Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The line

So, everyone is vain.  But I am REALLY. VAIN.  Vainer than the average bear.  Vainer than many people would expect, particularly the Viking, who has to put up with this nonsense.

It's probably the ballet.  Being instructed - no, actually expected - to stare at yourself in front of full-length mirrors four hours and hours on end will do that to a chick.  And it's an art that is all about a never ending quest effortless perfectionism (which is why the quest is never-ending, because there is no such thing as perfect, bitches). 

But the nit-pickiness of ballet has always bled into other aspects of my vanity.  For example, most people notice that I never leave the house without red lipstick.  I could be keeling over from the flu, but if someone finds my lifeless body, I will have a little color on my face.  And I have really thick, dark eyebrows that need a lot of love and shaping, so yes, I often shut my door at work and to pluck my brows when no one's looking.  Which is how I arrived to obsess about....

The line.  It's a frown line.  Smack in the middle of my head, right between my eyebrows.  A deep crease that I am sure is the vestige of four years of non-stop crying and stressed out brow-furrowing and fertility hand-wringing. 

The baby weight of 53 weeks of pregnancy is starting to come off.  But this line is taunting me.  I really wish I could be stoic about it, and proudly wear it as a survivor of all of this fucked-upedness. 

But, as we established, I am stupidly vain for a forty-two year old.

So guess who just spent an hour of her life she will never get back researching over-the-counter wrinkle fillers.  Gah.  Welcome to middle-age.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A confession about invisible rocks

So one of my coping skills is pretty common, but it sort of makes me uncomfortable.... I wonder if it means that I am relishing other people's suffering, making me someone who isn't empathic, but actually some horrible sort of sociopath.

So, here goes:
I often think of myself as carrying a giant invisible rock on my shoulders.  That rock is the sum total of grief and pregnancies and babies that never survived for over three years.  It's a constant weight, it is attached to me in staff meetings at work, in the hallways of Niblet's school, and when I am hanging around with friends.

Here's where the coping starts:  I imagine every person I interact with as carrying their own giant rock.  Because it's invisible, I can't see what it's composed of.  It could be the death of a loved one, a childhood trauma, or any stressful situation that would bring anyone to tears.

In the cases of friends who have had success with babies, when confronted with their reality - how THEY were allowed to have what was brutally taken away from me - I often remind myself of what I do know.   
 Her Dad died when she was young 
Her marriage didn't survive 
She lived through foster-care.

In the case of strangers on the street or in the grocery store:
She might have lost one too.
Are they going to make their rent this month?
Is her loved one sick?

When I think too hard about this, I get deeply uncomfortable.  What kind of person does this make me? To be comforted by the fact that deeply personal shitty things don't just happen to me, that they also happen to other people?  That everyone has a giant rock?

Monday, March 14, 2016

In Transition

So, what does it mean to be in a definitive phase in your life where you are no longer TTC?

And as long as you're getting a period every month, is it even possible to live without the vestiges of fertility on the brain???  I mean, are there women out there who have given up on ever conceiving, who are having sex while their ovaries are blaring (as some ovaries do), who are not thinking "I could totally get knocked up by this?"

I've written plenty about how none of this can exactly shut off with a switch.  Nearly four years of trying to make a baby will necessarily affect the way you live your life... though in some aspects, perhaps, for the better.

Like, I was telling my acupuncturist this morning that I really have no intention of eliminating my crazy supplement regimen.  If the (pseudo?)-science is true, then being diligent about taking my high dose methylfolate is a good way for a MTHFR mutant to live.  Similarly, who couldn't use more vitamins, particularly more D, fish oil and Co-Q-10? 

Next month will be exactly one year since my last pregnancy ended.  My year of kind-of-sort-of-trying-but-not-having-my-heart-fully-in-it-because-I-don't-want-to-be-heartbroken-again is coming to an end.  I just survived another birthday. 

Some of the difficulty this past year had come from trying to temper the Viking's expectations.  He hasn't given up, I can tell.  "I think I'm actually infertile now," I've been telling him the past few months. I wonder when it will really sink in for him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

in other news...

I am going to a baby shower in a few weeks.  For a friend who suffered though a few years of unexplained infertility and a miscarriage.  She's incredibly sensitive, always posting very carefully on FB, and being mindful of the infertiles out there (including one of her own family members whose only hope of a genetically-linked baby is through surrogacy). Anyways, you'll all possibly remember my attending PBFAW's baby shower in the midst of my mammo-crisis.

So this is nothing new for me, technically....  Buuuuut it's the first baby shower I am attending where I am going to actively - I mean ACTIVELY - turn off the hope (that I could ever be the lucky recipient of such a celebration)..

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

my only regret

I've mentioned before, Niblet's infancy was sort of brutal.  Other words come to mind.  Colic.  PPD.  Helplessness. 

She didn't sleep through the night until she was completely weaned, at 12 months.

But she was the loveliest baby in the world.  The kind of baby that made people stop us in the street and ask me "Is that YOUR baby?" (because she looked so much like her father, and I guess being much darker than her that I looked like, I don't know, her nanny?  Jesus.).

And I remember having a good friend over when she was maybe one year old, and she actually cruised over to a stack of books and picked one out for him to read to her. And we looked at each other like, seriously?  because we knew that she knew this was her favorite book and there was something so ridiculously cool about a baby with reading preferences.

I think I was present, well, as present as a full-time-working mom outside the home can be.  I tried to look at our midnight and 2 am nursing sessions as bonding.  I tried finding a new job immediately after she was born because we struggled with my 3 hour commute.  It took me two years to land a job in my own town.  My home life was consumed with her, but I missed a whole fucking lot. 

I had no idea those first one or two years of her life that she would be the only baby I ever mother.  The thought never occurred to me.  In fact, the only thing I used to think was, "next time I will be home more.  Next time I will be sitting in a new job, 15 minutes from my house.  Next time I won't be hustling her to daycare for the longest days."

But there won't be a next time.  And my one regret is not imagining that possibility, while I held her.