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The pain of grief is indescribable, yet so easy to recognize once you've lived through it. All consuming at moments, leaving you struggling to breathe as you manage emotional wave after emotional wave. There are times where anything outside the grief seems unreal; that somehow it will lessen over time impossible.
Like many who have spent there time in the trenches, I've vowed never to forget this pain. To be changed by it only for good. But also, now knowing what I know, to never inflict more pain on those dealing with grief. Somehow, because I've lived through my own, I would know how to navigate it with others.
Instead, I've failed big time.
Four years ago, we were in opposite situations. Though we were both diagnosed with infertility, her first round of IVF had resulted in a successful pregnancy and a take home baby. Meanwhile, I was struggling to make sense of two miscarriages, a failed FET and no road forward. In an effort to protect myself, I pulled away. I struggled with the anger and resentment of the unfairness of the situation.
Four years later, the situation is flipped.
This past week, the Beats turned 3 yrs old. There was much celebration in the Grey/Cristy household for them reaching this milestone and both kids clearly enjoyed themselves, claiming the specialness that comes with having a day to celebrate solely for them. Ironically enough, the child of this friend was also celebrating their birthday. A party was planned and we were excited to attend.
The morning of the party, though, was also beta day for her. The final beta she would ever go through. Unlike the first time, she had been suffering from failed cycle after failed cycle and this was the final one. Grey and I knew that despite her cheerful nature and assurances that she was okay because she had her child, she was still hurting. We just didn't know how much.
The party was a fun one, with the Beats getting their first exposure to water balloons and squirt guns. Consumed with chasing two preschoolers, making sure they didn't cause too much damage or overly offend anyone, I didn't have much time to interact with my friend. Grey and I also talked about giving her space, not wanting to trigger her during a day of celebration for her son.
It wasn't until we were in the car home that I realized how stupid that reasoning was. When Grey looked at me with concern in his eyes and told me he had never seen her hurt so much. Text messages were sent letting both her and her husband know we were sorry and thinking of them. But I also know that I've failed her big time. That despite knowing the pain of grief, I completely flopped at being the support she needs.
The past few days I've been kicking myself. I know first hand all the things not to do, but I'm also at a lost on how to be the support she needs. Because unlike my situation, she doesn't get to resolve infertility with the family she wanted. The younger sibling for her son and the chance to go through pregnancy/childbirth won't be a reality. Sure, we could offer options (adoption/donor gametes/embryo adoption), but I know too well how difficult and personal those choices are. I also know that she needs time to grieve this loss. The question now is how to do that. All while being humbled about the fact that I don't have the answers on how to help her navigate this. How to undo my role in adding to her pain. How to rectify failing to support her when she most needed it.
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