We recently asked our Instagram followers this very question. A staggering 68 per cent said they were feeling the strain. So how do you both survive this period in your lives?
How do you find things to do or say to each other when you no longer have things in common? Is it possible to keep your friendship strong at a time when you feel so weak?
One reader, who wished to remain anonymous, told us about the friendship that she thought she might lose forever, the moment her tough journey to parenthood began…
“I’d describe our friendship pre-TTC as almost perfect. We used to meet up for boozy lunches, go to gigs, shopping for things we didn’t need. We would laugh, and watch movies, and just hang, like BFFs do. We both had partners and both had the same future dreams – to be amazing career women, perfect wives, and then eventually start a family.
Then two years after I got married I decided I wanted a baby. My friend wasn’t as ready as me to start a family, in fact she wasn’t ready at all. She wanted to renovate her house with her husband first, to make sure there was enough room for when she was ready to have a baby one day.
As the months passed, and my period kept coming each month, I realised that trying to conceive was going to be harder than I thought. I gave up all my vices; caffeine, the booze, I gave up fast food and sugar. My friend would suggest we would go for coffee, but I would order a mint tea – coffee mornings soon lost their appeal. We would arrange dinner together, but again, I would have to stick to sparkling water. My BFF would reluctantly sip a glass of prosecco, clearly missing the excitement we both used to feel when we would knock back that first glass and demand to know what the other had been up to. The gossip wasn’t flowing as easily as it did, when our dinners were full of delicious wine and dessert.
We tried to keep up our dinner dates, but the more obsessed I became with the food I was eating, or rather the food I needed to avoid, the less I wanted to go out to eat. If I’m honest, I dreaded how our conversations had developed in to polite exchanges across the table. I lost all interest in her conversations that involved home interior plans and I loathed hearing about nights out with fun work colleagues.I am sure she lost all interest in me talking about how desperately I wanted to be a mother, I mean, what else could she have said to me other then “you will be one day”.
‘Our friendship was struggling as we were losing the things we had in common’
When I got the letter through with my IVF date, I was full of hope and excitement. I thought it was going to fix everything. I called my friend over to mine and shared the news. Although she was sat next to me, it felt like we were miles apart. I told her about the nights ahead, of injections and hospital appointments. She listened, hugged me, then filled the silence with news about the play she had tickets for, and a new girl at work who could get guest list to our favourite band. She wasn’t being insensitive, she was just being my BFF. She hadn’t changed, but I had, meaning we had. Our friendship was struggling as we were losing all things in common.
Four failed rounds of fertility treatment later, spanning over two years, our friendship was not the same as it once was. We would see each other, but I would always suggest doing things like going to the theatre, or the movies, so that we wouldn’t have to force conversations. Looking back, I think this may have been our saving grace. We would always choose a really upbeat movie, one that would make me laugh (and it took a lot to make me laugh). My BFF would pack us a ‘love lunch’ as she would call it. It would always be a lovely little packed lunch of healthy snacks and sparkling water so that I wouldn’t feel tempted by the sweet popcorn and greasy hot dogs. We would watch the film, then part ways. I would always get a text later saying “I love you”.
Although I missed our pre TTC friendship, with its rich conversations, gossip and giggles, I always knew things would eventually get back to normal once I became a mother, or at least I hoped they would. Our friendship was surviving because we both clung on to the hope that one day we would be on the same page again. But realistically, was that ever going to happen? If I got pregnant on my next round, we would still be on different pages,and if I’m honest, I would pray to my guardian angel every day, my friend wouldn’t announce that she was suddenly pregnant. I know that would have killed me. I hoped her renovations would just keep going until I knew my treatment had worked.
Then one day I got a card in the post. It read: ‘My darling BFF, I am so proud of you. I may never know what to say, but please know that I will always be here for you’. Inside the card, she enclosed a pineapple pin. I don’t know how she knew about the pineapple pin, but it meant so much. She had researched support groups for me because she knew her support just wasn’t enough.
I am blessed to have such an incredible friend. If anything, she has dealt with the strain of our relationship better than me.
So, I’d like to share with you the things that got us through
- Know that things may get tough, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your friendship
- Do things that make you both laugh, like going to the movies. Avoid big heavy conversations that you know will end with your friend feeling awkward and lost for words of support.
- Realise that there are times your friend just can’t help you
- Join a support group or make ‘TTC friendships’ so that you can download to people who understand how you are feeling
- Have pamper nights with your friend. Get in some lovely new paraben free products and focus on facials and nails. Avoid heavy conversations.
I’m still on my journey to motherhood. I’ve found amazing friends within the TTC community who have been an incredible source of comfort, but my BFF is still and will always be my BFF. We have a movie night planned for Thursday after the live Q&A you have posted about. My friend says she has a question about her own fertility that she feels the doctor might be able to help her with. Maybe we will be on the same page sooner than I thought.”
We would love you to join us at the Agora Fertility Clinic after work drinks evening
We would love to hear your stories. How are you and your friend coping? Would you like to bring your friend along to the TTC after works drinks evening that we’re organising with the Agora Fertility Clinic, on Tuesday, May 21 at 6.30 pm in Brighton.
The evening will give you the opportunity to pick the brilliant brains of Carole Gilling- Smith and other incredible experts from the clinic, whilst meeting other men and women on their fertility journeys.
By inviting your friend along to the evening, you are giving them the opportunity to support you in such a special way
By having your friend at your side, you can walk comfortably into the pub, as you might have done before you started treatment, and let them be with you, listening and perhaps understanding what you are going through as you talk to the doctor. You are allowing them to be part of your journey, letting them have a better understanding of where you are at, allowing them to give the support you need.
If your friend can’t make it, and you really would like to arrive with someone, then why not let the Agora connect you using their buddy system?
For more info on connecting with someone drop them a line. You can swap numbers before the event and plan when to meet.
We do hope you and your friend can make it!
We will be at the Pitcher and Piano, 1-5 Kings Road, Brighton BN1 1NS on Tuesday, May 21, 6pm to 9pm. If you and your friend would like to come, click here.
In the meantime, let us know how you and your best friend are doing. Do you have any tips for keeping your friendship strong? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org