Sometimes, infertility feels like middle school all over again.
Remember walking into the lunch room and trying to figure out where your friends were? And walking past the table that you wished you could sit at, with all the cool kids–the ones you really wanted to be friends with but didn’t quite run in the same social circles? I’m not talking something overly dramatic like Mean Girls, though I can look back on moments when I felt like I was being bullied. I just mean those girls you felt insecure around because you so badly wanted to hang out with them or be like them.
The Mom Club feels that way to me. As soon as two women discover that they have kids who are similar ages, there is this instant bond as they discuss eating habits and discipline and preschool recommendations. They can only go to events if childcare is provided, so they all clump together every time they discover options that work for their lives. They have playdates and birthday parties together, and they form this little community around their shared bond of being moms.
I know I myself will look for this, too, when we (Lord willing) have our own kids, so please don’t read this as a criticism of support groups for moms or anything like that. But, from the outside, it feels like I am watching “the cool kids,” wishing I could be friends with them, but knowing I am missing the one thing needed to really help me bond with that group: a baby.
They aren’t intentionally leaving me out. But when they celebrate their child’s birthday, the friends they think to invite all have kids who are the same age, because they are inviting “Jimmy’s friends.” And yet, the party itself is also an opportunity for all the adults to hang out together. And that’s when I feel “on the outside.”
Perhaps life will always have an element of being left out. I am sure my single friends would say they feel excluded from the married peoples’ club, and it’s a tender wound in their lives. When kids are older and parents are putting them into sports, the parent’s social group is slightly limited by their kid’s athletic abilities, if she is playing in the city soccer league versus the competitive traveling league. We are separated by financial differences and vacation options and all sorts of other things, so I know that at the end of the day, being left out is something I have to change my perspective on. Life isn’t necessarily better once you get asked to eat lunch with the cool kids.
And yet, I can’t help but envy the gaggle of girls holding their toddlers and planning swim lessons together, while I am on the outside, not a part of the mom club.