Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Walking in the shoes

Mel had a great post about how when you are dealing with Infertility you are more empathetic to someone else who is going through it.

And I kind of agree.
Kind of.

Because there comes a point where it isn't true. When one leaves IF island on a boat (pregnancy) or a plane (adoption). Someone is now calling you Mommy. You are now dealing with all the stuff with parenting and they aren't. It can't help but cause something to happen, a distance if you will. If you're still on that island, it hurts to see someone off of it. If you're leaving that island...sometimes you don't want to look back.

I can speak of this from both sides now.

In the middle of my IF, one of my friends was going through it too. Together we mourned with every appearance of AF. Then, on my birthday, she called me. I had been having a nice birthday too. I had had a massage and was watching a marathon of crappy reality tv.  We seldom talk on the phone--doing most of our friendship online. When she called I thought something was wrong. She was over the moon as she was finally pregnant. She was doing her happy dance--and she should. I just thought she might have waited a day to tell me. I hung up the phone and cried. It was one of the worst birthdays because I  couldn't stop crying. She had other friends call me and they all wanted to share the news with me and wasn't I happy for her?

She had no empathy for me whatsoever. A few days later she emailed and said she hoped she hadn't ruined my birthday. I told her she did and she apologized. We're still friends, but I don't trust her as I did. I never will trust her to that extent again.

Fast forward a few years.
We had come back from China with our beautiful Lotus. My older sister is in agony. She and her husband had decided not to adopt from China even though they had come to realize that adoption was the only way they would grow their family.While we waited, and waited, and waited this might have felt like it was the right call. Then, after all this time I have this little adorable child and she's calling me mom. We went to a family thing and I was packing up to leave. I made a joke about the traffic going home, something like "I'm relying on a merciful Gd. We'll see how that works." I looked up and wanted to swallow my tongue. I gave my sister a hug and she turned away. I followed up, apologized again and she said that she knew it would be hard, but not this hard.

I try so hard to make my sister feel welcome. It is helping. Lotus adores her and in spite of everything I would imagine that Lotus considers my sister one of her favorite people--and her second favorite aunt. Lotus' godmother being in that first place berth. I still have to walk that line though. It was easier to be  empathetic when I was still there--but that is no excuse for me not to be once I'm not.

And then there is the dead parents club..... More on that later.


  1. I think giving empathy is different from fixing everything. You will never be able to fix your sister's situation, nor should you try. But you can give empathy to someone, trying your hardest to not make a hard situation worse even if the opposite isn't true -- that you can't make a hard situation better.

  2. You never know what's going on in someone else's mind.