Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anticipation vs. dread

So, we head to my cousin's wedding this weekend, followed by my Week of Guilt with my family (instead of here at home with my vacation-deprived husband and dog). I can't decide whether to anticipate or dread seeing the extended family.

We see everyone about once per year - we're talking aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins-once-removed, etc. In a non-wedding year, this means we're together on Thanksgiving (and in those years, we miss the get-together because we refuse to fly on Thanksgiving). However, weddings are pretty much de rigueur in my family, so in wedding years, we can't escape the gathering.

I'm particularly dreading it this year because of the whole "When are you going to have kids?" thing. My family is not known for its tact. Not at all. And if I saw them more frequently, I might think of this as an amusing little quirk. But we don't see them frequently - and quite honestly? *the question* really gets to me.

I don't want to get into what we have tried and haven't tried. I can't decide on a proper response. My husband thinks I'm completely overreacting. And I'm wondering why I can't just get.past.this.

I've pondered saying "We can't have kids", but people know almost too much about infertility and IVF and other options these days. I'm sure that if I said that, I'd just hear a thesis on why we CAN have kids, and have we TRIED this? or that? or, maybe we haven't seen the right person?

You know what? This is a decision reached after much deliberation and anguish on our parts. I don't WANT to be questioned on this decision - I want to keep it to ourselves - as it SHOULD be - and not deal with peoples' questions or worry or earnest "help". Would it be easier if I could get pregnant but not stay pregnant? Maybe. I have cousins who had multiple miscarriages, so that is familiar to most of the family members. But someone who just can't get pregnant? Not in this day and age!

So, I need to be working on getting stuff together for this trip, but I'm completely unmotivated. Add the dread of seeing the family to my guilt at staying for the week, and it's a wonder I'm not completely immobilized by negativity.

I guess I just need to focus on the positive - wedding! family! fun! open bar! - and hope that people are focused where they SHOULD be - which is on the bride and her groom.

Friday, July 24, 2009


We have not had a lot of calm in our lives over the last few years...multiple moves, lengthy separations, and the stress of school and work combined to make life pretty frenetic. But this summer...this summer is different. For the first time in our lives together (5 years! wow!), I feel like we have had a peaceful summer.

That's not to say that we haven't been busy - we have. But interspersed with the weekends away, and the visitors, and the daily grind, we have had many evenings where we simply sit on the screened porch in the evening and listen to the neighbor kids create their imaginary world. (No, really - that's what they're doing. We love listening to them discuss how things are going to be in their world, and what they need next....we suspect that we are essentially invisible to them - the grown ups next door - and we love that, since it allows us to eavesdrop on their goings-on.)

It's just so peaceful to sit out there - beer or gin & tonic in hand - discuss the day, watch the birds, pet the dog, and

For the first few years we dated, summers were our time apart. I had to work - 1000 miles away. We could only take long weekends to see each other, and those were frequently disrupted by travel problems (ORD....oh, how I loathe thee). To spend most (if not all) weekends together - to spend less time in airports - and to just enjoy our house and our dog and being together....I think that is what I will treasure most about this summer.

I suspect that this joy might fade over time, as the memories of those difficult summers fade. They were foremost in my mind this week because I happened upon a trove of emails from that time, and I couldn't help but marvel at the (good) changes in our lives. No, we are not going to have children - and that will likely be a constant source of grief for me. But we have a good life together - a happy life, and a peaceful one.

Of course, the emails also highlighted just how...businesslike...our morning emails to each other have become. Where they used to contain phrases like "can't wait to hold you in my arms again...", they now contain things like "I think we should hit Tar*get this weekend". Romance? Maybe it's in the background now. But I'll take what we have now, and where we are now, any day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guilt, grief, etc

I never know what is going to set me off re: not being able to get pregnant. I thought I was doing pretty well - last night, watching TV, I even commented on how cute a contestant on America's Got Talent was, without the pang of "I'll never have a cute child of my own" that I typically get. And I thought to myself - wow! You're doing pretty well! Maybe you're over it.

Yeah, um, no. This morning, I saw in FB that a friend had registered for her first baby. She's due in October, and there is a big family shower coming up at some point. I looked up the registry, to see if there was something we'd want to get for them. And that? That simple action? Nearly sent me over the deep end.

There were all the little things that I'd dreamed of getting someday - the Boppy, the changing table cover, the strollers and car seats. Instead, I'll be buying them for my friends as they have their first, second, and sometimes third babies. I'll never be the one who picks out the fun Boppy cover. I don't have to worry about which bottles are BPA free. I don't have to have my husband research car seats to determine which is the safest.

So I'm not over it. Not by a long shot.

Even better, since I'm feeling so crappy about this, we get to go to a family wedding next weekend! Full of extended family members! Who we see about once a year! Who will certainly notice that I am not pregnant! Gee, doesn't that sound like fun? And THEN, for good measure, I get to spend a week with my family, but not my husband.

And I just know - I KNOW - that pregnancy, babies, etc. will come up, somehow, at some point, during that week. The way I'm feeling now, I'm not sure how I am going to react. My brother and s-i-l don't even know that we gave up - only my parents and a few close friends do.

I'm also feeling guilty because my husband has next to NO vacation time - thanks, draconian company policy! - so he does not get to go on "vacation" with my family. Granted, we are going to his brother's wedding in September...but I still feel guilty that I will be gone for an entire week. Leaving him with the dog and the house and work. I'm going to take my computer - I will need to do some work while gone - but that is not making me feel much better. I am very good at the guilt thing - but not good at letting go of it.

Gee, it's going to be a fun day!

Monday, July 20, 2009


I know I shouldn't complain - but good grief, it's been COLD here in the mornings, the last week or so. I should be reveling in the low humidity, the joy of running outside, the fact that we don't have to put the a/c on...and instead I'm sitting here shivering. Brr.

I'm also worried that this will either result in an unseasonably hot October, or else a really effing cold winter.

Nothing like living in farm country to make you obsess about the weather. My favorite feature in our local paper is the accounting of how many "good" days farmers had the previous week, in terms of sunshine, rainfall, etc.

I'll just say that running in shorts at 55 degrees is a bit chilly, and leave it at that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2nd 5k of the season

Alas, my "Beef Days" 5k shirt does not have a cow on it...but I am amused by the fact that it was sponsored by one of the local funeral homes. Heh.

I had a personal best time in this one - yippee! Under 28 minutes. I need to train at that pace for the half marathon in October, so it was a very good run.

While I was there, my fantastic husband hit the farmers market and picked up our CSA, some extra veggies, and the BEST cookies I have tasted in a long time. Thank goodness we live near the Amish...they can beat anyone in cooking!

We have a relaxing yet fun weekend...cookout at the neighbors' tonight, hoping to go to the dog park, and enjoying the coolest July temperatures in decades. I'm contemplating putting on a sweatshirt...brr...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Had lunch with a friend who is pregnant the other is always fun to catch up with her, as she is one of the funniest - and most insightful - people I know. Spending a few hours with her always helps reset me in some way.

She is due in October, and is kind of over the whole pregnancy thing. And yet, they'd been trying for over two years when she finally got pregnant - so she is feeling guilty about not loving every.single.minute of her pregnancy.

And that got me thinking - about our current status of NOT trying, and learning to be okay with that. This past weekend was spent with good friends - and multiple small children. It was lovely - it's so much fun to meet the new babies (there are 3-4 every year, it seems), and see how the older kids have grown, and learn what everyone has been up to. But this year, N and I decided that we would just do what we wanted to do, and really try to enjoy ourselves. Since we're not getting a big vacation together this year, we thought of this as our mini vacation.

And boy, did we have a GREAT time. We visited a place I'd wanted to see for years. Found a cave that we didn't know existed - and had a fantastic hour-long tour there (220 feet below the surface! rock formations! stalactites!). And then found a new place for lunch, where we relaxed, had a glass of wine, and enjoyed each others' company and the gorgeous view. At one point, N looked at me, raised his glass, and said "You know, there are perks", and I knew just what he meant. We had left our friends and the multitude of children behind - it was quiet, and peaceful, and so much fun to spend time with each other.

So why do I feel guilty for enjoying our child-free state? There were times last week - when I still thought I could be pregnant - that I actually had negative thoughts about possibly being pregnant. It's almost like my brain has finally accepted that this is not going to happen for us - and it's moved on to making sure I enjoy our life as it is. So I don't think I should feel guilty...but sometimes I do.

From an outsider's perspective, I imagine we seem rather self-indulgent. We don't have college savings accounts (although, quite frankly, since my earning power is rather reduced at the moment, we barely have a regular savings account). We don't have to work our schedules around small people. I can choose which day - and time! - I am going to do particular chores, and those choices aren't derailed by a cranky or sick child. The one variable in our lives is the dog - and quite frankly, he's the

I'm not sure whether the guilt is a vehicle for helping me realize that I can make an impact in some way - even if we *don't* have children? Or whether it's guilt imposed by society in some way - that we are expected to have children, and if we don't, we're not contributing? So it's a weird struggle - trying to accept that we are not going to have children, at least at this point, then feeling guilty about enjoying our child-free life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It's amazing to me, sometimes, how different interactions and/or events can change my mood, and switch a normal, boring Wednesday (get up, exercise, clean bathrooms, wash towels, water plants, shower, start work...) into a really good day.

Usually, these are things that are external to me - an email from a colleague who has good things to say about a manuscript we are working on; a cheerful email from my parents discussing good things happening in the lives of family friends; even just the sunshine and nice breeze after a cloudy and strange day, weather-wise, yesterday.

And it makes me wonder...I've always thought that I was in charge of my own happiness. That I didn't need to depend on others to make me a good, happy, and productive person. I still believe that. But it's very strange to me that others' actions can have such a profound effect on my mood. It's not that I was in a BAD mood before I got these emails this morning. It's just that now I'm in a smile-at-the-wall kind of mood.

Off to take advantage of my emotional boost and need for productivity today...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm getting old and grumpy

No, seriously. I think I am. When circumstances and situations converge in a particular way, I am definitely old and grumpy. *sigh* I knew the gray hair didn't bode well...

See, we were at my husband's college for a reunion with a bunch of his friends this weekend. It takes place every summer - and for 3 of the past 4 years, we've gathered at their alma mater. Although prices have gone up in just that short period of time, it's still relatively cheap, there are lots of things to occupy all of the families, and we get to hang out for a couple of days in one of the most beautiful places I've seen.

We were stuck in a traditional dorm again this year, which makes it hard to hang out. There are townhouse-style dorms that make the hanging-out easier. We're going to try to get those again next year -we keep getting bumped for other groups. N and I are in charge of the 2010 get-together, so we'll see how we do. Anyway, being stuck in the dorm = free tickets for breakfast in the cafeteria. Hey, free food! Even if it IS cafeteria food. I mean, how bad can it be?

N and I skipped out on Saturday and went to a local place for a killer sweet roll. But Sunday we joined the rest of the crowd in the caf. It was, not surprisingly, one of the most carb-heavy meals I've had in a long time. Would it kill them to have some hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or non-French Toast options? But I digress....

We were there early (as we are childless, and therefore move faster than the rest of the group). Sat at a table for 8, thinking that others could join us as they drifted in. And we were close to some empty tables, so that could work out nicely. Until a family of 5, there for a church group thing (aka, Super-Christians, as N and I call them), just plunked themselves down at our table. They didn't ask, they didn't even gesture and raise eyebrows while pointing at the empty seats. Nope - just plunked down and made themselves at home. Not a word to us. Yay, Super-Christians. Way to be...super-annoying and super-self-involved. Sheesh.

So we got up and waited for friends to navigate the lines with their two small children. While waiting, I saw a young girl - there for a different Super-Christian camp thingie. She was wearing those cotton short-shorts that all teenage girls seem to wear now? You know, with the writing on the rear? Except, instead of saying "Juicy!" or "Hot!" or whatever stupid thing is typically written on there...hers said "SPATULA". Yes, a kitchen tool. On her tush. What on earth is up with that??? And of COURSE no one else saw it. But I swear, it was there.

See, I'm getting old and grumpy.

Fortunately we had a lovely weekend with friends, got to catch up with people we only see once or twice a year, and were never asked point-blank when we're going to start popping out some kids. Whew. Bullet dodged. And more on that later. I need to go be grumpy and do some actual work.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Daydream believer

I'm a daydreamer. Not in the "Get your head out of the clouds and get your work done!" sense, no, I've never had a problem focusing and finishing what I need to work on. No, my daydreaming occurs when my mind is not occupied with other things. When I'm cleaning, for example, or running mindlessly on the treadmill at the gym. Or riding in the car when I don't have to drive or navigate. Those are the times my mind wanders.

I was daydreaming yesterday while I was cleaning the bathrooms. My favorite mindless activity. It really is...tangible results, minimal effort, clean bathrooms. What's not to like? And, like so many times before, I daydreamed about being pregnant. See, after last month's wacky cycle (21 days, no obvious signs of ovulation [o.s.o., for short], etc.) I have been having a much more normal cycle. I had o.s.o, AND we managed to get busy pretty close to then.

So for the last two weeks I've been caught up in a game of "maybe this time". Maybe THIS time, things worked out timing-wise. Maybe THIS time, my defective tubes/ovaries/whatever kicked it into high gear, and we'll get our miracl. Maybe THIS time...and on, and on, and on.

Yesterday was particularly bad...I managed to daydream myself into a March due date, having to figure out how to tell family members when we have a family wedding next month! and I'm spending a week with my family! and then seeing my husband's family in September, for another wedding! And we're seeing my husband's college friends this weekend! All occasions during which much alcohol will be consumed.

This morning I was a bit more realistic. I have my typical PMS signs - ravenousness (with no discernible effect on my blood sugar...I hate my dm), klutziness, and now, within the lats hour, cramps. *sigh* I also took a hpt this morning, just to be sure that the beer I've been drinking over the past few days (Michel*ob Ult*ra, best low-carb beer I've found, and it comes in an Amber version) wasn't pickling a potential youngster. Totally negative. Really really negative.

I knew that was the case, of course. If we couldn't get pregnant during my lovely regular cycles, with IUIs targeted to the proper date, why would I think that having .... you know... maybe kind of close to the right date would work? Why do I let myself go down that road? And it's not just the family gatherings...I thought about the half-marathon I signed up for this fall. Christmas/Thanksgiving travel. My post-doc, and my need to begin looking for faculty positions. I was, and the whole time I knew it was just a daydream.

I don't know, I think I need to talk to my husband again about our current approach/lack of an approach. We're currently in the "do nothing, hey, maybe we'll have a miracle!" pattern. And I don't think it's working for me. I think I need to say, you know what? This is not going to happen, and we need to do something to make sure it's not a surprise during a time when we are not ready for this. I think I'm ready to come down on the side of *never* being okay, and *maybe* moving on out the door. I think.

Of course, maybe the whole problem is that I was never homecoming queen...maybe that would have solved all my problems.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


We had friends visiting us this weekend - using us as a home base for seeing other friends in the area. It was so nice to see them - even though I have only met them a few times, they are lovely and their little boy is just a delight. One of the questions they ask him (when he's acting up) is whether X is a "good choice". So, for example, was it a good choice to refuse to put on your shoes to go outside and see fireworks? And he usually gets it, which is impressive.

It was great to see them for a few days, for me to get to know them better (they are college friends of my husband), and to know that we'll see them again next weekend before they head home. I like to think that as we settle in here, we'll have more fun weekends with friends from near and far...although it is hard meeting people when you are a) not in college, b) not in school, and c) boring (we're pretty boring, we know this, and we're okay with it). It'll be interesting to look back in 5 years or so to see whether and how we've managed to build a friend and support network here. Choosing to be friends with other adults tends to be easier, I think, when you have kids who are the same age, or who are in the same class at school. For those of us who are childless, it's a little more difficult to encounter those who may become good - or even just casual - friends.

We even had some time to ourselves, which allowed us to make some good choices as well. We took a nice drive up to a local lake that I had somehow missed seeing in my time here. It was hot and sunny and beautiful. We drove around the lake, and through the countryside, and gawked at big, beautiful houses and random farms right near town. I can't believe I hadn't seen some of these places before - it makes me want to keep exploring our new-old town, just to learn more about what is out there. It helps that N has a new car and is perfectly willing to take drives in it, too.

I think the only thing that was missing from the weekend was a trip to the Dairy for me to get some ice cream. That will have to be remedied sooner or later.