Craving Contentedness

I’ve had one of those days that doesn’t exactly leave me brimming with happiness, but I feel content as I sit down to write this post. 

Nothing special happened today – in fact, I actually spent most of the morning with a headache that required self-medication (which I hate, of course). But I did quite a few typically housewifey things:

  • left the house early to get groceries (and tried not to bawl when I passed the three million assorted schools and the ubiquitous yellow school buses on the way there)
  • had some really yummy coffee at home, which was great because I saved both the gas and surcharge that a coffee house concoction would’ve required (and tried not to worry too much about whether or not this indulgence keeps me from getting pregnant – I’m pretty sure it’s not but the guilt is still there); 
  • did several loads of laundry (and tried to ignore that there’s still no maternity or baby clothes in the hamper)
  • made the usual meals throughout the day (and tried not to think about what I might be doing if we had kids – such as PBJs with the crust cut off, or a fresh smoothie because soda is just a no-no in our house)
  • took out the trash (and tried not to notice that there are no broken-down diaper boxes in our recycling)

Yep, all glamour and glory for me! 

Still…I tried not to let myself get too sad and upset today. The old adage that idle hands are the devil’s workshop seems very apropos to me lately, as staying busy obviously gives me something to think about that’s not the constant whine of WHERE THE HELL ARE MY BABIES? 

Ahem.

At different points throughout the day, I thought about how incredibly lucky I am. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. I have freedom. 

Of course even staying busy can’t quite keep those thoughts completely silent. When I made myself a sandwich at lunch, my hands moved as if guided by automation as my thoughts traveled to the inevitable. What would I be doing, right this minute, if we had children? In my mind, I heard a little voice calling “mooooooom!” – and I flinched a little, because it’s just in my head. I imagined a child that came into the kitchen, hugging me, maybe looking for something or hungry. Of course – I’m a mom-in-waiting. I’m a SAHM* – I’m just missing “my” kids. Are the back-ordered? Out of stock? I don’t know, no one is telling me anything. I know I ordered them; I even checked with my husband. He’s just as mystified as I am. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a complaints department; no 1-800 number we can call to check on the status of our missing children. We’re supposed to keep throwing money at the problem, but no one can tell us if and when our missing children will come home. 

Sigh.

Still, today has been a pretty decent day. I decided that I’m going to make truffles next week to give to my Valentine (let’s face it, he deserves some laborious chocolates that were lovingly prepared by his wife in an attempt not to think about babies every second of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year). I’ve never made any before – they always seemed like such a messy hassle and, how can I say this? I’m not that good at following directions. <chuckles> 

We never go out on Valentine’s Day. I know my husband would if I really wanted to. He’d put on a suit and take me out to a fancy restaurant – well, if there were any around here (which there aren’t – not unless you reaaaaaally stretch you’re definition of “fine dining”, and even then the closest “real” restaurant is at least an hour away). We’ve actually never gone out on Valentine’s Day. It’s not that we have some kind of objection to it – we write each other cards, there’s usually a box of decent chocolates (no Walmart cheapos for me, thank you very much!) and flowers. Unless it happens to be on a weekend, he has to work that day anyway – so we just cuddle up after dinner and I force him to watch a cheezy chick flick with me (totally evil, I know). 

This year, however, I’ve decided that I want to do something special for him. He’s been such a rock for me – these past few years especially – and I think he really deserves a special effort. Even if it means that I might be smeared in chocolate, cocoa, dusted with confectioner’s sugar and wearing coconut flakes in my hair.

I flipped through the different culinary tomes in our house to find a recipe and make a list of things I need to get. One of my absolute favorite books is one called Crave – literally all about chocolate. I’ve only made one dessert from it so far because it’s a pretty big, heavy hardcover book, which makes it a little cumbersome to use. Last year, my husband actually made me a birthday cake from one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (I’m sure I don’t even need to mention how totally jealous I am of her life in the Hamptons – all that amazing, fresh, local organic produce…and the cheeses! Oh, for the love of God!) – and let’s just say that I was not only impressed but I haven’t forgotten that he made such a loving effort for me.

So I figured, who doesn’t love truffles? I think that I’ll probably keep it simple and not too decadent for my first foray into the art of making chocolates – though it’s something that I could probably learn to enjoy. Incidentally, that’s one many, many, many of the reasons I kind of wish we lived in or near a big city (that and having a choice of REs. Yeah, that would really help right about now) – that way I could just take a bunch of classes and become a culinary genius, pottery expert, cheese connaisseur etc. You know: if I’m going to throw money at a problem, why not for something that’ll endure no matter where this winding road takes us?

(Sidebar: I also like watching the Pioneer Woman sometimes – but omg, I really just could NOT live in the middle of nowhere like that, I’d go bat$hit crazy. And while I’m on the subject of PW, what’s with the driving to a different building to cook? Also, how much, exactly, is “a good amount”? Mmmmm? Because I don’t have any measuring cups or spoons that measure in good or bad amounts. But aside from that, I think she should have another show for child-rearing advice – her kids seem really well-behaved and well-rounded. Of course that might have something to do that they’re probably too doggone tired at the end of the day to cause much of a fuss.)

Anyway.

Of course this is yet another occasion where I lament my fossilized social life. I mean, how totally fun would it be to get a bunch of girls together around my big farm table, with lots of laughs, and make an assortment of truffles for our hubbies together? It’s times like these that I miss having girlfriends the most – well, you know, aside from those times when I have a meltdown because my babies are still MIA. (I know, I know – stating the obvious again.) But the truth is that, more than just craving the sort of basic contentedness I miss so much in my somewhat self-imposed isolation, what I want most is to be around other women who struggle with primary infertility. I want to be able to dole out support and encouragement, get advice – and, most importantly perhaps, feel understood. Where is THAT reality tv show??

Sometimes I read about these women who met as teens or in college – and decades later, they’re not only still friends, but the actually make the time and effort to get together regularly even if they all live in different states. I totally envy that – but the truth that’s never discussed in those articles is what kind of resources that takes. I mean, you need to have some disposable income to begin with – and enough to pay for things like airfare, hotel etc. You know, unless you want to cram half a dozen people into a single room and pretend it’s a sleepover LOL Somehow, I just don’t think sleepovers are quite as exciting in your 30s and beyond as they were when you were a tween/teen.

Well, either way, I’m calling today a winner: I didn’t feel like screaming at anyone; I didn’t bawl; I didn’t feel like putting a fist through the tv (which, btw, would be completely out of character for me – I don’t believe in or condone violence – even against inanimate objects that totally have it coming); I didn’t hyperventilate or have a panic attack. I wish I had more days like today, so here’s hoping that tomorrow will be at least this good. 🙂

 

* SAHM = stay at home mom. Can’t remember where I read that – must’ve been in another lifetime. It all seems so unreal to me these days…

Running The Gauntlet

depression-2

By nature, I’m a morning person. Despite the fact that I used to hate having to get up early when I was a child (I mean – who wants to leave a snuggly bed to go to SCHOOL instead of staying home to watch cartoons? Ack!), as an adult, I’m definitely a subscriber to the “early bird gets the worm” philosophy (more on that later).

There are a few reasons for this. First, my mother was an early bird. I’m convinced that she instilled in me the beginnings of blossoming agoraphobia, so that I will now go to almost extreme lengths to avoid crowds. Case in point? I have NEVER shopped on Black Friday – in fact, the mere name of it conjures up not images of fantastic deals in my mind but, rather, another term for pestilence.

It’s one of the many reasons why I LOVE stores that open early – the earlier, the better. I love that Starbucks caters to people like me by opening most of its locations by 6am, even on weekends. I love that my grocery store opens at 6.30am, and even though I absolutely despise Walmart and won’t set foot in it unless it’s a dire emergency and my preferred choice of grocery store is closed, I love that they’re also open early (although I’m aware of the fact that they’re not open early, technically, since they’re open 24/7).

To me, everything is better in the morning. Yes, everything. Normally, I’m happiest if I’m bustling around the house by 6am, mainlining caffeine, getting chores done – so that, by 10am at the latest, I can sit back and do whatever the hell I feel like doing. Like getting started on Mount Everest, also known as the growing pile of fall magazines that *somehow* made it into my house in just two visits to my personal Mecca (aka The Book Store).

My absolute nirvana is achieved when my love of early mornings is combined with dropping temperatures – and I bring out the fur-babies, a steaming mug of coffee, a twin size comforter and  pull up one of the Adirondack chairs on our patio to snuggle up and enjoy the scenery. Those are the moments when I wish we had way more trees in our backyard, of course, so I wouldn’t have to worry about Smoky Smokerson (aka one of our neighbors) marring my view. But, still – it’s pure bliss.

However, there is one huge drawback to being a morning person: THE SCHOOL RUN.

Not mine, obviously – everyone else’s.

What makes it worse is that we live in a subdivision where the most expedient and straight-forward way to get to the main road leads you directly past a school – meaning that if I leave my house or come back at certain times, I inevitably run into a slew of cars dropping off their kids or picking them up.

I try not to cry, I really do.

I try not to be resentful – especially of people like a woman before summer break who was, I can only guess, running a little behind and basically ran a stop sign, which almost resulted in a major collision…all with a child in the backseat. I’m still reeling from the shock of imagining what could’ve happened (not to mention the heart palpitations I had, since I was right behind her) – and the feeling of resentment towards people who have children but apparently fail to realize (a) how lucky they are, and (b) how easily/quickly their blessings could disappear in the blink of an eye (followed by what I imagine would be the sickening sound of crunching metal).

But in the last few months, something has changed – and it’s really scary to me. It’s one of the reasons why I figured that I need to reach out, write, say something…because, to be honest, I’m kind of terrified:

I basically don’t want to leave my house anymore.

As I wrote this line, just now, I really struggled not to burst into tears. Deep down I know I’m probably on the outskirts of PMS – which means all bets are off for even trying to contain a potential meltdown – but I also know that what I feel, and admitting to it, feels like DEFEAT.

It reminds me of what Rachel said on Friends (although in completely different circumstances):

“I really thought I just hit rock bottom. But today, it’s like there’s rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.”

That’s exactly how I feel.

I thought I had already hit an all-time low in dealing with IF – because, believe me, if you’re lucky enough not to have to deal with it, or if you are struggling with it but are lucky enough to have an active support system, you have no idea how incredibly marginalizing and ostracizing it is for most of us.

If I had a penny for every time I’ve read a post from someone who has (or, more than likely, had) a friend and/or family member who either said something mean, unsupportive or pledged their support and didn’t follow through; if I subsequently had yet another penny for every time I’ve read from other women, just like me, how lonely they feel in their struggle with IF because (a) no one seems to care/understand, and/or (b) once they opened up to those around them about their problems, people just started distancing themselves…if I had a penny for all those stories, I’d already be well on my way to affording an IVF cycle.

But, like the quote, that’s where I thought I had hit rock bottom.

WRONG!

As someone inherently sociable and outgoing – an extrovert, really – it’s completely out of character for me not to want to be around other people. But, as time went on and there was no baby, it became more and more difficult to be around others who seemed to get pregnant without even trying – or, in some cases, even wanting a baby. And because I didn’t want to be a “Debbie Downer”, I just stayed home. I made excuses.

First, I just declined invitations to baby showers. It made perfect sense because I felt that I couldn’t hide my own dismay well enough, I couldn’t bring forth enough “fake enthusiasm” – not because I wasn’t happy for someone else, but because my own sadness was so overwhelming that it basically swallowed everything else.

But then, more and more, I stopped declining other invitations. I knew that it wasn’t good for me, but social interactions felt increasingly forced and fake. If it wasn’t all about mothers and babies – which I couldn’t relate or contribute to (talk about sticking out like a sore thumb) – I was constantly trying to suppress my growing anxiety and panic over not just my own inability to get pregnant, but the constant fear that I would suddenly burst into tears at the most inopportune moment. Crying in public? Not without some kind of real, tangible injury to curry sympathy with. Crying in public and then either having to make up some lame excuse on the spot, or fess up about the real reason and “Prepare To Be Judged” (and, by extension, be talked about behind your back)? NO THANKS.

So I stopped accepting invitations. I continued to interact with my “friends” through FB, reminiscing, “liking”, catching up, commenting, ribbing each other and even going so far as planning some get togethers with out of state friends.

But then all the pregnancy announcements got too much to cope with and, after yet another “OOPS! Looks what happened even though we weren’t even trying/I was on BC/we already have 3 kids”, I’d had enough: I closed my FB account.

Apparently, with that, I committed social suicide.

Aside from a handful of people, the vast majority of my “friends” disappeared into the ether and haven’t been heard from again since – now going on several years. And while I’m not exactly devastated, I can’t say it did anything for my already bruised ego, either.

But, going back to the quote, after my “social suicide” there were 50 feet of crap, and now I feel like I’ve reached a new low where I literally no longer want to leave the house. I’m constantly terrified of someone asking me about when we’re going to have children – or, worse yet, assuming we already do (understandable, given our ages). What’s even more embarrassing, of course, is the quagmire of how to respond to a question about children. If I say we don’t have children “yet” – which I keep trying to tell myself is what I need to say along with “when” instead of “if” (positive reinforcement!) – I keep thinking that I’m just asking for snorting, raised eye-brows and a derisive “WHAT are you waiting for???”

To be honest, I’m just tapped out. I feel like I have nothing left keep me going – which, in turn, makes me feel even more horrible because of my loving husband who has to deal with a defective wife…