July 27, 2014
At some point, I will likely write a post on my BlogHer 2014 experience as a whole (probably on the other blog). But for now I’m writing about just a little slice of it.
As you might imagine, a conference for women will attract sponsors who often market to women. And if you’re a woman you are probably a mother. So walking around the Expo Hall and touring all the sponsors’ booths was a bit…I’m still struggling to find the right word. I’ll come back to this.
On the flip side, it was refreshing to see some sponsors that were not only NOT marketing to moms but also companies that don’t normally market to women specifically. So it wasn’t that I was truly bombarded or beat over the head with Mommy this and Mommy that. NOT AT ALL.
Yet…it was still there. Some were easy to ignore. One was a complete surprise that Mona & I stumbled upon in search of free booze – a baby product with an open bar. It was actually pretty awesome but totally unexpected. As was the girl working the booth who seemed genuinely curious about infertility blogging. She’d never heard of it. The whole experience reminded me of this.
Even though I didn’t feel bombarded by the presence of these sponsors I still felt it. And it takes energy to avoid the constant reminders that you are not a mother even though you’ve put your life (and your bank account) on the line to try to become one. And still failed.
I say this not for sympathy but just to describe (particularly for any new and/or fertile readers) what it’s like to walk around in a mommy-centric world after spending 4+ years and thousands of dollars, enduring 3 surgeries, being told you could bleed out and die at any moment only to keep living while your ectopic twins continue trying to kill you (for 5 months). Every single mom ad or kid toy is a reminder that you are not yet what you aspire to be despite all the time and effort you’ve put in to it. And sometimes it’s also a trigger.
So I was avoiding those booths. As were my other infertile friends.
Until it occurred to me that I’m hoping to have a child in my house within the next year and if we decide not to foster-adopt I need to save every penny I can (adoption costs more than IVF in case you’re not aware) and wouldn’t those free samples come in handy? My friend Jamie had the same thought.
And so I made the rounds for infant fever reducer and the car seat giveaway (I did not win) and all manner of other products for moms and kids. And somehow I ended up with nursing pads. Sigh.
But there was one booth I kept avoiding. I simply could not bring myself to visit it. Partly because it had no free schwag. But mostly because of its name: Merck For Mothers.
The name itself made me feel excluded. I am not a mother therefore this booth has nothing to offer me. I swear my skin crawled every time I walked past it. I just assumed they were all about something I could not and would never be a part of. You see, in addition to the name containing “For Mothers” their logo is a pregnant belly. Pregnant bellies are pretty much the absolute worst trigger for anyone who has lost a baby (and/or uterus).
But on Day 2 I ended up at a lunch table with two of the women who were working that booth and I listened as they described what they were all about. And I resolved to stop by. They still didn’t have anything to offer me. But their message is one I can get on board with. Their message is something I’ve written about before.
Their goal is to educate people on the dangers of pregnancy and encourage women to talk to their doctors. They are focusing on three specific pregnancy issues: Preeclampsia, Embolism (pulmonary) and Post-partum hemorrhage but their mission is to educate. I can’t (and won’t) write about or endorse Merck as a company because I have limited knowledge of the details of this campaign and know almost nothing about the company. But the message. The message is something I can get behind.
They asked me to commit to giving a friend a “PEP talk” but I refused because 1. I already talk about this enough and 2. I scare people when I do. But YOU can. You can help me spread the word. Perhaps if more people knew these dangers they wouldn’t restrict access to abortion and birth control. (yeah, yeah, I’m probably wrong about that but a girl can dream, right?)
< / public service announcement >
Back to me and my infertile experience. I’ve only just gotten home from BlogHer so I’m still processing and loving on kittehs. But in the back of my mind I’m trying to figure out why this struck me this weekend. I mean, every day I’m confronted with ads targeted to Moms, pregnant bellies, cute little kids I want steal away (but never would). What made it that different to see it at BlogHer?
I suppose the answer is that it wasn’t any different. I’ve just realized, perhaps for the first time, how incredibly EXHAUSTING it is to move through life actively attempting to avoid something you see around you every day. It’s not like an ex-boyfriend who you can avoid by not going to places you know he frequents. (OK it sort of is, you can avoid parks and Toys R Us prettily easily) It’s there. Every day. It’s the pictures on your co-workers’ desks. It’s the lady washing her breast pump in the communal kitchen at work. It’s the pregnant belly you see while walking to lunch. It’s almost every ad you see on TV. It is EVERYWHERE. And it is… exhausting.
That’s the word I was looking for.
One thing I forgot to mention is that I absolutely would recommend – even encourage – BlogHer for infertility bloggers. There weren’t many there. We need to represent. But I’ll address this more in another post (I’ll link here when it’s up). Don’t be scared of BlogHer.
July 22, 2014
In case you missed it I’m going to the BlogHer conference this week.
It seemed like a good idea at the time?
You only regret the things you DIDN’T do?
Anyhow, me and this dinky little blog will be there. Along with my even dinkier blog that no one knows about.
Yes, I have another blog. It has about 5 posts on it. Unlike this one, it has its own url.It may or may not one day go places. If I had to guess I’d say it will go about as far as the nearest Starbucks. But this blog will not be going away (I don’t think) but I’ve decided I want to write about things other than infertility. This is my whiny infertile space. And, for now, I intend to keep it. But I never intended to transition it to a Mommy Blog. Or even an adoption blog. Once it becomes more about another human than me I get…queasy. It’s not my place to (over-)share other people’s info. I’ve tried to keep details about Right Guy to a minimum. I absolutely over-shared about Wrong Guy but that was all part of me processing my divorce and he’s not in my life anymore. Although those posts are still my most popular.
The point is, if you’re cool with it that’s great. But the Mommy Blog is not for me. And I’m not sure how this adoption will play out but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to share a lot of details. So I will be gradually transitioning over to the new blog for all things not related to my lack of a uterus.
Never fear foxophiles, the new blog is also fox themed. But since I like to overly compartmentalize my life I wanted a new space: X Marx the FoX
July 9, 2014
Have you heard? Lately there’s been a rash of rainbow unicorn glitter induced “miracle” pregnancies amongst the infertile of the Twitterverse.
If you are one of those people, please know that I am sincerely happy for you. This post is not about you personally. It’s just my reaction to this collective occurrence. Because it seems to be on a roll as more and more of you achieve this magical state of beglittered unicorn.
Intellectually, medically, statistically… I know these pregnancies are somewhat inevitable. So few people are truly and completely INfertile – as in not capable AT ALL of EVER reproducing.
If you have a 1% chance then…odds are some of you are going to get pregnant the old fashioned way. I mean, that’s what my RE originally advised us to do because 1% is not 0%.
So I get it. I know. In my brain. But my heart doesn’t always listen to my brain. I also know you feel guilty. And I’m sorry if this post makes you feel more guilty. But it’s not about you.
This is about me. [Duh. My blog and all.]
I had a hysterectomy. This magical state is now completely IMPOSSIBLE for me to achieve. 0% chance. When I made my decision to evict Medusa I did it with full knowledge that there would no longer be even a glimmer of hope of achieving that magic. But at the time I wasn’t witnessing tweep after tweep succumbing to the unicorn. And now I am.
Fresh on the heels of a failed surrogacy. The surrogacy which basically allowed me to not fully process my hysterectomy because there was still a chance of a bio baby. I mourned the loss of being pregnant but I didn’t mourn the loss of biological children.
And now I’m supposed to be doing that mourning that I didn’t do before. But now I’m doing it in the midst of beglittered unicorns.
Well…not truly. I’m not regretting it. Not exactly. I’ve just got a really really bad case of the What Ifs. What if I had waited a bit longer? Would I now count myself amongst the unicorns?
It’s kind of impossible not to ask that question right now. Once the glitter is in your house it’s impossible to get rid of it. And it has taken hold (hostage?) of my brain at the moment. All these unicorns are getting it everywhere.
Yeah, I know, my uterus was fucked. So how could I even think this? I can think it because OldRE thought it might still be possible. My uterus was not necessarily incapable of carrying to term – the odds were just not in favor of that outcome. Just like all these couples (mostly the lady halves) I see on Twitter. The odds were against it. But it happened anyway. Could it have happened for me too? Highly unlikely. BUT WHAT IF?
If you’ve got a cure for the What Ifs I’d love to hear it. I fear it’s basically the same thing as glitter, though: once it’s in your house there’s NO GETTING RID OF IT.
[Seriously, this is not even metaphor. Have you ever done an art project with glitter?]
The next time glitter deigns to enter my house it had better come with a kid attached.
July 7, 2014
With BlogHer fast approaching and me not recently…you know…BLOGGING…I’m feeling very much like not a real boy. I mean blogger.
Let’s face it. I’ve never felt like a real blogger. So why am I going to a blogging conference? Maybe I’ll meet the blogging version of my Geppetto and turn into a real blogger while I’m there?
Wait. I think that requires a descent into Hell first.
That might be unpleasant.
Hm. I seem to be sitting in a handbasket.
Perhaps I’ve already descended into Hell???
OK, so I had a bad day. I won’t go into details. It’s all fairly mundane. It just happened to all come at me in the span of 3 hours. That’s no excuse for mixing my metaphors. Or is it?
By the way, what the fuck is handbasket anyway?
Oh. It’s just a basket. How LAME.
Just like this post.
Why am I going to BlogHer again?
I blame Mona.
But back to the original question.
Pinocchio kind of always freaked me out as a boy. I can’t decide if this is better or worse.
June 12, 2014
I’m not dead.
Just thought I should let people know that.
I’m busy at work and busy at home. I’m moving soon. So updates will be spotty because
- A. I’m busy
- and 2. Nobody wants to hear the boring details about what I have or haven’t packed up in boxes. Unless it’s cats.
That said, this is a rough week for me every year as three difficult dates fall within ~10 days of one another. I could have a 2 year old kid this week. But I don’t. I also don’t have a father anymore to celebrate Father’s Day with because he died the day before Father’s Day 3 years ago. This year the exact date falls a few days after Father’s Day. But his death is forever anchored in my brain to Father’s Day. Just like the due date for my Zombaby twins is forever anchored to Mother’s Day.
So far it hasn’t been too horrible. The grief is lessened with time. And I never allowed myself to get attached to the pregnancy that would have been due this week two years ago. Father’s Day is a crap shoot though. Sometimes it’s better than I expect and other years it sneaks up behind me and stabs me in the back with sharp knife.
So… hooray for being busy?
May 25, 2014
No. It doesn’t.
I really detest when people say, “Everything happens for a reason.”
This is most likely going to be a mostly unpopular post but I know it will resonate with a few people.
There is no reason for random occurrences. Any meaning an event has is assigned by you. It has no inherent meaning. Meaning can only be given by a person. And each person can assign a different meaning to the same event. It is your interpretation that gives it meaning or purpose. But the event itself has NO INHERENT MEANING.
I believe there are infinite possibilities in life. So who is to say that my current life is any better/worse than the life I would have had if X [my divorce, my ectopic pregnancies] had never happened?
The shitty things that happen in life do not happen because X > Y or Future > Current. That’s a lie people tell themselves to make them feel better. Just like religion and “It’s God’s will.”
It did not happen for a reason. It just happened. There is no comparison to be made. Life would simply be DIFFERENT. X is not better than Y. X is not worse than Y. X ≠ Y.
Think of the butterfly effect. Think every SciFi time travel movie plot.
I will no doubt love my future adopted child so much that I will not be able to imagine my life without him/her. But that doesn’t mean that infertility gave me a gift. It doesn’t mean that I was destined for that one particular child. It simply means that my life is different because of it.
Different ≠ Good.
Different ≠ Bad.
Different = Different.
Suppose… I had those 3 year old twins right now…
Would I be happier?
Yes. In some ways. I’d have kids instead of not.
I would likely be…
-never have ME time
-in love with my kids regardless
I could even be…
-partnered with someone else
-in a job/relationship I hated
-living with Momz (yikes!)
Who knows what all would be different in my life if those twins had survived? When I think about it, I imagine my current life… but with toddlers. But the reality is that my entire life would likely be very different. Different house. Different job.
Given the infinite permutations your life can take based on both big and small decisions…how can you assign meaning to anything? That “meaning” is a moving target. If you turn left instead of right the meaning can change because the events that unfold afterwards will change.
It’s easy to say that because Wrong Guy left me…I met Right Guy. But what if there’s a RightER Guy out there that I didn’t meet? What if I hadn’t actually met Right Guy? Our first date was supposed to be my 2nd date with a guy I met on eHarmony. That guy had 2 kids…
But my life has been a series of detours on the path the motherhood. Sometimes those detours were clear decisions I made. And other times there was an obstacle that blocked the path I wanted to take. Either way, those detours changed the outcome.
My mind is always running…always calculating…and so, I know all too well that it could easily have taken a different turn. I don’t believe there’s only ONE person out there you can be happy with. Or that I am somehow destined to be a mother to a specific child.
Different ≠ Good.
Different ≠ Bad.
Different = Different.
And that has very little (or no) meaning.
It just is.
May 23, 2014
I will never carry a baby.
I will never feel a baby kick me from the inside.
Right Guy will never feel my belly move with his child.
[Food babies? Yes. Real babies? No.]
But I’ve already dealt with this, you say?
No. Not completely.
When I had the hysterectomy I knew what I was giving up. But I also had the promise and hope of surrogacy. So while I knew that I was giving up first hand experience… I was still hoping to have all those experiences second hand…through B.
All that is gone.
And I am left with grief.
Which was expected. My inability to deal with said grief was not expected, however.