Doctor Love: A sensitive Friendship

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Readers, email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length

Dear Doctor Love,
I am one of a group of five girls who’ve been close since we were toddlers. We went to school together and graduated from the same class in the same year. A few of us have moved away and we are all married and starting families but we stay in touch regularly and each year we take a trip together.
One girl in our group has been unsuccessful in her attempts to have a child. She’s had many miscarriages, one in her last trimester. She has been devastated by the losses and little else occupies her mind. The rest of us are all sympathetic and support her as much as we can but it has become difficult to spend time with her. She gets upset when we talk about our kids and it rips her apart when one of us is pregnant. I see her more than the others because she and I stayed in the area, but at some point when we’re visiting together I’ll mention my son and she leaves in tears. She refuses to come to my house because of the baby toys all over and of course, my kid is there. I’m on pins and needles because when the conversation turns to my daily life, I talk about my kid.
The group is starting to plan our yearly trip and for the fourth time, it will be a week in San Pedro. We are toying with the idea of just the four of us going and telling our other friend that is too uncomfortable to try to avoid talking about our kids when she’s around. We don’t want to hurt her feelings but this is our vacation and it is a time to relax and have fun, not measure everything we talk about. What do we do?
/s/Unsigned

Dear Unsigned,
There’s no quick or easy fix for this. You can’t change her situation and you can’t be responsible for her feelings.
Be sensitive and tell her how much you care for her but need to be honest about how difficult it is to censor your comments when you are with her. Explain you don’t want to hurt her but you cannot simply ignore the fact that having a child is a joy in your life.
Talk to her about the vacation and ask her if she wants to come. If the answer is yes, ask her how you can make it comfortable for all of you to be together and talk about your lives. Talk about what isn’t working and how together you can make it work.

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