I’ve been having a hard time lately. In the last few days, I have faced sadness, disappointment, and this pervasive feeling of worthlessness. And strangely, none of it has to do with infertility or loss.
Instead it’s because of two relatively minor things that took place last week:
- I am a part of a mom’s group here in our suburban town, a group filled with mothers of all ages with kids of all ages (but mostly under 5). While it took everything I had as a shy, new mom to seek this group out, over the last year and a half, they have become my friends. All of them, but two in particular. They are the only local friends I have. But while at a playdate last week, I learned that many of these moms are going “cabining” together on November 17 — that is, they’ve rented a bunch of cabins in a nearby forest and will be spending the weekend away, moms, dads, kids, and all. I was never invited. Many other moms weren’t either, but I am one of them, and I’m a group regular. I can only assume this is because I declined their offer over the summer to go camping and they thought (probably rightly so) that we would say no again. Or perhaps they don’t even realize I wasn’t invited. I don’t know. All I know is that I never will know exactly why I was excluded.
- I am in the process of planning my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. We have invited a large handful of close friends and family to our home for cake and ice cream and fun. So far, more people than not have declined. Many more. So many more, in fact, that our party is turning out to be quite, quite small. Nearly everyone who came to her party last year will not be there this year. They already have plans — a play to go to, a baby shower to throw — things that have been in the works for months. See the first bullet point for why a few of my daughter’s friends (and mine) won’t be coming either. And while Cupcake probably couldn’t care less who comes to her party, I do care. I want to celebrate the life of my girl, a child I once believed would never exist. I want everyone in my life to celebrate with me and to believe that she is worth it. I am immensely grateful to those (including my sister) who will be at her party, but it still hurts that others will not.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I am ultra-sensitive and it does not take much to hurt my feelings. If you cross your eyes at me, I will somehow convince myself that you are making fun of my (improving) acne. If you ask if I’d like a glass of water, I will believe that you are trying to usher me out of your home because, otherwise, you would have offered me a cup of coffee so I could stay and linger for a while. It’s pathetic and pitiful.
I am trying not to take these two things — the cabining and the lackluster birthday party — too personally. I am failing. While I am less broken up about it than I was over the weekend (when I cried, many times a day), I’m still crushed. I feel discouraged and let down. I know some of you may be rolling your eyes. I know, in the big scheme of life and with infertility weighing on all of us, that these are two very insignificant things. I know I need to buck up and get over it…or thicken my skin.
But that is not me. I have been this way most of my life and, while I have matured and grown, I have not stopped feeling pain, however small it is, very deeply. And so my most recent happenings have done nothing but make old insecurities resurface. Once again, I feel “less than,” undeserving, unworthy, inadequate, and rejected. It makes me want to curl into myself and hide. To stop putting myself out there and risking my heart. To stop giving others the opportunity to hurt me.
But that is not me either. I may be timid, shy, reserved, quiet, and a wallflower, but I do not hide. I do not run away if there is a chance I should take. I don’t stop loving, or letting myself be loved. So I will go on. I will still meet with my mommy group. I will still try to build upon the friendships I have made. I will throw my daughter a fantastic party and thoroughly appreciate those who care enough to come. And next year, I will do it all over again. And hopefully, along the way, there will be other moments that build my confidence, strengthen me, and show me that others believe I am a person worth knowing, and a friend worth having. And I will hope that it’s true.