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Monday, March 1, 2010

Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Yesterday on face.book, one of my friends who often posts quotes that she likes as her status message had this as her quote of the day:

Do not think of a painful experience as a dark time in your life. You emerge out of everything learning something or becoming a better person. You realize who your real friends are and how much your loved ones mean to you. ~Colleen Ho


This quote really resonated with me and I'm guessing it might with many of you as well. I liked it so much that I asked to borrow it for my own status message. I'm still thinking about it today, so I thought I'd share it with you here on the blog. The thing is, it's not that I've never realized this before. It's not necessarily a brand new idea for me or anything; I just like the way that it's stated. It's simple, yet so true.

I have many times thought of my experience with recurrent pregnancy loss as a dark time in my life. The darkest, actually. I am, however, able to see how much I've learned and how it has changed me, in many ways for the better. But oh, that last sentence is the one that really hits home.

"You realize who your real friends are and how much your loved ones mean to you."

Yes, yes, YES! Absolutely nothing on earth has made me realize this until I lived through this trial. My loved ones were very precious to me before, but I really do believe that this is a life lesson I've truly been able to experience in the past decade of my life -- the one affected by infertility and loss.

Here is something true about me: I'm not interested in fair-weather friends. I can totally appreciate that some friends are meant to be more casual and we may not fully connect and become really close. That's completely fine. But what I mean is that I'm not into the kinds of friends who only want to be around when life is peachy. Then, when troubles come, they are nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, I've experienced a few friends like these.

Going through infertility sure does help you find out who your friends are, especially when your experience is a very long one. Some haven't hung in there and have eventually fallen away. Some were really supportive at the beginning, but slacked off when there wasn't a quick resolution to our problem. No, it's not always due to what I'm going through. Sometimes distance and time and other factors can come between friends. But sometimes it's true that friends have no longer been willing to figure out how to relate to us or provide encouragement, or simply be there when we've needed it most. I also recognize that it's not always the other person's fault. I'll accept some of the blame. Sometimes I've let the fact that I don't fit in well at play dates or birthday parties or baby showers get in the way of relationships with my friends who are parents. I admit that.

But then there are times when I've truly made an effort and the effort is not returned. It's not something I'm bitter about, but I do know this: my true friends didn't go away when I started having miscarriages. They didn't totally forget that we existed when they had their own children. They know that sometimes I need to talk about all of this, and sometimes I need to talk about anything but this. They know that I'm hurting inside even when things look okay on the outside. They haven't put a time limit on my grief. They encourage us to keep going, and they don't offer all kinds of unwanted advice to try to fix our problem. They pray for us and they tell us that they do. Many times they even have their children praying for us, which always touches my heart.

I have a feeling that, if this pregnancy continues to progress and as the word continues to get out, some of those fair-weather friends are going to come out of the woodwork. They'll want to pick up right where we left off three, five, ten years ago, and they'll want me to suddenly be normal again so we can go on pretending that life is always happy and perfect. I'm just not sure I'll be ready to do that. It is so much sweeter to celebrate victories with those who were with you in the times of defeat! They are the ones who will truly rejoice with you because they've helped you carry the burden.

I hope this post doesn't come off as harsh. It is actually coming from a very positive place, a place where I'm thankful for who my friends are and not who they aren't. This past week I was able to have lunch with a dear friend who moved out of state more than a year ago. We sat together at my new favorite burger joint while her adorable toddler wiggled in her seat and ate more mustard than hot dog. My friend had a miscarriage several months ago, after her daughter. I hurt so badly for her when that happened and I hated that we were miles apart. But that shared experience is not why we are able to have great heart-to-heart conversations over cheeseburgers with tears in our eyes. I believe we can do that because we have the bond of friendship and the common denominator of a shared faith, and because we haven't allowed parenthood or loss or time or distance to change that.

Inevitably, after I write a post like this, some sweet friends will send me messages or call and say that they feel they haven't done enough or fear this post was in some way about them. Definitely NOT! If you are a real-life friend and you read this blog, that tells me two things: 1. I trust you enough to invite you to follow along with us on this journey of ups and downs, and to read my most personal thoughts about a very personal issue; 2. You care enough to take the time to read it. Trust me when I tell you, that is enough! Those things alone mean so much to me, and those of you who do read it are so faithful to leave comments and send messages and notes of encouragement along the way. I hope you know how much I treasure you!

To my fellow bloggers, you guys are so special to us. Never could I have imagined having so much love and support from people who started out as total strangers. You bless me in ways I could never describe. Thank you for becoming true friends to us and choosing to walk with us. You are often in our prayers and our conversations with one another. My husband knows you all by name, or at the very least, blog title!

And to our family, who love us unconditionally whether we ever have a baby or not and in all of our imperfections, you mean the world to us! There is no way we could have gotten this far without your love and prayers.

I have found who my true friends are, and I know now more than ever how much my loved ones mean to me. It's a beautiful thing.

***********

Pregnancy update:
Still doing well and hanging in there! I'm now 10 weeks, 2 days. Just 3 more sleeps until our next ultrasound. Prayers are appreciated, as always!

28 comments:

Hope in Virginia said...

I really like that quote!

~Anona~ said...

So excited for you & Chuck as each day is a gift! (I check your blog with anticipation each week.) Love this post on friends. Well said.

Life In Mazes said...

I am so thankful to have such great friends who have stuck it out with me over the years!!

I do want to tell you that I have been praying for good results for the next ultrasound appt and that I have been praying for you to have a peaceful and joyful heart!!

Dan & Hillary said...

Thanks, Stacey, for posting this entry.

Hope you won't mind the sweltering Houston heat and pregnancy combined... you better have a/c!!

Chuck said...

@Dan & Hillary,

I always want it colder in the house than Stacey does, so it will be nice for her to want to turn down the thermostat. I just hope our A/C makes it through another Houston summer!

Chuck said...

On a serious note, I once again want to express my gratitude to all of Stacey's blog friends. Over the past 2 years we have experienced a great deal of emotional healing and I know a lot of it is due to the tremendous support you provide. God has used you in our lives. So thank you!

In honor of you all, I think we may name this baby Blogger. :)

Anonymous said...

Amen. Well said. We havent had pregnancy/fertility issues but we have had a very sick child and yes-in the beginning most people were supportive & years later i can count my close friends on one hand. Poeple didnt understand when we left our church because of their lack of any meaningful support. You wrote this well-and it applies not just to your situation but to many others where people are going through long trials. I am praying for you.

Melody said...

Cracking up at the baby blogger name idea! I dare you to do that. Loved this post. You guys are great and have such a wonderful spirit. Still praying for you guys.

twondra said...

What a wonderful quote! I absolutely love it! Thank you for sharing!

And I completely agree with you about your friends. It's amazing how you find some really wonderful friends...friends who are there for you no matter what.

Love this post. Thanks once again for pouring out your heart in a way that makes the rest of us look and feel "normal". :) :)

Michelle said...

YAY for 10 weeks! You are continually in my prayers. I hope all goes well during your next appointment.

I love the quote. It is so true! Definitely through my last 10 years I have found out who my real friends are and there were definitely some surprises. People who I thought would be there were not and some I didn't think would be there and understand have stepped up more then I could imagine.

Amy said...

Stacey, please do not let Chuck name the baby "Blogger". It makes me think of "Frogger", and he always gets hit by a car. Bad way to start.

I like this post. I think it is just coming from a very honest place of what you have experienced, and who has stuck by you through it.

Can't wait for the next ultrasound update! I feel like we all would want to be in that room with you!

Also, have you made any official announcements yet, or is word just trickling out, or are you waiting for the 12 week mark? Just wondering. :)

Stacey said...

@Amy, no official announcement yet. We have been telling people on an individual basis so far, although we did recently tell our church family (which is quite small). We probably will not be completely open about it until the 2nd trimester.

Oh, and don't worry. I'll make sure I have the final say in the naming process! :)

Thanks everyone for the prayers!

Andrea said...

Stacey,

I can relate to how the struggle of loss compromises friendships. We had few friends acknowledge our loss, most just ignored it and hoped it would away, and dodged the potential ackwardness. And, we had some who met it head on and offered kind words. To this day I remember who was supportive and harbor ill will to those who were fair weather friends.

Friendships are like seasons...some come and some go. However, those that "weather the storms with you" are keepers. The ones who don't are "seasonal".

Over the past few months I have been reminded of what a therapist said "take out the trash". This was in response to those who've hurt me.

Thanks for writing such a wonderful post...it reminds me that what I am feeling is natural and an honest emotion.

HUGS and Much Love as you Journey on to success :)

xo

TRS said...

I totally understand.
I had a friend who seemed to disappear when she had her second baby. A few months ago, I confronted her via email to figure out what went wrong.

When she finally replied, she said that she had to eliminate my negativity from her life... you know, my struggling with unemployment and breaking up with my boyfriend all while reaching the end of my fertility years.

Gee thanks. And if she had struggled with infertility or miscarriages, do you think for a second that I would have distanced myself from that negativity?

At least I know who my friends are... My REAL friends are those who feel that I'm always positive despite my troubles... and know that I am always there for them. In fact, my troubles assure them in some way that I'm not going to look down on them for not being perfect.
(hmmm I feel a blog post of my own coming on.... )

Baby On Mind said...

Thanks for the great quote and a great post. I'm praying for you ultrasound.

DeniFay said...

I second this so strongly! I mentioned it in a response just mins ago. I'm grateful to learn who my true friends are, that has been one of my 'good' things to come from loss!! I do have some exceptional friends and some that totally disappointed me. I think God was helping to show where I should be putting my trust and that most of all that place is Him! Thanks for your sweet comments the other day, you are precious!

Eagerly awaiting the update on baby 'blogger', as I will fondly refer to baby until I have a real name!! ;)

Kathryn said...

Praying, praying, praying, continuing to pray. I do so hope your hopes are fulfilled.

Kate said...

What a beautiful post! You really inspired the prayers I wrote this morning. Praying for you and the upcoming appointment!

Jenn said...

Stace, you and Chuck are just the cutest!!! Absolutely so excited about this progression of "Baby Blogger" :) I have had your ultrasound written on my calendar since you made the announcement. Everytime I see it, I pray and thank God for His miracle that he's doing right now! At home the other night, Kaylin asked me how far along her nanny was & how you were doing! :)

~ Katie ~ said...

sniff, sniff *sob* you spoke my heart in this blog. if i believed in past lives, i think we were twins ;)

I think you are a very special bloggy friend and I just can't wait until your precious baby makes his (or her) appearance into this world.

Ro-bear said...

Cool quote, but really hard to live it. You do a much better job of that than I do/could.

And, Chuck, I like "Blogger."

I also like "three more sleeps." You sound like Ash.

millerhomestead said...

Sigh. This rings true for me- not with fertility, but other life issues. Now on a less serious note-
Chuck, I like the name Frogger. I hope it stays on the short list. I mean, think how famous you will be if you have a little baby that can dodge cars in Houston! Surely that will make the news. And then all the seasonal friends will seep out of the woodwork because they will want a piece of the fame. God bless! Always at the top of my prayer list for the last 10 yrs.
-Faith

Renovation Girl said...

Great post and so true! I've been thinking of you and I'm so glad to know that things are still progressing. Thanks for your thoughtful honesty in your posts-you say what so many people are thinking!

Journeymark Cards & Gifts said...

Stacey, you amaze me with your gift of writing. You are able to express, I believe, what many of us would like to say, and, you say it with love. I can't thank you enough for sharing your heart and your talent. We love you and are continuing to pray for you and Chad.

Jason said...

You and your family have been in my prayers for 24 years now...good, bad, grief or whatever and ALWAYS willl be.
Chuck- Dont you dare! Lol

Chuck said...

Don't worry, I've had names picked out for a long time.

Lipitor if it's a boy.

Propecia if it's a girl.

Jennifer said...

I loved this post. You always have something encouraging to say even when there can be sadness mixed in. I think it is sad that so many friends fall away when things get tough. Whether it's infertility or something entirely different. Those friends that have stuck by me through the tough times in my life are the true blue friends that I know will always be here for me. They are my rock. Can't wait to hear about the ultrasound! Praying for you guys!

Andrea said...

I was just thinking about this subject the other day! I was thinking about how some people treat me differently now that I have Evan. People who just thought of me as a kid before or some random person (even when they knew about my miscarriage and knew that we were TTC) suddenly wanted to be my friend and treated me like an equal. I was thinking that my true friends stuck with me and took me seriously the whole time. It's funny how getting pregnant (and staying that way) and having a baby make some people suddenly want to be your friend!

It doesn't bother me a whole lot, but my true friends are all the more precious to me since they didn't act that way.