Has anything more happened with Cathy?

I’m asked about Cathy often.

I think there is a hope, and I understand this hope, that she will somehow come across my book and recognize herself in it and will have a change of heart. If she did, I would welcome it. I would like to talk about what happened–her reactions, and mine, and how we could do better, together, for the sake of our kids and especially, ourselves.

But I’ve learned Cathy and her family have moved out of state, which makes it unlikely that anything more will come of it.

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12 thoughts on “Has anything more happened with Cathy?

  1. I know this is an old post but I was thinking of your book a couple of days ago and wondered about your “Cathy”. I met my friend “Cathy” 5 yrs ago in a bereavement group (we both lost baby boys at birth) we immediately became very close friends, she adopted a baby girl and I had another son Michael 2 yrs later.

    Last year, I found out at 17 weeks pregnant that my 3rd child, Matthew had Down Syndrome and “Cathy” seemed to be very supportive but after Matthew was born it was just one excuse after another why they could not come to visit him. We have run into her at functions but she will not acknowledge Matthew at all. I have given up as I believe that Matthew deserves only people who will love and support him in our lives.

    It’s really amazing how life changing events show us who our true friends are. The one’s we believe will be there are not and the one’s we never thought of are!

  2. I have not had a Cathy in my life. Our friends all welcomed John with open arms, an open heart, and an open mind. If any of them are uncomfortable with the diagnosis, they certainly keep it to themselves.

    While reading your book, I wondered about Cathy. I wondered if her behavior had less to do with you and Avery, and more to do with her own life. Didn’t you say she miscarried while you were pregnant with Avery. Any chance that the baby she miscarried had a chromosomal abnormality? Then she got pregnant again; maybe she was dealing with her own fears for her own child, decisions about testing etc. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was facing some of her own demons. Maybe her behavior, her cutting herself off, had less to do with not wanting to face you. Maybe she couldn’t face a part of herself.

    Obviously, her cutting herself off from you and your family was her loss. I can’t help but hope that the experience changed her for the better none the less. Maybe she will meet another mom whose child is a bit different. Maybe the next time, she will have learned, and will reach out instead of run away.

  3. Excellent points, all. And I know that in my own life, my Cathy has helped me see how I can be a better friend to other moms who might be experiencing things I don’t know much about…how all it takes is kindness, and a willingness to learn, and an open heart.

  4. Wow. Not that I’d wish a “Cathy Experience” on anyone, but I have to tell you what a relief it is to hear that I’m not the only one who has experienced this. I am reading Roadmap to Holland and there are a number of experiences that are so like my own I had to stop reading and let those feelings wash back over me. It was amazing.

    I’m so inspired when I read about the forgiveness that so many of you are offering your “Cathy”s. I know it is the right path. It is important to be able to come to an acceptance or at least an understanding of these types of experiences so that the hurt and anger doesn’t turn into something bigger. I’m still working on that.

    Having Jack has been a life-changing experience. I knew that he was going to have Ds and had to decide whether to continue the pregnancy. I decided to move forward and haven’t looked back since. Despite numerous medical problems, lots of hospitalizations and a crazy life, I wouldn’t change anything about him. I love my kids and appreciate them so much. I am indeed blessed.

  5. Wow. Not that I’d wish a “Cathy Experience” on anyone, but I have to tell you what a relief it is to hear that I’m not the only one who has experienced this. I just finished Roadmap to Holland and there were a number of experiences that were so like my own I had to stop reading and let those feelings wash back over me. It was amazing.

  6. Hmmm. I have a sort of “Cathy” situation in my life right now, but it’s a little different. This is someone I’ve been friends with for about 15 years. She hasn’t abandoned me so much as I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that she is unable to be the kind of friend I need at this time in my life. I actually started feeling a growing apart between us even before Finn was born 3 months ago (and I didn’t know about his DS until after he was born, so our growing apart didn’t originally have anything to do with that). After Finn was born, just about everyone in my life understood my need to grieve, be sad, and come to terms with Finn’s diagnosis and everything that entails. But my “Cathy” only wanted me to be happy, to look on the bright side, to believe that having a child with DS was going to be pure joy because “all people with Down syndrome are so happy and carefree.” It just got to be too exhausting to try to be what she wanted me to be, and I’ve put a lot of distance between us now. I tried to talk to her about my feelings in this regard, but she just got offended and made it about HER hurt feelings then. I don’t know . . . I’m still struggling with this.

  7. Call me a Pollyanna, but I like to think that the Cathy’s in our lives may have an awakening one day and realize the loss, the cost, the pain. “They” say that life keeps giving youthe same lessons to learn over and over until you learn them. Perhaps she has gone from your life but I’m sure she’s finding the lesson in some other form wherever she is.

    Too, I think we have lessons to learn from the Cathy’s in our lives. We learn what’s important to us; we learn ways of being with people who may make us uncomfortable (b/c we know how it feels). We may find new ways to meet the needs we thought Cathy’s filled.

    Thanks for this, Jennifer. It makes me appreciate the gifts and lessons even more.

  8. Have you ever seen that email? The one about relationships being for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?

    I, too, have had some “Cathys” and it was so, so hard for me to handle at the one time in my life when I actually could have used a helping hand, an open heart, and a shoulder to cry on. I tried to remember then that some people just aren’t meant to be in my life forever. Did that ever hurt though!

    And then, because I am who I am, I said, “Screw them. I’m moving across the country anyway.”

    Sometimes that approach works too. 😉

    I’m a happier person now that I know that the people I surround myself with are there because they want to be.

  9. When I read about your Cathy, I thought about my Cindy. She was a coworker and good friend, helping with my baby shower, and we knew before our son was born that he would have Ds. She talked about coming over and helping me with therapy we knew he would need. I felt like maybe we wouldn’t be so alone going through it. I called her after our son was born, and she never called back. Ever. Ever. You can only leave so many messages before you give up.

    I eventually saw that her house was for sale. I’m assuming she is long gone, since she had family she missed terribly that lived out of state. I hope that is where she went because that is where her heart was.

    Still, I think I was lucky. I think I escaped what could have been a poisonous relationship. Glad that my son never had that atmosphere in his home.

    I understand about wanting reconciliations and happy endings. Sometimes it just isn’t possible.

    Thanks for your writing. You definitely touch a part of me that is grateful for the understanding your words provide.

  10. There was a “Cathy” in my life too. I understand now that she couldn’t give what she didn’t have, she did her best, she didn’t know better. I think that the people we have in our lives -at any given moment- is the people that we really need. Thank you for another beautiful post Jennifer. 😀

  11. I have a similar story, although it isn’t about a longtime friend and it isn’t about someone I knew before Archie’s birth. It’s fresher, about a group of people, and something I live everyday. So the hurt isn’t the same, but it still affects me and calls on me to act with the sort of grace I sometimes struggle to summon. It’s hard.

  12. I had a Cathy in my life, too. Her name was Jill and I’ve known her for 15 years. She stood up for me at my wedding.

    She got pregnant after Aaron (my son with Down syndrome) was born, and she was over 40. Aaron TOTALLY freaked her out. Didn’t attend his baby shower (‘too busy’) and just disappeared.

    She resurfaced about four years later. But all she wanted to know if we wanted to attend her gallery opening.

    Not to see us. But to buy some of her paintings.

    I think Aaron’s presence forced her hand. She showed her cards, her true colours. I call Aaron’s birth a ‘weeding out process’ of both friends and family.

    Jill and Cathy are the type of people who couldn’t stick around when the going got tough. Maybe it is best they are out of our lives.

    Thanks to Jennifer for bringing up this common thread. Sometimes it is good to examine the relationships that went bad, so we can celebrate the strong relationships that stayed.

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