Why is it so hard to ask for help? 

  I feel like saying I’m having a rough time right now is pretty obvious but also that it needs to be said. 

I’ve been feeling really sad. I’m thinking about Isobel a lot – going over and over my Isobel memories. My pregnancy with her, finding out she had died, labour, my time with her and the funeral. I find myself looking at her pictures more again in recent weeks. I wonder if I’m trying to understand how this tragedy happened as if that might stop it from happening again. 

Which leads me to the anxiety about the baby I’m carrying now. As his movements have become stronger, I feel this huge weight of responsibility to be aware of him at all times and be vigilant of his every move. I’ve read every piece of advice on tracking movement and I’m more confused than ever and terrified that I will get it wrong and he will die and it will be my fault. I feel so in love with him, I feel so needy and desperate for him. The force of it scares me. I’m mostly holding it together during the day but my nights are filled with the most insane of nightmares, waking up in a panic and then being too sad or tearful to get back to sleep. I’m exhausted! 

I don’t think it helps that after working all week, most of our weekends have been spent with Simon’s mum. The supportive wife/daughter-in-law part of me knows that Simon needs to be with her as much as possible and that he needs me to be there for him. The exhausted and vulnerable bereaved and pregnant woman part of me wishes for once a weekend would be about looking after me and tending to my every need! 

Although I must say that Simon has been a real sweetheart, a complete tower of strength and is considerate of my needs as much as he can be right now, I feel that it’s only right to get support from other people too as he has so much on his mind. As much as I think about how to let people (I’m mostly thinking of one particular group of friends here) know that I’m really struggling, I’m finding it really hard to just be open and ask for help right now. 

 For some reason instead of being explicit, I find myself so tempted to post sad or needy social media posts on Facebook or Instagram! “This will remind everyone how much I’m suffering” I think to myself as I word these attention seeking statuses in my head. I have resisted posting anything like this so far! It’s even crossed my mind to ask Simon to contact them saying I’m not doing so well and he is worried about me. Again, I haven’t actually done this. Drama queen in my mind but not in reality! If I’m honest, I’m annoyed that my friends aren’t asking me how I am and I seem to want to provoke a reaction from them. Normally them not necessarily asking wouldn’t stop me from posting in the Whatsapp group that I’m having a hard time, but I think maybe now I’m feeling like if they really cared they would ask, and if they don’t really care then what’s the point of me telling them? I’m trying to be a good friend and keep track of things in their lives and be interested in their important events. I’m so aware the world hasn’t stopped for other people and that everyone has their own challenges just as significant to them as mine are to me. I just don’t feel I’m getting the same interest in return. Here I am, going through the hardest time of my life, remembering (for example) to text my friend wishing her a happy one year anniversary with her boyfriend, and not getting a ‘how are you coping?’ in response. 

A few weeks ago, I messaged the group after not seeing my friends since Christmas and explained that time was going really slowly and it helped me to have things planned to look forward to. We arranged a Friday night dinner which happened just over two weeks ago and was lovely but that’s the last I’ve seen of them and we have no current plans to meet until a lunch date three weeks from now. Is seeing my supposedly best friends once every five or six weeks normal? Bearing in mind none of these friends have kids, and all live within the same city as me. One actually lives about five minutes drive away and is also dating my husband’s friend. This is the most I’ve ever needed my friends and I’m just not feeling their presence as much as I would like. 

As I’m writing this, I fully recognise that I could directly ask them again to make other plans to meet up or do something together. I know I was better at this a few months ago and felt happier for doing things regardless of the fact that it was always me organising them. I suppose at the minute I’m just feeling resentful that every text interaction I have with these friends is started by me and that none of them ever call me, or suggest meeting up.  

I started this post with the title about why is it so hard to ask for help. I think as I’ve written more I’ve realised that it’s not just my ability to ask for help that’s the issue. Partly there is a resentment that support is not forthcoming without the need to ask for it and maybe I don’t even necessarily know what form of support I really want. I don’t know if I’m being fair on my friends or if I’m expecting too much for them to know what I want and when I want it, if I can’t be more explicit about that myself. 

Maybe I should just send them this 👇🏻 ! 
Feel free to comment with thoughts, advice, calling me a passive aggressive drama queen etc! 

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12 thoughts on “Why is it so hard to ask for help? 

  1. I know exactly how you feel! I got a lot of support in the beginning but in the past two months it has really dropped off and there has been disappointing silence from too many people. When someone is in need the onus shouldn’t be on them to reach out and I question whether someone is really a friend who can’t show empathy and isn’t there in the long run. I think you’re totally within your bonds to put this all out there, to let people know how they’ve been failing you, and see who steps up to the plate. I actually blogged about how Zack was getting zero support from his friends, and two of them have made a complete turnaround and have really stepped up to the point of forgiveness. Hopefully you will find that you have at least one or two friends you can truly count on. I’m sorry that you are going through this. After everything you have been through, you are fierce and will do anything you can to protect your baby boy, and this gives me great hope. ❤

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    1. So glad that your writing about your partners need for support too really made a difference! I actually have another group of friends who are amazing (all psychologists too!) and a few random individual friends who are great too but the ones I’m talking about are my oldest friends and I really thought they would be there for me more. They say the right things but when it comes to making time for me it’s different. I know we all have busy lives but I’d like to think I would make time if I knew a friend was in need. Will definitely consider how to tell them what I need and see how it goes xx

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  2. I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a difficult time and that those around you are not being as thoughtful as you need them to be. I totally get how you just want to wave a banner and go ‘hello I’m suffering people’! But I’m glad you’ve stayed away from doing this on social media – Facebook etc isn’t the real world, it’s so fake and I wonder why I even look sometimes. I too have a whatsapp group of close friends and I’ve been incredibly fortunate that they’ve been brilliant, but even they do need some pointers sometimes that I’m having a tough time. I usually just put something very brief on there – I’d really urge you to do the same. Just say you’re feeling low, thinking a lot about Isobel and the new baby, keep it short and see who responds. I think (hope) you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if you don’t hear back then I think it’s clear some people just aren’t there in the way you need them to be right now. I often remind myself that in my life before bereavement I probably didn’t support people around me quite as well as I should at times when they were going through some tough stuff – not intentionally, just that life is busy and we all get whisked along in it too much sadly. I think perhaps this is the case for your friends – but I do get the disappointment you feel about just wanting them to know, to be there more. To relieve some of the pressure on yourself just put it out there on your whatsapp group, i really hope you get the support you deserve from them. Sorry this is long! Sending hugs X

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    1. Yeah I really don’t approve of very dramatic attention type seeking posts on social media so it’s surprised me that the urge to indulge in that has been strong!!!
      I know I would get lovely responses from friends in the form of nice messages and maybe some options to meet up etc. but it seems like in another two weeks it would just be forgotten again. Normally I can accept I just need to keep reminding people and initiating but I’m feeling a little contrary just now!! You’re right though, it’s so much more helpful just to be open with people and give them a chance to respond. Thank you xx

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  3. I think it’s completely understandable and I can also relate. When I had the miscarriage last year (which is nothing compared to what you went through with losing Isobel), even then I felt resentful that people didn’t really notice that I hadn’t been in touch, they hadn’t seen me, etc. I mean I practically dropped off the radar for six months. I think the fact is that people get on with their own lives, and unless you’re day to day friends then you do end up going months without seeing them. I found this really disappointing when I first got to that age!

    Also, one thing I would say is that you never know what’s going on with other people’s lives. I know this sounds terrible given what you’re going through but maybe one or more of your friends finds it difficult to deal with pregnancy? I know in the past I’ve avoided pregnant friends as I just don’t want to be reminded all the time that I can’t get pregnant. It may not be selfishness on their part and maybe they are fighting their own battles.

    I also think you’re perfectly within your rights to say something. If you’re honest about how you’re feeling (rather than being accusatory, focus on how you are feeling as you don’t know how they’re feeling) then I think that you may be surprised. Quite honestly I’ve seen pregnant friends go off into a little haze and not make any effort to meet up, so maybe your friends would be really happy to hear that you’d like to meet up more, and/or need a bit more support. I hope that you do feel able to ask and that you get a good response. X

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    1. You’re right that one of my friends is having fertility treatment and is struggling herself at the minute. Funnily enough she is probably the person in the group I talk to and see the most despite her not living in the same city as the rest of us. I think because I always make an effort to remember her IUI dates etc. she appreciates that. One of the others is pregnant with her first baby and is about 8 weeks behind me. I’ve said to her I know it’s probably hard to be confronted with pregnancy loss issues by interacting with me but it’s still frustrating that I’m texting her at least once a week asking how she’s feeling etc. and she always asks me in return but again I’m always the one to initiate. The other friends are just I think just busy with work, their partners and general life. I know they are good people and have always been good friends, I think I’m just overly needy and sensitive right now! It would be nice to go back to the days when we used to hang out every day in school!!!! Xx

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      1. I know! I remember I felt really bad when I realised that “best friends” don’t see each other every day as adults! It’s tough realising that everyone spreads themselves more thinly. I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to have to wait a few months to see someone!

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  4. I know this feeling so well and I’m not dealing with half as much as you are!

    I thought that feeling kicks would allow me to relax, and the kicks and wriggles do help enormously but the gaps between them drive me insane! I feel so sorry for Paul, he’s suddenly married to this neurotic mess who cries at the drop of a hat.

    I’m starting pregnancy yoga tomorrow, I’m terrified as it’s the same group I went to previously and I think it will feel very odd being there with a different baby bump and a different group of people but I’m also looking forward to meeting some new people. It’s funny how something like this sorts your friends into two groups. My true friends have been amazing but a lot of them live a long way away. My ‘friends’ have disappeared into the shadows but I’m all too aware that they will probably reappear when Pip arrives and there’s a cute baby to cuddle. I don’t know how to feel about that.

    Like you I find myself crying out for company, for distraction but there’s also part of me that wants to stay home where it’s safe and I know I can’t expect everyone to come to me! I think it’s ok to tell your friends that you need them but I appreciate that it’s easier said than done and you’d prefer them to know without being told xx

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    1. Neurotic mess is so me lol! I’m having the same issue with pregnancy yoga – I was actually meaning to write a blog post about it. The first couple of weeks were so emotional just being back with the same teacher and wishing I was still pregnant with Isobel. I also find myself so antisocial, I don’t want to get in to chats with other women and have the “is it your first baby?” discussions every week! It means I sit there waiting for the class to start and just avoiding eye contact as everyone around me chats to each other! Then there’s the visualisation exercises and talking about the moment you make eye contact with your baby for the first time and I’m busy sobbing in the corner!!! I hope you got on ok at it though.

      You’re right that some people have surprised me with how amazing they have been and others have just been disappointing. I think they genuinely have good intentions but just don’t know what’s helpful. Which brings me back I guess to me just keeping on telling them! It seems to be the only way! Xx

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      1. It’s so hard for other people to understand, I guess they need to keep being told but it’s difficult to find the energy to keep saying it! Yoga was a success, a tearful one at times but a success and it feels good to have overcome another hurdle xx

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  5. I am so sorry that your friends aren’t being as supportive as you need right now. Unfortunately I can totally relate. I didn’t have a lot of close friends prior to my daughters death, but the few that I thought would be there for me just haven’t been. Luckily others have surprised me, and for that I will always be grateful. I would say there isn’t wrong with telling your friends you could use their support. It sucks that you should have to, but maybe they will surprise you.

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    1. Thank you Tina, you’re right it’s amazing who surprises you with how wonderful they are and who disappoints you. I think I’m definitely a better friend myself for having gone through this and I would like to think I’ll be better able to support people in the future thanks to Isobel xx

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