distinguishing between longing and being left-out

November 2017

I have realized that infertility-related sadness often comes when affected by other factors–a pregnancy announcement, a conversation among women that I can’t contribute to, or a realization of how different my life looks from that of friends with whom I used to be in the same season.

And while I don’t want to convince myself I am not sad, I have learned to distinguish the reasons why I am sad, as this effects the way I pray and process. Sometimes, I am sad because I want to get pregnant. I want to be a mom. I want to see Eric as a dad. This comes sometimes as I read about others’ families, or as I hear about new traditions people are doing with their kids (especially around the holidays).

To handle this sadness, prayer is really my best option. Not that there is a time when that isn’t true, but especially now, bringing that longing before God and laying it at his feet and asking for trust in his ways is what my heart most needs.

However, sometimes I am sad because I feel left out, and in these situations, I want to consider what it means that I am sad about being left behind versus sad about not having a baby.

This might make much more sense in the context of singleness (which I have talked to a lot of college students and recent grads about as a similar struggle to infertility).  Sometimes, in singleness, one may really want a boyfriend or a husband. However, sometimes, someone is pretty content with their life overall, but when they see all their friends are married, they get sad, not because they want a husband right then, but because they feel isolated and left out.

That’s what I think my sadness is sometimes like. It’s not that I want a baby in that particular moment (though that is the overarching desire), but that I don’t want to feel left behind. I may have been fairly content in my season and even enjoying the opportunities Eric and I have as a couple. But this sadness often comes out of nowhere and feels like it strikes a different chord in my heart.

This sadness is something I have learned that I need to almost refute–not in a way that suppresses pain, but in a way that speaks truth to the pain. Yes, it’s hard to feel left out, especially when it’s not by choice. But it’s also not true that I am the only one who is feeling this way. I need to reach out to another friend who is also walking through some form of this; God has supplied me with so many women to pray for and encourage and relate to, even if they live far away or their circumstances are a little different.

I can tell that the danger in this sadness is an isolation, a lack of desire to share it with others because “no one understands.” Which is not true. And even if I didn’t have any local friends who would totally “get it,” I have friends who want to be there for me and listen, and there’s a good chance that they can relate on some level to feeling “left out” or “left behind” in another area of life.