“I am the friend left behind.
I am the odd one out. The outlier. The background friend. The forgotten one.
It began almost two years ago, when the first domino dropped. We all felt the fallout; she was taken into the fold of those more experienced.
Then in October 2020, the second domino fell. This one celebrated by all; the IVF victory was a long time coming. We rallied around the expecting, none more deserving than they. The love for this new life was never ending.
Spring 2021 brought so much more happiness. A second blessing for the first; and then the third domino fell as an unexpected surprise, and we all danced with joy.
But unknown to all, the joy also brought a dividing line. It was tinged with fear and sadness. But the joy persisted, patiently.
Summer brought warmth, delight, and on the heels of happiness, the fourth domino fell.
Much love and acceptance for this new life; it was a rainbow of emotion. New beginnings all around. Sun-filled afternoons, laughing faces, smiling babies.
I am the friend left behind.
I text my best friends, all four of them. We used to be inseparable. We used to have group chats, brunches, and cookouts while our husbands commanded the grill and we chopped salads and baked sides while discussing documentaries and trading gardening tips. We used to have game nights, home movie nights, ‘just because’ texts, gif wars, and rants. There were hikes and frisbee golf and trips where we spent long nights making memories.
But now, I am the odd one out. I don’t know what it feels like to be sick in the morning. How your toothpaste turns your stomach. I don’t know what it’s like to see the telltale flutter on an ultrasound. I don’t know what it feels like to have to pee when you just went. I don’t know what your body feels like as it grows and changes to accommodate a new life. I don’t know the round ligament pain, the food cravings, the fatigue, the feeling of first kicks, the hope, the fear, the planning, the classes, the appointments, the hurry up and wait, the sweet pain that’s worth it in the end, or how it feels when you’re utterly exhausted and your nipples are cracked, but you see that first smile and everything is worth it.
I don’t know any of that. And I’m terrified I might never know. I’ve read all the books (12), am eating well, and taking prenatals and supplements. I’ve used the OPK’s and been to the OBGYN appointments. I know everything inside out and backwards at this point. But I don’t know any of what they’ve experienced.
But I still text. I still reach out. I put myself out there. I beg to be a part of the journey. But because I don’t know the journey, I am the outlier. There is a new circle, one I am not a part of.
I harbor no ill will. No hard feelings. I get it, this is just the new way of things. But it still hurts, to be on the outside looking in. I keep the candle burning that it might be my time soon, but until then, I’ll be here waiting.
I am the friend left behind.”
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