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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

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So glad you sound in better spirits today -- you've been on my mind all day.

I would love to be 5'9". You are not elephantine. You can only be elephantine if your skin turns gray and wrinkly and you sprout a trunk. (But watch out, 'cause I hear too much tequila can occasionally do that to a person.)

Goosie is out of line. I took chocolate to my mother-in-law the last time she babysat for me. She's related to me and she has no desire to be pregnant, and I still thought she was entitled to some chocolate. I'd say you deserve big fabulous chocolate and appreciative emails (not manipulative ones). Stand firm, I'd say!

Elizabeth,
Just discovered your blog the other day and you impress me with both the grace and the writing talent you have at such a young age.

On to Goosie- No Way should you feel guilty. To give Goosie some credit, I think that most young 20-somethings don't equate "we're trying" with "we're heartsick that we haven't had a baby yet." So maybe she's just blissfully unaware that she is causing you pain. My husband & I also dealt with infertility at a young age and our friends were totally clueless because most of them weren't even trying yet.

However, that doesn't mean you should keep subjecting yourself to torment (not that a baby is torment, but you know what I mean), when she doesn't even have the courtesy to thank you/pay you/buy you chocolate for watching her kid.

Could your husband talk to her husband and tell her to back off? Honestly, can't they hire a babysitter?

DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. If you don't nip it in the bud you are going to feel more and more annoyed/upset/depressed by the whole situation.

P.

Okay she probably is desperate for a babysitter and hasn't made the jump to looking for more other than you yet.

However, I don't see the real problem as her not writing you a thank you note. I think it really does bother you to babysit. I would tomorrow-when sober-write to her. Tell her you have loved babysiting the baby, but right now you emotionally just don't feel up to babysitting when you are trying so hard to have one. Tell her the truth, it's painful. I know you would do it in a nice way. It will be easier in an e-mail. I think the truth is always best. Then go buy and a big bag Hershey's kisses and eat 'em.

I would be thrilled to be 5'9" ! I am 5' 7" and another 2 inches would mean I could weigh more!

Not out of line at all. I think the Miss Manners approach to something like this is that you shouldn't feel obliged to explain yourself when someone is attempting to make you an object of convenience, so to speak. (I'm thinking of one letter she got from a SAHM whose working-mom neighbours all expected her to babysit their kids after school constantly). Her suggestion was jut saying "I'm afraid I won't be able to then," and if she presses, "Because I simply can't." Polite but firm. Remember, she's got two months to find another sitter, so it's not like her back is up against the wall here. She's obviously coming the pathetic in her email, but for your own wellbeing you should stick to your guns.

As for telling her about your fertility problems, obviously you know her better than I do, so I guess the big question is, would you tell her if it weren't for the babysitting factor? I don't mean to be too discouraging, but some friends can fail to come through in a big way when told about this kind of thing; not because they're nasty, necessarily, but because they just. do. not. get. it. - especially if they have children. Is she the kind of person who will say well-meaning but cringeworthy things like "Robitussin worked for us!" "You just need to relax!" or, best of all, "At least it's fun trying!" (I got all of these from friends, and after my miscarriage, much worse: "At least it didn't suffer" and the memorable "The world is overpopulated anyway.") Also, does she gossip? Whom would she tell? Would you be comfortable in general with her knowing about it?

Sorry, I don't mean to be grilling you or telling you NOT to tell her; sometimes a sympathetic non-IF friend can be an enormous blessing. It's just that you shouldn't have to tell her because you feel pressured by your refusals to babysit - especially since she appears to consider the honour of babysitting her child to be reward in itself.

I think Lisa's got it on this one. I have a dear friend that is infertile, but I never know when and whether that means to avoid the topic of babies or whether ignoring the subject (when I am very obviously pregnant) is going to be even harder on her. Fortunately, I was able to ask, and we agreed that for now she'd prefer it if I pretended there was no problem and kept right on treating her like everybody else. (better yet, she's started talking about "when I have a baby" again...I think she's about ready to start testing).

Anyway, not to get off topic...I think you need to have mercy on this girl and just be honest with her. Mindreading isn't easy for all of us. She may even think she's doing you a favor by asking you to watch her baby since she knows you love babies and knows you have been having a hard time conceiving. She may think of it as a way to share her good fortune with you (and get some free babysitting). You need to disillusion her.

And you are never obligated to babysit, even if you had all the free time in the world. If you want to be helpful, you could maybe refer her to a baby loving friend who might enjoy caring for the kid for a few hours.

Take care Arwen!
Kate

I am 5' 11", so I totally *feel your pain* about being tall, I feel really huge and elephantish too at times. Other times, I just try to look down on short people, literally, and be thankful that I can see over crowds. But it IS hard being tall when you think that short women are cuter, etc. I hear ya sister!
Anyhoo, onto Goosie. I really think that she has NO FREAKING CLUE how this babysitting thing can hurt the heart of an IF person. Good thing for her, but in telling her, you may alienate her. One way to avoid babysitting, but may ruin a friendship. I do think you could try to tell her how hard it is for you to see babies when you want one so badly yourself, tell her when she isn't asking you to sit.
I remember before we got our miracle, how desperately hurtful it was to see a pregnant woman or a newborn baby, things most people ohhh and ahhh over, I had to walk away or risk having an emotional breakdown in public.
HUGS to you! I am adding you to my favorites and will be reading your blog and praying for success for you!!!
HUGS!
Stephanie

Elizabeth,
I so wish I knew you IRL and could be your friend. I stumbled upon your blog recently and have been so impressed by your writing, your humor and most importantly your faith. Despite not having a baby *right now* (which I pray will happen for you soon) you have it really together.

You do not owe Goosie anything. And it's not fair for her to guilt you into it. I'm with the other ladies in that it may be helful to tactfully explain why you aren't emotionally able to help her out right now. Who knows, she may be a source of support for you and Michael right now. Also, while you have a tremendous amount of maturity, remember that most early twenty-somethings don't.

As for your height... I'm 5'2'... okay... 5'1 1/4"... and I would give ANYthing to be taller. Remember my friend, the grass is always greener. Besides... infertility is something you can do something about... height is not. I've looked at the pics on your site and you are BEAUTIFUL! Michael is a lucky man.

Hang in there!

No. You should not feel guilty about declining her wonderful offer to babysit for her. She is taking advantage of your kindness. She needs to find some other alternative because it is becoming far too easy for her to simply rely on you to do it -- for free. She has no idea what she's asking and it's unfair. She needs to find some other arrangement and you need to take care of yourself. Infertility is hard and people can hurt our feelings (often unintentionally), but that just means that you have to protect yourself. If it was a one-time emergency that would be one thing, but she's just falling into what is a comfortable routine for her and you, being so very kind and nice, are putting your heart on the line and getting hurt. No. I say defend yourself. You don't need to make excuses. I don't think you're being unkind of selfish if you just tell her this is not really working for you and that she really needs to find some other solution to her childcare problem. (sorry for rambling)

Goosie really has no earthly clue what she's doing as far as hurting you with the infertility thing. But I think she knows EXACTLY what she's doing by laying on the guilt! We women can be master manipulators and she's just using her skills.

But you have every right to stand up and say you can't or wont. The truth is, you don't even have to give her a reason. She's asking you for the favor, you don't need an excuse to get out of it. It's not a responsibility for you or an obligation.

And we don't always mean to hurt our infertile girlfriends. I'm currently pregnant with baby number 4 (I'm 27) and we really didn't mean to get pregnant with this one. I have two really close girlfriends who are struggling with infertility, and I didn't even want to tell them. I know it's hard for them to see me get pregnant so easily when they're having trouble. And the truth is I'd give anything for them to have the babies that I know they'd mother so well. So, sometimes we struggle to not hurt anyone and still aren't sure we have much luck.

Praying for pregnancy in your near future!

I'm 5'1, and I've got the Napoleon complex. But seriously, you shouldn't feel uncomfortable being tall. You could be a model! I, on the other hand, could be a model for dwarfs... : )

I'm also 5'1 and like the previous poster said, the grass is always greener...

About the babysitting, politely declining (as you did) is all that is required of you. Anything more (as in explanations) is up to you and what your comfortable with.

I'm 5' 10", and I love it! I've always been proud to be tall. It has so many advantages, chief among them being that your size automatically makes you a less desirable target for ne'er-do-wells, and that with legs this long you can walk as fast as some people jog. :-) It took my husband months to get over the fact that he has to look up to me (he's 5' 9"), but my Dad is shorter than me too, so I'm used to it! The only thing that bugs me a little is wanting to wear heels, but not wanting to tower over my DH by 3 inches every time I do... ;-)

Re: Goosie, I second what most of the girls have said. No, you shouldn't feel obliged to babysit, after all, since she asked so early, she's obviously got a lot of time in which to make alternate arrangements! And perhaps you may want to explain about the pain it would cause you (though, as Sonetka said, perhaps not).

Finding a baby-sitter is hard, hard hard. When we were in scrambles i asked every single one of my friends if they would do it. (but they all have kids too) and luckily one agreed but we paid them 20 bucks, so we were good like that.

I have been denied a number of times by friends...once even at the last minute which made me miss work and get in trouble and that person was my childless bff.,,but I can;t blame her if i can;t find a baby sitter. It's my responsability not hers.

I try to understand what it was like pre-baby so I don't get my panties all in a wad if someone denied me babysitting, I am sure she will be fine. Besides it's her responsability and her job to find a sitter. Don't feel guilty.

Oh, and P.S. I wouldn't waste your breathe explaining to her your pain of having to babysit when you are infertile. It's too personal and honestly she probably wouldn't care anyways...You don't need to give her excuses. Just tell h er you dont have the time sorry. She obviously has plenty of time to find someone else. Don't worry or stress about it, you got enough to worry about.

Wow, that's a tough one. While I no longer hesitate to share *that* we're IF (too many people don't know anything about it and I'm trying to correct that), I hesitate to share the pain with people I'm not really close to, because there are good days and bad days. Last year we were invited to join 3 couples (each with 1 small child) on a Memorial Day weekend lakehouse trip, and fortunately my friend who invited me understood the situation - she not only told me she'd understand if I said no, but I was even allowed to say yes and be allowed to cancel at the last minute with no penalty. Maybe you could give Goosie just a sketch of your situation, and say that sometimes it's really painful to be around babies, so you don't think it's right to commit so far ahead.

BTW, I got to your blog via Cecily last week - you and I have a LOT in common.

I have to agree with everyone else who has already chimed in on this. You don't owe Goosie free unlimited babysitting services, you already went above and beyond by agreeing to watch her baby the previous two times she asked. I know it's hard to say no sometimes, although in this case her guilt trip would personally make me less inclined to help her out. I'm sure she can find someone to watch the baby if you can't, and I suspect that if her husband really wanted to (or really had to) he could take the time off and watch junior himself.

As far as telling her is concerned, you may be better off letting Goosie know that you've been having a hard time with the ttc thing and that it's too emotionally stressful for you to continue babysitting. Personally, I found that when I was upfront with people about the whole thing a lot of them backed off. I wouldn't put it in an email though, I would wait until the next time you see her socially (or maybe if you happen to run into her.)

Good luck with your RE appointment.

Elizabeth,

Just stumbled upon your blog and really like it!

First of all, I'm 5'11" and FEEL YOUR PAIN about feeling like a pachyderm around short people. I feel v. unfeminine.

Secondly, you have every right in the world to say "no" to Goosie. You are under no obligation whatsoever. She has plenty of time to find someone else, and you just so happen to have perfectly reasonable excuses (not that you even need an excuse.) So don't let her manipulate you into doing something that you know won't be good for your emotional health.

Will pray for a great appointment for you this week!

I would be totally honest with her. Someone's going to have to let her know she's rude eventually! Also, if she's that clueless, your chances of offending her are minimal.

And the height? Will TOTALLY come in handy when you're pregnant (which I just KNOW is going to happen soon. Have faith!). You'll have that much more middle-section to spread around the extra fat!

I just came across your blog recently and you and I have similar morals and beliefs. I understand you not wanting to babysit, totally your choice. I remember getting so annoyed at 'friends' when they would ask me to babysit before I had children. At times it was too painful because I couldn't have children, and at times I was just plain tired and really didn't want to play the 'auntie' routine.

Now that I'm finally on the other side (and hopefully you will be too very soon) I understand the guts that it actually took to ask me to watch their children. I know for me and so many of my friends, we don't hire babysitters. It's not because we're cheap or clueless, we're scared and overprotective. I love my children so very much and only very trusted family members and very close friends would ever watch my babies. I'm a stay at home mom and would love to be able to just go to a movie or a walk to get away from my children. Instead I take my children EVERYWHERE, feel guilty leaving my children with my husband for a badly needed haircut and have my parents and close family members watch the kids in emergencies. I guess I read too many blogs and feel that the childless friends that I would have asked to babysit would be offended as you are. Yes, when my children are older I might loosen up and hire a teenager to babysit now and then. Until then I'll only ask when absolutely necessary.

I am 5'8 and even at 5'8 I sometimes feel very un-feminine... I am like on the borderline of being too tall... but I also have huge shoulders and a large rib-cage, so that doesn't help, I am tall and LARGE some people are tall and slender, but not me... heck my skeleton would not fit into some of those sizes that small slender women wear...

As for the babysitting, what can I add, i think everyone else has said it already...

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