Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Preserving Friendship in the Face of Infertility
Slate Magazine: Infertility Is Wrecking Our Friendship, by Lucinda Rosenfeld:
I can't even mention my kids to my friend who is having trouble conceiving without her crying. What should I do?
Dear Friend or Foe,
My very close friend "Janette" is desperate to have a biological child with her husband. Because her husband has a genetic disorder, they're doing IVF and testing to ensure that any potential child doesn't get the same disorder, which would result in severe retardation. So far, Janette has gone through seven unsuccessful rounds of IVF. While she has the financial resources to try as many times as she's physically capable, lately she seems to have reached a breaking point. She insists she doesn't want to adopt but also insists that she can't bear the strain of continuing with IVF—yet she continues.
Janette has shared her fertility struggles with only a few close friends, including me. And we've tried to be there for her through the roller coaster. The problem is: I have young children, as do many of our mutual friends. Whenever the topic of conversation turns to anything regarding others' pregnancies, babies, etc., Janette becomes emotional to the point of tears. So we avoid mention of our kids at all costs. If we try to empathize, she says she doesn't want any "advice" because "no one understands." This leaves us listening to her agonize in silence. . . .