Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? And do infertile sex fantasies include ultrasounds? That was the odd question I faced today. Today, I found myself more interested in what possible downstream results could occur than I was in being in the present moment.
I imagined the ultrasound. Imagined letting my existing child decide whether we would want to know the baby’s sex or wait until birth. Imagined NOT having a baby shower, because I don’t believe in second baby showers. Imagined my dad, as Sandek, holding my son at his Brit Milah.
It was a very nice fantasy.
After a horrible week in the world, my friend’s pregnancy announcement (for kid number 4) was almost a relief. At least it’s something familiar to be sad (for me) about. Of course I’m happy for her. She is a good person. She deserves happiness and her children make her happy.
But. Aren’t I a good person? And children also make me happy. Don’t I deserve that happiness?
Working at the library again this past Sunday, A Room for Baby came up again. Like, WTF and am I categorizing this one again? Turns out that the other librarian accidentally screwed up something on the physical side, so I had to do redo all the digital stuff. Cause that’s what I need more of in my life; that book.
Is the scariest costume I’ve ever owned the one I wear now; that of the infertile woman?
I had a rough weekend. I volunteer at a library and we added some new books to the stacks this weekend. Normally I don’t READ the books I add, and I didn’t (really) this time either. But I do add descriptions and keywords into the computer for search and reference, so even when I don’t read them, I’m still reading the descriptions of the books and adjusting their keywords.
The first one started innocently enough. I was looking to see if it was something my child would want to read. It goes through a year of holidays. I don’t remember the name of the book, but the first “holiday” of the year, was greeting a new baby. How is that a thing? And that wouldn’t have bothered me, but the rhyming text that matched the concept and the pictures included a big family of siblings. Oh, well, that’s an experience my kid is never going to have and worse, because my kid is very much wanting siblings, will make the kid and sad and spawn more “why can’t I have a sibling?” questions.
So there’s one more book we won’t be getting. But I was totally ready to move on from that, but there was more…
Room for the Baby which I didn’t read, but the description talked about how people gave Momma all sorts of scraps which she kept in her sewing room. And then suddenly BABY BABY BABY! and Big Brother doesn’t know how they’re going to be able to transform Momma’s sewing room into the baby’s room with all that stuff. But crafty Momma makes all the stuff into presents for the new baby! And bingo! Baby’s room is awesome! And everyone is so happy! (okay, I might have extrapolated a little from the description, but pretty much, yeah.)
How lucky that Momma doesn’t experience miscarriage or stillbirth. To turn all those rosy brightly colored pictures into reality. Or infertility in which case the sewing room will always be a sewing room. And that empty place in Momma’s heart will always remain empty.
A Song for My Sister This one I skimmed through. Which makes it my own fault. The new baby cries through everything. Then, at the baby naming, while the baby is still crying. As she has been the entire book, the sister sings, and the baby “coos” back. (forgetting that at “8 days” the baby can’t really make goo-goo sounds) so they call the baby Shira, which means song. How sweet. I thought they should call her DeeDee because the song the big sister sang was “dee dee dum dum.” or some such. DeeDee would have been a much better name. But Shira rhymes with the big sister’s name, Mira, and so hearts, flowers, and roses and everyone is happy.
I hate everything.
I’m frustrated watching the continued polarization of America which makes me hate other people. And there are the things that make me hate myself. I have a girlfriend who is in the early stages of pregnancy and I want to be supportive. But. I’m not being supportive. I’m not being anti-supportive. I’m being passively-neutral. As with a previous pregnancy discussed in this group, I’m ambivalent on her success in light of many things, including my continued failure to get pregnant. She has a young child, younger than mine, is younger than me, hasn’t been trying as long as I have, but like so many of my fellow infertiles, acts like she alone is suffering and never acknowledges that other people have struggles equal to or greater than her own. Sometimes I just wish my struggles were seen, visible. Instead of listening to other people’s problem and helping them, I wish people stopped to provide me meaningful support.
But then I’m terrible at accepting help and support, so maybe not.
Yesterday my child and I had another difficult conversation. The child asked me to talk about what I liked about having only one child. There are pretty much only two things I like about it. 1) When there are things like back to school nights or activities, that there are no conflicting schedules to manage. 2)That it’s THIS child above all others. Because parenting in the abstract is wonderful. But parenting the child that I have is incredible. And if I’d known what to ask for in a child, this would have been the child I would have asked for.
The other difficult conversation we had was about losing a child and what that can do to you. I am an aunt of a child who passed before time and it’s a thing that destroys families. And we talked a little bit about grief and how it can rule you and destroy everything good that you have, if you allow it to. And the only cure is to talk and talk and talk about with the people you love and trust most in the world. That’s the only way to keep your family and your love intact.
One Christmas, when we missed the family Christmas party (post-Christmas) for the family Channukah party, my aunt, one of the one who passed away last year, commented, in a rather passive/aggressive way, that she was sorry to miss us, but after all holidays were for children. (I did not point out that she could have seen us ON Christmas, which we spent with her sister and their extended family at a party she opted out of.)
I was reminded of that watching people celebrate holiday with their families. Lately it seems everywhere I go I’m surrounded by pregnant woman and young children. The holiday season has started and there are children for other people.
While I was at services, I indulged in a moment of fantasy. I imagined myself standing at the lectern holding a newborn and speaking to the congregation. “Last time I stood up with my baby,” I would say, “I was too overwhelmed by my joy to speak. Today I wanted to share a Psalm I haven’t been able to say in years. Psalm 113.” And then I would say the line I’ve always wanted to say, but couldn’t without crying, “מוֹשִׁיבִי, עֲקֶרֶת הַבַּיִת– אֵם-הַבָּנִים שְׂמֵחָה” – “He transforms the barren woman dwelling in her home into the joyful mother of children.”
I like to torture myself apparently. That woman, she’s not me. The woman who is me is the woman who’s child laments the lack of a sibling and asks me at bedtime to name all the other children she knows who don’t have siblings so she feels less alone.
I was watching the new Magnum PI with some friends this weekend and one of the guys commented that he doesn’t remember the old Magnum spending quite as much time shirtless. I watched some Magnum, not when it originally aired, but in syndication when I was job searching and other daytime availabilities, but I was a very casual fan. We discussed shirtless Magnum vs open shirted Magnum, which we seemed to agree was the 80s version of the same.
The guy was unhappy because there are so many shirtless men and he doesn’t want to see shirtless men. I can relate. I spent the entire 80s wishing I could see fewer shirtless women. I’m not sorry the days of random boobage and butt cheeks are gone. I mean, I don’t hate Daisy Duke and her butt bearing shorts, but I think she would still have been awesome without them. So I can totally relate to the complains about shirtless Magnum. The difference is that he wouldn’t mind going back to girl boobs and butt cheeks and I’d be just as happy if we all mostly kept our clothing on. Even if we’re working out. It really isn’t necessary for the equipment that the person working out be topless. And most people I see at the gym seem to manage just fine even wearing clothing.
It just feels a little hypocritical that he is wants more female nudity, but loathes more male nudity. But we all like what we like.
And I’ll do it with my shirt on
One of the things I hate the most about the news is the way they slant the news in pictures. If they want to show support for a person, they pick a flattering picture. If they don’t, they pick a negative one.
I remember reading news accounts after an acquaintance of mine was arrested for child sexual assault and the picture was a gross, disgusting mugshot that made his outsides look like his insides. And an internet commentator said, “Look at him. He looks like a monster. Of course he’s guilty.”
But I’ve seen him on any given day, and he was personal, affable, funny, engaging, handsome, witty….He was entirely credible as a human being, a trustworthy human being, who would never harm a soul.
When I see videos online or images in the media or elsewbere, I always try to remember that contrasting image. The image in my head vs the image that was displayed in that moment. I think it does a disservice to people everywhere to show the most unflattering pictures. It reinforces that old feeling that ugly people look ugly and goes back to the basic physiognomy concepts. But real monsters can be pretty. They can be charming. They can be nice. They can disarming. They can be sweet. They can be thoughtful. But they can still be monsters capable of horrific acts. You show the monster in the pictures and people look for monsters who look like monsters. We need to know the monster that looks like us. So that we know that monsters can and do look like us. So we don’t get devoured by the monster with the pretty face, and glib manner who seems so safe and so trustworthy.