Monday, July 25, 2011

That Is a Friend Indeed

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of confusion or despair, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing…not healing…not curing…that is a friend indeed.”
-Henri Nouwen

A while back I ran across another blogger and thought her tips for increasing our sensitivities to infertile friends was very helpful. Check out her full blog here.

"Tips for infertility or going through treatments:
  • Ask your friend how they are doing.  They may or may not want to talk about it, but either way, they will appreciate you asking and thinking of them.  Many times people going through infertility feel forgotten.
  • When you ask your friend how they are doing, don’t pry.  Nothing is worse than feeling like someone just wants “gossip” instead of truly supporting you.
  • When your friend opens up to you, you just have to listen.  They don’t want an answer or a solution from you. Don’t give unsolicited advice.  They just want to get their feelings out or update you on what’s going on.
  • Please do not share empty platitudes with your friend.  “Everything will be ok.”  “Third times the charm.”  “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.”  “It was God’s plan.”
  • If you don’t know what to say, just listen.  If you want to say something, then something along the lines of “I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through.” or “Life is just unfair and I’m sorry this is happening to you.”  usually work best."
All the insensitive comments I've gotten over the years, have been far out-weighed by all the encouragement from wonderful, supporting friends who have walked with me through my darkest moments. Contrary to what most people might think, I've noticed that some of the sweetest words have come from women who have no trouble getting pregnant and are my age with 4 kids! I guess it's proof that no matter what your struggle is, the ability to be a good friend is more about being able to empathize than in having the exact same experience.
    I have to give a shout out to my fertile Bestie know who you are! She has LISTENED a million times, or more accurately, every month when my period comes-unwanted. She has hugged me and comforted me and tried her best to understand me. I don't know how I would have survived this struggle without her and she's not a fellow support group member or someone who has gone through what I'm going through. She's just a REALLY good friend. We had our boys a month apart and I remember exactly where I was standing in a cabin in Torch Lake, MI when she called to tell me she was pregnant with her second. At that point, even though I had already been trying for almost a year, I was very hopeful that I would get pregnant soon after her wonderful news. Nine months later, I held her hand (or more like her leg-hahahaha) while her beautiful daughter came into the world. And over a year later, I'm still watching her children grow via Facebook and the webcam. (tears in my eyes as I type this and think about them)

    From an outsiders view, and from what I read in my infertility coping skills's an unlikely source of emotional support, BUT it's been my rock and one of the biggest reasons I've held onto hope. She comes from a Jewish heritage where children are so significant and she understands my desires because she shares them too. She and I both want to bring life and light into the world and nurture it until it shines brightly. She and I freak out together about fertility treatments and then she very calmly helps me logically and rationally talk through my options and plans again, and again, and again. (A husband can grow very weary of these conversations so it's good to have a girlfriend back up!)  She reminds me of how God has been faithful and how He has provided and opened doors for me in ways I tend to overlook or dismiss. I'm sure she's sick and tired of hearing me moan and groan but she never lets on that she is. I have a feeling she will cry tears of joy when that wonderful day arrives for me...because she's ached with me all along the way.

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