Monday, July 16, 2012

What to say to a struggling friend.

Original source of photo not found,
let me know if you know, so I can credit them!
I just got off of the phone with my adorable, lovable little sister, we were discussing trying to make babies and how hard it is for some people, and how she didn't realize how many people struggled with it until I started going through it. She was telling me how much she wants to help and comfort me, and everyone else that she talks to about it, but that she doesn't know what to say, because she's never experienced it (she has a beautiful, six week old daughter named Amelia...and no, she wasn't trying) I had to laugh, because the truth is, I don't know what to say, heck I don't even know what I need to hear. I know what I hate hearing, and I know what makes me feel a little comforted, but even when other women come and talk to me about it, I have no clue what to say to them, even though I'm going through the exact same thing, generally we tell each other "I'm here if you need me." and then we are when they do, and "I completely understand what you mean, I feel the same exact way." and it is a huge comfort to know that someone else knows what it feels like to get angry, sad, jealous, and happy all at one "I'm pregnant" announcement from someone who "accidentally" got pregnant. It's a great comfort to know that someone who knows what you are feeling will be there and listen to you, and will do so with nothing but love and understanding. There are several things that I hear ALL.THE. TIME. and usually from people who mean well, but don't quite understand, and I am always glad that they at least wanted to say SOMETHING, but the things they say are sometimes unintentionally hurtful, here are a few of those things, and why they are hard to hear:
  • "It'll happen."- This is what I hear the most, and I know that it's because they have no idea what else to say, and they sincerely and honestly want that to be true. It hurts because most days it doesn't feel true, and you can't honestly KNOW that for sure, and then every month and every year that it doesn't happen it hurts worse. This is a tough one, because every time I hear it I think "...and what if it doesn't"
  • "In God's time."- This is more of an "I know this, but don't want to hear it" type of thing, this is hard to hear because I KNOW this to be true, but it's not that easy to put in perspective, it's like I know that my life is on God's schedule, and not mine, but darn it, His timing takes way too long!
  • "God has His reasons"- This one also covers "Everything happens for a reason." When I hear those things I automatically think of the millions of precious little lives lost all over the world every single day, and what the reason for THAT could possibly be, and then I think about all the people who have kids that don't want or appreciate them, all the people who look at their children as burdens and accidents, and wonder what the reason for them getting to have children and for me not to could possibly be. Again, I KNOW that God has His reasons, and frankly it makes me mad that I can't know what they are, but that would defeat the purpose.
  • "Trying is the fun part."- Obviously you have never tried to get pregnant.
  • "Kids are so much work, seriously it's best to just spoil them and send them home."- Let me punch you and then take yours. I am not completely clueless about the "work" that children require, I also know how much joy they bring, and I know what it feels like to have children in my home day and night for weeks and then have to send them home, nope, it just sucks worse.
  • "You can have mine, you'll be begging to give them back in an hour, trust me."- Say this to me one more time, and I will show up at your door with adoption papers. Seriously, you aren't funny, and that really hurts, I know you are kidding, and that hurts worse, because you have no idea how badly I wish someone would just show up at my house with a baby and adoption papers. 
  • "Just adopt." - Obviously you have no idea what goes into an adoption, because "just" adopt is not a possibility. I wish I could JUST go and adopt, I'd have three kids by now, unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. 
  • "Just quit trying and it'll happen."- Yes, because that's possible. I haven't found a way to do so yet, when you do let me know...well a way other than never having sex with my husband, that would work...but then it wouldn't happen, so that wouldn't work either.
Wow, I didn't realize how cynical I'd get by the end, sorry about that. I don't say this to be mean, it's just how I feel. I KNOW that most people mean well when they say these things, they just hurt.

So then, what should you say? That you love them, that you're praying for them, that you hurt for them, that you don't understand, that if they need to cry and scream and yell, and complain that you'll be there listening without judgement, with an open mind, and a loving heart. Let them know that if they need a hug, a good cry, or someone to hang out with just to take their mind off of things that they have you, and then DO IT! 
Just be a good friend, because the truth is nothing you, I, or anybody can say will make the pain go away, it won't make it better, it won't give them a baby (unless of course you are saying "ummm, I'm pregnant, and I'd like to do a private adoption..." in which case my phone number is.....) Just be present and caring, and don't judge them when they talk about feelings of anger and jealousy, because they are probably feeling bad enough about feeling that way already. 
Just love them!

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