Loneliness…

Up until yesterday I’d been having a pretty good couple of weeks emotionally. Probably partly due to the exercise and sunshine. I even organised a surprise baby shower for a good friend (who struggled with infertility for 5 years and did IVF). It was a lovely day and great to see her so happy.

Unfortunately I had an unexpected crash yesterday. Something small set it off, as it often does. As I mentioned in my earlier posts I was made redundant from my work (2 days after my embryo transfer). I decided to take long sick leave for the remainder of my work and notice period (which finally finishes this week) as I couldn’t face seeing my nasty boss again. This means that I have been at home, mostly alone, as I’ve had to stay at home for the majority of the day in case the health board come to check up on me (a long story but in short is due to ridiculous rules here in Italy).

These long periods at home alone have been lonely but bearable, due to the exercise and occasionally seeing friends. I’ve made my life small so that I can manage it and overcome the stress that was crushing me before.

Yesterday I was out with my husband and some friends and my two female ex-work colleagues (who are good friends and part of the small ex-pat friendship group I have here in Italy). One of them left our work on Friday and is starting at a new place on Monday….so obviously emotions are flying between the two of them for that reason.

I feel embarrassed to say it but I had the most horrible sense of jealously about their constant hugging and closeness during the weekend and particularly yesterday. It made me feel so left out (and I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way, but I couldn’t help my emotions which ended up coming out in tears like a looney person).

My departure from work was so sudden (I didn’t even have time to say goodbye to anyone). Since then, due to aforementioned logistics, I’ve not seen much of either of them and so I feel quite cut off from them now. It doesn’t help that they are a few years younger than me and obviously have more in common with each other than me, and of course they both don’t have infertility struggles so can drink at parties (which is something I really miss, having been a big party girl in my time).

I feel like I’m struggling with loneliness on three fronts at the moment…

  1. Living in a foreign country makes my friendship group is naturally smaller. We’ve only lived here for 3 years and moved in our mid 30’s so its harder to make loads and loads of friends, and many of them are younger, which can make things harder sometimes. The language barrier also makes things harder, and the fact that many Italian women are very different from me and can be very reserved.
  2. Not working at the moment, and therefore not having daily regular contact with people. This means not having relatively easy chances to make new friends or keep current friendships strong. I am in two minds about working again in the near future due to my the upcoming FET and the stress so am stuck in limbo at the moment.
  3. And of course, infertility, with the disconnection with friends who are mothers and also from single friends who are out partying and drinking (which are of course off limits for me). In addition the sadness of infertility knocks my overall happiness and ability to go out and make new friends.

I know that I’m a resourceful person…but at present, when it comes to this situation, I’m all out of ideas…the combination of these factors seem to be sucking the life out of me right now….

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34 thoughts on “Loneliness…

  1. It’s so hard this limbo land especially because your in a foreign place. I feel the same as you in that I’ve simplified my schedule so to minimise the stress of the day to day but with that comes too much time to mull things over, at least I find that.
    I don’t know whether it’s your thing or not but have you thought of meditation? Or doing something hobby etc that feels meditative? Something just for you, even a class or something, art class, baking?? Hope these suggestions aren’t coming across annoying cause I realise too these type of things are the last thing on your mind. Just a thought xx

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    • Thanks for the comment. Really appreciated. I have been keeping myself busy with a few things but I’ve completed them now. I will get back into my baking too…Good reminder! I do meditation but haven’t for a few days so will be doing so later. I guess I’m just having one of those days.

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  2. You’re right that the combination of those factors would contribute to a sense of isolation — only ONE of them would, really. I also know that sense of jealousy when observing how easily some women form deep friendships (or they seem deep to me, anyway). For me, I alternate between desiring more friendships and valuing my time alone. I don’t really have any suggestions, although maybe there’s an infertility support group in your area? Hugs to you!

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  3. I can totally relate. I feel sometimes like I’m on a weird island in between the parents and the kid-less. I have also put things on hold and avoided making plans to accommodate treatments etc. I’m really hoping to put that behind me soon. When do you think you will start your next FET?

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  4. I’m so sorry. I feel like I can relate and it does seem like a triple whammy. I used to live somewhere where everyone had kids… At least now not everyone does and I am not whacked in the face with it all the time. It still hurts like hell, though. Sending you hugs. X

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  5. That does sound really rough. I can’t imagine how hard it must be juggle all of that at the same time. I know it is super hard to make friends at this age, I can’t imagine trying to do so in another language. And of course IF alone is enough to make us feel sad and lonely. Your feelings are all completely appropriate.

    I am sorry things seem to be stacking against you at the moment. I know it isn’t much, but we are always here for you.

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  6. I’m so sorry you’re having a bad patch. It does seem like a few bad things have all happened at once, so it’s no wonder you feel generally low. I’m also so sorry about the loneliness. I know myself how miserable it is (I live the other side of the UK from my friends and none of them come to visit me, so the only people around my age I interact with are colleagues, who generally speaking aren’t particularly pleasant people! Also, like you’ve said, everyone is either off with their kids or are out partying, and I just don’t fit into either of those circles). It must be so much harder when there’s a language barrier and you’re having to spend large amounts of your time home alone. Do you know when the FET will go ahead? I don’t know how things work out there (or more specifically, whether it’s possible where you actually live), but could you get a few weeks of temping work? That way you’re not taking on a huge commitment (i.e. a whole new “forever” job!). Or take on a permanent job, but only work part time, so you have more flexibility with appointments etc? I imagine when you’ve been out of the workplace a few months, and when you left under such horrible circumstances, it knocks your confidence a little. I really hope things get better soon x x x

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    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment. It means a lot to hear that others understand this feeling. Yes as per your other comment I am not able to look for work at the moment so I’m kinda stuck in this limbo for a few more weeks at least. Of to yoga shortly and hoping that will help. How are you doing?

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      • At least it’s not too long to wait. FET will come around quickly (it probably doesn’t feel that way), then you will be immersed in that and once it is over you will know where you stand on the pregnancy front (I really really really hope it works. You so deserve this!). After that you can play it by ear in terms of taking more time off (totally deserved and understandable) or seeking new employment (also totally understandable!) or finding some sort of happy medium some other way. I’m just sorry it may be a lonely few weeks ahead of you, BUT all us internet friends are here if you ever need to vent/chat 🙂

        I’m ok. Feeling positive at the moment, but don’t let myself really dare believe that things could be going right. I feel much better now that the cloud of infertility isn’t hanging over me 24/7, but I do feel quite lonely a lot of the time and as if I just don’t fit in anywhere. It’s not a nice feeling, and it’s hard once you’re in your 30s as there aren’t that many opportunities for meeting like-minded people. *Sigh*. I will be fine though 🙂 x

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  7. We all have those times when something small just hurts. I cried on Friday because my sister was going on a short weekend road trip with her friends and hadn’t told me. She usually tells me everything, so it made me feel so disconnected suddenly. Hang in there. When you’re not stuck at home, try going out for some stuff you would normally stay home for. Like a cup of coffee or something. Go to a café to get one. And don’t take a book or anything. Make it a point to try to talk to people. Even if you don’t get a new friend out of it, maybe a conversation with a stranger will help you feel like you’re making some connections. And of course, for the friends you already have, get together with them… I bet that feeling of being left out will pass. Especially if they won’t be working together anymore either! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I am actually just about to head off to yoga and have spent a few hours today with another friend (the one who I did the baby shower for). The irrationality of it is upsetting in itself, but it bring me a lot of comfort to know that others have experienced this….as you say…the smallest things can trigger that feeling of disconnection. I’m hoping that I’ll be feeling more normal tomorrow again. How are you doing?

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  8. I felt a lot like you do now a year ago. OK so at least they speak the same language here in the US (well sometimes I wonder!!), so that is easier, but that limbo state makes it really hard to make good friends in a new place – ones you can rely on that you can call in the middle of the night! Americans tend to have children younger, so we didn’t find many people our age without kids! It was hard to break down barriers. Chris and I both felt like that. Also at first being open about our infertility treatment our IS friends with kids suddenly felt awkward…they didn’t understand that we actually enjoyed spending time with their kids! And things have changed a lot over the past year, we have started to overcome the limbo, but I’m sure it won’t ever go away until we have a child. Joining our local infertility group helped a bit too. I have a couple of Italian friends who are infertile and both keep themselves to themselves (even knowing our situation) so I can imagine it might be harder to find this kind of support group?

    So what I’m trying to say is that I get it. It sucks a lot. Big hug for you X

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    • Thanks for your lovely comment. Yes it is difficult. People who haven’t been through it (or other major traumas) run out of things to say and feel uncomfortable just sitting a listening. And yes the Italians in general are very reserved. I’d like to join a support group and I’ve emailed a few places so hopefully I’ll hear back…though it might be challenging in Italian. How are you doing? Is it beta today or tomorrow?

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  9. Infertility is a lonely place to be, let alone in a foreign country and with no job to occupy your mind. I now only work a couple of days a week and find that leaves me with way too much time to think about things. Although I have so much free time, many days it has felt like a complete struggle to motivate myself to do anything. I just wanted to say that I think you are dealing with it all very well. Often we don’t give ourselves a pat on the back for what we get through. The fact that you are being so proactive with yoga and exercise is a HUGE deal. That takes determination & motivation, and the fact you’ve managed to scratch some up means you are doing better than most would in your situation. Be proud of yourself, you should be xo

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  10. I’ve struggled with 1 and 2 as well. It really is terrible and I’m so sorry you have to lump 3 in there with it. I know exactly what you mean about having to make new friends. Always something I struggled with. You’re so brave to have made the move. No one realises how difficult it is. I definitely understand and I wish I could give you a big hug. xx

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  11. I can relate to a lot of that. Living in a foreign country can be so hard sometimes. I have very few German friends, mainly due to cultural differences I think, but I do have some really nice expat friends. The trouble is people in the expat groups often don’t stay here that long and I end up having to say goodbye to good friends and try to make new ones (which takes a long time) over and over which can be so hard. I also relate to feeling in limbo. I don’t want to meet up with young single people and go partying and drinking as right now I’m off alcohol and going through infertility treatment. And other friends here are pregnant or have lots of kids and I just feel left out when they talk about their kids the whole time. Sometimes I also feel very lonely. Hugs!

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    • Thanks for the comment! Yeah the living abroad thing makes all the infertility that bit harder. I’m sorry that you get lonely too. Most of our friends are younger here and I am torn between going to parties and then feeling left out or bored (as everyone else is drinking and I’m not) or staying at home and also feeling left out. The only plus point is that I don’t have to constantly talk about babies…but sometimes I would rather do that than be the old boring one (and its definitely hard for me as I used to be a massive party animal before all this started!). I’m going to try and see if I can find an infertility support group here in Italy…it will probably be hard in Italian but at least I’ll have a big thing in common with the ladies there. Have you tried one in Germany? Sending hugs.

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    • And I forgot to say a couple of things…
      1) How are the drugs going? And how are you feeling? Keep up that walking (i know its so frustrating not being able to exercise when doing stimulation drugs).
      2) Where exactly do you live in southern Germany? I have a friend living somewhere in southern Germany (she used to live in Frankfurt but she has moved somewhere else….I can’t remember where exactly). If this next FET fails and I don’t have a job then I might pop over and see her in Germany so we could perhaps meet up if you fancied it? (probably in late June sometime)

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      • The drugs are going, haven’t had many symptoms just feeling bloated and tired and I find the progesterone suppositories very messy! Emotionally I’m all over the place as usual!
        I live in Karlsruhe. Yes I would love to meet if you end up in roughly the same area (like stuttgart/Heidelberg or mannheim would all be handy enough for me). I joined an infertility german group on facebook actually but none of them seem to live in my area and it’s hard to follow the german slang etc. I do have one best friend here who is now pregnant after her third ivf round. It’s so nice to have someone who understands.

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