Monday, February 6, 2012

The Pity Conundrum

Dear Junebug,

You have been a trooper this this week! You are getting not just one, but your first two teeth at the same time! You are also scooting around all over the place. It's really funny watching you chase our doggy around the house. She doesn't make it easy on you though. She gets up as soon as you reach her. But, you just turn right around and keep following her. I love your determination!

So back to our story. This good friend of mine is the kind of friend that makes me want to be a better person when I'm around her. And when we had our very important conversation, she wasn't making any babies in her belly either. We were both dealing with it in different ways, but it was still so nice to have someone who understood a little bit. Finding people to talk to about stuff like that can be hard. See, there's a bit of a friendship conundrum when you can't make a baby in your belly. Many of your friends feel sorry for you. And if there's one thing that gets my feathers ruffled it's having people feel sorry for me (that's because I'm a little too proud sometimes). Grown-ups seem to have an unspoken rule that if you are able to make babies in your belly you shouldn't say anything to a person who can't, because it'll probably be the wrong thing to say. I always felt bad about that silly rule, because I never wanted my friends with belly-babies to feel like they couldn't talk to me. When your friends are afraid to talk to you about your big sad things, it can make you feel even more lonely...and make your sadness feel even heavier. Really, that's exactly what most friends are trying not to do by trying to not say the wrong thing!

It's really important to know that sadness is okay and normal and even a good thing to feel sometimes. But, you have to be careful with it, because if you hold onto it too tight it can turn into pity, which isn't so good. (I think we've talked a little about pity before, so be patient with me. This lesson took a long time for me to learn!) When you fall into pity (which I've done more than a few times!), you start to believe that everyone's life is better than yours. But, that is never true. Everyone (and I mean everyone) has hard stuff in their life. If you start to believe that all your friends have a better life than you do, you just aren't seeing things clearly...and you probably aren't able to be a good friend because of it. Sometimes we need friends to pull us out of our pity. Lucky for me, Daddy never had much tolerance for pity. This dear friend of mine was another person like that. I just couldn't be around a person like her and get stuck in pity too long. She was always helping others, and reminded me too much of all the people around me who needed help and kindness even more than I did.

So, I was talking with this friend about how I wished for more friends who could help me stay away from pity. I was babbling on about the person I wanted to be, and ended up saying, "I just want to be the kind of person who can be grateful for infertility because it led me to become a foster parent." And then you know what happened? Right after I said it, my own words hit me over the head as hard as a frying pan! I was waiting for somebody to give me permission to stop being pitiful and start being grateful! I was waiting for someone to go ahead of me and do exactly what I wanted to do. But, that was the silliest thing ever, Junebug! Nobody was going to live an example of my life for me and show me exactly how to do it. I finally saw that it was up to me to become the person I had always deep down wanted to be! I just needed to startdoing the things that person would do!

So, a few days after that conversation I spent a little chunk of time filling out a form on my computer. When I was done I went into the living room and said to Daddy, "I just sent in an application to become foster-parents". And he said, "Hurray! It's about time!"


  1. Love this post Jenny. Such beautiful words and such an important story. Your wisdom is much needed in the world.

  2. Sniff, tear, smile. Love every little word, Jenny.

  3. Thanks guys! I have such encouraging friends :)