Fertility Network UK
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Insensitivity never ceases to amaze!

Hi everyone - firstly wishing you all so many peaceful and positive things for the new year 💕

Need a bit of a rant today about insensitive comments. Sorry in advance for moaning but I hope it’s ok to share. My 5 month pregnant close friend, age 43, never wanted children until recently deciding to ‘have a go and see what happens’ (and bingo!) and fully knows my entire journey of failed ivf cycles, miscarriage and ensuing stress and sadness:

1. shows me scan photos when she tells me her news (she asked if I wanted to see them, but with an excited smile, how could I say no?)

2. When I texted that I need a little time to myself as it’s a bit too painful to be around pregnancies and babies just now she said she’d ‘cover her baby bump with lots of layers’ so I couldn’t see it and kept mentioning meeting up (I know we miss each other but pressuring me isn’t helping).

3. By way of background for this comment - I’m prone to colds and sinusitis and a doc once told me it’s because I have narrow tubes, which I’ve laughed about with my friend. However, I sent an honest message after she told me she was pregnant which said I was so pleased for her but explained (again!) my sadness over my infertility, miscarriage etc and said I feel like Mother Nature must be punishing me and she joked ‘it’ll be your narrow tubes.’ I still can’t actually believe she thought it ok to make any kind of joke about my inability to get pregnant...

4. She messaged me saying ‘please try not to be upset about the (her) baby.’ I had to send a lengthy message back explaining how I spend all day, every day ‘trying not to be upset’ in general about babies, pregnancies, infertility, my miscarriage... she’s seen my devastation in the past, I’m obviously in a constant battle against being upset and she knows I see a fertility counsellor! As if I have any choice in being upset anyway, my emotions are not in my control - if all any of us had to do was ‘try not to’ be upset and we simply wouldn’t be, ivf would be quite a different experience!

*Sigh* I know she doesn’t mean to hurt me, but I’m realising that unfortunately she’s not at all tactful or understanding and I don’t need that at the moment, so am having to avoid seeing her. Other people who know a lot less about my journey than she does manage to be sensitive, so she’s no excuse really. I just want to be around people who don’t make me feel worse than I already do.. thanks for listening folks 💕 xx

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Don't apologise for moaning, we all need a place to vent where others completely understand.

First I'll play devil's advocate and suggest that it's possible she is being this insensitive because she is so giddy with excitement of being pregnant that she really doesn't realise how insensitive she is being.

That said, it does not at all excuse it. You have every right to feel the way you feel. This journey is so hard and the person you have confided in most should, if not understand it, at least respect it and be considerate. I'm sorry for all of the things she has said and done recently. I hope she realises her mistakes and gives you the time you need. And just to reassert, you are not being punished for anything, it's just a sucky sucky experience.

Sending you a big hug xx

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Thanks jaqui, I think as you say she is just giddy and wrapped up in herself a bit at the moment, hopefully she’ll understand in time but as she’s never wanted a baby before I think she perhaps just doesn’t appreciate the emotional weight behind all our years of struggling.. it’s great to be able to let off steam on here :-) xx

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You’ve said exactly what I was going to say- having never longed for a baby she has no idea of the emotional weight you’re carrying. But I think you might find she “gets it” more once she has the baby and realises the depth of what us infertile ladies are missing. That’s certainly happened to some of my friends, they’ve become way more sensitive after becoming Mums.

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Yes one of my friends who is a mum to two teens said the same thing - when my pregnant friend has the baby it might make her realise and appreciate the emotions behind it all more (unfortunately hasn’t happened with my bro in law who just had a baby and who is similarly insensitive but I’ve taken to avoiding his whatsapp posts !) It’s all about managing our emotions isn’t it and finding a balance between what we can and can’t face.. xxx

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The “mute conversation” button is a useful one on WhatsApp if you haven’t found it yet... means you can hold off and look at messages when you feel strong enough rather than having them pop up and take you unawares xx

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Ooh really??!! Brilliant, that sounds just what I need, I’ll check that out... thank you!!! Xxx

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Sorry to hear your friend is letting you down like this . It sounds like her personal excitement is overtaking her ability to be sensitive or empathetic. Sadly I think people can just be a bit selfish I’m sure it’s in no way to upset you and that in time she will see sense. I also very much struggle with pregnant people but find that I’m a bit better once the baby becomes a wee person of its own and the friend is pregnant no longer. There’s no logic to infertility feelings and just as we didn’t choose to hacecfertility problems we don’t choose how it makes us feel. We just need to look after ourselves to keep sane and if that means avoiding bumps and pregnancy chat then so be it! Even if your friend objects to your feelings, I think she will agree on the fact that we are in the worse position so best just to let us be! Hope you two can get back on track and in the meantime find people who will give you the support you need xx

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Thanks for your kind words! For me I can stay relatively cheerful if I can put other pregnancies and babies in a box that I only have to visit occasionally, it’s been hard as this is the first pregnancy that’s nearby (others have lived elsewhere) but I’ve had to take a step back from her and accept that if this is one friendship that doesn’t survive ivf then so be it unfortunately. I’m always ‘worse case scenario’ though, so who knows, maybe we’ll see eye to eye eventually and things will sort themselves out. I’ve struggled with it so much for a couple of months now (even started paying to see a private counsellor) that I think avoidance is the only option for now :-/ xxx

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It’s so hard isn’t it? I have been quite blunt to friends and told them I found it too hard to be in touch with them but wished them all the very best with their pregnancy. I felt terribly guilty at first but have learnt not to. I just met up with one friend who I hadn’t seen since she told me she was pregnant, her little boy is one in February. Good friends will understand. It might be worth sending the Fertility UK friends and family sheet. I did this with a friend after I had one too insensitive text too many from her (about what a wonderful christening she’d had for her daughter) and it enabled her to support me and strengthen our friendship. I can find it for you if you like. Other than that I would just be really, really kind to yourself and look after you and your husband and let off steam on here when you need to rant! Xxx

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Hey 7AVA! Yes I got to the point, eventually, of having to be really honest and just said to her it was too painful for me just now to be around baby bumps etc as I’m trying to focus and stay positive about an upcoming donor egg cycle and the reminder of my past loss and agony is too difficult.. i talked to our other mutual friend who agreed that even after my lengthy, open explanations to our pregnant friend she still doesn’t really “get it”, and teaming this with her insensitive comments makes me even less want to see her, I don’t want to spend time with someone who can’t grasp my need for space after my grief and sadness. I’ve said it’s nothing personal at all, just a tricky situation but I think she’s annoyed with me now/offended. I want to say, for goodness sake, you have no issues apart from missing our get-togethers a bit just now, whereas I not only miss our get-togethers, have lost a friend who I previously could confide in with all my ivf rants but am also sad for a hundred other horrid reasons! Anyway, if this is one friendship that ends up going by the wayside then so be it unfortunately. I feel sad but felt so much more terrible thinking of having to see her all the time and go through her whole pregnancy and new baby thing with her when she doesn’t appreciate how hard that is for me.

If you had the ‘fertility uk friend and family’ sheet you could send me that would be AMAZING!!! I’d appreciate that so much. And you’re right, I was actually starting to argue with my hubby and take out how I was feeling about my friend on him and as soon as this happened I realised I had to start limiting contact with her as my husband and our journey is more important, so trying to concentrate on those things now :-) Thanks again 🤗 xxx

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Here you are... fertilitynetworkuk.org/wp-c... I hope it helps but you might need to give her some time and space to reflect on the information in here. I know I took a deep breath and pressed send when I mailed it to my friend. If your friendship is important then it’s worth trying. If it doesn’t help then realistically, just now, you need to be surrounded by people who will love and support you on your journey, and she might not be in the best place to do this. As they say - hold on tightly, let go lightly xxx

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Thanks so much hon!! This is great to read and to keep :-) I’ve emailed it to myself and if I need it in the future I know it’s there :-) Thank you!!! Xx

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Don’t apologise for ranting on here, can totally understand your frustrations. Have you tried being blunt with her? I know it’s probably not what you want to do but sometimes that’s the only way. I found I was taking my frustrations out on my hubby before I started being honest to friends/family. My SIL is extremely insensitive and I actually said to her at least you have your children in front of you, I have to visit a grave (I miscarried in October). It was out my mouth before I could stop it but since then she has been a little better.

Unfortunately most people who haven’t walked/walking this journey just don’t get it, hopefully you sort things out if not try distancing yourself a little xx

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Thanks hon, yes bluntness may have to be the way forward - I haven’t told her how her comments above hurt me but will if the chance arises, I’ve been worrying too much about her feelings and disregarding my own and my husbands. Not any more! I am so, so sorry for your loss and can’t believe the insensitivity of your SIL, well done for saying that to her, to be honest if people are going to say idiotic things when you’re dealing with the most awful of circumstances then they deserve to have their crassness pointed out to them as bluntly as needed!! Sending you so much sympathy xxx

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Thank you, it’s hard isn’t to put yourself and your hubby first but i think you reach a point on this journey when you realise you have to and remember that’s okay. I really hope things get better with your friend xx

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Just sending you a massive hug. Xx

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