I am sorry for your struggles.
I would like to offer you some insight into “the other side”. I have a daughter who is 12. It took me about 15 months to conceive her (with my ex-H) and in the end I was able to conceive without intervention…. so, although that’s not technically “fertility issues”it was definitely long enough time that it “counts” by most peoples standards. During that 15 months I had the battery of tests, questions, self-esteem issues, anxiety and depression that most women face who don’t get the easy path when they TTC. When I had her I definitely felt blessed and I never take her for granted.
But just as you feel your “family” isn’t complete without a child… women everywhere have a vision inside their head of what they want their family be. What they *feel* will complete their family. For me, I wanted my daughter to have a sibling and I wanted another child. We started TTC again when my daughter was 2. After about 6 months we began working with my OB/GYN. I became pregnant and miscarried fairly quickly after my BFP…. at around 6 weeks. 4 months later I became pregnant and miscarried at 12 weeks. A year later – and after a 2nd round of what I refer to as the *million dollar gamat of TTC tests* I became pregnant and miscarried at 10 weeks.
Of the many factors involved in the breakup of my marriage…. I would count this inability to conceive a 2nd child and the emotions surrounding this to be the main factor….. how we both felt about it, how we behaved toward each other, what our expectations were about our family. He wanted more children and would seek a wife with whom he could have more children. I wasn’t good enough for him anymore.
7 years later, I met a man to whom I will be married next week. We decided to get a “jump start” on TTC, because of our age and history, and so I went off the pill in June. On our 4th cycle (and on Sept 24th) I got my BFP!!!! You know what they say…. different partner different outcome. hmmmmm. Oct 31 I was in the ER with severe pain and within the week had been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy and determined that I would need methotrexate it was a non-tubal ectopic in the ad-nexa, which has no ability to self-resolve.
Not the different outcome for which I had hoped. Not the different outcome for which my FI and I had spent hours discussing and dreaming and sharing. I have spent what should have been my first trimester watching my HCG level fall, at increments not fast enough to fully satisfy my Dr but not slow enough to warrant a 2nd dose of Methotrexate… which BTW is actually low-dose chemotherapy. I have gone into labs every other day and then every 5 days and finally once per week to get blood drawn for HCG and other stats…. and when I get a new phlebotomist I get a “oooo – I hope it’s positive for you” and I hate to tell her that postivie for me means it’s falling, because it wasn’t viable. Again. And I see all the women in the lab and at my Dr who are pregnant. And it’s not me. Again.
I’m 40 and so I’m pretty careful about who I tell anyway, because I was getting alot of “why do you want a baby at your age” and “aren’t you glad to be DONE with babies so you can have some freedom in this marriage to just be a couple” because although those are certainly valid questions, they do nothing for the emptiness I sometimes feel when I think about having a baby with my FI. When I think about what that baby might look like, or who that baby might resemble, or why when millions of unwed mothers who don’t want to pregnant are getting pregnant with seemly effortless abandon…. I can’t seem to carry a child to term. Again.
I certainly don’t take my daugther for granted. I love her and I am so happy that I am her mother. But in many ways the fertiilty issues I experienced AFTER I gave birth to her have actually been HARDER for me to deal with than the TTC issues I had before I had her BECAUSE I know what it is like to have a child instead of simply dreaming… the way I did before I had her.
Your friend – and every women who is experiencing issues while TTC are searching for empathy and a way to not feel punished, or responsible, or guilty. They are looking for acceptance and love and words of encouragement. They are not looking to hear whose time is worse…. because we can’t really say that anyway, can we? I mean pain is realtive isn’t it? Your TTC struggles can’t be compared even to someone who has had the exact same experience on paper because we are all different people. And so we all have different levels of ….. whatever.
Yes, I think it was in poor taste for her to post that on FB. But, then, I tend not to air my deepest emotions on social media anyway……. But, it must be incredibly difficult for her to have had these children and know that she might not have fully appreciated the time with them at that point in her life. And how frustrating that these men who haven’t been good husbands to her or fathers to her children are able to reproduce with ease. And she is responsible now and in a stable relationship and for the very first time WANTS a baby that she PLANS to have…… and she can’t. What a difficult journey for her. What guilt she must carry to have been successful at having children with men who have left her and to NOT be able to have a child with the man she loves. That grief has NOTHING to do with comparing her situation to yours….. but it’s grief in it’s own right.
So, you can either be her friend and provide empathy to her or you should let her know that you can’t be there for her. I might encourage you, however, to give some thought to why you feel she is less deserving of your empathy simply because you have deemed your situation to be “worse” than hers.
When you tell her that you can’t be there for her, however, I would encourage you to not invalidate her emotions by telling her that her struggle with TTC now isn’t equal or the same as yours. I’m not sure how good of a friend she is, but this might be something that will dissolve your friendship. Another angle to consider.
Good luck to you on your journey.