Several of my patients in the past week have told me how frustrating it is that close friends and family can’t seem to be supportive. Specifically, two of my current infertility patients were appalled that pregnant friends had the audacity to complain about their pregnancies. Given that research shows that the majority of women with infertility tell no one about their infertility, including their own mothers, it is actually somewhat hard to blame someone for complaining to someone else who is experiencing a crisis the opposite of yours, but hasn’t told you what that crisis it. And yes, I know the previous sentence was hard to understand.
The fact is, we all tend to focus on what is wrong in our lives. So an infertiltiy patient is going to focus on her infertility, and a pregnant woman is going to focus on the physical and emotional consequences of pregnancy. Ironically, each may be envious of the other. I guess the takeaway message here is to be cautious about who you complain to. If you have a friend who has been married for a while and doesn’t have kids, she might well be experiencing infertility so complaning about your pregnancy or your kids might not be well received. If you are financially stable and you have a friend who was recently laid off, don’t complain that you couldn’t get a reservation at the hottest new restaurant in town. I am not saying that complaining per se is bad. I am merely advising that before you list your grievances to anyone else, do a mental check on that person’s life to make sure you aren’t adding salt to their wounds.