Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One of the Guys

I have found myself hanging out in the guy’s crowd at get togethers quite a bit over the past couple years. By now, most of my friends have children and are getting pregnant left and right. When we get together with a group of friends, I often find myself hanging out with the guys. This is to avoid having to listen to all the conversations about pregnancy, babyhood, and parenting. It’s just one more way that I protect my heart. Instead of hearing all the things the girls are chatting about, I end up listening to conversations about sports, politics, high-level theology, and more. Since these topics don’t particularly interest me (well, politics does) I often end up eavesdropping on the women’s conversations anyway. I remember one evening getting together at a friend’s house with a small group. Two of the girls were pregnant and the other two already had kids. They immediately went into the kitchen, hugged, and started talking shop while I ended up hanging out with the guys, pretending to be interested in something that I didn’t really care about. I felt so alone that evening. The crazy thing is, I was pregnant at the time, just too early to make any announcements! It seems that the difficult emotions we feel as a result of IF do not magically disappear with a positive pregnancy test.

In so many of these situations, I just don’t feel like I fit in. I obviously don’t fit in with the men’s crowd and usually can’t contribute much to their conversations. I don’t fit in with all my friends who are mothers. Even though I’ve been blessed with two conceptions, I feel like I can’t join in on conversations about pregnancy-induced food aversions or the exhaustion of early pregnancy even though I have experienced both. We don’t really fit in with any of the couples we know from church, because we are the only ones without children. This is not to say that we don’t have any friends or that people we know treat us like outcasts, just that in certain ways we can’t relate to them.

There are plenty of characters in the bible that can relate to feeling like they don’t fit in. Here are a few:
1. Hannah and all the women of the bible who experienced infertility. They had added social stigmas that are not as strong today.
2. Mary and Joseph when they were pregnant with Jesus. The movie The N.ativity really got me to think in a new way about how they were probably looked upon by other people in their community.
3. Jesus – I think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and how lonely He must have felt when even His friends couldn’t keep watch. How many times I have also quietly prayed that the Lord would let this cup pass from me.

I imagine that none of the saints felt like they quite fit in with the people they interacted with. This is a part of the human experience. We all experience “feeling like an outsider” in various ways throughout life. This is just one experience that I never imagined I would be facing, and that I have had to face for longer than I would prefer. Like Jesus, I need to surrender myself to the Lord’s will, no matter where that may lead.

“For he will carry out what is appointed for me, and many such things may yet be in his mind.” Job 23:14
“Have pity on me, Lord, for I am weak; heal me, Lord…” Psalm 6:3ab
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39b
Reflection Questions
1. In what situations have I felt like I just don’t fit in?
2. Do I try to befriend others when they may be in a situation in which they feel like they don’t fit in?
3. What models of faith could I reflect upon when feeling lonely and different from others?

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it knownthat anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, We fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins ourMother; to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen.


  1. I know I can definitely relate to this! When I meet someone for the first time and they find out we don't have any children yet, I can always tell they think my husband and I are the types of people who are really into their careers....haha!! In the real world (and the facebook world) it is a slap in the face, but I just try to hold on to hope and trust in God's plan for us. Thank you for reminding me of Hannah and the holy family during times when they were outcasts. I'll try to think of them at the next gathering I am at with lots of pregnant bellies and babies.

  2. I find that I can't always contribute to the baby/child talk, unless I try to talk about my newphew, and sometimes I just feel desperate to relate to the conversation. It is weird and it makes the cross of IF so much heavier. Great post.

  3. Ah, yes, been there - that stinks!

    An idea: Think of a positive way of encouraging more well-rounded conversation on your friends' part - maybe organize an outing that will give you something to talk about, but is something that the kids can't go to (try a Saturday time) - art gallery, grown-up movie, ladies' kid-free shopping trip... My sense is that the mommies will appreciate the thoughtfulness and time out, and you all will have objects of interest immediately in front of you that you can rely on. The conversation will probably fall into shop talk at some point, but at least there'll be something else to talk about.