I have a fear of being forgotten by those I love. It has happened before and I never quite understood how (although, I have a lot of life to live yet, maybe I’ll experience “the how” at some point). When I was forgotten by those I loved it wasn’t intentional, but it still didn’t feel good.
The first time I was forgotten was when I was about 8 years old. My mom had a lot on her mind and I know she loves me, but when I watched her drive off, leaving me at the front of the grocery store with our entire cart of groceries, I started to rethink the impact of my presence. I never doubted for a moment that my mom would return for me and sure enough, five minutes later, my mom returned. Her kisses, hugs, and apologies after the fact reassured me I was loved, but I often wondered how she forgot someone she loved so much, even for five minutes.
The second time was when I was in 6th grade. I was the new kid, but I usually made friends pretty quickly. One of my new best friends was having a birthday party and I was a little shocked that I had not been invited. I was too scared to approach her because I didn’t want to force myself into a place I was not wanted. I doubted my place as a friend and my ability to read social cues: maybe I just thought we were friends. The birthday party came and went and was the talk of the whole 6th grade. I felt forgotten, I was the only person who wasn’t invited. My friend approached me the Monday after her party; she was heartbroken: “Why didn’t you come to my party? I thought we were friends.” It was then that I informed her I was never invited. Once again her apologies and hugs reassured me that she did in fact love me as a friend, however I once again was left to question how I could be forgotten.
I started to blame myself for being forgotten. Maybe I was too bland, like Ann.
Maybe I was too quiet or average. I just blended in with my surroundings like a Milford man. I tried to be more outgoing, but it’s hard to force yourself to do something that isn’t you. Looking back I see the reality of the situation, we are human, sometimes we forget, it really had nothing to do with me. But back then, I couldn’t help but think it was my fault. I lived my life trying to ensure that I would never be forgotten again. When friendships ended I blamed myself and spent way too much mental and emotional energy figuring out how I could have prevented the split.
My default mode became “the forgotten girl”. I never again wanted to experience the pain of being forgotten, even by someone I just met. I would preface a second introduction with “You probably don’t remember me, my name is…” in order to prevent someone from admitting they forgot me.
If I saw someone from my past I would never approach them to say hello, unless I knew for sure they would remember me. And by “knew for sure” I mean we hung out after school, had sleepovers, and/or were related.
So now I am an adult. I thought I was past the forgotten thing. I laugh at the stories of being forgotten at the store and I joke about being the friend who wasn’t invited to the party. But this past week I realized I never actually worked through this fear when another friend revealed her pregnancy to me.
Some days it feels like everyone and their cousin is pregnant. Everyone but me. Some of my friends are on number two and number three. Some of my friends have been trying less than three months. Some of my friends have had trouble and are now pregnant. I am happy for them, but I just don’t get it. Why not me? Part of me fears that God forgot about me. Did He forget that I want kids too? (Of course, now I have had to go on birth control for my health issues. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t be upset, because I made a choice to take the pills. But it doesn’t change the fact that this feels so unfair. Other people don’t have to experience any of this.)
I had a dream last night that everyone was pregnant except me. All of my closest friends. All of the people I trusted with my feelings about infertility were now pregnant. I kept trying to get away, but I couldn’t. The talk was all about babies and pregnancy and I couldn’t escape. I began to cry. And then my friends scolded me for being a sissy about the situation. They told me I needed to suck it up.
I know my friends would never say that, but clearly I fear they will. I still have friends that are struggling with infertility and as much as I want them to get pregnant, I fear it. I fear they will all get pregnant and once again I will be forgotten. I will forever be the “aunt” who buys wonderful presents for the kids, but never gets to experience the joy, love, and cuddles. I will be the friend “who doesn’t understand parent life” and is excluded from play dates and birthday parties. I will be loved by them, but no longer worthy of time and talk with their new busy schedules.
I do realize this is a lie. But it feels so real. Please pray for me as I begin fighting these lies with truth.