Fertility and Friendship



I imagine that there are as many ways for a friendship to end as there are people who have ended them.  The end of a friendship can be just as messy, painful and confusing as the end of a romantic relationship.  Honestly, sometimes it’s more intense.  Instead of dividing up common property and deciding who keeps which material possessions, the end of a friendship sometimes results in the divvying up of mutual friends and shared social scenes.  God help those overlapping friends who remain close to both of you– they must walk that fine line that leaves them feeling stuck in the middle afraid to mention you to her or her to you.  How awful is it to be that friend– the one in the middle? Someone should set up a 5K run for those people, because that’s a bad situation and they deserve some money or some extra social cache for enduring it.

OMG, it’s so painful.

It’s comforting– if rare–to see the end of a friendship  in black and white terms– she stole my husband so I withdrew the gift of my friendship from her.  There’s no need to phone-a-friend there– just dump the relationship.  But real life is murkier.  I had a friendship that went seriously and hopelessly off the rails over fertility.  Our chemistry turned into a toxic mix of hurt feelings, regrets, jealousy and deep resentments.  We have yet to come back from the brink.  Maybe someday we will be able to pick up our friendship and offer each other support, love and free babysitting.  But until then, I’m still sorting out what happened and hoping to learn from my own mistakes and grow as a friend.

Check out my piece on Mom.me about fertility and friendship; it’s available here.


22 thoughts on “Fertility and Friendship

  1. Fertility guilt. Must be related to survivor guilt. I’ve felt it, too. 2 kids–pretty much easy peasy for me. My biggest woe is that they are 3 years apart, not 2 like we “planned”. Not really a problem. Most of my friends have the other story. And one good friend never did end up with a baby. And that was hard, although they have a fantastic child-free life that I sometimes envy, but never truly want.

  2. Just read your mom.me piece. The end of a friendship, particularly the drifting part, is impossibly hard. Add fertility, something so complicated and potentially heartbreaking, and I can’t imagine what you both went through. So far nearly everyone I know has had to have some variety of medical intervention, and I have seen how difficult it was for them. But on the flip side, I can also understand how, in your happiest time, you just wanted your friend to celebrate with you in a way that she was not capable of. I understand so well the chasm that is caused when a friend can’t be happy for you when you most need them to, and I know the feeling of being unable to close the gap, no matter how much you might want to. I don’t know whether it’s the friendship part or the fertility part, which both hit pretty close to home for me right now, but I’ll definitely be thinking about this post all day long.

    • I still think about that post you wrote about your friendship situation. Female friendships are so vital and important– I wish more people talked about them.

  3. I have been working on a blog post about this. I was not the one in the middle – I was one of the friends (the dumpee in fact) and I am trying to write it from the perspective of letting go, but so far, it is the hardest stuff to write about. Thank you for bringing up this important topic – we always think that friendships will last forever. Sometimes they do not and actually, sometimes it is for the better. I just think that we are not good at understanding the grey and I appreciate your bravery in talking about it, and I am glad to know that I am not alone.

  4. The anatomy and sometimes shortened shelf-life of female friendships is a great mystery. I, myself, am dissecting why one of my friendships, slowly died. It’s complicated but I think it’s because my child is no longer in OT and thriving; while hers . . . well, isn’t. This is akin to fertility story. It’s not that they can’t be happy for you, but the pain is THISCLOSE to them.

    I was in your friend’s spot once. Took about five years before we had our first child (aka high tech baby). And it wasn’t anything personal towards my friends, but I couldn’t be with them — it was just painful for me to be around pregnant people, baby showers and couples with kids. There was no particular falling out or bitterness on our part but we gave each other space. I did circle back of course once I had some kids. It’s hard to listen to friends banter about kids (shoot, I do that now) when you so desperately want to partake in that conversation. I do hope your friend is at a better place now.

    I do appreciate the fact that you’re sensitive to fertile-challenged folks. And even more, I know you adore your kids and don’t take them granted.

  5. I do hope you’re able to find your way back to one another. It’s a shame when a genuine friendship reaches its end, especially over something neither of you could predict or would want to be the reason. At the same time, I readily admit how easy it is to attack our closest friends. I have a friend who is pregnant now and watching her expand, seeing her joy, knowing I will never likely experience that kind of bliss again, it hurts. And I, in turn, want to be a straight up child and hurt her somehow. Yes, I know how that sounds. THREE CHEERS FOR HONESTY.

    • You are so right. I just talked to a family member who just had her third and I am feeling something that is hard to name…jealousy, rage, sadness, grief, relief…such a confusing mix. I want her to be grateful as all hell about that last baby she “got” to have and that I “don’t get” to have. It’s all a bunch of weird and emotional stuff, but the point is that it’s complicated and I suspect I’m going to be on the other end of that kind of drama more and more as I close my up uterus and others keep going.

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