Early on, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let it change me. There are no guarantees that life will be easy, after all. Sometimes struggle is just part of the deal.
And for a little while, I even believed it. I took the blows as best I could and then picked myself up and started again. I would prevail; I just knew it. Together, my husband and I could conquer anything.
I put my energy into feigning some version of normal. I met up with friends for coffee, dinner, and movies. I talked on the phone, wrote long and detailed emails, and remembered every birthday.
I tried. I wanted to ensure that everything would remain the same.
But I was suffering in silence. Sure, a few very close friends knew about the miscarriages, but I was reluctant to burden them with my constant thoughts and fears. I talked about it when they asked but, for the most part, I remained quiet.
I did the asking. And when they began to have first, second, and third babies, I asked about the babies. I bought gifts, oohed at the appropriate moments, and held those babies close. I snuggled them close as if they were my own.
I soaked it up.
It was a cool, December afternoon when I paid a visit to the newest baby born to someone in my friendship circle. The sun cast a warm glow through the crack in the chestnut colored blinds. I sat, huddled into the far corner of the oversized white sofa, snuggling her baby girl tight. With wide eyes and an open mouth, she considered me with curiosity. After struggling to free her tiny pink hand from the swaddle, her arm shot up toward my hand, as if she wanted to make contact.
While my friend regaled me with stories of her birth, I sat quietly and stared at her little girl. It would be impossible not to smile in the face of such beauty, miracle, and little. With a tight grip reserved for fire fighters and new babies, she clamped her warm hand around my little finger and held on for dear life.
I was in awe of her, as I was with every new baby that entered my life. I could have held her for hours. When she began to fuss, I walked her around the house to give her mommy just a little more time. And then I left them to bond and find their way together.
I took a deep cleansing breath as I stepped out into the sunlight; new babies are good for the soul. The colors seemed just a bit brighter as I scanned the landscape along the walkway and back to my car.
It wasn’t until I got into the car and bucked my seatbelt that my emotions caught up with me. One moment I was aglow with love and the scent of a new baby, I could still feel the weight of her in my arms. The next I was a sobbing mess.
I sat there for what seemed like hours, crying into my steering wheel. Wishing, wanting, and being left behind yet again left me feeling lost and alone, no matter how hard my friends tried. I cried for my losses, I cried for my shattered dreams, and I cried for the friendships I wasn’t sure I would be able to maintain.
With mascara stained cheeks, I finally found the strength to drive away. I made my way home in a daze, not thinking or feeling, just driving.
It was then I realized that I had changed. My friends were moving forward with their loves, expanding their families and starting new adventures. But I was stuck in limbo, left behind and full of frustration, anxiety, and great sadness. I was unable to connect because the aftermath was too emotionally taxing.
I stayed in touch as much as I could, and attended outings when I felt strong enough to socialize. But, for a long time, I often chose to isolate. I read hundreds of books, watched the same movies ten times over, and exercised my feelings away. I waited for my time to come.
Despite my best efforts to the contrary, infertility changed me. It left me hollow, anxious, and alone.
It left me feeling…
Left behind.Pin It