A blogger I follow describes infertility as being similar to waiting at an airport. Your bags are packed, you have your passport, you are ready, you checked in early…but for some reason, you don’t get to board the plane. The flight takes off. More planes arrive and depart, but you can’t get on the flight you want. For every woman trying to conceive, every month brings new anticipation and new hope, a tiny ray of hope that it will be her turn, that she would miss her period and the pregnancy test would be positive. Standing at the airport, watching other people board their flights, some nonchalantly, some joyfully…it matters who is sitting at the waiting lounge with you. It matters who keeps you company until the discrepancies are adjusted and you get to board. It can feel a bit humiliating to be that person stuck at the airport and sitting at the waiting lounge, while everyone else boards the fight and moves on. It is a tricky game, and you need the best of the best of people in your circle.
When I decided, with the support of my husband, to be a Gestational carrier for my aunt and her husband, I carefully selected the number of people I was going to tell. Of all my friends, I only told four…and I wish I had told three. One of these ladies totally threw me aback with her reaction. She wasn’t in support of me carrying another woman’s child, and she argued that I was going to get too attached to the baby, and maybe refuse to give my Aunt her child. I tried to make her understand, that I was only being a carrier, the child or children were neither mine nor my husband’s, so there was no way I was going to hold back and refuse to let go. If anything, I was glad that these babies are my cousins, and I could imagine just how close we are going to be. Who knows? I might even be considered as Godmother at their baptism. My dear friend was having none of that, and I haven’t called her since then. I could do without the negative vibes, and then…just yesterday, she sent me a picture of a beautiful young woman on WhatsApp. I asked what the picture was about, and she told me that the lady was a friend’s cousin who had died in childbirth. Is that the kind of risk you are willing to take for your aunty?? she asked…and I could just picture her facial expression as she typed that sentence she had sent to me.
I was pissed off. Like who does that? I asked her if she was going to stop going to work because people died in accidents along the same route she plied to the office, or whether she wasn’t ever going to get on an aircraft again because of the fear of crashing. She tried playing the friendship card on me, and said she was only looking out for me, but I wasn’t having none of that.
Last weekend, two other besties that I told showed up at my house for the weekend. It was like they just came to work for me, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking…name it. Plus, we chatted and played so much that I hardly had time to think about implantation. When my aunt came to visit on Sunday evening, and I told her about my fiends that had been around…she was sorry she didn’t get to meet them before they left. They were so helpful and very positive. Not to add the wonderful family I have on this community that have constantly supported me and urged me on. That’s the circle I need, not someone who is going to remind of the high maternal mortality rate in Nigeria.
Whether you are TTC, pregnant, nursing your newborn, or on a break, you must deliberately choose your circle. It is a matter of utmost importance. No TTC woman needs that very fertile friend who is going to talk about her wonderful children at every given opportunity. As women, we have intuition, and you can tell when someone just wants to share happy news, and when they want to gloat. One of my cousins, once told me about a caustic friend of hers. My cousin, Ngozi would be on her own oh, and this friend would ask her what she was up to. If she responded that she was just chilling at home, dear friend would go “Just chilling! Hmmmn…get on your feet and start working hard. Is it when my children are in the university that you would make efforts to get pregnant”. Okay, Ngozi started taking supplements to boost her hormones and nutrition, and one day this friend visited and found her swallowing pills. “What are those drugs for?” she asked, and Ngozi told her they were supplements to boost her fertility…Guess what her friend said? “Ehya, so you have to be taking drugs now. Chai, thank God I got pregnant easily oh, because God knows me and drugs are not friends”. It wasn’t long before Ngozi stopped picking her calls, replying her messages, and started pretending to be ill whenever she wanted to visit. Who needs an evil mother-in-law with a friend like that?
Merely dealing with infertility is hair-pulling enough, without having to deal with the wrong friends. We should be unapologetic about who we tell what, and who we keep in the dark. Infertility battles are as much mental, as they are physical and lots of people who are not in your shoes would not know where it pinches. Love them either way, but protect your sanity. Deliberately reach out to those you know would not judge, and would provide the much-needed succour and support. Deliberately avoid those who have no clue and who place no premium on your feelings. If you find that you get sad and depressed after hanging out with a particular friend or group of friends, maybe you should decline their next invitation to hang out. Someone once told me that happiness is a product of our feelings, and feelings are a product of our thoughts, and our thoughts are products of what we have seen and heard. In summary, to be happy, you have to see and hear happy things, so you can think happy thoughts that would make you feel happy.
Deliberately choose your happiness circle…and bask in the euphoria of it.
Take care sisters!
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.