Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some random thoughts

Ah, spring. We had rain all during the weekend, and then yesterday it was cloudy and gloomy and last night it rained again. But we needed it. Our baby landscaping (put in last year, so it's still rather...small) really needed it. I swear some of the plants have grown since yesterday.

Apparently, spring is also when people I find kind-of-annoying are either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. *sigh* One is a colleague from a position I had a few years ago. She is a few years older than me - I think she is now 37? maybe 38? She has a one year old, and when she was trying to get pregnant with him, she was fussing that she wasn't getting pregnant after 4 months of trying. Yeah. At the time, we had been trying for over a year with (obviously) no luck. Guess what? She's pregnant again. Yeah. Due in July. I was very good and didn't snort audibly when she told me. Oh, right - she told me via email. So I guess audible snorting would have been okay. Darn.

The other person is...my husband's ex-wife. They were college sweethearts, but never should have gotten married. When married, they never wanted to have children. Which was fine with my husband - he actually never wanted kids until we got married. Anyway, she remarried a few years ago ... to a guy my mother's age ... and now she wants to have kids. So they are doing IVF. And she is venting to my husband and my mother-in-law. Yeah. I'm kind of still processing that one.

I feel like by going back on birth control, I had to hand in my infertile card. We have a get-together with (our amazingly fertile group of friends) every July, and this year we are in charge. Last year, when we volunteered, the consensus was that we should 'host' before we have kids of our own. Neither of us said anything... but both of us were, of course, thinking that that would be between 'not going to happen' and 'never'. I'm sure someone else will mention it this year. And what do we say? "We can't have kids"? "We're not going to have kids"? *sigh*

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thanks for validating my non-marriage

I had to get this one out - it has been driving me nuts all day.

We are having a same-sex marriage "debate" in my state. *sigh* I'll just state for the record that I am among the most liberal of liberals - and I hate the fact that there is even a "debate". It's actually kind of a forced "debate", anyway. But I digress.

Periodically, because of this, there are letters to the editor on the topic. Today's gem was from some woman, somewhere, who opined that marriage is between a man and a woman ("mates"), for the purpose of mating. As in, producing children. And that this is the only reason for marriage.

I have heard this before - I have also heard this refuted many times. And it just makes me sad - and discouraged - that, in the eyes of these people, my marriage is seen as "less than" because it has not resulted in the production of the next generation.

I want to write back to her, and ask her whether infertile couples, or those for whom having children is an emotional or financial risk too big to take, or older couples long past the point of reproduction...whether they shouldn't be married either. Because, you know, the whole point is to create the next generation. To populate the earth. And without reproduction, my marriage is, according to this woman, a fraud.

Now, I'm sure she would not agree with all I have typed here. I'm sure she thinks that it's just fine that my husband and I are married but unable to have children. After all, I have two X chromosomes, and he has an X and a Y, so our marriage is just fine. But it's arguments like these that get my blood boiling on two points: 1) that two men or two women shouldn't be married (gah...) and 2) that reproduction is the ultimate point of two people getting married.

I'm being much less coherent than others have been on this same topic, but...it just makes me mad. We don't choose our paths in this life. I wouldn't have chosen to be infertile. People who happen to be gay don't choose that path, either. You take what you're given - you try to partner with the best match for you, whether that is someone of the same sex, or someone who is infertile - and then you live your life.

I won't be writing back to what'shername. She doesn't deserve another minute of my time. But I still need to deal with the feelings that her letter brought up in me...that feeling of being "less than" because my marriage isn't typical. Because my parts are apparently not in working order. Because I can't have the kid(s) that we so desperately want(ed).

Regularly scheduled programming

I won't talk about my skin today, promise. Except to say that I made an appointment with the dermatologist for next week. We'll see what they say (it's an academic medical center, so seeing multiple people...medical student, resident, attending...is pretty common). I'm actually a bit intrigued to see what they say - since I don't think my skin is typical acne-prone skin. Anyway...I'll leave that alone for a few days. :)

So, we have decided where I will start my career as a faculty member...and it will be right here, in Small University Town, where we are as happy as we have ever been. Whew. It was a long, strange trip to get to this point. Last year, I was even thinking of not looking at other schools, since I was so certain that I wanted to stay here. But the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that I owed it to myself - and to my husband - to look at all the options. So I did. Well, within reason - they were the options that I would even consider professionally, and that met our (long list of) criteria personally.

Funny, then, that after all the travel, the interviews, and the angst over making the decision - that we decide to stay put. That this place is *the* place for us, at this point in our lives. I'm so happy with this decision - so happy with our choice - and I can't wait to get started with the next phase in my professional career.

I hope the transition is smooth-ish, since I have already been here in multiple different roles over the years. I'm sure there will be some role confusion - I've been a student, now a post doc, and will be a faculty member. But I know that we can work through that, too. I just can't wait to get started!

One of the factors that did come into play was medical care. I have a chronic condition. I receive excellent care here. It's not overcrowded - yet - and we can see the care providers we prefer, usually without a really long wait. (See: obtained Derm appointment for 10 days from day of call to scheduling, above.) And, as two friends who know of our struggles with infertility pointed out, this is a) a good place to raise children, and b) the place where all of my records are, with providers I trust, if we decide to pursue IVF in the next few years. I am not saying we *will* - but it is nice to have the option if we so choose.

This workplace is also very family friendly - and it's not just family friendly to those with children, although most people do have kids. There is a recognition that everyone has a life outside of work. The building is quiet after 5 pm. There are few people there over the weekends. If you are working on a grant, then of course it's not unexpected that you will be there a few late nights, or a few extra days a week. But working from home is accepted. Taking time off is accepted. Even (gasp!) going on *vacation* is expected and accepted. It's a nurturing environment, and I need that at this point in my career.

More tomorrow on the questions about family and children that I encountered during the interview process...they opened up some old wounds, but I also surprised myself with how little I let them bother me, at least during the interview days themselves.

Monday, April 19, 2010

On a completely different topic

Oh, my goodness. Can we talk about my skin for a minute? I'm completely obsessing over it - without seeing any results, unfortunately - and it always helps to write things out here.

I think I actually mentioned it in a post on birth control options - but my skin looks worse than it ever has. I never had acne this bad as a teenager or young adult. Never. It has gotten progressively worse over the last year - despite trying prescription treatments, and coordinated OTC "treatment systems", and doing nothing. I'm at the end of my rope - it is not cool for someone in her mid 30s to have such horrible skin! And I don't even know what to do next. *sigh*

I wrote out everything I have tried over the past year this morning, and it's a little sobering. I've spent waaaay too much money trying to get it to clear up. I've tried heavy-duty treatments and I've tried just washing and moisturizing. I've tried different brands. I've tried different products for different skin types. I'm at the end of my rope here.

My husband suggested going back to the dermatologist...but since the stuff they prescribed last year a) stopped working after 4 months and then b) led to my facial skin literally peeling off, I'm not so keen on that suggestion.

I'm done whining - for now - but it is so depressing to look in the mirror every day and see...this. This horrible skin. These red and angry marks. This woman whose self-esteem is taking a huge blow every time she has to go out in public. Or see her husband. Or go to work. All of which I do on a regular basis. It seems so... trivial, in the grand scheme of things. Acne never killed anyone. My appearance is not me - I know what I am capable of. But it certainly can make life miserable, and it makes me feel horrible, and it never seems to get any better. *sigh*

I took pictures today with my Blackberry. I am currently in "do nothing" mode, figuring that everything I have tried has my skin up in arms and reacting horribly to any intervention. I hope to keep this up for at least another 2-3 weeks, just to see what happens. I'm going to make an appt with the dermatologist for May (I need a mole check, anyway) and if it's not better by then, well, we'll see what they say.