My Struggles With Infertility Changed My Friendships

by Lauren Manaker
Originally Published: 
infertility changed friendships

Once upon a time, I had an amazing group of friends. We were all the same age, all at the same stage of our careers, and all got married within a year of each other. It was perfect; we were going on the journey of life together. Naturally, the next step was to become pregnant at the same time. How else were we going to have playdates, Disney vacations, and mom nights together?

Since experts claim that 1 in 8 couples will struggle with infertility in the U.S., it makes sense that at least one of us ladies would be the unlucky 1 of the 8. I drew the short straw. One by one, my friends sported their cute baby bump and sent out their adorable baby shower invitations. It was clear; my friends were all entering motherhood together and I was the odd woman out.

They did their best to be sensitive to my struggles, but life happens. Fast forward to one of my friend’s son’s fourth birthday party and I was still childless with nothing to show for it but bruises from my IVF needles and many hard-earned dollars down the drain. Something snapped that day. My emotions came crashing down and I realized that I needed professional help to cope with the disappointment that I was experiencing over and over again.

Aside from my longing to become a mother, I didn’t realize that I was unbelievably anxious to become pregnant so that I could “catch up” with my friends. My relationships were slowly changing, and it was lonely.

I am a scientist by trade and am not a very spiritual person. My new therapist, on the other hand, was the yin to my yang. She softly laughed when I implied that I wanted to control the timeline of my journey to motherhood. She calmly encouraged me to explore the idea that there is a plan for all of us, and part of my plan is this fertility journey. She shared that my daughter is likely meant to be best friends with a young girl who will happen to be in her preschool class, and I will become friends with the young girl’s mother and harbor a friendship stronger than any other one I have had previously. Whatever, lady. Here’s your co-pay and see you never!

I finally became pregnant and welcomed my daughter into the world in 2015. My friends were supportive and gave me the wise advice all mothers do when they visit a new mom. It was clear, though, that we were in different places. They were beyond the sleepless nights and mommy-and-me days.

My daughter started attending preschool when she was two years old. At drop-off, I bumped into a mom who I recognized from mommy and me classes. Knowing that we were both going to “lose it” on the first day of school, she invited me to join her for a cup of coffee. Our cup of coffee turned into a friendship that is different than any other friendship I have ever had. And, yes, her daughter and my daughter became instant best friends that has continued beyond that first day of preschool.

My earth-mama therapist called it. My daughter was born exactly at the time she was meant to be born. If she had been born earlier, she never would have met her best friend, and I never would have met her mother. I do not believe that I would have formed a friendship this unique with anybody else. It was 100% in the plan.

I used to think that every mom automatically finds her “squad,” but now I realize that not every mama is that lucky. It can be a lonely ride, especially when you are a SAHM and your husband works like a dog. I am convinced that the timing of me becoming a mother was not a coincidence, and I was meant to meet my “mom best friend.” We dove into very personal issues very quickly. Even early on, we both knew that it was okay. Either that, or we were both too tired to realize that airing dirty laundry was not polite. Either way, it is unreal how many very personal details we have hashed out over the short years we have known each other. I have never experienced a faster connection with anybody other than my husband, and my parenting and marriage would not be how it is today without her by my side.

We have navigated through motherhood together and created our own “squad” of a handful of other moms. Each of us are entirely different, and honestly would likely never have been friends pre-kids. Now that we are in the thick of motherhood, these women have become my strength and sounding board. I am still friendly with my old friends, but the bond I have formed with these women does not even compare with friendships I have had in the past.

In the short time we have all become friends, we have seen each other through marital struggles, health issues, career changes, and general confusion/frustration of being a mom. It is hard to believe that if my daughter had been born a year earlier or later, that I likely never would have met these amazing women who have completely changed my life for the better. Timing was everything. And, turns out, that wacky therapist wasn’t so wacky after all.

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