Monday, July 12, 2010


You know my friend who sent the birth announcement about the unmedicated labor? To round out the story, I probably should have added that she is also the friend who sent me a big batch of homemade fudge and milk caramels after my surgery - which she made while she was laid up with morning sickness. She's exuberant about everything. Maybe if she were infertile, she'd be wild with joy at every pregnancy announcement by everyone she knew. But then, the outrageously joyful people - they're the ones who never are infertile, are they? So I do my little arithmetic and conclude that being barren and being bitter just go well together.

Anyway, she sent my DH a lovely message of condolence when she heard about the death of his friend. And then she included a "P.S.":
"P.S. Our son [two weeks old] has already begun demanding to meet the very important [our surname]. And [her crazy younger brother] is to be his godfather. Heaven help us! [The baby] may end up in DC!"
I think her idea here was that she's very far away from a lot of her law school friends (in Minnesota), and she was so close with everyone when we were in school together. So while she's settled into her marriage and family life now, she'd like to emphasize that that connection we all had still exists. At least, that's my best guess. As to what would suggest to her that we (and this is one of my few friends who asks about my treatment when I talk to her, so she is very much aware of our situation; we were diagnosed infertile before she started dating her husband) specifically need to hear about her baby in every message - yeah, I have no idea. You could even say that the baby was off-topic in a sympathy note, perhaps.

And this is what my husband wrote to her:

Thank you so much for your email. I'm afraid he had already been, in a sense, dead for some time. What his friends are mourning is the friend we knew, not what he was in his last years. He was quite a character, and impressed this fact on everyone who met him. I'll miss him a lot.

I know that last year must have been very hard for you, as well, after [her mother's long-term boyfriend] died. It's very hard to lose people we love, especially when it happens unexpectedly. It could be that this sorrow made us appreciate the glimmers of joy life provides, but I'm not so sure I believe that anymore. I'd like to, but I'm not sure that I do.

Congratulations to you and [her husband] on the birth of your son. I have been meaning to write. I know it must seem an odd phenomenon, but it's come to be very hard to share in the joy of others when a child is born. I think that may be because it's very difficult for them to share in the sorrow of not being able to have children. The worst part has been seeing how [the misfit] suffers. I've been advised that this gets better but I don't know that I believe that, either. At any rate, I know that you will be an amazing mom.

Thank you again for your kind note, [her name]. It would have been very thoughtful for a normal person, but for you it was just you being [her name]. You're a wonderful person and I hope that this finds you well.
If she's responded to him yet, I haven't heard.


  1. Kudos to your husband who GETS it and can say it so well. Big hugs to you, still praying :)

  2. Well, I like that! Nice letter. Good job Mr. Misfit!
    And yes, inserting a comment about her baby at the end of her sympathy note to you was rather odd and out-of-place to say the least. Maybe she was reaching for a congrats since she hadn't heard from either of you? It seems to be a favorite thing of fertiles to demand congratulations from everyone after the birth of their children (even strangers), why not their infertile friends?

  3. My dear Lord.

    I don't know where to begin!

    First off, your husband wrote one heck of a response! I should bookmark this post so I can borrow parts of it when rude fertiles exuberantly announce the births of their babies.

    I can't wait to read the response, if she sends one.

  4. P.S. I had already sent her a congratulations a few days week to the day after she sent the birth announcement, in fact. I figured the delay would convey the subtext of the message for me, but his method is more direct (and probably will be more effective. I guess we'll see).

  5. I find that being direct is often what needs to happen. Even then, people still might choose to set it aside and continue as they normally would, but certainly when it's subtle, people just don't care to take notice. I tend to think they do this on purpose, because really, they prefer to proceed as they desire and not take into consideration the feelings of others. But to the point, well done Mr. Misfit! I like how he worded it, particularly "odd phenomenon" which it clearly isn't if anyone gave it a second thought, but you know, we have to act like people are considerate...

    Don't you just love it when you've been trying longer than another couple's even known each other and they have kids before you. Sigh.

    I have an exuberant friend. She's pregnant with her third. She's the one who I congratulated over the phone and she proceeded to tell me the whole conception story and how God told her that she was pregnant again by the Scripture verse that states, "Blessed is the man whose quiver is full." Good for you, happy lady, I'm going to cry/bitch to the only people who understand, my "virtual friends." Have fun with your quiver-full.

  6. What an excellent response. He couldn't have put it better. A thank you, a congratulations and a gentle rebuke that does nothing to take away the sincerity of the other two. And he explains exactly what IF feels like when faced with baby and birth announcements. He's good.

  7. Mr. Misfit's response is great. I'm so glad you have a great husband.

  8. Wow - I am SO very impressed with Mr. Misfit's response! That was stellar! Not sure I have ever heard the inability to be happy for other's pregnancies described so well!

    Thank you for sharing this! Love it!

  9. Oh my goodness. That is a masterful response. I am impressed that your dh did that!

  10. amazing response. he has a talent.

  11. Interesting response in that he phrased it so well, but it was clear what he meant. And he wasn't mean at all. Gooooo, DH!

  12. great response! I'm impressed! :)

  13. Wow, thanks for sharing this. Your husband is a Master. The response could not have been worded any better. It is so crazy that we have to [insert] and [instruct] others in our realities.

    For what it's worth, not even 1 fertile couple ever told us anything compassionate during our struggle. Rather, they made comments like: you don't understand OUR STRESS 'cause all you two do is have fun and freetime all the time.

    Guess what? We aren't STRESSED now (that we finally have a baby) and they are STILL crazy and self-centered.

  14. That was a great response and tactful.

  15. Wow. That was beautiful. And it begs for a response, one from the heart. Because our hearts can hold deep joy and sorrow at the same time.

    I don't know if it ever gets better, even after you're parenting, in some deep, dark place. You still know things are different for you.


  16. Wow, your DH is almost as well-spoken as you are. What a great note.

  17. Sorry - late to the commenting party...but I was blow away by his response. So thoughtful, composed, and direct. I need to take lessons. I am horrible at being direct. Did you hear anything back? Inquiring minds want to know!