Monthly Archives: February 2009

on the one hand… but on the other hand

Mr. X has been away this week interviewing for a job.  He is currently in the city where he grew up, the city where all his family and many of his friends from high school and college live (but not friends from grad school–the ones I consider also MY friends).  Apparently the job interview went really well and it’s looking like we may be moving there.  I have a few thoughts, and more than a few feelings about this, as you can imagine.

  • On the one hand, his family is there…but on the other hand, his family is there.  ‘Nuff said, I think.
  • On the one hand, we know several people there.  Like I said above, a lot of Mr. X’s friends live there.  A few of his close friends from high school (with whom he is still close–weird, huh?) have meandered back there.  And I really happen to like them.  On the other hand, they have ALL,  count them, ALL had baby or babies.  In fact, I think I will henceforth refer to this city as Breederville, just to make it easier.  The last time I was there was a little more than a year ago and I had a minor breakdown with all the baby-love going on.  So to recap:  on the one hand we’ll have friends to hang out with, but on the other hand, they come with living breathing reminders that I’m barren, and it will be hard to escape being around them.
  • On that note, there ARE ready-made friends in Breederville, but, on the other hand they’re HIS friends.  There have been a number of times when I have felt very left out of the whole “let’s reminisce the old days” motif, which comes up a lot more than you would think.
  • On the one hand, this is one of the last places I would choose to live, regardless of the above factors, but, on the other hand, it will be really, really nice to have SOMETHING in our lives not be up in the air (i.e. the house, my job, his job, where we’ll live, IF, etc., etc.).

Sorry I’m so vague about specifics a lot of the time.  Mr. X has the kind of job where he has a public role in our community (and I do as well, by default, as his “lovely wife”).  This is one thing that we are hoping changes with the change in his job.  I am just really paranoid about being “found,” and I already feel like I have no privacy much of the time.  I’m sure at some point I’ll start being less paranoid, especially if we move to Breederville, which is a Big City, as opposed to our current place of residence, which is Definitely Not.

On avoiding my feelings

Through my journey of both IF and struggling with my compulsive eating, I have found that I have a million ways of pushing my feelings aside to the point that sometimes I’m not even aware that they’re there.  I’m only aware of the food, or that I feel fat, or, or, or…

Last night I had one of those experiences.  I had been feeling out of sorts all day, and pushing myself all day, and thinking of food all day, and eating all day.  When I finally got alone with my thoughts, it just all poured out.

This reminded me of something I just read (actually re-read) recently:

 

“There are some feelings about which there is nothing to do.  Some bad feelings simply need to be felt.  Only after you begin to feel them will you be able to find enough inner comfort to address them.”*

 

May we all find the inner comfort today to attend to these feelings that must be felt.

 

 

*From this book, of course.

both, and

I just got back from a visit “back home” to see my family, which includes my two very fertile sisters and their children.  I really enjoyed my time there, and it wasn’t until I was in the airport for the trip home that it struck me that it was a very painful visit as well.  I really didn’t realize it the entire time–of course I was kept fairly distracted by lots of little people and conversations with big people and food and being home and having a cold, etc., etc.

So I sat there in the airport and realized that I had a lot of hurt just under the surface (well, by this point, it was pretty much at the surface and flowing over the top of the surface–yes I was the crazy crying lady in the airport), but I had still really loved my time there, and I’m not sorry I went.

I have a ton of new cute niece and nephew memories and they are both precious and painful to me.

I am so happy and proud of my sisters for the mothers that they are and that they are becoming and I am so angry that it was so easy for both of them to become pregnant and have children.  I am so angry about that and I am so jealous and I love my sisters and I would not want them to have this hurt.  And I am so angry that of the three of us only I have this hurt.

I love seeing how much my mother loves her grandchildren and I ache for her to love MY children like that.

I love hearing my dad tease my nieces and I am so scared that he will never get a chance to meet my kids.

So it is all mixed up and jumbled around, all the happy and hurt and proud and angry and sad.  It’s all of that all at once.

About that letter.

(Note for ICLW:  Welcome to any new readers!  I will be out of town for a few days starting on the 18th and will have fairly limited internet access.  I’ll be back the evening of the 23rd and will be frantically catching up on my ICLW comments. 🙂  If you have to wait a while for your comment to be approved, that will probably be why.)

Several months ago, I wrote the letter in my previous post at the suggestion of my former therapist.  I found that it helped a lot at the time.

It was very interesting to read this letter again and think about what still feels true and what doesn’t anymore.  One thing that I thought as I read through it again was that it felt like I told that child good-bye, that whatever child (or children) we end up having (if we do) won’t be the one I wrote that letter to.  I think that the child I wrote to, more than being an actual potential child, was more the vessel for my dreams.  That child was a symbol of my own self-worth, a symbol of my hopes for self-fulfillment, more than an actual child or  the hope for an actual child.

In dealing with IF, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to redefine yourself.  Until IF, I hadn’t even realized how much my ideas about my own identity and value were caught up in my desire to have a child.  Until IF, I hadn’t realized how much I saw having a child as my true purpose, my reason for being alive.

I don’t know that I need to have a “true purpose” now that will span my whole life.  It feels like my purpose right now is to get to a point of self-acceptance and love, and also to heal.

With that in mind, the last few days I have been trying to ask myself, from the time I wake up and throughout the day, “How can I love myself today?  How can I be loving to myself right now?”

I’ll let you know how it goes.

A letter to the child I may never have

(I wrote this a few months ago at the suggestion of the therapist I was seeing then.  It helped a lot and I’ll write soon about some thoughts I’ve had about this letter since writing it.)

I have wanted you and waited for you for so long.  My whole life I have imagined what it would be like to have you by my side, what I would teach you, if you would be like me.  It seems like my whole life had been moving toward the day I could finally meet you–until it became clear that I may never meet you, that you may never come to be.

The pain of losing you is greater than if I were to lose any number of people from my present or my past–because you are my future and my purpose.  I don’t just long to hold a baby in my arms–I also long to walk you to school, to help you host sleepovers, to watch you turn into an adult (and a friend?).

The rest of my life feels so empty without you in it.   You gave me hope many times when I felt discouraged in my marriage–that perhaps you were the reason we were together and that you would make all the difficulties worth it, someday.

I know now that I put way too much upon your shoulders.  Sometimes, in the deepest, most secret parts of me I think it may be best that you don’t come, that _____ and I are in no shape to be parents and may never be.  But whenever I think that, I get so overwhelmed by grief and such a strong yearning for you.

You have been the meaning in my life–my reason to keep going.  You were going to be the person I could love and take care of.  Through you I was going to repair so much of the damage of my own childhood.  I was going to do it right with you.

I’m so sorry for all of that.  It was way too much to put on you, way too much to expect from a baby, a child, an adolescent, an adult.

Despite all of that, I do believe that I would have been a wonderful mother to you.  I would have showered you with so much love and acceptance.  I want you here so bad, it often feels like you’ve been ripped from my arms and I can almost feel you there still.

One of the hardest things about grieving for you is that it is such an invisible grief.  I have no pictures, no memories, no name.  Most people have no idea that my hopes for you exist, and those that do don’t have any idea how much I think about you and how much of my  life’s energy goes to you.  I am alone in my grief for you.  I don’t believe that I will ever stop longing for you.

But I want to.  I want to be able to let you go (where will you go to?).  I want to find my purpose and to find my meaning without you.  I want to heal and know happiness.  I want to see children without thinking only and always of you.  I don’t know what my journey will look like.  I am so frightened.  I want and hope to find my meaning and purpose and healing so that my future will be free.  So that if you come I can love you purely–and if you don’t I can be okay–or more than okay.

I have so much love to give.  I have hoped and ached to give it to you.  I know I can still give it, even if you will never come.  I feel like I’m missing so much by not knowing you–not having you to be mine.  Maybe I would be missing out on much more if you had come right away.  And maybe you would have missed out, also.  By not getting to be your mom right now, or ever, I believe I am becoming a better person, and maybe a better potential mom for you or someone else.

But I still miss you every day.

Today I hate my job…

Today I want to think about something other than babies and children and pregnant women and “moms.”  I wish my job would let me forget about IF.

In suspension.

Right now my life feels like a deck of cards that somebody tossed up in the air.  The thing is, they haven’t landed yet, they’re still hanging there, suspended.  Right now I am living in that suspended space.  It feels like almost everything is in a waiting mode-Mr. X is looking for a job*, our house goes on the market next week.  Will our house sell?  Will we have to wipe out our savings to be free of the house?  Where will we be living in six months?  What kind of job will I get?  Will we end up in the same city with all of his family?  If so, will they drive me over the edge?  Will things get better in our marriage?  Will we be able to afford IVF?  When could we start IVF?  Will I find friends?

The suspended space has a lot of questions and not many answers.

Sometimes the pressure of all the unknowns comes down so hard on me that it seems like every muscle in my body is clenched.  In those moments, all I can do is try to come back to the present and try to remind myself that all I have is this moment.  That right now those questions don’t matter–right now I just have to breathe and walk and work and live and love.  Sometimes it’s easier than others to find that space.

I’ve been reading about other bloggers’ experiences with treatments–the ever present two week wait, the waiting for the next cycle, the waiting on lab results, the waiting on phone calls, the waiting, the waiting, the waiting–it seems like a lot of us are in that suspended space.

Someday I hope to do IVF.  In my bad moments I wonder how I will ever make it through those innumerable moments of waiting and I wonder how anyone makes it.  Today it occurred to me that right now may be pretty good practice for that time–and heaven knows I need the practice, I’m a terrible wait-er.

I wonder if I can learn a new tendency–a tendency to remember that this moment is all I have, that all I have to do is breathe and walk and work and live and love.

*We live where Mr. X’s career takes us because he is in a more specialized field than I am and can also earn a lot more than I can.