Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dangerous Places (I Can't Avoid)

1. Family (Birthday) Parties
Saturday, the whole family, except one brother and fiance, went over to Cousine Italiano's home for the first birthday of her daughter. I wondered how I would feel at the party after our recent non-success at getting knocked up. It was, in fact, just fine. Just grand. The baby is darling and clearly doted on. Cousine Italiano, however, is now living with her in-laws and confided to me that she can't wait to get out. She says that the baby never cries. She's not sure this is so healthy since the baby is clearly figuring out how to manipulate those around her. They are moving out in four weeks. (I might have actually heard the hours involved here too.) But seeing the baby was not the hard part, it was hearing Cousine Italiano, who had no idea of what we're trying to do, complain to a roomful of people about child-rearing.

"If anyone wants a baby, they should come and talk to me first! I'll tell them how it really is!! They should know how you never sleep and don't get to go out at all and how you're tethered to the house and tired and crabby!!! Seriously, just come talk to me first!!!!" Loud. She was really loud. I felt her voice jabbing into my heart, pushing me back into my chair. I can feel the same tears now I felt then pricking at my eyes. I wanted to cry out, "TETHER ME! I don't want to sleep! I'll take the crying! I'll never go out again, but for the love of GOD, give me a fucking BABY!" I also thought, "Ungrateful bitch. She doesn't even know how easy she's got it." But of course she doesn't because every person's experience is just what it is. Her experience is not one of having trouble conceiving or carrying a child. She doesn't mean to be callous, but at the same time, I sat in a hot over-crowded room and listened to her crow about how awful it was to be mother, knowing full well she was talking about how wonderful it was to be a mother, and I just wanted to scream. How many of us have been in this position? Later, I confided to her what had recently happened to us, and she was very nice and sympathetic and didn't say one thing stupid like, "Well, you can have mine anytime you want."

2. The YMCA
Partner and I recently joined the YMCA in an attempt to be more healthy. We did this on the spur of the moment after my friend, M, regaled us at the church social hour with tales of how wonderful the new Y in town is. We went on a tour on our way home from church and joined on the spot, came back that same afternoon to work out, and now we have committed, uncharacteristically, to working out at least three times a week. The new Y is gleaming and down to earth and all-in-all, we love it there.

But the YMCA is a family place. There are little peanuts all over that make my stomach leap around even more than my body. When we walk to the locker room, here come some peanuts down the hall, all bundled up in their warm clothes, or there's another in some ballet outfit, or here's one now all in white going to a martial arts class. Wet hair, dry hair. Crying. Laughing. I want them all. My routine at the Y goes something like this, workout really hard and then go stand at the glass wall overlooking the pool and look down at the swimming peanuts. Look at the mothers with visibly pregnant bellies. I love the swimming peanuts. On Saturday morning, Partner and I stood and watched swimming lessons for 20 minutes. We didn't talk, but we held hands. I wasn't sure if I was the only really effected by this, or Partner was humoring me by watching the kids too until last night. As we were headed into the locker room, we saw the most adorable family coming out of the family locker room, kids in knit hats carrying their little swim bags, puffy in winter coats. Partner looked at me and said, "That's the thing about the Y...." Yes. That's the thing about the Y.

3. The mailbox
I am not having as many problems here as ma pauvre amie, Amy, and my mailbox is a walk in the park compared with her postbox lately, but the baby and maternity catalogues? Fuck them. I also am currently hating the Fit Pregnancy subscription that Partner's mother lovingly got for us. Such a wonderful gesture, truly, but even more this happened, I hated every one of the women in this magazine for looking so perky and adorable and still skinnier than I am now with their giant smooth pregnant bellies.

Other places loom on the horizon, but things that I thought would be hard, like seeing the bellies of my two pregnant friends, are not difficult for me at all. I am too excited for both of them. My friend Lynne has always wanted me to be present at the birth for her children. I missed the first two kids (who are the most incredibly beautiful children) and she so lovingly told me this time that if it felt hard for me, of course she wouldn't ask me again. I can't believe the empathy-- it's just so good to have at least one friend who seems to understand how hard this can be-- but I still want to be there. I can't imagine not being invited. Even if I can never get pregnant (and I don't believe that will happen), I would want be present for such a miracle in my friend's life.


Blogger Library Lady said...

3 1/2 years and 4 miscarriages - IUIs, pills, injections - you name it, we tried it. I can understand your pain and frustration. It's secondary infertility for me - I do have a beautiful daughter. Every second of every hour of every day I realize more and more what a wonderful miracle she is!

Hope your wishes and dreams come true.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Nico said...

I love your references to the peanuts at the Y. It fills me with warm fuzzys.

9:48 PM  
Blogger ~cj~ said...

Last winter after I lost our pregnancy my sister in law had a baby. I wondered if it would be tough to be around him... it wasn't. We surprise ourselves with what we can withstand and shine through.

As for the mom you spent time with... maybe it was a bad day. I would bet if she was recorded and played back to her herself she'd be mortified. I may silently wonder to myself at 3 am.... what was I thinking? *lol* but then Gracie smiles and everything is better.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Sarah and BB said...

I can totally relate to the Birthday Party, only with my sister as the complainer, which hurts even more because she is my only sister and we are close. They all don't appreciate what they have been given, I know my sister would be mortified if I spoke to her about it. But I don't have the guts to say we have tried twice and failed twice. Good Luck, and don't give up!!:)

3:24 AM  
Anonymous MFA Mama said...

Oh, Katie. I'm sorry you and Partner are back to square one. Hang in there, and it'll all be worth it.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Firefly said...

Happy Birthday to Partner! (Mine is the 24th) In my family everyone gets to make wishes on anybody's birthday, you just have to make sure you pick a candle on the cake and concentrate. I have been stopped mid-blow many times by someone yelling "Wait I haven't picked my candle yet!", so make sure to pick your candle before partner blows! I think you can never take a chance with wishes, I take any valid opprotunity presented (wishing wells, eyelashes, candles, etc.). I'll be drinking and thinking of you guys!

6:14 PM  
Blogger mermaidgrrrl said...

I am surrounded by women at work who do nothing but bitch and whinge about motherhood. It's like a game between them - who can come up with the worst example of how incredibly put-upon they are? It's a strange world out there with these Cousine's and workmates!

Have you tried tearing out the particularly disturbing pages of Fit Pregnancy and defacing them with DIY stretch marks to make yourself feel better? I've got a purple texta you can borrow.

ps: I saw your comment on another site. I'm a sea sponge girl myself!

1:47 AM  
Blogger chris said...

I know, I know. It sucks. I feel for you both.

The Fit Pregnancy subscription from Partner's mom? What a nice lady. She'll make a nice grandmother to your kids someday.

Take care.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous pixi said...

Ah yes, and the danger factor only increases at this time of year, for sure. It is funny, how certain things that you would expect to be difficult aren't so much, but then other unexpected things take your breath away.

And "tether me?" I love that one. GD right, tether me!

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Lynnette said...

I know you posted this last week, but how appropriatly summed up for Thanksgiving. I can't wait to be tied down to the house with kids, either. I watched my cousin (our 1st GC) give birth to her son in July of 2004, and I did cry. But I think I probably would have cried even if I wasn't IF. It's really beautiful, and I'm so glad I got to experience that, at least vicariously. Happy Thanksgiving.

8:37 AM  

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