This is something that has been weighing on my heart lately, so what better thing to do than to get it out.
I don’t hide the fact that I struggle with infertility. It’s been a rough road, especially since we have been without decent insurance so getting more than just my yearly check up wasn’t really affordable (thankfully that should change at the end of August). Aside from my husband, my closest friends have been my rock throughout a lot of the rough days. The thing to note: most of my closest friends have children. Of the women who I trust the most only one does not have a child and she has no interest in having one… so that leaves me as the lone childless woman, the one who desperately wants a baby.
My lady friends try hard to be sensitive to my feelings. I’ve had two come to me after finding out they were pregnant, to tell me so I could prepare myself for the big Facebook announcements and so that I wouldn’t inadvertently hear from others. They never make me choke down that news in a room full of people. They respect that my reaction of joy is genuine, but so is the stab of pain in my heart and they let me deal with that without a bunch of people around. It makes it easier to take that news. I’m always happy for my friends when they fall pregnant… but there’s that piece of me that gets horrifically sad, because… when will it be my turn? Will it ever be my turn?
Being childless in a group of mommy friends can be a challenge… and likely not for the reasons most would think. In my case, I completely understand them not having the time to come by to say hello or to meet up for a drink. I get it when they don’t want to leave their new babies to go out, or on the other side, bring their kids to stuff. It makes sense to me, because motherhood is something I crave so deeply that I know if that were me with the new baby or adorable toddler, I wouldn’t want to leave their side either. I don’t think I am such a special snowflake being the only childless one that no kids should ever be allowed to any function I host or attend – that’s insane. My friends children are just as special to me as my friends are.
The challenge in being the childless friend in a group of mommy friends is feeling left out and ignored – and trying your damnedest to not take it personally. Play dates where everyone sees each other are things I’m not a part of, and that’s fine… because, I obviously don’t have a kid to introduce to the other kids. It’s kind of creepy when you’re the childless adult at a children’s play time. But, it does kind of suck to not see my friends often. When it comes to kids birthdays or big events – more often than not I don’t get an invite. Someone once asked me about how I feel about it… and I didn’t lie to her. It hurts. Sure, it breaks my heart a bit to attend a child’s birthday party but more than anything it gives me hope to see the world through a child’s eyes for a few hours. The simplicity of their joy knows no bounds when it’s a party for them. It can make any adult appreciate the little things in life. I know people try to spare feelings by not inviting because it’ll all be mommies and their kiddos and then just me and they don’t want me to dissolve into a puddle of tears. The truth? I’d love to be invited to things. If I feel I can’t handle it, I’ll be honest. But more often than not… I’d be there and be very happy to be there. Then there’s the last situation and it’s the one that honestly hurts the most. Everyone gets together with their kids at someone’s house or a general location like a park. There’s a cook out or a few drinks… the kids play happily elsewhere while all the ladies chat. It doesn’t happen as often now, but it does still happen, that I am not a part of those days. And, usually, it seems it’s because it started off as a kiddo play date and more and more people just added to it with their kids. No one really remembers the one without kids at that point. These are the times it sucks the absolute worst and I struggle the most. It’s almost like being back in grade school and not being invited to a party everyone else is going to (yep, that happened to me more than once…) you put on a brave face and pretend to not care but deep down it’s gutting your heart because you don’t know how to make it so you’re accepted. It sounds so silly to type it like that – but in those moments that’s what it feels like.
There are days I literally can barely drag myself out of bed because I hate that my body doesn’t do what it is naturally supposed to do. There are days I am so very angry at the world because I feel so left out of this club that I have wanted to be a part of since I was a young girl. It’s a club every woman should be able to join, and yet some of us, somehow, are lacking and we can never break down that barrier between those who can do it and the rest of us. It’s an isolating feeling, especially when everyone around you seems to so easily be able to achieve what I cannot.
My friends are pretty fantastic, though. I know they don’t do things to hurt me or see me cry. They do what they think will be easiest on me. I have two friends in particular who are always very straightforward with their questions about my feelings on things like this and other things that pertain to struggling with infertility, and I am forever thankful to them for allowing me to be candid with them and for them being honest enough to ask the hard questions.
For anyone who has a friend struggling with infertility, please remember them. They won’t always join you for the parties or plays… but my guess is more often than not, they will. And even when they don’t, they will be touched that you thought to include them in something so special. On days when she feels like she’s sinking, that invite could be the life preserver that convinces her to not give up hope and to keep trying and that maybe someday she can achieve motherhood as well.
It just plain sucks to be lacking in this way. I can only hope every woman who is dealing with infertility has a group of friends as supportive as mine.