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I did it again….

23 Jul

I found this old blog in my draft pile from NOVEMBER 2013.  I don’t know why I didn’t publish it.  Maybe it was hitting too close to home.  I am glad I saved it.  I remember this day well…

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Well I did it again.  Another blog post.  Well, yes, but that’s not what I’m referring to.   Today, while sleepily walking through the soda aisle at Safeway, trying to find Ginger Ale in a can for my daughter, who threw up at 4:30 am, I found myself silently wishing I could trade places with someone that did not have children.

There.  I said it.  I’m awful.  I know.

I have been down this road a few times this year.  First, for some God awful reason, my children keep getting stomach bugs.  Why not colds? Seriously, why not.  No, its always the stomach bug, and I think, if I am counting properly, this is our third time around since January.  Sick kids always suck, but the stomach bug is the ninja of all bugs, and inevitably it goes from one kid to the other and then to me and/or Bob.  So, if we are keeping track: second worst thing ever is a sick kid, worst thing ever is a sick kid plus a sick parent. Oh and worst, worst thing infinity is sick parents and two sick kids.  Been there.

Then, as many of you know, I weathered more difficulties with Post Partum Depression this winter after having Gus.

“Oh the second one is soooo much easier!” they said.

“Your recovery will be so quick!” they said.

“You will wonder why you thought it was so hard the first time!”

“Breastfeeding will be a breeze this time around,” I heard.  Umm, no. Actually everything was fucking hard as shit, much harder than it was when I had Bea and further complicated by the fact that I now had a two year old and then got it in my head that it would be a much better experience with the second.  I should have known better. **Disclaimer: Every kid is different, if you are pregnant with or thinking of having #2, he/ she may very well be easier than your first.  Just wasn’t the case for me.

So, back to Safeway.  I had been up since 4:30 (or 5:30 or whatever you want to call it since the clocks “fell” back), I was exhausted, downtrodden, hungry and I had a headache.  I was getting Ginger Ale, popsicles and a few other things.  And then…they walked by.

That couple.  You know them.  They were about 26 or 27. They were in their workout clothes. Probably just came from the gym.  She was wearing tight yoga pants, long hair in a pony tail, hot pink Nikes and weighed about 110 pounds.  He was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, sneakers and clearly hadn’t shaved.  That familiar feeling waved over me as they passed me by (with their little basket–pffft).  Somewhere between envy and indignation that voice in my head said, “Man, you guys don’t know how good you have it.”

And let me tell you, that feeling–that feeling RIGHT there–is the kind of feeling that every mom has had at one point or another.  I don’t care who you are.  Sometimes we feel it with a side of wistful remembrance. Sometimes with a little jealousy. And sometimes with desperation–as in, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE build me a time machine so I can be you again for just one day!  That feeling of being trapped; of wanting to break away but not being able to.  Not that I wanted to go anywhere, but the principle of the fact that I was stuck in the house with these people, waiting for my insides to twist as it became my turn for the black death…. well, that feeling could easily have turned into resentfulness.  It’s a defeatist, useless way to think, but sometimes you have a bad day and your mind wanders over to that place.  Women with PPD or depression tend to do that to themselves. It’s called catastrophic thinking.

Anyway, as I kept walking in the grocery store, I made a conscious effort to stop myself from going down that road.  I asked myself, What is this girl going to do for the rest of the day, and how great is it, REALLY?

Well, it was Sunday.  So chances are, she and the boy were going to go home, shower and head off to their local watering hole to watch football.  They will meet other single friends there and some couples, too.  They will drink a good amount of beer, eat some wings and probably be home by 9:00.  Maybe they live together, maybe not. Maybe he spends the night, maybe not.

She will wake up tomorrow a little groggy because she had too much Miller Lite and shame herself for ordering the wings AND the burger (must hit gym hard tonight, she thinks). She will go to work and talk to her coworkers about her weekend.  She and the boy exchange a few texts and emails.   Maybe they are talking about what to do for dinner.  If they don’t live together, they are planning their next get together.  Who’s house will they sleep at?  Who’s friends will they hang out with?  If they do live together she might say she’s making something for dinner tonight (fair assumption since they were at the grocery store today).

I should pause the story for a moment and admit that I overheard the girl telling the checkout guy that they had been together three-and-a-half years.  No ring.  So this was obviously a committed relationship.  Ok. Unpause.

She probably has a pretty good job, but is at a point in her career where she is ready for a bigger challenge.  She may go back to school. She may have decided that she is in the wrong line of work.  She might be perfectly happy where she is, but she knows in the next year or two, she needs to go somewhere: Up, over or out.

She is happy, yes.  She is free. She is independent.  She is strong.  But, she is also that same girl that stares at my babies with googly lovey-dovey eyes when she sees them at the grocery store (on that rare occasion I let them out of their cages that I keep in the basement).  She walks by the wedding magazines at the checkout aisle and has to steel herself from staring too long at the cover.  I have to remind myself that I have what SHE wants… not the other way around.

Now, now… before all the single ladies, feminists and DINKS start yelling and posting nasty comments, allow me to explain.   I am not saying that a woman’s entire life is spent in pursuit of a husband and children.  I am not saying that you are not ‘complete’ without these things.  Nor am I saying that a woman isn’t truly happy until she achieves this stage in life.  On the contrary.  I loved my 20s.  But I knew I wanted to find a partner for life and have children one day, and there aren’t many young women that don’t want to have a family, too, eventually.  Note I said FAMILY.  It doesn’t have to mean a husband and/or kids.  It can be one or the other or neither (I have several friends with same-sex partners and dogs that are quite content, thankyouverymuch).  But most all of us want a family of our own in some capacity or another.

True, this young woman really doesn’t know how good she has it: sleeping in, ab muscles that still touch, the ability to go away for the weekend at a moments notice and the luxury of going out to eat whenever and wherever her wallet will allow.  But, she wants to have a family one day.  She has love within her that she knows is meant to go around.  She is tired of wondering if he is “the one.”   She already knows what shape diamond she wants in her engagement ring.  She wants to hear her babies giggle in her ear and smell their heads until they are too big to let her.

I walked out of the grocery store today and reminded myself that I live with no regrets, and have enjoyed and learned from every stage in my life.  I reminded myself that one day I will be called on to help guide my own children through their own life decisions.  And I reminded myself that I would much rather know what I am missing than fear that I somehow missed out.

…and I also reminded myself that my kids will have kids of their own one day and I will laugh at them.

 

 

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Remind you of anyone?

13 Feb

A good friend passed this onto me yesterday. Hilarious.

http://www.scarymommy.com/when-mother-knows-best-its-the-worst/

Back on the Chain Gang…

30 May

Its been so long since I’ve blogged, I don’t even know where to begin.  I suppose I’ll start at the beginning.

In early April I went to see a movie with my BFF Mandy.  We ate lunch and saw the Hunger Games.  Throughout the movie, I had to get up to use the bathroom–three times.  I thought this odd since Mandy and I both had the same amount to drink.  I finally jokingly said to her, “Either I’m pregnant, or I have a urinary tract infection.”

I thought back in my mind and realized that, while incredibly far-fetched, this WAS possible.  I went home and thought on it.  I tried to sit and just ‘feel.’  Did I feel anything weird?  No sore boobs, no bloated tummy, not tired, no weird cravings. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  And, I wasn’t late.  I had a period.  Or what I thought was a period?

I went upstairs and found an old test stick in my bathroom from the trying-to-conceive-Bea days.

“Holy shit.”  That was my response.  Two pink lines.  D’oh. I was 5 1/2 weeks pregnant.

Fast forward another week, and the symptoms were in full force.  I was pretty sick with Bea.  It was wintertime, so that probably made it more pronounced, but I do remember feeling like I had the worst case of the flu ever, and couldn’t wrap my head around what possible evolutionary, biological or other celestial reason why pregnancy had to start out so awfully.  Why would God (or your deity of choice) put someone through this?  You would think through natural selection our species may have figured out how to iron this little wrinkle out (irony understood: Here I am pregnant again).

Well, this kid really did a number on me.  I was/ am way sicker this time around.  With Bea, I had nausea but no vomiting, but #2 is still making me throw up, as I sit here at 12 1/2 weeks, taking anti-nausea meds.  I’ve lost 8 pounds.  I think the worst of it is behind me, as I feel good enough to at least write about it.

I stopped going to work around 6 1/2 weeks.  I was useless. Poor Bob did everything. Got Bea up in the morning, fed her, took her to school, picked her up, bathed her, and put her to bed.  My mom kindly cooked for us, so we didn’t starve, and by “we” I mean Bob and Bea, because I mostly just grazed.  I did nothing but sleep, eat a few potato chips and some yogurt, and sleep.

Then, last week, I was ready to go back to work.  Not as much ready to go back to work as I was ready to get out of the house.  Lo and behold, on my first day back I was told that they had figured out how to do my job without me there, and would be letting me go.  I was almost relieved, but still disappointed because I do like working, and don’t want to take Bea out of daycare.   I liked my job and it fit my lifestyle as a working mother.   But, as I puked in the locker room before I left, I thought “I guess this is for the best.”  (Sidenote, I wasn’t being replaced, so, no I can’t sue them…but to lay off a pregnant person is pretty ballsy, eh?)

Oh, and the best part of all of this is that we had to take my house of the market for 4 weeks because I was too sick to deal with showings.  So, now the house is finally back on the market.  And it is SLOOOOW.   We need a new house more than ever.

I thought about whether or not to write about the early parts of pregnancy, because, for me, they have been nothing short of miserable, especially the second time around.  And for those around me, I’m sure its been no picnic either (Bob was out of town for a whole week and Bea and I had to stay with my mother).  And all the while I go through this, BFF is battling cancer.  How can I complain about anything when my poor friend is on her 3rd month of chemotherapy?  Where is my positive spin? Where is my humorous take?  Is there nothing funny about pooping your pants at work?  Well, I guess in hindsight that will be funny.

No, nothing funny about any of this for me.  Don’t judge, I wasn’t super jazzed with Bea, either, until I had my 20 week sonogram.  I guess I’m just a seeing is believing kind of gal.  I remember getting odd reactions when I displayed anything short of undying, Jessica Simpson-like joy over being pregnant, but maybe everyone feels that way and they are just better actors than I am.  I think this makes me a super duper happy pregnant person in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, as a sharp juxtaposition.   I am happy, I will be happy, this is meant to be, as all things in life are.   Just have to get over this hump.

So, as you can see, I did end up writing about this.  While I’m not in nesting mode just yet, this entry in a blog about parenting, fertility, life and family does give hope.  I don’t like complaining about how sick I feel, knowing that there are so many others out there who would give anything to feel the way I feel (well… maybe not QUITE exactly how I feel). But, this part of my journey shouldn’t take anything away from my fertility journey with Bea.  If nothing else, it adds to it. Because after two years of trying to get pregnant with Beatrice, and having to ultimately resort to IVF, this pregnancy came as an almost impossible surprise.  So, maybe reading about how nauseous I am won’t give hope to many, but the fact that I am pregnant should.

If someone who tried for so long and had so many difficulties can have a ooops lovely surprise, anyone can.   And I have friends, who, at this very moment are struggling right now.  And I think of them often.  No, its not fair that someone who wasn’t trying can get there before you.  I’ve been there, I know.   But hope is not lost.   There are a thousand stories like mine.  And I hope those that are still chasing stars can add their names to the list of tales very soon.

In the meantime, I need a nap.

The Red Thread

21 Feb

An old Chinese Proverb states that “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The red thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”

I came across this while reading an article in Good Housekeeping Magazine (yes… ok?? I read Good Housekeeping, and I can tell you how to get super glue off your ring or that yellow stain out of your polyester jacket).

There is a book by Ann Hood that was published last year called “The Red Thread.” Its a novel based on her experiences with adopting a Chinese girl into her family.   http://www.annhood.us/books/redthread

Now, according to my extensive Wikipedia Search research, this proverb is actually meant to apply to two lovers, much as we Westerners would apply the term “soul mate.”  I don’t know if I believe in one particular soul mate, but I suppose it’s a convenient theory.  Maybe a blog for another day?

Anyway,  I really want to read this book now.   The author has taken the idea of the ‘soul mate’ and extended it to parents and children. This concept resonates with me so much deeper than the idea of a lover/husband/ partner.  “No matter how tangled or frayed the thread becomes, our child is waiting for us at the other end.”  As a mother, I love this notion.  As someone who struggled with infertility, I have to acknowledge others that are doing so at this very moment, and tell them to hang onto this doctrine… even if by a thread.  😉  As the wife of someone who was adopted, I live this truth every day of my life.

I remember when we were thinking of what to name Bea, we tossed around several names.  I liked Ruby, Ramona and Amelia, just to name a few.  I didn’t want my child to be one of five, ten or however many in her class (In the 70’s, Carrie and its many versions was a common name, and I had two other girls on my very BLOCK of the same name and spelling).  Granted, Carrie was no Jennifer, but I always knew I’d lean towards an older and unique name.

We obviously settled on Beatrice.  Baby Bea we called her.  And now I look at her and she simply can’t be anyone else.  She’s always been Bea.  Since I was a child, she was waiting for me on the other end.  I look at the relationship she has with my mother and could conceivably take that thread back even farther to before I was born.  She was waiting for my mom at the end of their thread too.

When you look at your child, don’t you just say “ah, THERE you are?”  I didn’t feel that the minute I laid eyes on her… I’ll be honest.  That sentiment was clouded by stitches, epidurals, hunger, thirst, pain and exhaustion.  But I do now.  This is how someone once described the feeling of having a second child to me.  She said, “You wonder after your first how you can possibly find room in your heart to love another as much, and then when they are born, your heart opens up and you say ‘oh, so THAT’s how it feels.'”  And PS no I am not pregnant.  Just stream of consciousness blogging and a tasty microbrew on this fine evening.

Does this concept ring true to you too?

My sister-in-law, Christy, gave birth to her baby boy yesterday.  When we say “welcome to the club,” this is what we mean.  Now she understands that he has been there all along.  “The parent club,” isn’t just about diapers, poop and sleepless nights, but gosh sharing those fun times with others does make it a bit easier.   No, the ‘club,’ is about realizing how interconnected the universe is, and how our world is just a tiny little piece of something so much bigger that we’ll never even be able to understand a fraction of.    I described it once as walking through a glass door.  On one side of the door, you look through, and you see a part of what’s going on.  But it’s not until you are on the other side–the parent side– that you understand what it truly is like.  And once you are through that door, you can’t go back.  You can still peek back into that other room, the one where you didn’t have any kids.  Your friends that don’t have kids are still there.  And the world looks so much different to them than the way you see it.  And you remember those days.  You sometimes even remember them fondly, and wish you could have them back (especially when your kid is 18 months-4 years… or so I’m told…haha).  But you are a part of something bigger now.

This blog started out as a blog on fertility, and I do still want to tell that story.  But that’s one part of the bigger story, and that is the story of being a parent. Because I’m learning and realizing that parents and children come in all shapes and sizes.  Its not the way the thread is weaved, its who is on the other end that counts.   A parent is a parent.  Love is love.  So congrats to Christy on finding Jesse this week.   He has been waiting a lifetime to meet her.  🙂

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