Microblog Monday: Stress

August 15, 2016

Hello Old Friends. I’m back, if only briefly.

Apparently motherhood agrees with me. Or rather, unburdening stress agrees with me.

Recently I’ve been told I look younger(!), thinner (the scale disagrees but I’ll take it), and generally happier and calmer. All this despite a major move, Right Guy being out of work and our little family currently shacking up with MIL and BIL. There is so much uncertainty in our lives right now people are amazed at how well I *appear* to be handling it.

The surprise seems to come mostly from non-IF friends – even from those close to me who know the whole story. They know how much we’ve been through and how long we’ve been waiting for 2 to become 3. Yet somehow they still expected motherhood to turn me into a chronic complainer. Yes, there are trying moments. But the level of stress required to care for this tiny human is far, far less than the level of stress I was under for the SIX YEARS (and 3 surgeries) I spent trying to acquire said tiny human.

So…major move, unemployment with a new baby and living with in-laws is apparently NOTHING compared to the prolonged stress of infertility and the adoption process. This is not all that surprising to me. But how do we make others understand what infertility does to you?

On Becoming A Mother

May 22, 2016

First off, let me say that I love being a mother. I’m pretty in love with my kid. Finally. That took a bit longer than what I’ve heard others say. But then, A LOT of things have proven to be very different for me from what people say.

But before I get into that…I had planned on writing a post on Mother’s Day (not ON Mother’s Day but *about* Mother’s Day). I will try to sum that up here instead of making it a separate post because it ties into a central theme I want to address here.

So… [still with me?]…Mother’s Day. I started the day completely unable to enjoy it because I was worried about my daughter’s birthmother. I kept composing, and recomposing, an email to her to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. But then she beat me to it and wished me one first. From that point on I was able to enjoy the day. Until it came time to call Momz, that is. I may now be a mother but I also still have a mother I don’t get along with very well. But what surprised me most was the reactions of everyone around me. I got cards from people I don’t even know. [OK, just one person.] My Facebook page was awash in Happy Mother’s Day wishes. Not just my feed but my page (it’s not still a wall is it?). People wishing me personally a Happy Mother’s Day. My MIL sent me a check. Is that a thing? I’m always happy to receive $$$, especially when my paycheck has taken a huge hit from maternity leave, but it just seems a bit over the top.

While I’m grateful to now be a mom, it felt really really weird to have all these people making such a huge deal. In many cases, the very same people who used to privately wish me a happy day because they knew I was “a mother in my heart” or something similar were now publicly congratulating me on my first real Mother’s Day. Despite the fact that people say those well meaning things, their now public posts proved the reality: Mother’s Day is for women with living children only. And it’s become more like Christmas or a birthday. When did that happen? I mean, I knew it had grown but I guess I didn’t realize the sheer enormity of it. Sending extra ❤ love ❤ to all of you still in the trenches. It's even rougher than I realized out there.

But it didn't end with Mother's Day. I kind of feel like I'm being welcomed into a club I'm not sure I want to be a part of. Not because I don't want to be a mom but because I don't want to be the kind of parent that is the reason sites like STFU Parents and Sanctimommy exist. I perceive a certain level of…smugness in people’s comments on my posts now. I post that I’m sick and all I get is “Welcome to Parenthood! You’ll be sick for the next 5 years straight!” First off, I’m sick. My kid is 100% fine. I didn’t catch anything from her. It’s still a bit early in the game for all that. She doesn’t go out much and she’s not in day care yet. I can see how people might assume I caught it from her. Kid germs ARE the worst. But that brings me to my second point: I am absolutely aware that I will catch everything she gets – and probably have it worse. You – who I haven’t heard from in 5+ years – smugly pointing it out to me as if I didn’t know what I was getting myself into is not needed.

And that’s really why I’m here writing again. I don’t know whether it’s smug parents or something else. But I feel like I am now perceived as A MOM (or worse A NEW MOM) and no longer my individual self. I am now someone who will either instantly understand the trials and tribulations of parenthood or I’m a complete noob who must be smugly welcomed to the throng amongst whispers of, “She has no idea what’s coming.” How I can be perceived as both simultaneously is beyond me.

But I don’t feel like either. I’m just me. A person who has been around kids a fair amount before becoming a mom. A person who spent so long trying to become a mom that I’d have to be an idiot to have avoided knowing about all the downsides. And no, I haven’t turned my Facebook feed into an instant all baby/mom stuff all the time. People actually ask me to post MORE baby stuff. What can I say? The kid is CUTE with a capital C. Something for which I can take no credit. I’ve also been asked why I don’t complain more. More on that below.

I’m still me. I have all the same interests I had before. There’s just a tiny human in my house now (and a few more conversations about poop than there used to be). My reality has proven to be both as expected and surprisingly EASIER than what everyone told me. I’ve been graced with a chill baby, no colic, and because we adopted she is not attached to my boob so the parenting in this house is pretty much 50/50. Which means that no one in this house is exhausted. Do we sleep less than we used to? Yes. Did I accidentally give the cat baby formula? Yup. But we are not sleep deprived. [So that’s not why I’m sick either.] And, yes, I’m aware of how lucky we are in that regard. It also means the kid sleeps in the living room. Don’t judge. It works for us. For now.

In short, I feel like I’m adjusting fairly well to this motherhood gig. And having a relatively chill kid is definitely helping. [Especially since the rest of my life is starting to crumble down around me.] I’m just not sure I like how everyone else (OK not everyone) is reacting to it. They mean well, but…STFU Parents. I don’t smugly talk about how easy my kid is because I don’t want to get (rightly) punched in the face. [Nor do I want to jinx it.] Maybe others should just chill with the unsolicited comments. You do you and I’ll do me. Being a mom is now incorporated into who I am. But it doesn’t make me any less ME. I’m happy to talk all things parenting on posts about parenting. But I still like to talk about other stuff too.

Last Night

July 7, 2015

If you follow me on twitter then you know I’ve been tweeting about my bizarre dreams lately. Ordinarily I don’t remember my dreams. But I’ve been on an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety med for the past few months and those always make my dreams weird and memorable. Here are some tidbits from last night because it’s too much for 140 characters. There were multiple dreams so some of these are connected and some are not.

I somehow ended up on the telephone with a Hillary staffer after getting a 404 (page cannot be found) on her website while searching for the word “research.”

FIL, Momz and Tiger Woods all made an appearance.

FIL picked up a waitress in a restaurant and lectured me about being aloof and difficult to get to know.

Momz somehow had a topless photo of me and a friend on her phone. [Note: my mother barely knows how to use her cell phone]

Some random dude was hiding in the backseat of Momz’ car. I had to text a pic of him to the police. Which is how I found the above photo. Then I kept trying to get back to another photo I found that I wanted to send to my phone but I couldn’t find it.

I kept trying to escape Momz and FIL (they were not together) to get back to my friends. When I finally escaped to find my friends Tiger Woods appeared.

Has anyone found the theme yet? Perhaps it helps if you’ve been following along recently – or somehow living in my brain – but the theme is that I keep trying to get somewhere or accomplish something and I keep running into obstacles or getting stuck in a loop.

mcescher

Dream interpretation. Not so difficult.

Even with forward momentum on the adoption front I still feel like I’m going nowhere.

Coloring

May 28, 2015

Hello there bleeps and tweeps. I’m still here. I just don’t seem to have much to say recently.

What have I been up to, you ask? Not much. Slowly working on adoption paperwork. And coloring.

Yes, I said COLORING.

There’s been a recent move to get adults to color. For some it helps with depression and anxiety. I’m not sure how much it helps me but I enjoy doing it.

So this is what I’ve been up to.

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[Note: Designs not mine. I just colored.]

And here’s what’s next (please ignore the cat hair).
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(Never Say) Never Give Up

January 9, 2015

Never give up.

This is a phrase commonly used when a person is struggling in life or fighting an illness.

Once again, this is a post that came about because of a specific event but is actually a recurring theme in the infertility world. So while the specific event led to me actually writing this post, this post is not solely about that event or an attack on that person who most recently said that phrase. There’s been enough fighting on Twitter about this already I don’t care to encourage more of it. Which is why I thought perhaps more than 140 characters were warranted on the topic. Also, please note that this post has been sitting in drafts for MONTHS. I was only reminded that it was still sitting there because of a recent post on the very same topic.

Never give up.

If you have not attained your goals this phrase is perceived as a rallying cry to spur and cheer you on. It’s meant to help you get to where you want to be. Sometimes that’s a good thing. We all need our own personal cheerleaders sometimes to help us get through trying times.

However, if you have achieved those goals, you often become the one doing the rallying and cheering, “You can do it!”

I believe this all stems from our parents teaching us that anything is possible if you just try hard enough. That hard work is always rewarded. No pain, no gain. Insert more cliches.

But guess what? None of those things is true.

Maybe *you* never gave up and things worked out for you. That’s great. If never give up is your own personal mantra I’m good with that. Keep saying it to yourself as long as it helps you.

But all too often it is the rallying cry said to others. And it’s not fair to tell someone else that s/he should never give up. Because the moral of the story is that the ending is NOT always happy. And that’s OK. That’s life. That’s real.

It’s one thing to be at the finish line telling someone who is winded and whose legs ache to never give up, she can do it, just 100 more feet and she can stop running and finish the 5k. It’s quite another to say that to a person who is asthmatic with bleeding feet and an irregular heartbeat.

But the toll of infertility and specific diagnoses are not tattooed on people’s foreheads. The spread and extent of an individual’s cancer is not usually obvious from the outside. There are countless diseases and struggles in life that are not visible just by looking at a person. So you can’t know who needs to hear never give up and who needs to hear it’s OK to stop.

Just like there are countless cliches like if at first you don’t succeed, try try again there are also quite a few of the beating a dead horse variety.

Add to that the fact that you are sitting on the other side of the finish line – A PLACE OF PRIVILEGE – saying never give up. Even if you only intended that phrase to apply to your own struggle there’s an inherent implication that it applies to everyone with issues similar to yours. You only get to utter that phrase because it worked for you (privilege). It could just as easily have been you on the wrong side of that finish line.

To illustrate my point…if you had survived cancer, would you say never give up to a person who had decided to stop treatments for his cancer? Pops did far more chemo than he should have because of this mantra. He suffered more than he should have because stopping chemo was perceived as giving up and you’re not supposed to ever give up fighting cancer. Right?

Wrong. Each person gets to decide what is right for himself in any given situation. Preferably without all the bullshit cliches compelling him to choose one option over another.

But I digress. The point is this: the phrase never give up comes from a place of privilege. People who take issue with the phrase are just asking you to check your privilege. That’s all. Acknowledge it. Acknowledge that this mantra is not for everyone instead of perpetuating the myth that it’s never OK to stop.

I feel similarly about Hope as I’ve previously written.

November

November 30, 2014

Let’s see….my last post was titled October so I thought perhaps I should get at least ONE post in this month. Just under the wire, too.

Yes, I’m alive.

No, there’s nothing new to report on the adoption front.

Do I have writer’s block?  I’m not sure. I think it’s really just apathy.  I still have several half written posts with no real desire to finish them.

What have I been doing? Working. Reading. Cooking. Sitting on my ass binging on Netflix. And wondering whether the correct spelling is binging or bingeing. For the love of Kermit, someone, please set me straight on that one. I can’t watch Netflix again until I know the correct spelling.

So yeah, the mood here is… Go Apathy?

Where’d Who Go?

August 12, 2014

So I went to BlogHer and then I stopped blogging.

I’m just super super busy. I’ll be back. I promise. There’s like, 12 posts sitting in drafts that need editing.