Monday, July 06, 2009

Miscarriage and Friends

I was reading this book last night that was a compilation of stories by women who were talking about the various friendships they had. The short story I was reading was called "Other Women". It was being told in first person by this woman named Kate. Her and 2 other women were friends since grad school and had made a pact between themselves to get married around the same time and have kids at the same time so their children could all grow up together.

Kate got married first and got pregnant first. Over the course of 3 years, Kate had 3 miscarriages before her 2 best friends could get married and have their own kids. This is when the story began to get a little depressing and sad. Kate continues to talk about how the miscarriages affected her friendship with her best friends. The story progressed to her best friends eventually getting married and getting pregnant. When they would try to be considerate of her situation and not talk about their pregnancies, she would become offended because "they were excluding her". When they would talk freely about their pregnancies, she would become upset because "they weren't being considerate of her prior situation". At one point in the story Kate said that she didn't understand how they didn't know they were being inconsiderate of her feelings when one of them sent a picture of their baby on the due date of one of her miscarriages and the other one wasn't in a rush to tell her that she had conceived.

I put the book down at this point because I started getting upset with Kate.

While I understand that Kate was going through some pain, in the story, she CONTINUOUSLY lashed out at her friends, distanced herself, and then got upset and jealous with them because they didn't have to experience miscarriages like she did. She acknowledged in the story that her behavior was erratic and confusing but at the same time wanted them to try to deal with her. When they did try to deal with her, it started her cycle of lashing out, distancing, and out of line comments all over again. At one point, she blamed them for being able to carry their children full-term as the reason for their friendship dissolving. She even went so far as to say to her husband that she wished one of them would miscarry so they would know EXACTLY how she felt. WHO IN THE HELL WISHES THAT ON SOMEONE????

Being pregnant, I know I was getting more upset than I would if I wasn't about to give birth to this little being. Again, I understand that miscarriages create a flurry of emotions that even the person going through them can barely deal with but at what point are people just supposed to CONTINUE getting beat up because they didn't have to experience that misfortune? And because someone close to you might have experienced a miscarriage, if you are pregnant, you're just supposed to forgo your happiness because they are unhappy? It creates an awkward situation for all parties involved.

Kate needed to talk to someone (i.e. a therapist). She stated that she would go to forums but they just weren't good enough. She wanted to talk to her best friends about it but resented them when they weren't as consoling as she felt they should be. She didn't want to talk openly about it (she said she used all medical terms when speaking with them because she didn't want to delve too deep into things) but she expected so much from them in the form of a response. 

To be honest, I would console the person to the best of my ability but there is only so much you can say to someone without bringing up the fact that their child is no more. Like I said before, it's awkward for all parties involved ESPECIALLY if one of the parties is currently pregnant.

I guess I wanted to write about this story because I experienced something similar with one of my friends. She isn't really talking to me all that much right now and I'm apprehensive about reaching out because I don't like how she talks to me at times. Someone who isn't pregnant or never has been pregnant before might not understand it if I was to explain it to them but after talking to my mother about it, I was assured that some distance between the both of us might be best. My mother has had her fair share of miscarriages so she was the best person to talk to about this (in my opinion). 

I sincerely hope Kate got the help she needed even though she ended up losing her best friends...and I hope that whenever my friend is ready, she'll still be the friend I once I had.

2 points of view:

♥ CG ♥ said...

Dang, I've learned the hard way that no one knows how you truly feel unless you tell them. I can understand both sides of Kate's situation, but it's ultimately up to her to find the compassion and support she needs.

I agree with your mom, especially given the arrival of baby girl. Give it time, when things have settled down it will (hopefully) be easier to bring up the issue and determine why this happened and what you two can do, if you choose, to remove the distance and rekindle the friendship.

Solomon said...

This is a tough situation. I wouldn't know anything about having a miscarriage obviously, but this is as much about Kate not dealing with her own issues as anything. At some point any healthy person is going to distance themselves from someone like Kate. Maybe with time and therapy she will find the peace that she needs.

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