Caroline, my dear,
If I had to choose one friend who best personifies endurance, I'd have to say you come to mind.
It's not the 10k run that best illustrates your endurance (although that is awesome physical endurance), but the number of challenges you've faced (both recent and past).
You may have endured some things that would break others, but you've handled those situations with grace and dignity. And to me, that's a testament to your ability to endure. You accept it, to learn from it, you grow. And you become stronger. I've seen you do it. And this time must be particularly difficult for you. I'm sorry.
About the remarks by your sister-in-law. Just because someone can pop out four kids doesn't make her a good mother. Or a better person, for that matter. She has proved this by her consistent, insensitive remarks.
I wish I could have reacted as politely as you did. I tend to get frustrated and irritated and then lash-out by running-off at the mouth. (Why do I suddenly sound like my mother???!)
You're right to have said that your body works differently; it's a fact.
Funny how women with two or more children assume that if you have none (or one) that you are selfish. As if being a mother is your only value as a woman.
Don't get me wrong, you know how I feel about children, but I can still recall how hurtful it was to have women question my choice to have one child. When the next one came along, it was as if we were finally acceptable in the eyes of many parents.
One parent even said to me, "Now you can stop spoiling your daughter."
Can you imagine? As if I were an indulgent parent. To me, it's these folks, like your sis-in-law, that have the issues. What's the word that arm-chair psychologist's like to use? Right, they are "projecting" their issues on you.
If you think a support group will help, I encourage you to try that.
Again, I am so very sorry to hear that it did not happen for you this month. Call me if you need to talk.