Melancholy, Friendship and the Avoidance Tactic


Lately, I’ve been stuck in a fog of my own thoughts, unable to gather enough motivation to do more than the basic necessities. When I am feeling this way, having a sense of ennui (<— that is my favourite word as of late), I tend to avoid. I have emails to return, phone calls to make, errands to run, a house to keep, and I just don’t feel like it.

Besides these minor things, I have larger avoidance issues, like with work. I am generally very prompt in my work life; in showing up for work, getting back to people, other such follow-up. Lately, I have been screeching in the door mere minutes before I am to start work, I delay returning emails, and calling clients, for no discernible reason. My work is getting done, but at a slower pace than I am known for, and for no good reason.

Another pretty significant avoidance that I finally tackled came in the form of having a discussion with my best friend. She recently had her second child, and her first was born when I was in the early days of TTC. Her children are living reminders of our ongoing failure to produce offspring. And I won’t lie, that hurts. It hurts my self-confidence, but mostly it has hurt our friendship. I used to always discuss with her what was going on with our conception efforts, when we were still trying au natural, and after we were labelled “officially infertile” and sent off to Ye Olde Fertility clinic. Right around the time of our last IUI that stopped. She found out she was pregnant with her newest addition sometime between my first and second IUIs. It put us in an awkward position, but I tried to push past it. As her belly became more prominent, I withdrew from her.

After our final IUI, I told her it didn’t work, and that we had an appointment in April at the fertility clinic to discuss next steps. After that, not a word was uttered. It was like there was a silent agreement between us not to discuss it. She didn’t ask, and I didn’t offer. We saw each other very few times in her second trimester, and not at all in the third. I made the obligatory visit (that sounds terrible, considering she’s my dear friend) when the baby was born, and it was very awkward. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. I brought hubby along to try to defuse the situation but it probably only made it weirder, not to mention then both of us felt shitty after we left.

Even in times when my friend and I haven’t seen each other often, we generally keep in touch, with a text here and there, or through Facebook. Even that had started to wane. Finally a couple of weeks ago, she reached out, and we made tentative plans to get together. Those plans fell through because I procrastinated getting in touch with her until it was too late. I sent her a text a couple of days after, apologizing for missing our date, and earnestly offered to try for another day. We settled on a time and a place, and rescheduled our date. 

I should also mention, that her older son turned 2 earlier in August (actually the day after our missed meet up) and I didn’t remember the date. I knew his birthday was in early August, but by the time I looked up the date, it had already passed. I apologized and sent him belated birthday wishes, but I know she was hurt. Although, apparently I was not the only friend who didn’t remember (not a good excuse though).

We met up on a Sunday afternoon at my place and walked to a nearby restaurant that we used to frequent together, for margaritas and nachos. Our conversation was superficial and stunted, as I asked about life with two littles, and she asked about my life (with not a whole lot going on). We both knew we were side stepping the issue at hand, and I had every intention of discussing it, but she beat me to the point, and asked what was going on. She knew we had had our appointment in April, and she hadn’t heard anything from me about it. I let out a sigh, and an apology for not keeping her posted (not that I owe her that, but I knew she would be wondering).

I dove right in, and told her basically we were half way through IVF. I knew she had no concept of how IVF really worked, so I gave her the quickest run down of what transpired without bogging her down with too much information. I know she doesn’t understand the emotional toll of it all, and she seemed hopeful for me when I told her we had 5 embryos on ice. I told her more than once that it doesn’t always work on the first try, or at all, but I think she wanted to be the positive angel on my shoulder. Obviously if someone is telling you they are about to do something that may not work, you’re not going to agree and tell them it’s a shit idea. So, I can understand her somewhat misguided reassurances.

I told her I was sorry for being a bad friend, but that it was really difficult when she was pregnant, and that she has what I have been struggling for. She sort of just let that part slide, we didn’t really get into it. I know there’s nothing she can do about it, and it’s probably hard for her that I feel that way. Despite my avoiding her, it is harder and harder for her and I to find time to see each other, and when we do it’s just not the same. We live such different lives, and sometimes it’s hard to find common ground anymore. Why do I need to be part of the mommy club just to relate to my best friend?

But in the end, I know I need to make a better effort. Just because we’re in very different stages in our lives, doesn’t mean we have to cease being friends. As I was telling J how I feel like I don’t relate to her anymore, he told me I can’t expect to live a mirror of her life. I was gobsmacked by his wise words, he’s not really the type to bestow sage words of wisdom (love the guy, but just not his style usually). And then I felt shame, because of course he’s right. I have friends of all different types, and stages of life. They are my friends because I like them as people, not because they are a reflection of my life.

This past weekend I had a short burst of motivation, enough to clean the house thoroughly (partly motivation, partly due to the fact that we had company for dinner yesterday). Today I had a day off, with no pressing errands to deal with, but I didn’t want to spend the day inside laying on the couch. I made myself go out, got some sushi for lunch (because I can, little win for the infertile girl!), walked to my favourite tea shop and pick up some of the new seasonal teas, and got some banking done. When I came home I finally made some mint ice cream custard (to be churned tomorrow) that I have been procrastinating for weeks (and J has been reminding me of, he really wants some), then since I was on a roll, I made some chocolate protein balls, and some homemade peanut butter (all you do is put peanuts in a food processor and let them go, can you believe it’s that easy?).

I have to take advantage of my momentary burst of energy when they come. I am working on pushing through the fog, taking care of my life, surviving until I can start focusing on what I need to do for the transfer, but it’s hard. The littlest things get put of and put of, and everything just seems like too much effort. How do you survive periods of limbo without sleepwalking through life?