Forgive me for judging you before I had kids of my own.
Forgive me for not understanding the dark circles under your eyes, or the fact that you had to find a babysitter so that we could have some “girl time.”
Forgive me for giving you parenting advice when I didn’t have a clue.
Forgive me for not stepping up more to help you, and for only seeing motherhood as a blessing that I was missing out on and not acknowledging your struggles.
Forgive me for dismissing your life experience in favor of my own.
Forgive me for being a terrible, selfish, oblivious, friend. I promise I still loved you with all my heart.
Forgive me. I know better.
For years, motherhood was a divine mystery I was confident I would never experience.
Seeing my friends with their children, laughing, loving, being a family, would make my heart hurt and my eyes sting. I wanted to be a mother so badly that it colored everything I experienced, but I was all too aware that it would take a miracle for me to conceive.
As I reached my 30s, my biological cuckoo clock was constantly chiming in the back of my head. I saw fertility doctors, had surgeries, took medications – anything and everything that I was told might allow me to have a child. But, no matter how hard I tried, my body refused to comply. I felt betrayed by my own flesh and began to resent my friends – as well as their multiple pregnancy announcements – and that resentment led me to alienate myself. Something I still regret.
I didn’t know how to relate. My life experience was so different from theirs. Even though I had a successful career as an attorney and a wonderful husband, none of that fulfilled me. I wanted to be a mom.
I’m ashamed to say that I was so wrapped up in my own needs and wants that I failed to see my friends were struggling as well. Some with postpartum depression, some with sleep deprivation, others were simply overwhelmed.
I didn’t reach out. I didn’t help them. I was a terrible friend.
When I was almost 40, I got my miracle. Two of them, actually. They’re perfect, and I pinch myself every day when I look at them and realize that I get to be their mom.
Infertility is brutal. Miscarriages are devastating. That unrequited need to nurture a child can be debilitating.
I firmly believe the only way we will make it through this life successfully is together, which means we have to support each other even when it’s hard, being sensitive to the other person’s needs, struggles, and life experiences.
I’m not perfect. I still drop the friend ball occasionally. But I’m trying – to love, to support, and to make amends.