I’ve been very fortunate that almost all of my friends and family have been extremely supportive over the last two plus years since I received my diagnosis. I’ve had very few insensitive comments that have upset me. I’ve had friends step up and go out of their way to be their for me. I know there are many people going through infertility who aren’t as lucky to have such a great support system. I am truly grateful for the support I’ve recieved. Though I can’t say that despite that great support that it hasn’t impacted many important relationships in my life.
Last week I spoke with a close friend of mine. He’s a friend who reads this blog and I’m hoping that he is able to read this piece. We have known each other for 14 years dating back to college. We’ve had many memorable times and nights together. We’ve also had many great nights that neither one of us can remember. If anyone has seen the movie Old School he was “Frank the Tank”. Though unlike in the movie, this “Frank the Tank” did die but for the better. He became a Dad almost five years ago (can’t believe his daughter is going to be 5 in May) and since then he and his wife have gone on to have their second child. Since my infertility diagnosis though we haven’t spoken much or seen each other as much (we live six hours away) the times we have spoken he’s been very supportive of me and we’ve still had good times (though they’ve been more tame). I hadn’t really thought much about why we hadn’t spoken other than life getting in the way.
We connected last week to catch up as it had been a while since we spoke. It was a tough conversation as I had to let him know about something difficult I’m working through right now (it’s not something I can discuss here on this blog). The conversation led to him apologizing for seeming distant over the last two years because he didn’t know how to interact with me and what I have been going through. With him being a parent his family is his main focus in life and rightfully so, it’s what makes him a great parent. That is a big topic of conversation in his life as it is for anyone. How to balance that became a struggle for him interacting with someone going through infertility.
Right away I stopped him and told him that he didn’t need to apologize. I really did mean it. He has nothing to apologize for. It upsets me that he even felt he had to apologize. He did what anyone in his position would have done. Heck if roles were reversed I would have taken the same approach. Though I’m glad he brought the topic up because it reminded me how important his friendship is to me. His friendship is not something I would want to lose.
In interacting with so many people going through infertility I don’t think this situation is uncommon and it highlights one of the many reasons infertility sucks. It impacts so many things in our lives including repationships that mean so much to us. In some cases we maybe distant to protect ourselves and in other cases others become distant to not hurt us. I don’t think either side has to apologize to each other. We are all doing the best we can in life with what we have to work with.
I hope for myself and others in similar situations that our relationships are able to rise above the awkwardness and tension. I hope that the relationships we cherish survive the troubled times and grow old together. In my situation I’m not going to let infertility be the cause of a losing a friendship that means a lot to me (even if “Frank the Tank” is dead).