Taking Ownership!

I’m sure you’ve all heard me drone on and on about my two best friends from years ago… the ones who all got pregnant together, me included, my 6th pregnancy?  Its such a long and whiney story, full of the woe’s of my infertility and my miserable history and I really don’t have the energy to rehash it all so I’ve copied and pasted a posting I did on a support forum about one of these friends, way back in October 2007.

In November 2006 my one BF (lets call her I)phoned to tell me she was pregnant, I was absolutely crushed! I phoned my other BF (we’ll call her A) to talk to her, have a sounding board, just somebody to share my raw emotion with.
Anway, the following day A phones me to tell me she’s just found out she’s pregnant as well.
You can imagine, I thought I was going to loose my mind, I didn’t want to think what lay ahead, we are always all together, the three of us girls and our DH’s are all best buds as well, so I knew that hell was lying ahead of me. But I tried to prepare myself as best as possible.
The followiing week I got my 6th BFP! I was ecstatic!!! We all were, three BF’s, our due dates were for I 29 June, for A 6 July and for me 8 July. We were planning our maternity leaves together, how our babies were going to be BF’s, the works. They went for there 6wk scans and all was peachy, they described the heart beats everything, I was so excited to finally finally be a part of this to be able to participate was amazing! I went for my 6wk scan – no heartbeat, foetus the size of a 5wk pregnancy. The next day I miscarried. I have never been so heartbroken in my life. I did not know how I was going to not only survive my own mc, but survive watching my BF’s have babies and know every single step of the way where I should have been, how big my baby should have been, when my baby should have been born.
I notified them via sms of my mc as I was too distraught to speak to anyone. Friend I IGNORED my sms, she never bothered to make any contact with me, other than to send an email one week later to say she was sorry to hear I’d had a bad scan!!!!!!!  My baby is dead and you’re sorry about a bad scan???!!! This friend I being the very same friend who’s cat had been run over 3 months previously. This same friend who I’d rushed to her house, I’d cleaned the blood off the pavement, picked upt he cats dead body, dispossed of it for her, went shopping for her and spent a weekend sleeping at her house with her to keep her company after the loss of her cat and she can’t even acknowdledge the loss of my baby!!!!!!!!! I was so hurt, but little did I know that worse was still to come.
Two weeks after my mc, I was still bleeding, friend A phones me the one day to tell me and I quote “Sharon, the world does not revovle around you, get over yourself, my pregnancy is just as important and you’re putting a dampner on it”!!!!!!!!!!!! 
I was stunned, I did not know what to say or how to react, I simply retreated into myself. They systematically shut me out after that. No longer were DH and I invited to join in on evenigngs out nothing. They just went dead quiet as if they no longer existed, as if our friendship had never been anything. This has haunted me for a year and a half, for a year and a half I have thought about this every single day of my life, I have cried too many tears to remember over this, the words still ring in my ears, the hurt still stings and burns every day of my life. I have fantastized about what I would say if I ever saw them again, if they ever made contact with me again. I have thought about this moment every single day for a year and a half. I’ve lain awake at night thinking about this and this is the email I received today:
And now I dont’ know what to do or what to say??????????? But I feel like I’m going to be overcome with grief and pain all over again. Please somebody tell me what to do or say because I don’t know how to do this.
Dear Sharon,

I know you must be very surprised with this e-mail and possibly upset, but I want to assure you that this mail is not meant to upset you in any way.

This e-mail is also not intended to mend our past friendship.

I have been thinking about you a lot lately and I strongly feel that it isn’t right to leave things the way I did.

For the first time in my life I have a better understanding of what I think you might be going through. I can not begin to imagine how suffocating it must be to want to be a parent so badly, but not having that dream come true. And I now understand how something like that can be the source of so many different emotions, especially when your friends don’t really understand and babies are just popping out everywhere around you. The self doubts, disappointment, resentment, envy and pure heart ache.

I am sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed me the most and I am sorry about so many things that was said and done. I do believe we both had a share in things that was said and done, and I have fully forgiven you and I have forgiven myself and I hope you have done the same.

I really mean everything in this mail from the bottom of my heart and I would never want to cause you one minute of unhappiness.

Sharon, we miss our frienship with you guys immensely, but I know we are not good for each other. But I want you to know that I do think back on the good times we shared and I am grateful to have known you. You are both amazing people. I truly hope all your dreams come true and wish you only the best.

Kind Regards,

At the time I was crushed by this email, I was too raw still and to be honest, I was quite shocked that she’d actually contacted me but after a lot of thought, this is how I chose to respond:
Dear A

Surprised is an understatement; stunned is probably a better word. Although I’m not really sure why, but I always suspected this day would come. Your email has been like having a plaster ripped off a very painful oozing bleeding wound and has drudged up all the hurt, sadness, devastation and disappointments of the passed year, I cried the whole way home from work today.
I could not respond immediately for a number of reasons, firstly because I didn’t know how and because I needed sometime to think about exactly what I was going to say. I have restarted this email about 10 times already.

My initial reaction was to simply reply that I had forgiven you and moved on, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have more to say than just that. Firstly because my initial response sounded harsh and secondly because I know I’m partly to blame for what happened because I never allowed anybody to see how truly raw my emotions over my infertility and countless miscarriages were and perhaps if I had done that my two best friends would have reacted with some level of compassion, but I couldn’t do that, I was afraid to bare my soul and let you and friend I see how deep my hurt ran.
But it’s a little over a year and a lot of water under the bridge for me. So let me start off by telling you what I’ve been through in the passed year:
1. 2 failed adoption attempts
2. 3 Failed Artificial Inseminations
3. 1 Failed Invitro Fertilization – pre genetic testing done on our embryo’s and all of them had Patua’s Syndrome (Trisomy 18)
4. 1 Failed Immune Modification IVF where I went through hell and spent weeks being injected 2 times a day and walking around covered in the most painful purple bruises on my thighs, stomach and bum
5. 1 Cancelled IVF – after going through all hell of egg retrievals and medications, my eggs didn’t fertilize and the treatment was cancelled.
6. A hysterosalpingogram – an incredibly painful X-Ray that entails local anesthesia onto my cervix and dye being injected vaginally into my uterus and fallopian tubes while fully conscious
7. An office hysteroscopy again involving an anesthesia onto my cervix
8. More blood test than most human beings will have in a life time, including DNA and Genetic testing that involve drawing BOTTLES of blood and not viles blood.
9. Additional Surgery with a partial tubal ligation
10. An inflammatory reaction to my surgery and being hospitalized
11. Witnessing the birth of my second nephew on the anniversary of my miscarriage (21 November)

I went through all of that with no best friend for comfort or support, with only my incredibly strong husband to carry me through, so I mean this with the greatest respect when I say this, but I don’t think you can have any understanding of what the passed 6 years have been like. The only people who can understand this are people who have experienced this and I would NEVER wish this on even my worst enemy. I live most women’s worst nightmare every day of my life. I live with the memory of lost babies, it has fundamentally changed who I am forever and ever. I can never go back and be the person I was 6 years ago, my heart and soul have been scarred for eternity. But its not all bad, there are many things I’m grateful for. My infertility has made me stronger, braver, kinder and more compassionate than I ever dreamed possible. I am proud of the person I am today.

But I do want to tell you this as well. What happened between you and friend I and I nearly killed me. It broke my spirit for a very long time. What you both did hurt me almost as much as loosing my babies There has not been a single day go by in the passed year where I have not thought about you and friend I and what happened. I have questioned time and again how this could happen, how when I needed my two best friends the most, they weren’t there for me. I don’t think you can ever imagine how much having you and friend I just cut me out hurt me.

But I have forgiven you both and moved on. What is done is done and in the passed.

I thank God everyday for my incredible husband and our truly strong marriage as I’m sure a lot of marriages would have crumbled under the strain of what we’ve been through in the passed few years. But instead we stand stronger together than ever before.

My greatest regret is that DH has lost his best friend in the process and I would give anything to change that for him.
I wish you nothing but good things and hope that you can do the same for DH and I.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to purge some hurt and emotion that I’ve kept inside for far too long! The sense of relief and freedom I feel after typing this email is immense, I feel like I’ve been set free from a very heavy burden that I’ve carried for too long.

Kind Regards

The past 8 months of motherhood have given me a new perspective on this situation and I’ve been feeling increasingly guilty firstly about the way I handled her pregnancy after my miscarriage because now that the shoe i on the other foot I realize it was very self important and selfish of me to think that she should have to dampen her emotions for my sake, during what was the happiest time of her life. And secondly, I’m so ashamed of the ungracious way in which I handled her apology. Its been bothering me a lot lately but pride is an ugly thing and its not easy for me to admit when I’ve been wrong. But this desire in me to make it right, so reach out to her and apologize to her has been getting stronger and stronger, so today, I went in search of her on FaceBook and sent her this message:
Hi A
I bet you must be very surprised/shocked to be receiving a message from me, especially via FaceBook. I do apologize but wasn’t sure how else to get in contact with you as I don’t have your cell number of email address saved anywhere.

First off, I see from your profile picture that congratulations are in order on the birth of your second child.

I’m not sure if you heard via the grapevine or not, but Walter and I have a child of our own now, a beautiful miracle, Ava-Grace, she’s 8 months old and not only is the the light of my life, but she has brought me tremendous healing after our 8 year battling with infertility and recurrent miscarriage.

Now that I have some healing, I also have the ability to see the past 8 years in a very different light and there are many things I wish I could go back and change, there are times when I’m ashamed of the way that infertility affected me and I’m shocked that with some perspective I can see how raw my emotions where and how at times I did not handle people and situations very well.

In light of that, the email you sent me years ago and my reaction to it has weighted heavily on my heart over the past few months. I’m not sure if its worth anything to you now, but for my own peace of mind I wanted you to know that I’m sorry for the part I played in the demise of our friendship. For a very long time I was too hurt and too raw to see it any other way and was only able to place the blame squarely at your feet. Now, I see things somewhat differently and realize I too played a part in it all.

I hope that the years have been kind to you and that you have been able to forgive me not only for the way I behaved after my 6th miscarriage while you were pregnant, but also for the ungracious way in which I handled the apology you sent me.

Best Wishes.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever hear from her, but I’m so proud of myself for having done this. It felt like the right thing to do and it feels like I’m able to let go of another little bit of the hurt and anger I’ve carried inside me over the past 8 years. It also feels like I’m able to forgive myself by doing what seems like the right thing. Even though doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing to do. I’m also pretty embarrassed out how “woe is me” my initial email to her sounded and how bitter and angry I sounded.  But I guess the 8 months of joy with Ava has meant that memory of the pain of my infertility, while still fresh and still relevant, is somewhat dulled by the passing of time and the healing that motherhood has brought me.
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  • Reply merphin

    WOW! I can’t say if you will hear from your friend, but would like to say that you have done something that very few people will ever do in their lives – Well done!

    August 10, 2010 at 7:46 am
  • Reply Nisey

    I think the healing comes not from her response if any but rather from you being able to let go of something that has bothered you. in this life the only thing we have any control over is ourselves.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:57 am
    • Reply Sharon

      That’s precisely it! I sent her the message for me, for my benefit and I did it with no desperate wish to reconnect, if it happens that would be wonderful, but if it doesn’t, I’m also ok with that. But I needed to do this for me, to heal me, to let go of another piece of the pain.

      As it turns out, she did respond and very beautifully and with such a forgiving spirit that I’m really touched and hopeful that maybe, we can take some slow, tentative steps towards friendship again.

      August 10, 2010 at 8:59 am
  • Reply little29

    Hi Sharon, sending that mail must have been so healing for you. and like you said – you did that for YOU – I am so pleased she has responded though. I am sure a lot of us that comment have been through something similar whilst battling infertility and that “knee jerk” reaction we have is oh so common!! You have a forgiving soul… I on the other hand could learn a thing or two from you as I still hang on to the anger towards friends who turned their backs on me.

    August 10, 2010 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Mash

    I don’t think there was anything wrong with your first response at all. I think it was very honest, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. I think your second response is amazing, it took a lot of courage to write. It sounds to me like your friend is very lucky.

    August 10, 2010 at 9:59 am
  • Reply wheresmybun

    i’m glad she responded Shaz! What you did took a lot of courage.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:15 am
  • Reply aussiekim

    Sharon you are truly blossoming in your role as mum, wife and woman – way to go~! Isn’t it wonderful how one lil precious, sweet bubba can heal so much hurt, turn sad tears to those of joy and change ones mindset!

    Big hugs

    August 10, 2010 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Me

    I agree with Mash, there was nothing wrong with your first response. Sorry but unless she’s been there, she can’t have any idea what it’s like.

    I don’t think your reply made you sound self important or selfish at all. To be honest, I think we have to act like that at times because if we don’t, society is all too willing to just sweep us under the carpet and forget about us because after all our “affliction” isn’t life threatening or anything, so it can’t be a big deal.

    I’m glad that Ava is giving you ways to heal and move on but don’t be so quick to dismiss how you felt back before her, when you were in the throes of Infertility, those feelings while not ideal or desired, were perfectly valid….and many who are still in those throes are still [unfortunately] feeling them.


    p.s. That second letter was lovely and I’m glad that she replied to you.

    August 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Rach, I think the thing is that with healing comes a new perspective. And while I don’t discount the way I did back then, I am in a better place now and I am able to say that I’m sorry for the way I behaved. Even though at the time, it wasn’t possible for me to be any other way.
      But its been bothering me that the friend I had for years tried to apologize to me and I slapped her a way with a rebuff instead of being forgiving and gracious.

      And the more time that passes and the further I move on the time line, away from the years of struggle, the more it has bothered me and I have felt that there were things left unsaid. That I needed to acknowledge my part in the demise of our friendship that I needed to apologize for not forgiving her.

      Now that I’m a mother I realize that asking any women who is expecting a child, or has a new baby, to hide her joy or down play the importance of her baby in her life, is almost an impossible feat and yet, when I was in the throes of my infertility that’s what I expected from this friend.

      August 10, 2010 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply darylfaure

    Well done Sharon. How very brave and honest of you to firstly write the second letter and to publish it on your blog. I hope that by doing this you continue to heal and let go of the hurt. A happy, emotionally healthy mommy can only benefit Ava and W. You really are embracing the concept of mercy.

    August 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply zamom

    All I can say is well done. I remember when it all happened and obviously I was where you are now (a mom although perhaps we were still trying for Ava) and obviously I only dealt with a fraction of what infertilty threw at you. I am so, so happy that you are able to work at possibly rekindling old friendships because you now have a different perspective on it all. I think the thing with infertility that I hated the most was the way it takes over your life 100% and only when one has experienced it, can one understand why you responded as you did.

    August 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply tanyakov

    Well done for your “evolution”. I’m also happy that you’re in a good space where you feel differently, and that you’re full of love and not anger or hurt anymore. I’m glad your friend responded – keep us posted with how things go.

    August 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    Darling Sharon, you have grown in leaps and bounds over the past 8 months. WOW.
    Thanks AVA and Thank you God!

    August 10, 2010 at 7:49 pm
  • Reply hanneke001

    Wow Sharon, all i can say is that you are one amazing woman!! I am so glad that you were able to do this and in the process heal.

    August 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm
  • Reply emk808

    I think that’s a fantastic email to her and I also wonder if she’ll respond and what she’d say. I do hope you’ll keep us updated if she does write back. *hugs*

    August 11, 2010 at 5:16 am
  • Reply hcouperus

    Sharon, again thanks for showing me the ‘inside world’ of the struggles with infertility. It has made a difference on how I react to people who struggle with this. I know you can’t down play the ‘miracle’ of your life but you can be considerate (from both sides!) Good on you for asking for forgiveness, it is not easy but God forgives us for all those sins we commit everday and so we are commanded to do the same!

    PS I’ve had to ask for forgiveness from my children when I have spoken to them in anger, a huge humbling experience! but oh so worth it in the end!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:18 am
  • Reply tzipieastwest

    Sharon I want to congratulate you on doing what you felt is right and it must have been v. v. difficult!
    I think, you two, can still be called “best friends” and it is actually amazing how our lives and friends make us grow towards loving ourselves and others, bit by bit unconditionally !

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational story.

    August 12, 2010 at 8:54 am
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