Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Series of Left Behinds

My first indoctrination into the concept of The Rapture was when I started working at my current job. Back then, I was still an office gal and so every morning, I would drive to to office and park the car next to that of our office manager. Her license plate holder always intrigued me: IN CASE OF RAPTURE, THIS CAR WILL BE UNMANNED.

I thought it was an odd statement. Up until that point, my only exposure to the concept of 'rapture' was the kind you find in bodice-ripper literature. While nothing is out of the realm of possibility, I had a hard time seeing our very proper office manager announcing to the world that she would abandon all caution when driving in the event of unmitigated pleasure, let alone that she would attempt unmitigated pleasure while driving. I chalked it up to the general rule about the Quiet Types and left it at that. I thought about asking her, but if it was what I thought it was, frankly, I didn't want to know.

Then, I happened to read an article in Newsweek about the Rapture (the capitalization gave me a clue that this was a proper noun rather than an adjective of desire) and it all clicked into place. Of course, the car would be unmanned. She would be up in heaven while the rest of us were left to slog it out down on earth. I thought this was just fascinating. There were so many practical issues - when would it happen? what if you were in the middle of something really really important (like on the can)? what if not all of your family came along? do pets go too? what do you do up there? do you watch everybody else slog it out? who is considered to be a true Christian? is there an appeals process if you think you are and you aren't called?

Not surprisingly, there is a very popular series of books about what happens after the Rapture, the Left Behind series. I haven't read them myself, but they are very popular.

I have to admit I've been feeling a bit left behind this week. We are in that excrutiating state of moving forward with very little momentum since it is a mock cycle. No hope for pregnancy What. So. Ever. Nada. Zip. Zero. I'm popping my nightly Estace but I can't quite convince myself of the progress that it represents. Our actual FET seems ages away in August.

We are also increasinly being left in the reproductive dust of our friends. A couple we knew and hung out with in the town where we used to live just had their second child, their first child having been conceived right after we started trying. So, three years on, we have the dubious distinction of two miscarriages and they have two kids. And, of course my best friend now has a 1-month old baby girl. Our other friends' baby just turned 1 in May. We are officially down to two other couples that we know who don't have children.

With each new child, we lose common ground with our friends as they ascend to that new place where we can't follow.

With every child, we are left farther and farther behind.

I know we are not in a race, but how long will it take before we are all on equal footing again?

image: buddhakiwi

15 comments:

PamalaLauren said...

You might like the Left Behind series, I've read the entire thing. But it is fiction, good fiction, but fiction.

Anyhoot that was my delurking comment.

Deathstar said...

Most of our friends have children -hence, we haven't seen a lot of them in a while. When we do, it's all about the kids, no time for adult talk - and apparently no one uses babysitters anymore. If I don't get a kid soon, I'm going to get too old oare anymore.

soapchick said...

One thing that has helped me deal with the fact that friendships come and go, people come and go from our lives........each relationship has a purpose in our lives, but sometimes it is only for a certain amount of time. That doesn't make them any less valuable. Everyone is on a different journey and our lives interesect at various points along that path.

I know you feel left behind right now, but just think of who you will meet when you do have children - new friendships will come.

peesticksandstones said...

Ooooh, I love this post. That bumper sticker has always intrigued me. I laugh at it, yet then part of me wonders. There's also a very interesting movie called "The Rapture" that's quite haunting. I believe there's a naked David Duchovny in it, too :)

Lately I have been feeling miles behind everyone I know. At a party recently I noticed the crowd broken into two groups: folks yapping about their kids and daycare and such and others talking about real estate and their homes (home ownership is about as realistic a dream as a baby for us, given the financial toll of ART).

I just sort a sank into the couch cushions and tried to disappear.

loribeth said...

Interesting analogy... I haven't read the Left Behind books but I do know about them, and I well know the feeling. I'll be at a shower this Sunday & am bracing myself for the inevitable onslaught of kid-related conversation, to which I will be able to contribute nada. :(

Deathstar, lol, it's true, nobody seems to use babysitters anymore. For one, they're horrendously expensive -- I got 50 or 75 cents an hour when I was a teenager; these days, I understand $5 to $10 an hour is common -- if you can find a kid who will deign to babysit. The money is better at McDonalds or WalMart. Then there's the whole anxious parent syndrome -- (a) parents who don't want their kids to work -- they should be focusing on school & getting into Harvard & (b) parents who won't leave their little darlings with anyone other than an immediate family member (if there are any around), & maybe not even then. This is part of the reason why you see so many babies & small children turning up in the most inappropriate places these days.

(stepping down from the soapbox)

Shinejil said...

I often use my so-called scholarship as a shield in the situations where I feel left behind/left out (i.e. "well, you may be breeding but I'm writing history, dammit!!! Which one's harder?"). Pitiful, and not always that effective. But shielding your heart when you have little power to change your plight can help.

admin said...

Ugh, then endless baby talk. Perhaps it is good we get to feel this - for if we re ever lucky enough to have a live baby of our own we will be sure to preserve a little of ourselves.... and hire a sitter.

Have you ever heard the episode of this american life episode where Julia Sweeney talks about her exerience going back ot the church? She does a hilarious bit about the Rapture. Worth a listen for sure!

kaaron said...

I am about to give myself away as the dingbat I really am, but thank you for enlightening me on what that bumper sticker is all about.


I belonged to a lovely book club that once upon a time actually read books and discussed them. Then everyone but myself and another friend had babies and it became excruciating. I stopped attending and the group disbanded, but it became even more painful when I started getting invitations to "sprinkles" (as opposed to a shower) for their second babies.

Pepper said...

The timing of this post is so interesting because this week I rejoined a listserv I'd unsubscribed from last year when my first injectables cycle failed. There are women who are just weeks away from having their second babies and I can still remember the days when they were trying for their firsts or when their firsts were just babies.

Being left behind never bothered me before because I thought it would happen for me in due time. Now I realize that it might be a permanent condition.

FarmWife said...

I've never been able to read the Left Behind series. My cousin calls them the Hardy Boys of the Apocallypse.

Ms Heathen said...

I didn't know anything about the concept of the Rapture, but loved your questions about how it might work in practice: it reminded me about a conversation I had with my devoutly Catholic mother-in-law about purgatory a few months ago (but that probably merits a whole post in its own right).

It is so hard not to feel left behind as more and more of your friends become mothers. Even in the online community, there are people who started blogging at around the same time as I did, and who are now about to give birth.

BethH6703 said...

I feel your pain, Mrs. X. In fact, I often ask myself those very same questions. Of course, I never get answers, so I do my best to keep the questions themselves buried in the deepest depths of my heart. But, of course, they sometimes find their way to the surface..

JellyBelly said...

one my hubby's students lent him the DVDs of the left behind series. i made him bring them directly to the basement (and i think after two years they're still there! unwatched and collecting dust).

i've replaced most of my daily socializing with people that are kidless and have no idea that i've been TTC for three years. my best friends has two beautiful kids, mr. JB's best friends all have kids, we're teachers, we're just surrounded by kids.

some days are harder than others, but i take comfort in the fact that i have so much more freedom to do what i want and i don't really have to answer to anyone or get up in the middle of the night to change a diaper.

but all of that said, i really would love it if i could complain about my baby's diaper rash or how little sleep i got or the best baby toy....

one day, right?

Elizabeth said...

We're being left behind too and are starting to be lapped since my cousin is pg with her 2nd. She got pg with her first right after I stopped BCPs to TTC (oh and she had just stopped BCPs as well).

I worry about catching up and regaining equal footing because most of our friends' children will be 1-2 years older (at least) of any child we have. In some ways I worry that when we finally have a child, we will still be unequal because they will have moved on to starting school and the concerns of parents with older children. Left behind again.

I've read the Left Behind series. I'm not religious (probably an atheist or agnostic), but the first few books in the series were actually kind of enjoyable. It was interestig to see how the tribulations were described.

Mike Hussey said...

Doctors don't know what causes infertility in about half the cases in men, but think many men's infertility problems may be rooted in their genes.