Recently I spoke to my very good friend (let’s call her Sally) who is childfree because of a serious illness that left her unexpectedly infertile. Sally has a wonderful partner and a fulfilling career and is coming to terms with the fact that children are now out of the question for her.
I enjoyed being able to have a conversation about being childfree with someone who is a dear friend and also a kindred spirit. She understood what I’d been through and understood the importance of finding someone trustworthy to talk to.
We talked about her illness and she said something that really struck a chord with me. “No one ever asks me how I’m doing.”
Sometimes I think that people assume because a disease has been “cured” that there are no lasting repercussions or emotional scars. Or maybe that because someone doesn’t talk about personal aspects of their life (or, in the case of my friend, isn’t the type to complain) that they must be “doing okay” or that they’re “over it.” But often that isn’t the case.
I hope I’ve been the kind of friend that has checked in often with Sally and given her the opportunity to talk if she’s needed to. I certainly know that next time I speak to her, I’ll make a point a point of asking, not just how she’s doing generally, but how she’s doing specifically, with the after-effects of her illness.
And I’m also going to check in with you here. How are you doing, not just today, but in the bigger picture of your life as it stands? Let me know what’s going on with you, and maybe make a point of checking in with a friend who’s been through a traumatic experience in the past, and who might not be doing as well as he/she appears.