Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I just read this post by Jennifer Lawler and, given this time of year, find it...well, salient. Compelling.

Depending on the event, I can often remember the date and the day it happened. We landed in this town on Tuesday, Aug 14, 2003. First coffee date with C was Monday, Dec 7. I also remember when I got braces, when I left for college. The date of my father-in-law's birthday.

My pregnancy was full of dates that were etched in my mind. Are etched? First hpt. Beta. Ultrasounds. Hospitalizations. Milestones. Three years out, of most dates I'm less sure. December sticks though.

I'm almost done with school for the semester. Just 19 papers to grade. Within the week I will be on vacation. My sister has suggested C and me taking one or two overnighters out of town. Maybe someplace that will take the dog. Or giving. My therapist suggested baking goodies for folks who do good. The volunteers at the animal shelter or vet. The admin and student workers who keep the department running. Our sweet neighbor with whom we chat while the dogs sniff or yap.

Virtually everyone I know will be out of town for a good chunk of the break. This is the first year that I have not had a particular distraction. The first anniversary. The second. The laparoscopy. C out of town for the holidays. Cycling. That project that took two months to get through.

This year, I was hoping to enjoy some quiet. Get the house cleaned up (oh, the laundry...) and have some fun or enjoyable outings. I'm feeling a bit haunted though.

My therapist keeps coming back to school -- seems to think I'm not really into getting the degree and it's affecting everything else. Could it possibly be another anniversary? Feeling my place in the world shifting as I seem to become the aunt (perhaps later the mother).

My brother* finally got a bunch of pictures of him and his wife and the baby up on one of those pic websites. I found it drawing me closer to him, to them. The love is building, which I knew it would. But somehow it hurts more. I am the aunt, kvelling. But I am always the bridesmaid, or so it seems. The more I talk about my wonderful family, the more I feel it.

Yesterday, I was chatting with a colleague, showed him a picture of my father with my sister's daughter, grinning from ear to ear. He is struggling with my brother, still. They are trying to figure out this next part of life. My sister told me that my father's girlfriend's grandchildren (you got that?) call him Grandpa.

And I think it's wonderful. He loves it. He loves all of them.

And he loves me. And C. And still aches for us. But I am not part of that.

And not part of the fertile world. I found out on FB that an old friend of my brother's is a new uncle. The birth? 8 and a half months after the wedding. I don't know how long they were trying. I don't know anything. And it's none of my business. It has nothing to do with me.

When I bring up being infertile, sometimes my therapist tries to remind me that I'm going to keep coming across this, that the world is fertile, and I've got to get used to the idea.

Usually I do. I mean, usually I'm okay. Just like it's a pain in the ass to find a left-handed desk or left-handed scissors, I've gotten used to the fact that I am not part of the privileged fertile population. Apparently, though, I don't have the right to lament it, either. I'm not saying that I sit around moaning. Just that, well, when I come across a reminder (especially from a stranger or distant acquaintance), there's an "oh, yeah. of course. of *course*. And that's it, mostly. But somehow, it seems, I'm supposed to be happy that I can be an aunt, a very important role.

It IS very important, but it is not the same.

I honestly wonder if I just have to figure out how to deal with all this on my own. Maybe I'm done with therapy for a little while. I don't know specifically what I need help with. Or maybe I need it more.

*My sister came across a posting (it popped up on her email provider) on one of those on-line question and answer sites. She is sure it was my brother asking how to deal with my SILs possible PPD and possessiveness over the baby (at 2.5 weeks old). How he felt so blessed to have this child, wanted to share her with family, but didn't know how to deal with SIL. If only he could have said something to us. "Just give us a little space. SIL is having trouble adjusting, both hormonally and emotionally." He doesn't know my sister saw this. I wonder how things might be different for all of us.


Ya Chun said...

I know you will always always miss out on being a mom, have a pang when a friend or relative brings home a new baby.

I have a coworker, about to retire, who i don't know well (we work opposite shifts, but talk at parties/phone) but I knew she didn't have kids. She talks about her nieces/nephews and is always up to holding Bea (and quite good at it too). At the holiday party, she told me she had two tubal pregnancies. I could see her trying to hold it together.

Being an aunt is definitely not the same, if you wanted more.

I tell you this, because I am wondering if you can find some older gals that never could have kids. I know you are in a town without family, and I really did miss having an older generation to talk to, gain perspective from. Until I got the job (I just left on Sat.) where there were lots of older volunteers.

Anyway, I had a point in there somewhere - I hope it came through :)

Have fun baking cookies

Sue said...

Thanks, Ya Chun. :-)

We are not totally done -- hope to try or to try to adopt once we are settled someplace new. What I dread is being that woman.

It was actually chatting with some older women/professors in my program that got me thinking about this kind of research.

I do hope to bake, though I'm going to have to get through this funk.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't you have the right to lament? I don't understand that. I get that you don't want sadness and bitterness to take over your life and be a constant theme. But what has happened to you and your DH is a tragedy that should never happen to anyone. I see that you can go on to find joy in other parts of life - but I don't see how the pangs of sorrow will just vanish.
I find Lori from The Road Less Travelled writes really well about this. From what I can tell she has a full life and finds hoy with her hubby - she is a blessing to her family and friends; she has a busy career, enjoys hobbies etc. But her stillborn daughter is always a part of her, and sorrow or wistfulness will come up.

I don't know, do you think it might be worthwhile talking to a different therapist ??

I'm thinking of you and following your story.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and offering encouragement.

Wow, so I read your backstory, and my heart just breaks for you. I am sorry for your losses. Having an RPL history myself, I know how devastating and vicious the cycle is after a loss. It took me years to acknowledge the anger and disappointment I was feeling, and even longer to get myself into a therapist to talk about it.

My therapist has encouraged me to feel the pain, because if I don't allow myself to wallow in bitterness (once in awhile), how could I experience the alternative?

It's such a complicated state, and so easy to just keep spinning on the hamster wheel (terrible analogy, I know yet it rings true for me anyway).

I bookmarked you in my reader. Looking forward to your posts.

erica said...

I want to say that being an aunt is not the same at all and that of course you have the right to lament, but what I really want is for your therapist and family to make it clear that they realize this, too.

I hope you get a few well-deserved treats/fun outings/times to relax over the break. And also that grading the papers goes fast.