My friends with babies don’t know what to do. Do they avoid me? Hang out anyway?
I know that when I had babies and knew of friends suffering with fertility problems, I never knew what to do. Should I reach out or am I merely flaunting my ability to have children? Should I not reach out and risk losing a friend?
Now that I’m on the other side, I know what to do. And I’ve seen my friends not know how to act. A lot of this recently came to a head, so I thought I’d share my experience.
I’ve never been someone who needs to hold other people’s babies. I’m just not. After Spud and before Sarah Catherine, I think I held one baby. I think they’re adorable and cute, but I’d just as soon not get puked on (unless they’re my own, of course, then baby puke doesn’t matter).
What before was just me, is now seen as avoidance. Yes, I’m even less likely to rush out and hold a baby now, but honestly, I wasn’t all that jazzed about other people’s kids before.
I know that people worry about hurting me by suggesting a play date if they have a baby and I don’t. But know what? That’s my problem. If I’m having a bad day and can’t handle seeing a baby, I won’t schedule a play date with a baby. I’ll plan a mom’s night instead. We can still be friends, honest!
Then there’s the flip side. The people who don’t know or don’t care that I’m hurting and take offense to the perceived standoffishness. They’re offended that I’m not gushing over their perfect gift from above. Thankfully these people are in the monitory. As to how to handle it, well, we just don’t get together all that often and maybe one day they’ll realize what they’re doing, but most likely not. I’ve come to realize that that is their problem, not mine.
I guess the bottom line is, if you know someone who has suffering from infertility or a miscarriage or stillbirth or loss of a child, reach out. Ask them to get together. If they aren’t able to see you, they’ll let you know (it might be an “I’m busy” or a last minute cancellation, but know that it isn’t personal!) And even if your friend isn’t in a place where they can get together right now, they’ll remember and know that when they’re ready, you’ll be there. And it will mean a lot. Be patient with your friend. They’ll get there.
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