Yesterday we received an invitation from old friends (J&K) to attend a baseball game with them Friday night. It was a nice invitation, but I told Craig I just wasn’t up for it, for the simple reason that they would have their 2-month-old and 18-month-old sons with them. I’m just not up for it right now, but I feel really bad about not going.

We attended this couple’s wedding about three years ago, and since then they have had their two boys. (I guess I note this because these types of timeframes stand out to me, since we’ve been married for 9 years and working on child #1 for over 4 years now… but I digress.) I attended K’s baby shower for their first child about two weeks after our first miscarriage two years ago. To this day I am not quite sure why I went to that shower, but I suppose I felt obligated because I had already RSVP’d – pre-miscarriage, thinking, “oh, I’ll be pregnant, too, and won’t that be fun at the shower to also be pregnant!” – so I went and I sat politely and quietly through it and oohed and ahhed over all of the cute little baby outfits and made guesses as to which ribbon length was the correct circumference of her baby belly and so on. At the end, after I walked out the door, I couldn’t even make it to my car before I started crying. I drove around the corner (so no one would see) and bawled for about 15 minutes before I felt I could continue my drive home.

I often feel very obligated to attend things even when I know I won’t have a good time. For example, I feel like I’d be a bad friend if I declined a baby shower request. Honestly, except for times like now when I’m in a down swing, I can be okay at a baby shower. There are times when I’m totally up for time with friends with their babies and small children. Actually seeing our friends usually outweighs the discomfort, since we basically don’t see any of our friends with kids anymore. Holding a baby can be wonderfully therapeutic sometimes. But at other times it is painful for me. I guess the important thing for me is to recognize when I can handle it and when I can’t. I need to make choices based on me and not based on what the other people will think. And I need to stop worrying about whether I’m doing the right thing. The right thing is what is right for me, not what is right for anyone else. I find thoughts like that to be pretty selfish, but maybe that’s okay at times.

We only see these friends about once a year and they have not known anything about our family-building journey. I expected Craig to make up some excuse about why we couldn’t go – to say that we had other plans or whatever – but he chose instead to tell them our story. He got a very nice email back from J that was understanding, respectful, and supportive. It reminded me that most friends and family members will respect our choices and know that we can’t handle every situation. I need to keep that in mind the next time I’m feeling bad about one of our choices.

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14 Responses to choices

  1. E says:

    You made the right decision. If you don't feel up to it, don't go. Afterall, we are the ones that have to live with ourselves and our feelings afterwards. I am currently going through a similiar problem with my step sister and her upcoming baby shower.

  2. Kelly says:

    Oh, Kelly – I can't believe you made it to the baby shower right after your miscarriage. Seriously, I could never have been that strong. And even if I had made it to the shower, I'm sure I would not have held back the tears for as long as you did. I'm so sorry for your pain, Kelly. It is definitely hard to be around kids when you so badly want them yourself and have been waiting and waiting. Your time will come. I know it's not even helpful to hear that, is it? I'm sorry.

  3. Christine says:

    I think you did the right thing… and Craig too! Hopefully a situation will come up where you can see them sans-kids… or when you're ready to see them with kids, it sounds like they will be understanding and sensitive to the situation. It's so hard to broach the subject with friends and family, but I found almost every single person was 100% behind us. (Those that weren't quickly faded from our lives)

  4. Rain Child says:

    I think you are doing the right thing. You need to take care of yourself and your emotions. I hope you find something fun and happy to do instead. It sounds like your husband is a wonderful man!

  5. Matt and Jenny says:

    i totally agree w/everyone on this… right thing! i think it was good that craig told them the situation. that way they can be understanding instead of just wondering why you "didn't want to hang out with them" (b/c that's what they probably would've though).

  6. E says:

    You are amazing for attending that baby shower after your mc. I do think the self-preservation thing is so important though. No need to put yourself through torture. I'm in the fortunate position now that I'm pretty much past the baby shower stage, as many of our friends now have school-age children. That alone is a reminder that we are so behind. And other reminders are when you recognize that friends have been married less years than you but have a child or two (or three). I so get it.

    I used to go to baby showers when we were TTC because I thought it was good karma…and like you, I knew that I would feel guilty if I didn't. But in the last few years, I typically don't hesitate to send my regrets (unless it's family which equals more guilt). I always send a gift to show our support and congratulations. I just can't support with my physical presence at such things.

    It's great that your friends were so understanding of your feelings. They are good friends. Sometimes it's good to just be honest, as your husband was. It is hard not to do, but try not to beat yourself up about taking care of yourself first.

  7. Angela says:

    I really empathize with you regarding attending the baby shower so soon after your miscarraige. We learn through experience there's no need to deny our feelings and always appear strong. I'm glad you recognize the need to accept what you're feeling now. With time and embracement of your emotions, you will eventually heal. Keep it up.

  8. kristine says:

    good for you for honoring your feelings. it's what you would advise a child of yours to do right? in order to parent you need to be able to live the life you want for your child.

    btw – i was married 14 years before our Q came along and we have been on this journey for our second for four years. it's not always easy but i have to say i have never felt 'behind' or that the timing was wrong. if you can in any way get that out of your head it will help tremendously. i don't know why i feel the way i do but i really believe every moment with out my children has made me a better, stronger and mover loving and patient parent. i appreciate my child in a way i wouldn't have if he came five years before. as far as our second child, i thought we would be bringing them home when Q was 3 or 4. now they will be coming home when he is 7 or 8. i feel so strongly that this is so much better. are we old? i don't know. maybe. but i still feel the timing has been perfect. it's my expectations that have been off.

    when your friends are experiencing the empty nest (which i dread!) you will still have your love with you! Yay!

    Chin up. keep taking care of yourself. you are on the journey. which is a whole heck of lot better than not being on it at all.

  9. Robin says:

    Wow. I'm so glad that it worked out for you. I guess I mean, sometimes telling the truth can be scary and you got a good response!

    Sorry things have to be so hard…


  10. Elizabeth Frick says:

    Kelly, I just can't even begin to imagine the pain you've been through over the years. I admire your strength through it all. And I'm definitely an advocate of doing what's best for YOU and no one else!

  11. Zoe says:

    Good for you, Kelly, for taking care of yourself. It's not selfish to know what you can handle at a given time and what you can't. And kudos to your friends for understanding.

  12. MK says:

    I have decided that my attitude when it comes to baby showers or really, any situation that I just don't think I will be comfortable with or can't handle is, "I can only do what I can do." If you can't handle something, don't do it. I've found that the people in my life who have been there for me the most, if I'm honest with them, they understand. Sounds like these friends did…big hugs to you…

  13. CatherineD says:

    It was so interesting reading through your thought process on this one. We seem to have a lot in common. I, too, do a lot of things out of 'obligation.' I think I'm getting better, but if I am dreading an activity, I will usually try and drag poor Brian to the event with me – and that actually makes a would-be miserable time more tolerable.You're absolutely right to remember that if it's a good choice for you – then it's a good choice. People like us don't have many selfish moments. Usually what seems selfish to me turns out to be just what I needed. Take care of YOU, girl!

  14. diariesofajadedheart says:

    i just wanted to say that i used to feel obligated to do certain things even when i lost my first daughter at 22 weeks. after her loss i felt people should done things for us – like ask how my husband and i were doing, or ask about our daughter – which many people did not. after that i told myself that i would not put my feelings behind those of others. jaded? yes. bitter? sure. looking out for myself when others did not? yes.i think you should be true to yourself always in balance with being sensitive to those who TRULY look out for you in times of need.i wish you luck in your continued journey and i hope my comment was not out of line.

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