I left my friend on the island of infertility, but that’s not why I’m sorry!
There was this amazing book I read during the early days of trying to conceive. The book used being stranded on an island as a metaphor for infertility struggles. I remember thinking how truly accurate that metaphor was. I felt stranded, alone, isolated, and was often caught staring off into the distance at my friends on the mainland. I hated my island, I was miserable there and could not wait to get the *bleep* off.
Fast forward 4 years and here I am, my own feet firmly planted on the other side, baby in one arm and the map of my escape route in the other. It wasn’t easy to get here, and I’m not sure I ever want to go back. What I am sure of is that I want to help as many people cross those rough waters to get to this place. After all, I did it once, so I must know how right?
I’m sorry I forgot what that island was truly like.
What I forgot was how unfair that little island can be. I forgot that sometimes, even if you follow a ‘fail proof’ escape plan, there are no guarantees. I forgot that no matter how hard you swim, you still may not make it to shore. I forgot what life was actually like on that island.
This is why I am here writing a letter of apology to my friend. The friend that I so desperately want to join me on the mainland. It is easy once you are here to forget the doubts and the sadness that come with trying to conceive. I think you block it out like any traumatic life experience, and before you know it you are just like everyone else who hands out advice like “just stay positive, it will happen!!!”.
I’m sorry I can’t help you across.
So to my friend, I am sorry I have been so optimistic, so full of positive thought, so sure this was your time to cross. I am so sorry you are yet again staring at the single line of another pregnancy test (or another negative phone call in this case). Most of all, I am sorry that I forgot what it’s like on that foul island and did not support you in the way you expected from someone who has ‘been there’.
I was quick to assume that because I got off and because you followed similar directions, that you would get off too. But this is simply not true. I forgot to remember that everyone finds their own way off the island and everyone reserves the right to tread the waters lightly so to not have their heart broken. Although I know without a doubt you will get off the island by any means possible, my job as a friend was to allow you the freedom to tread the waters lightly and feel any emotion (positive OR negative) without reservation.
I’m sorry I didn’t let you feel all the feels.
I’m afraid all I have done with my incessant positive words is given you further to fall, a larger pool of despair in which to swim. It was easy for me to be positive, to know that you will one day be here with me, because you are my strong, determined friend that would never take no for an answer. But I did not think of the consequences and that was not fair of me.
My job as a friend was to sit and allow you to feel whatever emotions you need to feel, to let you feel doubt, worry and fear. To be there alongside you when you feel positive AS WELL as when you feel like curling up in a ball and crying. For this I am truly sorry, my friend, and I vow to remember my time on the island and treat you like the strong, determined but also venerable person I have loved all these years. Most of all, I am sorry you ever had to step foot on the island in the first place.
Written by Natasha Marchand, Co-founder of bebo mia inc. A letter for her lovely and amazing friend (you know who you are).
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