Dear E. Jean: I have a wonderful two-year-old who is the absolute light of my life, and a husband I adore. I love being a mom and desperately wish to expand our family. However, I have suffered three miscarriages in the past 10 months (despite testing and treatment for a blood-clotting disorder linked to miscarriage), in addition to losing my father. At the moment, I am hurting too much from all this loss and need to take a break from trying for another child, and I’m also recognizing that it may not be in Mother Nature’s cards for us to have another. (It took almost two years to conceive my daughter, so fertility has never come naturally for me.)
The problem is, nearly all my friends are pregnant right now and I’m finding it incredibly hard to be around them. Watching their bodies change is a constant reminder of where I should have been had any of my pregnancies lasted. I don’t want to cut myself off socially, especially in a time of such grief, but I find it very painful to see such abundant fertility around me. What can I do, short of finding an entirely new group of friends? —Heartbroken
Miss Heartbroken: My dear, dear woman, what a catastrophic 10 months! My lord! I grieve for you, and I’m miserable I can’t make everything right.
Lamenting the loss of your babies who “might have been” is as painful and intense as anything in life—perhaps even more excruciatingly so in your case because it is coupled with the death of your dad. So of course you’re overwhelmed with yearning and longing when presented with the fecundity of your friends. One hundred percent understandable and natural. It will lessen with time. But as for beginning to wonder what “Mother Nature” has in the cards for you—here, I can help! Because Auntie Eeee can actually see the hand you’ve been dealt: You have four aces—your husband and your daughter. (The child counts triple.) Four aces! Concentrate on the hand you have, darling. They are your strength! They are your salvation! They will pull you back into the joys and whims of life. Also, join a local pregnancy-loss support group; you require a fresh bouquet of acquaintances at this period. Because, as for your old friends who are expecting—alack! Pardon me, I must be frank: Love them as you do; until you feel tougher, now is not a good time to see them.
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.