Monthly Archives: March 2010

Fear and Babycenter

One of the downsides I’ve found to parenting after IF is the nagging sense that something awful might happen.

Babycenter. Doesn’t. Help.

These are real emails that I have received from Babycenter in the last few months.

1. Dangerous Toys To Avoid

2. Surprising Holiday Hazards

3. Warning Signs of a Toddler’s Speech Delay

4. Three symptoms that Spell the Swine Flu

I’m waiting for:

5. Snakes Living in Your Walls Might Eat Your Toddlers

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Filed under Babycenter Blues, Infertility, Parenting After IF

The Dumbest Thing We Did During Our IF Journey

In the darkest center of our IF voyage, right after my first IVF attempt (which ended in a non-viable chemical pregnancy and led to our discovery that I had an unusual type of ovarian failure), my husband and I handled what I recognize now was serious grief by doing something very, very stupid.

We decided to move out of the suburbs and bought the least child-friendly condo you can imagine in the heart of a large city. In 2006. May 2006. Which was the absolute height of the market. As you know.

The condo is tiny, a third story walk-up, has no outside space and there’s no elevator. Worst of all, our laundry is in the garage, three stories down from our apartment (infant and toddler twins generate A LOT of laundry). Our condo has to be one of the least convenient places to live with infant and then toddler twins. I was by myself with them most of the time, and if I wanted to take them for a walk, I would have to carry one down the stairs, put them in the stroller in the lobby, RUN back up the stairs to get the other one, then carry them down the stairs as well. Completely nerve-wracking. After living there for two years, we cried uncle and decided to put up the place for sale.

I like to think that my husband and I are pretty intelligent, thoughtful people. We generally are very responsible adults, and tend to use very lengthy pro and con lists to make even the smallest decisions. So why did we make such a large error when it came to what is the biggest decision you can make?

All I can say is that seeing nothing but babies, strollers and school age children, which happened many times every day in the suburbs, was crushing my soul. I felt constantly humiliated, and seeing the million pregnant women around me all the time was particularly hurtful. I was unable to look to a brighter future, or even the future at all. I wanted to live somewhere where I could live in the present, and if it was an area with few to no children, so much the better.

Of course we should have rented. All I can say about that is that the places that we looked at to rent were as expensive as our mortgage and they were grimy depressing places where the landlord has painted over the windows and doors so many times that you can barely open them.

All this is a long-winded way to say that after 8 months, our condo is in escrow. And thus, I hope, will close a painful chapter in our lives.

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Filed under Infertility, Miscarriage

SAHM: The Quandary, The Reality, The Payoff?

There is a thought provoking post on Stirrup Queens about being a SAHM, with fascinating comments from readers about why they chose to be a SAHM (or why they didn’t). I am a SAHM, and recently have been asked by a number of friends – who are either expecting their first child or thinking about getting pregnant – what is it like? And do I enjoy it?

Being a SAHM of twins is a unique proposition, and I don’t know whether I would have opted to be a SAHM to one child. The necessities, the logistics and the expenses of childcare are unique (for example, a twins nanny or daycare for twins is a more expensive option than having two children of separate ages enrolled in such a program). It’s also hard to find childcare for twins…few want to do it. My husband, when the children were born, was working long hours while also getting a masters degree in his “spare time”. My career demands long hours too, investment banking hours without the investment banking dollars. Something had to give, the math didn’t add up for childcare, and since my career paid less than his, we opted to opt me out of the workforce.

All those practicalities aside, my feelings on the matter waver. My mother was a SAHM for me until I was 8, when she began working part-time. I did love our time together, and remember it fondly. Then she began working full-time, had my brother and put him in daycare. My brother resents the fact that he was in daycare. He often tells my mother that he wishes she had been a SAHM when he was a child. “You were always working,” he says. “I never saw you.” I should add that he is a very successful person now, so I don’t think he was permanently damaged by daycare, although that’s for him to say, not me.

Am I being a strong role model for my daughter and son? Honestly, I have no idea. My daughter is fascinated with being a doctor right now (granted, she’s two). Am I weakening my daughter’s dreams by not being in the workforce? My MIL thinks I am. She is constantly pointing out examples of twins moms she knows who are lawyers, doctors, or businesspeople, but almost without exception, they make much more money than I would on a full-time basis, so again, they can cover childcare expenses. So I’m in a bit of a quandary.

As for whether being a SAHM is fulfilling, everyone’s answer is going to be different. This is the hardest work I’ve ever done – it’s exhausting from a physical standpoint, and with two two year olds, it can be mentally tiring as well. I do get satisfaction out of knowing that my kids are getting quality care that I control, and that they are being raised exactly as I would want. Most of all, I love being with them most of the hours of the day. Hopefully, they get a lot out of the experience, but who knows? Maybe years from now, my daughter will be saying, “You were always home. I saw you too much!”

But: I would never judge someone for not making the choice I did. And how wonderful it is, of course, that we get a choice at all?

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Infertility and Body Image

I actually felt very confident in my body right after I had my twins, and pretty attractive. This made absolutely no sense, as I was empirically not attractive AT. ALL. My hair had major roots, I had 30 pounds on my old self (at least), and my body had changed in lots of ways, none of them lovely. I have continued to feel good about my appearance until the miscarriage. No longer, though. I hate my body right now. I hate my appearance.

I think now that there maybe was a strong biological urge to feel good about myself after I had children. Maybe I thought, hey, I’m fertile after all, and that made me attractive to men (my husband in particular, of course), because they know that I have borne children in the past, and I can do it again (even if that is a flawed argument for me, at best). How lame.

Now, though, my body is back to normal. Back to its crappy, infertile, baby-rejecting self. I have never felt less attractive in my life. And deep down it makes me think I’m less attractive to my husband. I wish I didn’t feel this way.

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Filed under Infertility, Miscarriage, Uncategorized

Why Didn’t I Deal with IF at the Time?

My miscarriage has brought back all the bad feelings I had when we were TTC and going through the IF treatments. I did my best to push down the difficult emotions I experienced during the process. Is ignoring the negative thoughts we have during IF even possible? It’s almost as if all of my memories of IF have been suppressed, like traumas people “forget” and don’t deal with (like Ruby, the reality star with the eponymous show on the Style network, who doesn’t remember any of her childhood and is fighting an obesity problem probably linked to her suppressed memories). If they did in fact remain safely submerged, the miscarriage has brought them back to the surface.

In 2006-2007, when I was in the thick of IF, I wasn’t tuned into awesome blogs like Stirrup Queens. I wasn’t tuned into anything except Web MD, and that website made me think that not only was I never going to have a baby, but also I might have cancer (my mom calls Web MD cancer.com, because every possible symptom you have equals cancer on there). This was stupid of me. No one I knew at that time had any trouble getting pregnant at all, and of course there were never more baby showers that I had to attend than during 2006-2007. I just crawled into a shell, talking to no one but my parents, husband, and in-laws, until finally I shared the news with friends that I was 12 weeks pregnant with the kids. I think people thought I was living in a cave until then.

Now I feel all of those unpleasant sensations of hating my body, being betrayed by my body and I don’t feel like doing anything social again. The day I began to miscarry was the day I hosted a baby shower for my friend, of course.

I guess I could see a therapist, but that’s not covered by our insurance and we can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket. So, I think I will turn to reading the great blogs on IF that I can really relate to. I’m so glad they exist!

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