Was at lunch with a group of friends and one of the people who recently lost a relative unexpectedly said as an introduction to the topic, “I hope you never get a call like that.” And i thought, “I already have.” and I wondered who among us, at our lunch, also had. And how myopic of my friend to not realize we all get calls like that.
Nobody WANTS that call, that’s certain sure, but…I hope you never get a call like that? I do as well, but I’ve gotten many different calls that are pretty close to like that or exactly like that. I’m sorry I have to tell you this, but…
- A minor surgery has developed into major complications and there was nothing we could do. We tried everything we could think of.
- Your baby has stopped growing. Your body should start miscarrying soon.
- Come home. We need you here now. […but I am home. Just not where you are home]
- It’s cancer. We don’t know how bad yet.
- He had a seizure under water. Maybe 8 minutes? The doctors are doing everything they can, but he’s not breathing on his own. It’s not looking good.
- We’ve decided to stop treatment.
- It was a stroke. Luckily your cousin went over there. They think she might have been dead for three days.
- ’s dead. There was a fire.
Those are just some of the calls that I’ve received and I don’t consider myself particularly old or particularly unlucky. We all get the call. And it always hurts. And we’re never able to do enough, to be enough. No one gets out alive. And the path to death is inevitably painful and paved with such calls. But in the spirit of my friend Liz, I will end this with a positive. I’m blessed to be in a position to receive these calls. Blessed to have ever had what time I did with the people I love. How much bleaker would my life have been if I’d never known these people. Never shared my life with them, for whatever time we had.
One of my friends recently had twins. I say friend, but she’s not really my friend. We diverged a long time ago. We’re distant acquaintances for whom I once did a favor. Not like a “give a kidney” level favor. The level of favor I would do any acquaintance or friend. I clarify lest you think I feel like I’m owed something for this favor. I’m not. For me, this favor was the level of “helping a little old lady across the street,” when I was going across the street anyway, and helping her in no way caused me any stress or inconvenience. But as a result of the favor, we became friends of a sort.
Through our friendship, I’ve come to know her and realize, she’s not a person I would generally like to spend time with. I think she’s narrow-minded and hateful, authoritarian-submissive; what’s the lovely phrase, “often wrong, but never in doubt?” It’s an uneasy friendship. I try my best to live and let live, but I’m not a general fan of the way she lives.
Which is why it’s killing me that she just had two more children. I don’t want her raising children. Not only am I jealous that she has more kids and I don’t, but I just don’t want her pushing more of her ideologies out into the world. If her children don’t grow up to be horrible like her, it would be a divine miracle; which both she and I can agree COULD happen. But it’s unlikely. I feel sorry for children, particularly women, being raised in the type of environment my friends feels is correct. I hope I’m wrong about the way she will raise them. I was reading about a world in which treason is punishable by exposure and starvation in the main public square. And a plot to accuse the prime minister’s son of treason so the Prime Minister would be forced to watch his son endure the punishment. I’m suddenly reminded of this. If we remain friends, perhaps, like this Prime Minister, I will be watching as these children endure exposure and starvation of a non-literal source; watching the erosion of their souls over time.
I try never to say that some people don’t deserve to have children. But my heart cries out at my barrenness in a world where this person is given her heart in abundance.
And now the inevitable consequence. My monthlies are arrived. I didn’t have major PSM, although I was tired and shouty last night, which is probably now a bit more understandable now than it was last night, when all three of the people residing in my home were taken aback by it.
Now I have the inevitable nausea, listlessness, depression, anger, resentment, etc.
One of my girlfriends this morning pointed out how nicely regular my cycle is, maybe I should consider returning to my RE for another stab at an IUI. I guess I never told her what happened last night. I did. Now she’s annoyed with them, and I’m crying about it again. I’m also still annoyed with them. She thinks I should litigate. I’m not going to. I just walked away. Or some might say I gave up. Never dealt with the resentment or anger or all those emotions. I just walked sadly walked away from my dream. Although I didn’t. I did fight more, just not with them. But it doesn’t matter in the end.
Because none of my efforts were rewarded. People would probably say that’s my fault too. I put the effort into the wrong places. I didn’t do the things I should have done. I didn’t do what they would have done. Whatever. After constant relentless judgement, you get used to it. Things are always supposed to be that way right? I do something and everybody in the world disagrees and second-guesses my choices. It’s never the right thing. I can never be the right thing. Even complaining about it is the wrong thing to do.
I hate my ovulation time. I know that’s paradoxically weird, but I never get pregnant when I have sex during this time period (or any other time period), and I’m so sick of the hyper sensitive nipples. I’m tired of the pain whenever my breasts touch anything or anything or anyone touches them. In particular, my darling child is constantly touching me, and whenever that touch strays near my nipples, it’s owie. I try not to flip out, but after the eleventh of time of saying, “please avoid that area, it’s super sensitive right now.” I freak out and just scream, “Stop touching me!”
Okay maybe it’s not quite bad. Or maybe it’s worse. I don’t really know. I just know that it’s frustrating to suffer like this for no payoff. If I thought I could get pregnant, I’d be like, “woohoo! Sensitive nipples. Let’s have sex and make a baby!” But instead of it’s just another reminder that I get all the suffering of the childbearing woman with none of the benefits.
I had a nightmare last night too. And I woke up several times during the night. So you see, it really is just like being pregnant. 😦
Another post without a home, so I’m putting it here.
Last year, my child’s best friend was a boy in her class; Ivan. Ivan was, like my kid, a child who definitely knew how to dance to his own drum beat. My kid wanted him to do karate with her, but he wasn’t into physical activity like that. He preferred art and creative crafting; things my kid also enjoyed, so they shared those activities. We did a lot of things together last year.
This year, he was in a different class, so we didn’t see the family as much, although, periodically. I did try to get together with them to do things, but it’s a busy year and time escapes. But Friday was the last day of school and it was a half day. So my family took the little one out to lunch at the buffet place we used to go when she was in preschool. Next door to the buffet is an ice cream parlor. As we were walking to our cars to go back to home and work, my child spotted some friends of her from school; Allison, a girl she had dance class with in preschool, and the younger siblings of her friend Ivan, their nanny, and an older girl I didn’t immediately recognize, but my child seemed to know immediately.
The little one asked to be able to hang out with her friends, so I talked Katie Nana and Allison’s grandmother, while the kids played, ate ice cream, and generally acted like they’d not seen each other in 15 years, instead of having seen each other a few hours before at school. After a few moments of wondering, it occurs to me that the girl I don’t recognize is actually the same person who was my child’s best friend last year. Because it’s the only thing that makes sense. Who else could this older girl, who is such good friends with the two other older children be?
The big kids walk to to the park with Allison’s grandmother and Katie Nana thanks for me for not making a big deal about Melissa (who used to be Ivan). She explains that Melissa has been exploring her gender identity for awhile, including saying things like, “When I’m a girl,” and “When I grow up to be a girl…” and this year decided to grow her hair out and wear clothing that expressed her personal style, and to change names and be referred to as she. Most of the kids at school, including, apparently mine, were cool with it. And it actually is an improvement over last year, when Ivan was teased for playing more with the girls than the boys. School and camp have both been accommodating and supportive, although Melissa’s mother wishes that Melissa would have selected a name from the list of girl names that they were considering before she was born instead of going all maverick and selecting a name that the mother doesn’t love.
It’s an amazing thing to live in a time and a place where people can just be embraced for who they are.
8 years ago today I was 7 weeks pregnant. It was not my longest pregnancy then, although with the successful birth of my one and only, it would become so. I went to a wedding. The trip to the wedding was super stressful, but I was determined to be grace personified; a person that this child, this child I was carrying and was terrified of losing, could always look up to with pride.
At the wedding we were seated with family we knew and also family we didn’t; from the bride’s side. Among the family we didn’t, was a couple with two kids “back home.” There was a lot of discussion about young children and families that I could not really participate in, as a long time infertile. I remember thinking, “If I weren’t pregnant, I would be running to the bathroom to cry.” But I had a little secret weapon that night tucked safely away. “Someday,” I told that little secret, “maybe I can be one of those people. Who can talk about their kids.”
Later in that pregnancy, I stood before G-d in an assembled congregation with my father next to me and said the words generations have said before me. Me, my father, and my unborn child, stretching in unbroken line; witnessed by my husband, my mother, my grandmothers, and my friends. And something in me healed a little in that moment.
I was hoping to recreate a moment like that this year, but that’s not a thing that’s going to happen. Infertility wins again. It feels like it always wins. And for me, it’s important to hold fast to those moments likes the ones about. The moments where it didn’t win. Where I won. Where my family won. I wish there were more of those moments.
I’m thinking about the lost children today. Now we know that not all those children are “lost” missing. Many of them are exactly where they are supposed to be. But some have probably been trafficked. Maybe into slave labor. Maybe into loving families. But even if they have been placed with loving families, it’s not right.
There’s a lot of talk about ethical adoption in some of the groups I frequent. Since adoption is not my area of expertise, I accepted on faith that all adoption was ethical. I might have assumed that even with “unethical” adoption, those children were free to be adopted, it was just some red tape expediting, greasing someone else’s palm, just a redirect in aid of a child and a family seeking each other. But it’s not. It’s this. It’s human traffickers stealing children from their families and selling them other families and pretending they have a right to do that. That’s its for the children’s benefit. For the families they are building. These are lies. They are stealing someone else’s family for their own profit. There are no shortcuts to building a family. And nothing can ever make up for destroying a family to build your own.
May G-d grant strength to the infertile to say no when it’s the fulfillment of their heart’s desire to say yes. May G-d help those children return to their families. May we as people of compassion help those children return to their families.