Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Letter to My Non-IF Friends

Dear Friends,

Recently, after a long, emotional and much needed conversation with my sister, I realized that I owe many of you an apology. I may have made some of you feel unappreciated. I am sorry if in my comments about "things to say or not to say to infertiles" I offended any of you. As much as hearing things like "just relax", "I know it will happen", "give it to God", or "God has a plan", make me cringe, it is not right to disregard those words of advice or encouragement from you. I should never get upset, or annoyed over it; or at you. I think deep down I envy you. I envy the ability you have to remain hopeful and optimistic.

It is natural, I think, for people to try to encourage others in times of despair. I think there are "defaults" we tend to use as well when we don't really know what to say. I know that I am guilty of telling someone who is in a difficult place that "things will be okay", and I know now that those words may have really pissed them off, but I had to remain positive for them. I can't say that I knew one way or the other how things would turn out, but I felt like I had to show them that I cared, and that I held onto the hope that they were lacking. Maybe when you say those things to me you are also helping yourself believe. I know that our journey is painful for you too. You love us. You want us to achieve our dream. You want us to be parents. So, to trivialize your words of encouragement is unfair of me because I know you are grieving as well.

Many of you, like my sister, who have not been where I am, who may not know exactly what we are going through, say those things to reach out and to show support. I am wrong for ever making you feel that it is not appreciated. I don't want you to be scared to encourage me, or afraid to keep me positive. I need you to keep me positive. We all know that I have days when I am anything but optimistic, and it is comforting to know that you are willing to stay hopeful for me. For us.

I don't want to push you away. I want you to be involved in our journey and I want you to remain as positive as ever. I need you to, because this journey will, at times, rip all the positive attitude I have away in an instant; but you can keep me going.

Jody Earle wrote a letter to her friends and I think it is so eloquently written. She helps explain the feelings that infertiles face, she explains what we need from you, and reasons why we need you. I don't want our relationship to be based on a script, but I thought that the letter might help you to understand why some things hurt to hear more than others. Maybe this letter can help you understand better than I can.

I love you all. I want you to be able to support me, to talk to me, and to ask me questions without fear. I promise to cherish your words and appreciate your concern from here on out.

Thank you. 
Teresa


24 comments:

  1. You are so right! Sometimes I find myself feeling sensitve and defensive about things people who have never gone through infertility say to encourage me. I always try to remind myself that we all have our own battles and like you, I know
    I've been guilty of saying the wrong thing to a friend who is suffering. I always try to focus on the energy behind the words. People almost always mean well and are trying to think of the right thing to say to encourage you. Maybe the right words don't come, but the helpful, loving energy is there.

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    1. Thanks. I agree that the energy behind thwe words are what matter. I am happy that I can be more aware of that now.

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  2. Our friends and family are only trying to be supportive and it's the only way they know how, when they tell us things like "just relax." Even though those platitudes aren't very comforting in and of themselves, we can take comfort in the fact they are said with love for us. Did you send this letter out to the people in your life, or just for the ones reading your blog? Lotsa love from me :)

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    1. I did not send it out other than in this post. Most of the people IRL do read my blog. (I think) ;-)
      I apprecaite that they all want to help, and I understand that they are in a difficult place too, just not the place we are in. HUGS!

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  3. That's a great post! I agree! I never really thought of it that way, but it's so true.

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    1. I am happy that my sister and I have such a open relationship that we can talk and cry our way though things. (I do the crying).

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  4. Teresa,

    Thank you for sharing that letter. What a very well-written letter.

    It seems almost impossible to go through IF treatments and not become jaded. The frustration and disappointment of your dreams not coming true....yet. The frustration of the cost and stress of IF treatments and putting your life on hold to try to make this dream become a reality. It becomes frustrating when we see other women and couples taking the ability to get pregnant for granted. They don't mean to, but it just happens. I know I take for granted the nice house I live in, the awesome job I have with paid-in-full health insurance. I take friendships for granted, I take my family for granted. I don't mean to, but it happens.

    I do believe in the power of positive thinking!! It's amazing how our life can change when we start looking at the positives instead of the negatives. So much easier said than done. I find it empowering to find various quotes online that lift me when doubt and negativity overcomes me. I"ll be the first to admit that I've been jaded...not so much by my IF process, but by all of my miscarriages. There are days when I am angry at the world. I just try to make it my goal to have more positive days than negative.

    Thinking of you!

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    1. IF is such a battle. I think I get so wrapped up in what I am going through that I lash out at the ones just trying to help. Like I said, I dont want a script, but I would love it if they understood why certain words hurt. Thanks fo reading and commenting, Ann!

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  5. All of her sisters read her blog (well, the important ones anyway, haha). We appreciate the understanding. :)

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    1. And I am so grateful that they do. Thanks again for the chat, and for helping me see what you guys go though. Love ya! I promise to use SPF this year!

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  6. This is great, and I am off to read the other letter too. Its tough to understand having never been there, but my best friend has now been trying almost two years without success to get pregnant, and I fear she is about to face all of the same struggles you are. I often am at a loss for words at what to say to her. I appreciate you helping those of us out that really just do not know what to say.

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    1. Hi Lynsey! Thanks for coming by! The other letter Jody wrote was amazing- nothing I write could ever compare! I think that it is just as important to help people who do suffer from IF understand the emotions we face. The best gift you can give your friends suffering with IF is to be educated. That is the only advice I have for those supporting us.
      Thanks for the blg hop!

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  7. Thanks for putting this out there. I've always wondered how to best support my friends who struggle with infertility...

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    1. Hi Lynette! The best way to support friends with IF is to be educated. We love that! ;-) Thanks for coming by and reading my letter. I hope to see you again! ;-)

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  8. Love this Teresa. I have been guilty of this many times, lashing out at people for what not to say, and then a few days later I go back and the guilt sets in. This sums it up perfectly.

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    1. I love that my sister can open my eyes. I felt so bad, but so clear after that phone call.

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  9. I've thought about this a lot lately. The truth is, no one can say the right thing to me, because nothing makes me feel better. The most well-meaning people can say the sweetest, most encouraging and optimistic things to me, and I still feel pain. It's kind of an impossible position to put them in. I also know most of them mean well, and they're trying to show they care. It was thoughtful of you to post this for your friends :)

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    1. I hear that! There have been many times that I didnt want to hear anything, because NOTHING made me feel better. I just didn't and sometimes don't want to hear it! I think we are free to feel that way when we need to. I just need to remember that my IF is not their fault and sometimes I feel like I hate them for not having IF. That is not fair. Hugs to you!!

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  10. I'm so sorry you are going through such a rough spot. Infertility/miscarriage/whatnot is so incredibly personal and difficult. I wish you the very best of luck and health. May all your dreams come true!

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  11. Thank you for this- I cried reading it! I have been so awful to people who have tried, in their own way, to be supportive, and I've only just realized how much damage I've done. I so appreciate your words- they make me feel less alone. Hugs...

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    1. You should have seen me after the phone call with my sis! I was bawling. I felt horrible that I made my supporters feel unwanted. I am glad that I was made aware of how non IFers feel. Thanks for reading it and commenting!

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