Thoughtful Thursday: BFF
July 23, 2009
Following up, sort of, on last week’s Thoughtful Thursday about the limits of the infertility sisterhood. That Thoughtful Thursday topic set an all-time record for consensus — everyone backed my decision not to befriend someone that I find unpleasant just because she happens to be (presumably) infertile, and most people said that in a similar situation they would also back off.
The day before that Thoughtful Thursday, I happened to hang out with Lori (Weebles Wobblog Wednesday?). She asked for a preview of the Thoughtful Thursday topic, and it led to a discussion of purposely befriending people, including strangers, just because they are in the same family-building boat (infertile, pregnant with twins conceived through treatments, adoptive parent…).
Meanwhile, while I was at the beach with Lori and her family, my husband was at the dentist. The hygienist is pregnant and due around the same time as I am, and she was extremely excited to talk to my husband. The next day at my own dentist appointment, the pregnant hygienist was off duty. The dentist, let’s call him Dr. Hipster (who is a bit younger than I am, has funkier glasses, and I’m sure has more exclusive taste in music) said about her, “She’s always enthusiastic, but she was off the charts yesterday. You and she are totally going to be BFFs.”
After getting over the shock of hearing a dentist use the phrase “BFF,” I thought about it. Why would I become friends with someone just because we’re pregnant at the same time? She’s probably not even infertile.
Then, this week, I attended my first birthing class. There was another woman there who was pregnant with twins, due just a few days before I am. My first thought? “New BFF!” As I talked to her more, my second thought? “Never mind. I can do better.” (I’m a tough friendship sell, clearly.)
Then I thought about my actual friends. Let’s review my closest real-life friends.
- Ernie, best friend from high school: Gay and therefore situationally infertile; brother is biologically infertile; mother is clueless
- Other best friend from high school: For over a decade has declared her intention to be childless by choice
- Best friend from college: Female factor infertility, now parenting following IUI
- Best friend from graduate school: Advanced maternal age, now parenting following IUI
- Another close friend from graduate school: Not technically infertile, but TTC #2 when I was a year into TTC; had a miscarriage, then got pregnant again and for a brief time we were pregnant simultaneously; though not infertile, totally gets it
- A third close friend from graduate school: Unexplained infertility, now parenting following low-level interventions (after ~5 years of trying without intervention)
Are you sensing a pattern? Notably, all but the latter were my friends long before TTC came into the picture. The latter had already started trying when we met, but we didn’t really talk about TTC until years later when I started having trouble.
No, I’m not so exclusionary (or single-minded) as to choose friends on the basis of infertility. But… there are definitely people who’ve been crossed off the list because of a combination of fertility and insensitivity.
As for making new friends, I’ve certainly been tempted before to create a friendship on the basis of shared infertility. That friendship ultimately never went anywhere because it didn’t feel right to pursue it when treatments had worked for me but not for her — we stopped being a match in our family-building paths.
When I start attending meetings of the local multiples club, will I attempt to sort the infertile wheat from the fertile chaff? Will I arrange playdates only with kids who were conceived in a lab instead of a bed?
Have you found yourself trying to befriend people on the basis of shared family-building paths? If so, how has it gone?