If I was her it would be really hard for me. Just being honest. I had a friend who got pregnant twice before we got pregnant once and even though I never ignored her phone calls, etc, it still has a struggle. She never struggled though and each pregnancy was a "we did it one time and LOOK!" kinda thing so it was different. As hard as it is I think I would just give her time.

  8. Stef - you were not flaunting your pregnancy. You were just telling your friend your good news. A true friend would be happy for you and congratulate you. They would realize that your news is about YOU, not THEM. Also, if they have been trying to conceive for a long time and are intelligent, then they know all the reasons they can't conceive scientifically. It's not's physical and not their fault.

    Three strikes, you're out is my rule. If I contact a friend three different times, three different ways and they don't contact me back, then there is nothing more I can do. It hurts but a true friend will eventually contact you. It is sad but you deserve support and happiness, not to be SCARED and SHAKING when you call a friend.

  9. Oh Stef, such an awful situation. I wish your friend had felt able to return your advances.

    I agree with Esperanza that it might be a good idea to contact her one more time (via text or email) just to say that you understand she must not feel able to communicate with you at the moment but that you will be available to her when she does feel able to get in touch. It would need to be done so that she was clear that you weren't seeking a response. You don't want to risk increasing the distance between you by making her feel pressured or hounded (not that I think you're doing that, but that may be how she feels).

    Still, you have tried three times and if you choose not to contact her again I think that's perfectly reasonable. She's sent you a pretty clear message that she doesn't want to talk right now.

    I hope you hear from her soon.