My husband is very good friends with a guy he's know five or six years. He was a groomsman in our wedding. It's a valuable friendship to him and one I totally respect. I am friendly with this guy's wife (I will call her B), and they are one of the only two married couple friends we have. Most of my close girlfriends are still single. And since we've struggled with IF, I've noticed that I tend to shy away from other married couples that have young kids or may have kids at some point. I guess not much explanation is needed behind that.
This particular couple is several years older than us and do not have kids. B had some medical issues and her husband was not inclined to want kids, so they decided when they got engaged that they would be childless. Well, we all know what happens when The Clock starts ticking. B approached 35 and decided she wanted kids. She explained all of this in an email to me several months ago. When I received the email from her I had just failed my first or second cycle, I forget which. She didn't know anything about what we were going through, so I couldn't be upset with her, but I was. I was terribly upset. How dare she let me think they were 'safe' for us to be friends with?! How dare she have the audacity to want to get pregnant when I can't?! These are the crazy things that go through one's mind when you feel so inadequate, empty, angry, hurt and confused with life.
My husband, being the good friend that he is, took her husband aside to explain to him a little bit about what we were going through and asked they be sensitive to that in the subject of their own TTC news. Months went by and I didn't think about this other couple's TTC too much, as I was pretty wrapped up in my own events, but I was always reminded every time we were around them. Reminded of the fact that someday soon, she could be pregnant and I wouldn't be. And the knowledge of that brought on a jealousy so intense I could hardly stand to be around B.
The other day I read B's blog, and it in she mentioned one little acronym that I know oh so well - TTC. That's right, B and her husband are officially Trying. Before, she mentioned she was thinking about a baby. Now it is official.
B's husband is one of my husband's best friends. I would feel so terrible if I ever got in the way of that. If I could hardly stand to be around her knowing she was just thinking about having a baby, how will I ever make it when she is pregnant? How will I hold my smile through the pregnancy announcement, all the pregnancy talk, the baby shower. And then when she has the baby? We all know how women are. If she feels mistreated and has hurt feelings b/c of the way I treat her, her husband will hear about it, my husband will hear about it, and then my husband is in the middle, trying to figure out how to deal w/ a crazy jealous wife and a best friend that he feels awkward around, all b/c of me.
After reading B's blog and feeling the jealousy, dread, anger and hurt consume me, I just went home from work and sobbed. I sobbed b/c I've never felt so ashamed for my reaction to her news; I sobbed b/c I will never, ever experience the pure thrill of TTC, and neither will my husband; I sobbed b/c of the sheer sadness and devastation I felt as the Outsider; I sobbed knowing this will not be the last friend I will watch experience the excitement of TTC and the joy of pregnancy and motherhood, while I pray to God night after night to just give us another chance.
I'm reading Joel Osteen's "Your Best Life Now" (did he steal that phrase from Oprah or is it the other way around?), and there's a chapter in his book that talks about kindness. He says we cannot expect blessings in our lives without being kind, without being a blessing ourselves. In other words, if we want to be blessed, we need to be a blessing. I thought about the way I've treated B, which hasn't exactly been as a 'blessing.' There have been many times where I have flat out avoided and ignored her b/c I thought I was sparing myself from pain that way. But it's actually been the opposite. It's caused me more pain to handle her that way.
Ironically, I received an invitation from her to hang out that very same day I read her blog with her TTC news; the very same day I sobbed in my bathroom over it. I asked God that night to help me understand what He was trying to tell me. I knew He was trying to move me to do something, to change something, but I didn't understand what, until I read Osteen's chapter again on being a blessing.
So the next day I accepted B's invitation. I wanted to start trying harder at being a blessing instead of always looking for my own blessings. And I survived it. We didn't talk about her TTC or my TTC, even though I am sure it was in the back of her mind as well as mine, but I realized that I am stronger than I give myself credit for sometimes. If I can hang out with B after feeling that low, I can brave those pregnancy announcements and baby showers. And I felt better about myself b/c I felt like I was truly doing the right thing. It's hard to feel bad about yourself when you know you are being a blessing to someone else. I know how happy she was to have my undevoted attention for a whole hour. I know she needed someone to talk to about her issues with her mother-in-law and her struggles to lose weight. She needed a friend, and last night I was that friend. I put all selfishness aside, and I felt better about myself b/c of it.
I won't be false and say I am forever changed by this one experience. I know there will be times when I will be selfish again. And it will hurt me and someone else. But this showed me that doing the right thing, even when it's not what we want to do, is always rewarding in some way. For so long I've strived for that ultimate reward, but until God decides it's my time, I will have to look for the subtler rewards. That's where my Purpose can be found. But that's a whole other blog...