Left Behind

Infertility is a thief. It steals so much from so many. And while it gives in many ways, it often gives only to take away again.

I have some amazing friends because of infertility. Because of blogs and common ground, we came together in our journey to try and have a(nother) child. And I’m thrilled to say that two of them have new babies and one is in the midst of her second trimester.

And I feel left behind.

It feels like my best group of friends all planned a trip with me. Some of us have been on this trip before, and some of us are going for the first time. And then when it’s time to get on the plane I am stuck on the freeway while they are boarding. They didn’t do anything wrong, and nobody would expect them not to get on the plane, shoot they probably figure I’ll just catch another one and meet them out there. But see, I get to the airport eventually, and they tell me that flights don’t just go to our destination every day. So I’m going to have to wait. I call my friends and tell them I’m trying as hard as I can to get there to be with them, but to go on without me, because I am not sure when I’ll get there. They’re sad, and they miss me, but they get it. So they do. They visit monuments and see shows and eat in restaurants and experience new things.

I go home, because there’s no point in sitting in the airport since they can’t even tell me when the next flight will be. I’m supposed to call in a month or so to see what’s available. But in a month, my friends will be on their way somewhere else. A month goes by and I call the airline and I’m in luck! They have a flight for me. So I check in with my friends, and they’re having a great time and so excited I’m going to get on a plane. So I get on the plane and we make it halfway down the runway before the pilot comes on and says there’s a problem with the plane and we have to turn back. The flight has to be cancelled, and nobody can tell me if there will be another one soon.

I call my friends, and I tell them the bad news. They are sad, but they are having fun and it’s good to see the pictures they are sending me and the stories they tell. But I’m sad. Because I want to be there with them. I go home. Again. There’s a hope that another flight is right behind this one but it ends up being cancelled before I even leave for the airport.

I start to wonder if I’ll ever get to be with them. It’s fun to see their posts about how great their trip is and see pictures of their progress on the trip we planned together. I live vicariously. And it’s not like being at home is so bad. There are amazing fun things I can do at home. But we planned this trip together. And I’m supposed to be on it. People start to tell me all sorts of things to make me feel better – things like I don’t HAVE to go on this trip. There will be others, and I could go somewhere else if I wanted, plan something completely different. And they’re right. But this was the trip I planned, this was the trip I wanted to go on. I’m not sure how to let go of this trip. I planned it for so long. People say maybe I can go on this trip but I’ll have to do it on my own. Without my friends. And that may be true. If I knew I was going to go on this trip eventually, it would make seeing my friends enjoying their trip easier. But the airline never knows if I’ll get there, and the flight change fees are starting to add up.

When my friends call to tell me how the trip is going, they are so happy. I’m happy with them. Genuinely happy. They are experiencing some amazing things, and they are wishing I could be there with them. Eventually, they forget I was supposed to be there with them except for when I mention it.

I want more than almost anything to go on this trip. Even though it seems like I might have to go on it by myself. It’s worth it. But it’s really hard to be the one left behind, wondering if I’ll even ever get there. It gets harder and harder to look at their pictures and read their stories. It doesn’t mean I don’t wish my friends were there enjoying themselves, and it doesn’t mean I don’t share in their joy.

It just means I stand out in the backyard and watch the planes fly overhead, wondering if I’ll ever be on one of them again.

So airplane airplane sorry I’m late
I’m on my way so don’t close that gate
If I don’t make that then I’ll switch my flight and
I’ll be right back at it by the end of the night

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now,
a wish right now, a wish right now.
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right,
a wish right now, a wish right now.
— B.O.B. with Hayley Williams

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16 thoughts on “Left Behind

  1. Yeah, that pretty much sums up how I felt when everyone we knew got pg before us…it was a loooooooong 3+ years of going to that airport every month! Seemed like we weren’t ever going to get on that damn plane. Hope you get to go on that trip soon! And I hope your wait is much shorter than mine was!

  2. I know that you’ll be on the plane, and soon. This is the shitty terminal where they never shampoo the carpets and paint peels off the walls. No tv, liquor or Cinnabon to soothe your soul. You know I, and so many others, are here for the wait with you and love you in big ways. Let’s get this show on the road my friend ❤

  3. Just found you from Roccie’s blog.

    I’ve never been on the plane, and your post really resonates with me. The true happiness for people who get there, and the persistent sadness at not being there (yet).

    Thanks for a lovely post.

  4. I love you so much. The travel metaphor is a good one–really illustrative of the painful arbitrariness of this circuitous mindf*ck. This is beautifully written, but beyond that, it’s all just so damn unfair. What is worse than feeling left behind? Nothing I can say will make it suck any less, but I’m so glad you’re saying all this and it hurts my heart that you’re having to suffer through it.

  5. ❤ Oh mama. I know that feeling, and I'm sorry I'm on the trip without you. Really really sorry. I remember those years of waiting for the plane, catching it and then crashing into a wall. I too would move mountains to get you on board a flight bound for victory.
    I'm sorry.

  6. Here from Roccie’s blog.

    Thank you for sharing this. It resonated so much with me. I’ve also been that one left behind time and time again. It’s hard to even get the courage to call the airport at times fearing what you will hear.

    Thinking of you and wanted to let you know that you are not alone. There are others also waiting in that horrible limbo just hoping for one day to get on that flight.

  7. And just like airplanes flying overhead, the visual reminders of where you’re not going are always all around you. I think it’s totally possible to be excited to see pictures of someone’s else’s trip while simultaneously mourning your own foiled attempt at a trip. And doubly so when it comes to babies.

  8. It’s not easy being left behind, especially if your plane crashed and it’s a long way until you catch up, if ever.
    Here from Mel’s Friday Blog roundup.

  9. I got sick of waiting for that darned plane that I decided to backpack instead (fost to adopt). I love the metaphor.

    Also here from the round-up.

  10. Beautiful metaphor that captures the dichotomy of sadness for yourself and happiness for others so well. I too am waiting for my plane… Hope ours is closer than we know. (wonderful song lyrics too!)

  11. Here from The Stirrup Queens analogy list. Just had a little sob at this post, it is really beautifully put and it describes how it feels perfectly.

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