Monday, January 28, 2008

A Different Kind of 2WW

The Two Week Wait (2WW) for anyone who has never struggled with the am I am I not rollercoaster, refers to the seemingly innocuous time between ovulation and menstruation in every woman's cycle. When pregnancy is what you desperately want (or desperately fear), it can be excruciating. You may strive to put your mind elsewhere – and you should strive to put your mind elsewhere, or else find someone supportive to talk with, and then strive to put your mind elsewhere – but every twinge, every ache, every turn of the stomach will bring you right back to where you started: nervously wondering if your whole life is about to change.

The same is not true for graduate school applications - the headache I had last week, for instance, was not a clue one way or the other. In fact, it didn't bring my mind back to will I or won't I be accepted, not in the least. (It did, however, prompt me to drink more water. And eat less chocolate.)

I have to admit, my stomach flips every day when I approach the mailbox. Crisp white envelopes have never made me so nervous.

This morning I went on that One Special School's website, and discovered that I should hear from them, get this: within the next two weeks.

Oy Vey.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Red Flags

My friend who was in the hospital for two weeks, and in intensive care for several days, is headed home today. She is okay – for now. But end-of-life planning is in the works. She is not quite fifty years old. Too young.

Another young woman I know is raising one child rather than the five she always dreamed of. She had her tubes tied because her much-older husband wants no more children, and she believes, religiously, that he - as the man, the head of the household - knows best. When I met her she was clearly depressed, but trying to convince herself otherwise. Because of recent health issues, she has had a hysterectomy. She is twenty-seven.

"But what if something happens to him and she remarries?" J~ wondered, when I told him this story. "Why couldn't he have had a vasectomy?"

What does it say about me that I didn't think of that, such a basic and better alternative?

Which reminds me, conversely, of the abortion client I had who was surprised to learn that she didn't need her husband's permission to get her tubes tied.

It is interesting to realize that reproductive choice, as a feminist issue, isn't just about choosing NOT to have kids.

Today on NPR, thanks to the break-out success of the movie Juno, Talk of the Nation is doing a show (right now, as I write this post) on abortion. An old woman is speaking about her abortions and subsequent miscarriages. I am glad to hear her. "There is no public grief..." she says, "and I think that's where the problem is." Another speaker talked about how striking it was that people in her life had very strong opinions on her very personal choice...

Speaking of strong opinions: since I am waiting on the verdict about whether or not I will be accepted to graduate school, I've been censoring myself on this blog - temporarily - for fear that any one's strong opinions about my present-day very personal choices might color an admissions decision. It's not that I have anything to hide. There is nothing to suggest I wouldn't make an excellent and committed student. But I wouldn't want to raise any red flags.

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a culture, in a world, that honored women for grappling with reproductive choice and challenge, without ever supposing to know what's best for anyone other than oneself?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Grief and Loss, in General

I wrote a post yesterday which seems to have gotten lost into that infamous computer-freeze abyss. In it, I opened with a quote I heard in an interview with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, from her book, Kitchen Table Wisdom:

"The way we deal with loss shapes our capacity to be present to life more than anything else. The way we protect ourselves from loss may be the way in which we distance ourselves from life. We burn out, not because we don't care, but because we don't grieve. We burn out because we've allowed our hearts to become so filled with loss that we have no room left to care"

Remen specializes in teaching medical students and other doctors about the emotional and psychological aspect of their chosen profession, about the difference between curing an illness and healing a person. Her lessons, and her writings, don't just apply to doctors. They apply to teachers and counselors and others in helping professions, to parents, to chronic miscarriers and infertiles and anyone who ever lost a loved one. Everyone, in fact, who has ever experienced a loss. And who hasn't?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Promises, Promises

I promised I'd do this, and I keep my promises. So here goes:

I am officially opening the doors to my brand new blog, right here and now, today. Check it out: It's called LifeCraft. It's about "Living Art, Arting Life: Making the Most of the Mystery." (Whatever THAT means!)

No, really, it's just that I needed a space to prattle on about art and writing and design and creating a creative life, with or without babies. I wanted to make a big fat list of links to all the amazing creativity just teeming all over the web. And I wanted to share more of my art, and my works in progress, and my creative process. And think out loud about what inspires me and challenges me and just plain stops me in my tracks.

This is not to say I'm closing the doors on Babies or Not. Not by a long shot. In fact, I have a little something up my sleeve for this blog which I'll get into later — I promise.

And you know me. I keep my promises.