The Infertility Conundrum: “It’s hard being left behind. (…) It’s hard to be the one who stays.” — Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife)

Women facing fertility challenges can form quick and strong bonds with one another, perhaps stronger than most. In their solidarity to voice, as if whispering secrets at a slumber party in the wee hours of the morning trying not to wake the others, those things not shared beyond the bonds of those friendships, a different kind of closeness springs to life. Yet, what happens when we are left behind?

What happens when the bond breaks as one woman steps foot into the world of the proverbial “other;” the world of swelling belly’s and daily pondering about nursery colors and baby blanket patterns? What happens when we are the one who must stay while they move away?

There is an inevitable breaking. In joy and celebration we jump and squeal and feel our hearts swell uncontrollably for these women we have walked with, holding hands, through many a dark night. Yet even as we revel at their glow, we feel a ripping, a tearing, and a leaving.

We know that we cannot go where they are headed. We cannot follow them, at least not yet.

So we live with our conundrum, finding joy in the beauty of their hard won battle, and facing the pain surfacing at their leaving.

Yes, it is hard to be the one left behind, and for women facing infertility, it’s also hard to be the one who stays.

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