Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Fear of Being Left Behind

I had an intense dream last night:

DH and I were going to some fancy dress banquet/party/dance thing. It was so crowded that we had to carpool into the city with friends, and there were some complicated parking logistics. We had to drop off our car at a valet parking lot, where there was a large waiting area of people waiting to grab a shuttle to the actual event.

I don't remember much of the big event, except that at some point it was ending, and I couldn't find the people I came with, including DH. It was so very crowded, and I worried that they had already headed over to the parking area and would leave without me. So I pushed through the masses of people to grab a shuttle with a bunch of strangers and remember asking them if they would give me a ride home if I couldn't find my friends.

They said, "Well, we all live in the city, and you are too far out. But you can stay with one of us if you need to." 

We got to the large waiting area of people who were waiting for the valets to deliver the car, and I couldn't find my friends or DH anywhere. As I walk around, I keep running into people I know who want to chat, so I talk a little but keep my eye out for my friends. 

Then, in the corner of my eye, I spot that their big yellow car has pulled up, and everyone is already in it, preparing to leave. I frantically pound on the window (of the waiting room, not the car) hoping to get their attention so they know not to leave me.

As I turn around, I realize that I don't have all my stuff with me, and I begin to gather it up. And the more things I pick up (a jacket, a purse, a change of clothes, books, wallet, even little gift bags with jewelry boxes), the more things I realize I have brought with me. The process of gathering my things takes at least five or ten minutes, as I have so much I keep dropping something.

Finally, I dash out into the lot holding my ginormous pile of crap. The valet says something like, "You're too late. They've already left." I feel completely deflated and start darting my eyes for a taxi, cursing over how expensive it is going to be to get one from the city to home. 

And then I see them. My friends waving at me. They had driven out of the valet area to park on the side and wait for me. They seem a little annoyed that I got lost but more troubled that I had thought they would leave me behind. I am so, so relieved. And then I wake up.

I don't always sit around analyzing my dreams, but then again they rarely come to me in such vivid detail. The moment I woke up, I knew inside that this was all about my issues with infertility. IF is so heavy and ever-present on my mind these days that it's residing on all levels of consciousness.

So here are the thoughts and questions I've had running through my head:
  • To me, the dream clearly represents my fear of being left behind, as my friends start families around me. It's also one of feeling bad (though not necessarily regretful) of waiting so long to start trying. Did I stay at the party too long? 
  • The most troubling part of the dream was losing DH and navigating the crowd alone. What does it mean that he was with my friends and not with me? Or was it because he was with my friends that they waited so patiently for me to come?
  • The strangers who lived in the city were so obviously childless to me. They were well-dressed, edgy, bon-vivant types, with no intention of driving me to where I wanted to go but welcoming me to stay with them. I think they represent an child free lifestyle that is fun and carefree. I don't want that life, but it is not so wholly unappealing to me. 
  • One of the people I ran into when I was in the valet waiting area is a friend who has given up the potential for a typical family life for a solitary calling as a Catholic monk. I was happy to see him, but...whoa...
  • What does the car of friends really represent? On the surface, it seems to be a symbol for family, fertility, comfort, familiarity. But the driver of the car was a good friend of mine who is gay and childless (with no intention of having children), so it's not so obvious.
  • Taking the taxi seems to be like...getting IVF. Expensive, not the way I planned, but it will get me to where I want to be.
  • What is with ALL the stuff I am gathering up? Are they expectations? Are they experiences? Why am I so unwilling to leave behind my crap when I'm running the risk of missing my ride? What are these things weighing me down? Why are these things weighing me down?
  • And as anxiety-provoking as the dream was, it had a happy ending, didn't it? They were waiting for me, when I worried that they had left me behind. So is this dream telling me that everything will be ok? Or is it saying that I'm really cutting it close and need to hurry along?


  1. Stickles, you amaze me. One, that you remember this dream with such clarity; and two that you've interpreted it so beautifully. I must admit, I'm jealous of both things!

    That being said, I'm not sure how to answer your questions. Is everything going to be ok? If I could wish it so for you I would!

  2. I only occasionally have dreams I can remember, let alone analyze!

    I think you are doing remarkably well...all things considered. There are no big answers---if only it were that easy, eh?


  3. Very interesting! I have dreams (and thoughts) like this quite often. Now that I'm 28, I'm smack dab in the middle of "breeding age." Seemingly all of my friends are pregnant with their first, second, or third child and it's all anyone can talk about on Facebook. I think it's completely natural to have those feelings!

    We'll get there. Keep going :)