A week or so ago, a friend posted a pic of her eldest son, moving into his university halls accommodation. Between my two ectopics, my friend invited me to lunch, and told me she was pregnant, and would be telling our bookclub the following week. I appreciated that so much. At the time, I was hopeful I too was pregnant, but it took a few more months until I was, this time with my second ectopic. When I was in hospital for a week, waiting to see whether my ectopic pregnancy was a trophoblastic cancer or not, and not being allowed home in case it burst and killed me, she visited, heavily pregnant, joking that she thought that alarms might have gone off at the door to stop her getting in in “her condition.” I appreciated that joke, and the visit.
When she had her son a few months later, I popped up upstairs in the women’s hospital to leave her some magazines and a note, after I had yet another consultant’s appointment downstairs to see how to resolve my ectopic. And afterwards, I remember walking with her along the beach, pushing the pram, as she asked about ectopics and IVF. She was there for me when I needed her, and was always easy to talk to when we did get together, despite a gap in ages, her easy fertility, and her always active social life. I’ve been lucky, because she made things easier. (Not all my friends were able to do that.) When I’ve visited her house I’ve seen the boys grow up, and knew that her son was going to university this year (though I didn’t know he was leaving home and going to another city), so the passage of time itself wasn’t a shock to me.
Still, it gave me food for thought. In some ways that time
in hospital seems like another life. But in other ways, it doesn’t feel that
long ago. 17 years went in a flash! In a year or two, her youngest son will
be away too. Then she’ll be an empty nester, along with all the rest of us from
that bookclub. Her day-to-day life will be, essentially, the same as mine.
(Except it will be far busier, because that’s just who she is!) Of course, long
term she will probably become a grandparent, and (barring a tragedy) her boys
will be there for her when she’s elderly, or needs them. I’m not forgetting
that. But there will be a period of time – maybe 10, maybe 20, maybe even 30
years, when her life won’t be all that different to mine. It’s useful to
reflect on that. Sometimes it really helps to focus on the similarities between us. There are far more than we might think.