Suddenly I was desperate to hide when a girlfriend asked ‘how did you really get pregnant?’ Must say that her emphasis on ‘really’ wasn’t missed!
The look of utter amazement coupled with irritation was writ on my face. Why does it have to happen to me? Why can’t people stop asking me this? Why do they think I’m hiding something? I now have a child and I just want to be left alone. Those 10 long years have disappeared from my life (literally), and I can’t remember how I felt or was made to feel.
My initial gut response was to say f*** off girl, I don’t know how! (And honestly I didn’t)
But the ‘nice person’ within stopped me from doing that as a barage of thoughts flashed through my mind – she’s the wife of a very good friend – she geniunely wants to have a child – she has been struggling with fertility clinics and doctors for over 7 years now – in fact recently she had a bad experience with a gynecologist who actually told her she was too old to have a child! What kind of an idiot tells a woman who is so desperate something like that!
So, there I was knowing fully well that I couldn’t just brush her off. As I sat staring at her, it dawned on me that she wasn’t looking for an answer – she was actually searching for a glimmer of hope.
Good god! How should I respond? I can’t crush her hopes nor can I be brutally honest. Do I tell her to keep trying, visit a different doctor, be positive, miracles do happen (look, it happened to me) or should I be practical and say, why don’t you look at adoption. No, the alarm bell in my head rang – what if she asks why in all these years, we never opted for that? Hmmm, why didn’t we? No, we actually did talk about it once (yes only once) and my husband was certain that if we couldn’t have our own we would simply continue to be a happy twosome. That was that and we never discussed it again.
So now what?
I steeled myself and thought I should be honest – honest because this was a friend, because there was no point in pandering to her insecurity as it would only heighten it and because I didn’t believe in miracles – perhaps they do happen but no one ever questions the rarity of such experiences – after all, they’re called miracles for a reason!
I said, “girl, honestly I don’t know. I just did. You know we stopped trying a long time ago and between us (husband and me) it was an unconscious, unsaid decision that we wouldn’t talk about it and we never did. Life carried on and who in their right minds, after 10 years would even believe that it was possible to get pregnant – that too without any help! I’m sorry, I don’t have an answer that will help you. All I can say is that we’re both the same age so keep the faith.”
She smiled and nodded but the sadness didn’t leave her face. She was crushed. I had crushed her hope, yet again.
I felt miserable, guilty and irritated with myself. Why did I have to be high minded and tell her that. How hard would it have been to simply refer her to another doctor – someone with whom someone else might have found success. Didn’t I just do exactly what the gynaecologist had done to her?
But then the truth hit me smack on the face – I told her what I did because I wanted her off my back, I wanted to get out of the conversation – because I didn’t want to feel cornered again – because telling the truth meant I couldn’t help her, I had nothing to offer – also because I knew exactly what she was going through as I had been there. I actually didn’t want to relive those years of hopelessness again. I was free from its clutches and wanted to protect myself.
Damn! That doesn’t make me a good friend, does it?!
(First published in Momspresso (formerly mycity4kids) on November 20, 2014 https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/muchkin-and-me/article/a-good-friend-no-more)