A friendship dilemma

Dear fellow infertility friends and warriors, I need your advise.

So this year is my twenty year school reunion. I went to the ten year and it was pretty diabolical… All the same school dynamics and cliques ten years on. I’m not the only one who felt that way and two good friends of mine from school who I keep in touch with plus one other who wasn’t such a good friend, all decided not to go. We started a whatsapp group and usually share inappropriate jokes and be rude about people from school. It’s been light hearted so far. Two out of the four of us have children and two of us don’t. The other one who doesn’t has chosen not to have children and they all know about my struggles. Recently the group dynamics have shifted with the one girl sharing posts and articles about mothering and then various discussions ensue. For example last week she messaged ‘you know you’re a mother when you mouth fuck you behind your child’s back ‘ (her daughters is 18 months). Yesterday she posted a long post about how awful the world is and how much she worries about her child and they all agreed you need fellow mother allies in this terribly journey of motherhood. Now, I know you need allies… Of course you do and I know mothering is hard and I’m sure there are times when you want to shout expletives behind your toddlers back. But given that there are only two mothers in the group, why on earth can’t they just sms eachother directly?

One of the (many) worst parts of infertility for me has been that it is so utterly isolating and ‘othering’. I feel like I can’t connect with my peers, as though I am different and don’t have anything to offer on one of the primary shared experiences of women my age. I don’t get to talk about breastfeeding and sleep and teething and first days at school and birthday parties and and and. And now I feel the same way on this group and I don’t like it. But I am also a peacekeeper and hate to be melodramatic about this whole thing. I’ve considered just leaving the group, but know that will cause confusion and concern. I’ve considered asking them to limit their discussions but I feel immature doing that. I’ve also considered just sucking it up and ignoring the messages (ie. Continue what I have been doing). Sadly the truth is that when I suck it up I avoid rocking the boat but am left with the all too common experience of internalising my own emotions. What to do?! What would you do or what have you done?


7 thoughts on “A friendship dilemma

  1. I’ve been in a similar situation and while it was completely out of character for me, I asked that the friends dial it back a bit. I explained that I love the chatting and hearing about their awesome kids, but sometimes it was just too much for me. My friends were quite understanding (at least outwardly) and said they hadn’t considered my position since they’d never been in it (which makes total sense to me). I was happy with the way this turned out, but I think that it could have easily gone the other way with different friends. For me, it became important that I said something if only to protect myself a bit during a very hard time. Good luck!


  2. I would leave and tell them why. I think mothers can be really inconsiderate of people without kids and I just don’t have time in my life for feeling bad if I could remove myself from the situation. If they are decent friends they would have reacted when you mentioned it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been thinking about this all morning. Considering they know about your struggles, I’d love to say I’d call them out on it, politely and explain your perspective. But, I don’t think I’d have the courage to do it myself, so I feel really stupid suggesting you do it. But walking away without an explanation may result in someone asking you anyways and forcing the conversation and possibly more hurt feelings. I guess, I just don’t know what to suggest.
    All, I know is that you don’t need others making this journey harder on you. And, so I’d say whatever you do, you need to take care of you first and foremost.


  4. I remember feeling this way–it’s so much harder to deal with people being insensitive when they KNOW you’re struggling and they still say and do things that hurt.

    To save face I probably wouldn’t confront them about it. I would try to ignore it and then blog about it here in your safe space. Or if they just talk about mommyhood constantly then I would leave the group and say why–you have nothing to apologize or feel guilty about when you choose to walk away from people and situations that are toxic to you. XOXO


  5. That’s so insensitive of them. Maybe the next time they start that kind of talk you could “joke” something like “hey maybe the two of you should start a mummy whatsapp group for those kind of topics!” You could possibly add that you find it a bit hard sometimes as you’ve been going through a hard time as they know. If they are good friends and decent people then they should be nice about it.


  6. I experience this daily. I’m in a whatsapp group with my best friends back home. There are 9 of us and only 3 don’t have kids. 1 is single, 1 is recently married so I’m waiting for the announcement, 1 is preg with #2 and 1 just had #2 a few weeks ago, the rest have 2 kids and they know about our situation. Sometimes it’s all mommy/preggo talk all the time. Lots of advice. It gets exhausting. On the good days I can sympathise with them and give what little advice I can. On the bad days I mute the group and don’t read the messages. I have thought about saying something to them when it gets really bad but I feel exactly like you do. I don’t want to be a wet blanket and I feel like my sadness shouldn’t trump their happiness. Muting the group at first made me feel guilty but I don’t think they notice until the end of the day and when I come back they always make a big fuss, so that helps. They’re also my rocks when I talk about IVF so it really is a give and take since some of my IVF talk probably depresses them. It certainly saps the happiness out of the chat.
    I don’t know how close you are to your friends. These girls are like my sisters so I know if I quit the group for a few days they will more than understand. I do know that my dark days are getting darker and on those dark days, the desire to leave is really strong so I feel like it will happen soon. Especially if we keep having failed cycles. After our last fail I muted the group for the entire weekend. Next time, I will have to leave.
    I’m sorry this is a long reply, it’s just that I know exactly how you feel and what you’re going through. I also know that you’ll know when enough is enough. You have to protect yourself anyway you feel is best.


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