Friday, November 30, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Since I began this blog two years ago, I think this is the longest I've gone without posting.

Why is that, I wonder? The answer is multifaceted.

1. To be or not to be pregnant (and to stay or not to stay pregnant) are no longer the questions taking center stage in my life. (These days, it's more like: to go or not to go to graduate school). This is not to suggest that these questions have left the stage entirely. Don't get me wrong. As much as I wish it were otherwise, I don't think I'll ever be entirely free of them. They have become a part of me. And so has this blog.

2. Speaking of graduate school, my first big application deadline is looming, just two weeks away. And there is So Much To Do. Hence, Reason Number Two: frantic, out of control distraction.

3. Plus, clients are coming out of the woodwork, suddenly wanting to Christmas-up their websites. In other words, Reason Number Two all over again.

4. I don't keep this blog the deep dark secret that it should be. My family knows about it. My friends know about it. Hell, even my ex-husband knows about it! (Not that I've heard a peep from him since the divorce, but I'll save that rant for another post.) Probably the grad schools I apply to will come across it, and how seriously will they take me if they read that I'm disappointed to be getting my period today?

My life has always been an open book. I can't keep a secret (about myself, that is) and wouldn't want to begin. But sometimes I think I should. And occasionally, that thought does slow me down a bit.

5. Speaking of can't keep a secret, I wasn't going to tell you yet, dear readers, because it's really not ready, but I've been two-timing you. I've started another blog. Just barely! I'd invite you in but the furniture is still in boxes all over the floor, and I haven't even unfurled the wallpaper.

Never fear: I won't stop writing here. The Babies or Not story is not over yet. But there are other aspects to who I am besides infertile, other things I think about besides babies and reproductive decision-making---like art, writing, and living a creative life---and I want to give myself some space to explore those too.

I'll post the link, I promise, I promise. Very soon. Just let me unpack a little first, tack up a few links. Some of you Blogger-savvy types have probably found it already. Some of you might sneak over there on your own. If you have, or if you do now, excuse the mess. And tune in here to be invited to the grand opening, coming soon(ish).

Thursday, November 15, 2007


To those of you who comment on this blog, I wanted to put in yet another note of thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement. It is great to hear from you all.

Someone asked what I meant by "Guess what time it is" in the previous post, assuming I was talking about time of the month. I meant time of day. It was midafternoon when I last wrote, and the afternoon blues were upon me as I complained that the prospect of work and school left me flat.

I am grateful to report that this is shifting: Lately, I am happily, albeit frantically, engaged in my work, my writing, my art-making, and in applying to graduate school. Morning, evening, and (knock wood) in the afternoon. All day long, actually. I forgot to eat lunch yesterday, in fact, I was so engrossed.

Speaking of time of the month, however, yesterday, I hit what, for me these days is the most poignant and fleeting time of the month. I'm talking EWCM here, people. For those of you not versed and deeply immersed in the TTC (trying to conceive) lexicon, I mean egg white cervical mucus, that clear, gooey stuff that lubes the passage of sperm through the mighty maw of the cervix just in time for conception. It's the telltale clue, the biological egg-timer, as it were, dinging up another ripe egg.

When I was a teenager, I had copious amounts of the stuff for a day or two every month. (No wonder, I read recently that we're most fertile between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four.) Nowadays, I'm lucky to see any at all. In fact, last time I noticed EWCM, J~ took the morning off and we conceived my latest ill-fated pregnancy.

But yesterday, mid-morning, I discovered my body had produced a great gob of the stuff. I checked my chart: it was the eleventh day of my cycle. Right on target. But J~ was already long gone and I was so deep into my work I didn't think about it long. By the time he came home and I had torn myself from the computer screen, the day was over. I was starving and stiff and in dire need of a workout. (Didn't I mention I forgot to eat lunch? I forgot to take any breaks at all yesterday.)

We talked about it. We noted the passing moment, the shift in my focus away from parenthood and toward a broader definition of my life's work and purpose. I asked him if he felt sad. He admitted that he did, but just a little. "Not a deep pit-of-the-stomach sadness," he said.

I nodded, agreeing, understanding. It is sad to think I may never be a mother. But also, when I can embrace it (usually after my requisite afternoon grieving period, which can be very intense) the thought is also tremendously freeing: I may never be a mother.

My fantasy these days is that I'll get pregnant by some miracle of health and timing. It'll happen at just the right moment, if there ever is such a thing, when J~ is more available to help, when I am more established and satisfied in my work. Perhaps that moment is a month away. Perhaps it doesn't exist. But in the meantime, life goes on.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Afternoon Blues

I've been feeling sad lately. I haven't wanted to say anything about it. I thought it would pass. Maybe it will pass.

For a month or so now, I've been overtaken most days, mid afternoon, by a sinking, swamping sadness. My heart literally aches. I feel pressure behind my eyes, a rising tide of tears without an obvious source. When this becomes unbearable, I slip my sneakers on, take myself out for a walk, a run.

It works, this infusion of oxygen to my blood. The tide recedes.

But come the next afternoon, I'm back where I started.

Sometimes, it isn't sadness, but panic that hits me. I feel as if I've been riding a lawnmower all day, drinking coffee by the gallon. Even my skin seems to be vibrating. I've had headaches most nights this week. I never have headaches! And for the record, I haven't mowed the lawn in six weeks and I don't drink coffee at all.

I toured the MFA program at the local college the other day, walked away (in the pouring rain) feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Academia, I am reminding, is not to be entered into lightly. "I'm not sure it's the answer," I told my new, and very wise friend, C~.

"What's the question?" she replied.

I told you she was wise.

It took me two days to realize, the question is this: If not motherhood, then what?

There are a million perfectly good answers, some of which excite me, at the right time of day. But at this moment, they all sound like "get a job" or "go to school." And frankly (can you guess what time it is?) my heart isn't in it.