Inspiration

Ask Aviva: Still Slim

July 10, 2014

Dear Aviva,

Practically everyone in my life is pregnant except for me. I have been married for five years and have been trying to have a baby for four and a half. I have friends pregnant with their second and one just gave birth to her third!
While I am happy for them, I feel very alone. All they talk about is their pregnancy or their children. I don’t mind hearing about it or even bringing it up, but they don’t leave me any room to relate to them. I’m also so scared that my status will not change for the rest of my life. I am so happy to be married to my husband, but I can’t imagine living in our community like this for the rest of my life.

I am starting to get sick of seeing those belly bumps!

-Still Slim

Not PregnantDear Still Slim,

Wow, this brings up a lot.

I am angry just reading your letter at how your friends can’t seem to remember how to have a conversation without it being centered on their bellies or their babies. While I am sure that they are not trying to leave you out in the cold, their intentions aren’t enough to warm you up.

You have every right to be sick of seeing those belly bumps. For you, everyone else’s pregnancies have become a road to making you more and more alone and scared. While it is a happy occasion for your friends, it is actually a threat to you. So I can get why you have shifted from being open to kid-conversation to actually getting a little disgusted at the sight of a pregnant friend.

I am wondering if you ever brought this to their attention? While I would hope that friends start to realize when they are monopolizing conversation topics, or engaging in a discourse that is way off course for the other, I may be giving them too much credit. What would it be like for you to say something like, “I am so happy to see your family growing and I love hearing about little Kayla, but sometimes I miss talking about the kind of stuff that we used to talk about.”

If you feel like this is something that is not too uncomfortable for you to say, you may be pleasantly surprised to find your friends suddenly wising up. Some may even be relieved to step out of mommy-talk and rediscover the parts of them that they have had to put aside in order to take care of their kids.

But if you don’t feel comfortable going that explicit, what would it be like to simply say “I feel like we have gotten a little distant over the years?”

While it is uncomfortable to make ourselves vulnerable (probably because that means that we have to face our vulnerabilities and that is extremely disconcerting), it can actually be a conduit to a more comfortable relationship. This would be the case only if you think that the other person would respond with an accepting stance.

I would venture to guess that these friends value your friendship. Many new moms drop their social life inadvertently. For your friends to still have close ties to you tells me that they clearly view your relationship as a priority in their lives. It is because of this that I am gently pushing you back towards them. However if you feel like this will just cause you too much pain, then it is quite understandable for you to pull away.

Whether you turn to them with this or turn away, you will surely feel less alone if you find others like you. There are a few good organizations that offer support for infertility. Infertility can be the result of various issues. While I don’t know what is going on in your life, nor do I have any business assuming that I do, I would like to see you in a group where you feel like the people around you get it. The loneliness around an issue like infertility can sometimes be more difficult than the infertility itself. So of course you are feeling a bit repelled from those who make you feel alone.

I would also like to remind you of something that you may not have heard lately: You are infinitely valuable within our Jewish people. You don’t need to be a mother to count as a Jewish woman. You already are one. And you are invaluable and cherished just as you are.

-Aviva