We all have the basic needs for love and belonging, and we often times believe that feeling understood goes hand in hand with this need.

However, it is impossible to be understood by everyone in our lives. This does not mean we aren’t loved, but rather at times our loved ones just don’t have it in them to really get it.

Or to really get us.

Surviving IVF and living a childfree life sometimes feels like I will never be fully understood.

For the most part, I have been lucky and blessed to have amazing people in my life. Even if they don’t completely get the IVF thing, they work very hard on loving me through it. But, I have noticed a few categories emerge:

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My fellow warriors

Those who have been through some version of infertility or pregnancy loss themselves, even if their journey has looked completely different (especially their outcome).

They genuinely get it.

With them I am truly known.

My true friends (really family).

Those who may have never had to think about infertility, never really been exposed to it and therefore struggle to empathize with the journey but they still try. They ask the questions, sometimes not in the best way, but they still ask.

They truly walk along beside.

With them I am truly seen.

~

My limited supporters

Those who will never ask about it and become extremely uncomfortable whenever it’s brought up.

They do the best with what they have.

With them I am truly loved.

 ~

My incapables.

Those who openly criticize, question and deny what we have been through. Maybe they used to talk and ask about it, but have never had the capacity to quite understand any of it. Not only do they deny the journey, but often times somehow shut down that part of who we are.

They will probably never get it.

With them I am incomplete.

~

This has nothing to do with my IVF journey at all, but rather is just what happens for all of us as we grow, evolve and love.

Relationships change, relationships end, relationships reemerge, relationships evolve.

As I hugged a dear friend good bye today, I am flooded with gratitude for change. The change of life, the change of relationships and how much we all change and grow. A friend who has been in and out of my life for years, some of our falling outs worse than others, but a friend who I know will always have some piece in my life and in my heart.

We’ve had to recateogrize each other several times in our 15 year friendship.

I use the term recategorize with my clients a lot, referring to the ever changing relationships in our lives as we age. I believe people are meant to come in and out of our lives as we all change. Sometimes these changes warrant a recategorization. Who you thought would always be there may leave your life for a few years and then reemerge. Or they may be gone forever, never meant to be the lifelong friend you had hoped.

Hand in hand with recategorization, we all must accept the limitations of our loved ones. Sometimes, they just don’t have what we need. Accepting their limitations improves our well-being, as we only have control over ourselves. We cannot make someone understand us. Accepting our loved ones’ limitations means we realize they just don’t have it to give. We must stop going to the empty well.

Being completely understood by others needs to have nothing to do with who we are or our stories. We must honor ourselves, no matter what our loved ones’ capabilities of understanding us are.

We all must do the work to validate ourselves; seeing, knowing and loving ourselves.

Life is difficult and people are complicated, which means relationships take work and are forever changing.

For me, I must accept that there are some who will never understand my journey of infertility or the lifelong losses of a childfree life. And even though this can feel like a complete denial of who I am and may change our relationship, I must continue to speak my truth and live my story authentically for the world to see, because this is simply who I am.

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I must be my truth, not to fulfill the need to feel understood or to make someone get it, but rather to live my authentic truth and light.

To be true to myself.

For that light will reveal my fellow warriors and true friends.

And maybe, one day, that light will grow those limited supporters and incapables into my ever upwards.

39 thoughts on “Our Fellow Warriors, True Friends, Limited Supporters, and Incapables

  1. busynothing says:

    Beautifully put. I can relate to your categories. Framing things this way will help me. It’s easier to let go of guilt or “how things should be” when you acknowledge things as shifting — as they are.

    Like

    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you! ❤

      Like

  2. Morgan says:

    Brilliantly said. Categorizing the people in our lives makes logical sense, but it’s funny and interesting how we all struggle to make all our fellow humans ‘get’ us. We all have journeys in life and each of us has a different path. I finally came to this realization through years of therapy. In my journey these past years I have found my belief system is quite different than others around me. I couldn’t believe in a God that would allow so much pain in my life (both physical and therefore emotional), whereas 95% of the people in my life kept saying He had a plan for me and the mystery will be revealed one day. Regardless of loss and fear over 15 years of surgeries, they kept saying, ‘we’ll at least you have…’ I was never looking for pity, but I was looking for acknowledgement.
    My acceptance of their beliefs helped me to not cut them off, but rather, like you say, categorize them as limited supporters or incapables. And we daily rearrange these relationships based on our connections and our misunderstandings with other humans.
    Absolutely brilliant, Justine. And the question it brings up for discussion in my head is this: when do the incapables get less attention? If ever? Should I increase compassion to ‘see’ them better? I’ve tried this recently and was hurt and disappointed in someone I thought was a friend for life. Just thinking aloud.

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    1. jlbf4 says:

      Exactly!!!!! Working on that post 😉

      Like

  3. Marie says:

    I get what you are saying very much. I feel only truly understood by those who have walked in my shoes. I am not comfortable talking about the pain of infertility with others as I only seem to encounter pity or irritation (that I haven’t got over it yet and gotten on with my life!). The only ones who truly understand the feeling of emptiness are those who have been there themselves.

    Like

    1. jlbf4 says:

      Very few actually get the lifelong loss that it is…

      Like

  4. Victoria says:

    Those categories hit the nail right on the head. Yes, support and understanding vary. One of the best pieces of advice I got early on was to simply not deal with anyone who was not contributing to my physical and mental health. It’s OK, she said, to set those relationships aside for the time being if they are not helping (or are actively hurting). She was right and what a relief it was. In fact, it gave me so much serenity that I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to use that advice for the rest of days. 🙂

    Like

    1. jlbf4 says:

      I love that, set them aside for a bit… Thank you!

      Like

  5. google.com says:

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was truly informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for reading and the comment! Justine

      Like

  6. michele rost says:

    I just shared this on FB. Can’t wait to see you tonight! You have been so inspiring! ♡

    Like

    1. Thank you so much! Was great to see you last night, hope you enjoyed it! Justine

      Like

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