Nowhere to Hide

26 Aug

I’ve been debating for a few weeks about whether this is a safe space. I guess I’m posting this to test the waters. Am I safe here?

The truth is I’m currently not safe anywhere.

I thought this time would be easier. It’s not. It’s harder.

I’m just going to come right out and say it.

I’m 9.5 weeks pregnant. For those of you not following along this would be pregnancy number 6. With 1 living child.

The HSG did it. Just like with the Bunny. I guess all I needed was to get my pipes (well – pipe, actually. Singular.) cleaned out.

We’ve seen a heartbeat. It’s all in the right place.

I’m a mess.

I swear I thought having gone through on successful pregnancy would make this easier.

It’s so much harder. Now I know. I really know what it looks like on the other side. How much I really have to lose.

Last time I didn’t have a child. I didn’t have a full-time job that required me to show up at an office every day. I didn’t need to actually function.

I locked myself up in a house for 6 months. I didn’t talk to anyone. I just sat. And sat.

I can’t hide away in life, so I figured I should see what happens when I stop hiding here.

I’m fucking terrified.

Do Not Pass Go

19 Jun

Dr Fertility: This is a little weird, but I’m on the fence between doing nothing and sending you directly to IVF.

Me: Why?

DF: Well, you’ve needed very minimal intervention in the past. How long have you been trying now?

Me: About 9 months at this point.

DF: So yes, I think you should go directly to IVF.

Me: Why not Clo.mid or IUI?

DF: Because the last thing you need is multiples with your history. At least with IVF we can control how many fertilized eggs try to implant.

Today I had a hysterography, all clear. In two weeks we come back to get the ball rolling. Unless by some random miracle I get knocked up naturally between now and September, I can add IVF to the list of shit I never wanted to do but I’m now forced to deal with.

Yay.

PS: No, I don’t plan on using this space as a medical diary chronicling the ins and outs of the quest to get an embryo into my ute. There are enough people doing that on the web, thankyouverymuch.

PPS: Fuck.

Am I Really Writing This?

19 Apr

NO I’M NOT PREGNANT

In the name of all that is holy pasta, I can’t believe I’m here right now.

Don’t know what to do except to come right out and say it.

NO I’M NOT PREGNANT CALM DOWN

This month officially marked 6 months since we started trying.

So off to the doctor I went.

And now I’m doing monitoring. As in dates with Ole’ Wandy and blood tests. Every day. Until a trigger shot.

And I’ve been miserable for weeks now because I saw it coming.

So yeah – that’s happening.

Damn it.

I’m starting to fully feel the effects of knowing too much. If this doesn’t happen, then the pharmaceuticals get pulled out. Then all of those stupid acronyms.

And if it works…

Well – then that just means a whole new round of torture and waiting.

Fuck.

So I’m not sure this means I’ll be blogging. I’m honestly not sure I want to blog through this. We’ll see.

Regardless: If I use a single acronym in any posts in the near future, may the flying spaghetti monster pelt me with week-old meatballs.

 

Alone with Him

21 Feb

Every year I come to this space on this day, trying to capture the moment of grief and memory and harness it into coherent words.

I think that as the years go by (4 now, if you can believe it), there’s one thing I haven’t managed to truly capture.

It’s lonely here.

A couple of months ago, a co-worker lost her baby girl at 20 weeks. She and I had had “the talk” about a year before – so she knew about Nadav.

I tentatively reached out and asked if I could call.

When we talked, this is what I told her:

This is a horrific loss, because it’s a loss that is abstract to everyone but you. You were the only one that felt her presence physically. To everyone else she was an abstract. At the end of the day, that is the hardest part.

*****

I’ve had more than one person “helpfully” tell me that I should be ok because we have Lili now.

How in the world can I explain to them that having Lili makes the loss all the more complex and hard?

She was born as a result of his absence. She is a miracle. She is a joy.

But she also represents what could have been. It’s hard to explain, but in the darkest moments, every smile of hers could have been his.

Even writing the above sentence leaves me riddled with guilt.

She is perfection, she is love embodied.

But she doesn’t fill the gap he left behind. That’s both impossible to do, and an unfair expectation of her.

She’s not here to fill a gap. She’s her own being – full of rolling laughter and song. But all her own. She doesn’t deserve the burden of making up for an absence. I do all that I can to shield her from that.

Which leaves me here. Another year passed and I feel more alone than ever. The wound in others seems to have healed fully.

But not mine.

He was not an abstract to me. He was real. And physically present.

******

A few days ago I came to this space and ended up reading posts from my pregnancy with Lili. Amidst all of the anxiety there was also a very clear description of her as a person. Even before she arrived, her presence was felt. Her personality shone through. At least to me.

I felt her. I knew her. I understood her before she was present to anyone but me.

How was he any different? I knew him. I understood him.

But he was present to me and me only. He was a picture and an abstract thought to everyone else.

To me, he was physically present.

******

As the last few days have gone by I see how everyone around me, though respectful of my grief, is removed from it. Some, it seems, have even forgotten it completely. Or maybe just forgot the date. Which is fine. It’s been 4 years. I’m  not even sure I’d want to talk about it if they called.

Even my husband, who felt the loss so immensely when it happened, just doesn’t feel it as strongly as I do anymore. He tries his best, but I know that for him, it’s just not as hard as it is for me.

A few nights ago I went on Facebook and looked for my co-worker – now my friend.

It was 4am and I was crying, and I knew she was the one who would understand. And sure enough, there she was, where nobody else was.

*******

I don’t think that anyone has abandoned me. I’m not upset with any of my friends or family.

Like them, my grief has also waned through these 4 years. But it hasn’t disappeared. It has steadied. It has become measured. Others’ grief has as well – but for them, that measure is just much smaller than mine.

They didn’t know him like I did.

So while they abide and support – they don’t truly understand.

Even though I am surrounded I am utterly alone.

******

My son Nadav was born and died on February 21st, 2012. He was here. He was loved.

HE WAS HERE.

Let It Be

18 Feb

There’s a little-known version of Let It Be  by the Beatles. The last verse has different lyrics.

And when the night is cloudy

There is still a light that shines on me

Shine until tomorrow

Let it be.

I wake up to the sound of music

Mother Mary comes to me

There will be no sorrow

Let it be.

When Lili was just a few months old I’d sing Beatles songs to her, and this one was always present. It was the one I used to calm her down.

I’d always sing that line – “There will be no sorrow”

I had googled the lyrics when she was a few weeks old and found this version. Something about it struck a chord. So this was what I sang.

There will be no sorrow.

By the time she was a year old, I’d phased out the song. No particular reason. Maybe the use of “Mother Mary” gave my atheist sensibilities a sense of unease. Maybe I just thought she didn’t like it anymore.

Lili is almost 2 and a half now. Over the last few weeks I’ve started singing it to her again. My voice always cracking at the end.

There will be no sorrow

Let it be

She’s been asking for it when I tuck her in. “Sing lettibe mommy”

So I do

Last night I sang it to her and she asked “what is it?”

“What’s what baby?”

“What lettibe?”

“It means to leave something as it is. To… To keep it the same.”

I struggled to find a definition because it’s not something that can easily be defined.

Maybe it means to leave something alone. A pushback against the conformity.

There will be no sorrow

Let it be

Let the sorrow live. Let the sorrow wash over me and stay a while.

I haven’t been able to stop crying today.

And it’s not even his birthday yet.

There will be no sorrow

Let it be.

The Weeping Mess, The Beautiful Doll

16 Jan

I’ve been coming back to this space quite a bit in the few weeks. Not to write, but to read.

A month ago, an old post popped up on my Timehop. OLD. 5 years old to be exact. From the first days that this  blog existed. Before I had thousands of readers.

Before I lost most of those thousands.

I read the post and was horrified. Horrified by my abysmal writing style. My inability to craft a clear narrative.

Even more horrified by the dramatic, whiny, insufferable version of myself that wrote that post.

When I talked about the post with my therapist I talked about “her”. About how “she” was a drama queen who didn’t know how good she had it. About how annoying and insipid “she” was.

My therapist called me on my bullshit. Yes, I need to be more compassionate toward myself. Toward my old self.

I hadn’t been here in quite a while when that post popped up and brought me back.

So I’ve been reading. Over and over. Re-processing events I described here in detail but that I don’t even remember happening. Grieving for my son again.

The most enlightening revelation has been how clearly and absolutely I understood my own neuroses at any given moment. I read these clear descriptions of them – my anxiety, my tendency to disconnect, my depression. I understand that those descriptions were written in a fog, but the clarity of them is not lost on me.

I was more aware of myself than I thought.

******

Yesterday, in a fit of boredom I took one of those personality tests. How strongly I agree or disagree with statements like “I like to be the center of attention.” and “I keep my living space tidy and organized.”

Several times over I selected an answer, then stopped myself and selected the complete opposite. What I was, and what I am.

******

I’ve been in a weight loss group for the last couple of months, in an effort to rehab some unhealthy habits. I usually show up wearing a tunic and leggings – my old “constant pregnancy” wardrobe. An outfit I throw on to be comfortable after work.

On Wednesday night I ran into the group wearing a dress and heels, full makeup, and a rushed demeanor. I’d come in to get weighed and leave. Client meetings back to back and a trip to the UK next week. I couldn’t stay. I’d shown up wearing my strong, put-together persona. Not the usual vulnerable mess that steps on the scale.

The next day the woman who heads up the group (who I love), called me. It was to catch up since I missed the group but I also knew she was curious. She didn’t recognize the frantic, put-together woman that she had seen the night before. She told me I looked “like a beautiful doll”.

She seemed surprised and amazed that the person who sometimes leaves her group a wet, sobbing mess was also a high-functioning professional.

She knew the messy part. The mother that openly wept the week before when she spoke about pleasing everyone but yourself.

The other part was foreign to her. Energetic, smiling. A”beautiful doll.”

 

This last week has been busy. My manager was in from New York and I was in meetings all day, every day. I ran home in the evening, all makeup and heels, to hug my daughter and put her to bed.

And every evening she looked at me and said that my dress was pretty. That she liked the flower pattern on my tights. She touched my made up eyes and asked “what is this?”

On Thursday night when I got home I hugged her tightly and told her I had missed her. When I looked her in the eyes she smiled and said “mommy!” in a way that I knew – I just knew she was seeing me. Truly SEEING me.

The energetic, smiling, “beautiful doll” was present and accounted for.

*****

I don’t know where this long, meandering post is going. Maybe it’s a tribute to that other long, meandering post that stirred up my ire a few weeks ago. That made me confront “her”.

Worlds collided this week. My daughter saw my heels and makeup. The weeping mess met the “business woman here on business“.

Perhaps this post is about melding the two. Re-embracing “her”. Accepting her for the train wreck that she was. That she is. That I am.

Because she’s still here. She IS the beautiful doll. She is the weeping mess.

It’s just that those two don’t seem to be on speaking terms very often.

I wonder if they’ll continue to be mutually exclusive.

Maybe worlds are coming together. Maybe not.

Maybe 5 years from now I’ll read this and barely recognize myself.

Probably.

Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

 

Forgive Me Flying Spaghetti Monster, For I Have Peed

29 Nov

In my defense, I’m 8 days late.

Look, just the thought of spelling out when my last period was, or breaking out the old acronyms (AF! PCOS! HPT! PUKE!) is making me a little queasy. Long story short:

My cycle gets out of whack when I am over a certain weight.

I started stress eating when we decided to stop preventing.

I am now over that certain weight.

Que the whomp-whomp sound effects.

So either I was subconsciously sabotaging myself, or…

Ok –  I was probably subconsciously sabotaging myself.

Regardless, the diet begins this week. Because 3 pee sticks and the scale have told me that apparently I have to make a conscious effort.

Yay.

(You may now commence the throwing of the stuff and things)

I Always Wanted 3 Kids

12 Nov

That’s what I told Shmerson tonight as we were wrapping up a meltdown by me which morphed into a semi-fight, which then morphed into a productive conversation.

We’ve made a lot of big decisions around here lately, but we’ve made them with little fanfare and even fewer “official declarations”.

I felt like we had to make it official.

Me: So do you think we’re ready for another kid?

Shmerson: Yes. I think we’re not ready now but we’ll be ready by the time we have the baby. That’s what happened with Lili.

Pause

Me: True. Who knows how long this will actually take, assuming it works.

Shmerson: But I don’t think I can do a third. 

Me: I didn’t think I could do a second up until a couple of months ago. 

Pause

Me: But I always wanted three. Having another one will make it three. 

Quiet.

He’s been visiting me a lot over the last few weeks. My baby boy. Maybe because I want to have a boy now.

Maybe because there’s a small part of me that’s terrified.

What if something goes wrong again? Am I really equipped to handle this?

Me: We need to find another name for a girl. We have a name for a boy ready but not another for a girl. 

Shmerson: You’re not even pregnant yet. 

Me: When I got pregnant with him, I wanted a girl. That’s been eating at me ever since. Lili had her name before he had his. He only got his name when we found out he was a boy. 

That can’t happen. If I get pregnant with a girl, she has to have a name in advance. She has to know that she is wanted. Even if I do want to give Lili a little brother. A little sister would be just as welcome, just as loved. We have to have a name. 

Shmerson: Ok, we’ll have a name. We’ll come up with a name.

Fuck. I guess we’re in this.

Fuck.

PS: Still not peeing on sticks or monitoring, so no need to throw stuff.

Howdy, Stranger!

3 Nov

When I typed my blog’s URL in my browser, it wasn’t the first link to auto-complete. That’s how long it’s been.

And I’m ok with that. These last few months have been pretty exhausting, and pretty awesome too. Bunny’s growing. Work is great. Shmerson and I are great.

And now I’m here.

I was going to end the post with “Anyone wanna guess why?”

But that was for the one hot minute that I forgot who my audience is.

No, I’m not pregnant.

But as of a couple of weeks ago – we’ve officially stopped preventing. I’m not saying we’re trying. I’m not going down that rabbit hole. We’re not trying.

We’re just not preventing.

I’ve somehow gained 5 pounds in the last two weeks. I haven’t gained an ounce in over a year.

So… Yeah.

Now everyone is updated. Which gives me the permission to come back here and spill my guts as-needed. If needed. Who knows.

But in the name of all that is holy/spaghetti-related, if I start peeing on sticks I officially give you all permission to troll me, or even better – fly over to Tel Aviv and throw stuff at me.

Because I refuse to do that to myself, my marriage, or my daughter. We are going to do this like any normal stupidly lucky super-fertile couple would do it. Which is irresponsibly and ignorantly. Otherwise I will most likely lose my shit. And I’ve got too much stuff to get done to lose my shit. So I refuse to lose my shit.

I hereby solemnly swear that there will be no temping. No ovulation sticks. No cycle day counting. NONE! NONE I TELL YOU!

(Now all I have to do is stick to that. Wish me luck. Here goes nothing.)

Owning It

26 Jun

Never for a moment did I think 4 months would pass in silence here.

Or maybe I did.

This space lies dormant as my life is a wonderful whirlwind of challenges, triumphs, travel, and motherhood.

Are things perfect? Not even close. I struggle daily as my career has gone from zero to sixty, and I find myself leaving Bunny far more often than I ever thought I would.

I struggle to understand my role as a mother, both amidst my ambitious, careerist nature, and the legacy of loss that has brought me to my wonderful little girl. I originally wrote “baby girl” but she’s not really a baby anymore.

I would post 100 pictures of her here. But she’s too big now. It no longer feels right. She has found her own identity.

As have I.

I have re-embraced my drive and ambition and “leaned in” with all of my might. At the same time, trying to push away the demon that is my ingrained image of what a mother is supposed to be. One who only has her children, and nothing else. That is what I grew up with and I am working like hell to break loose of it.

I am carving out a path that is far different than the one my mother demonstrated. That of an equal partnership, equal parenting, and being a strong, ambitious mother who is building a career.

I can only hope that what I’m modeling for my daughter will be an inspiration and not a hindrance. I assume, like all parents, I’ll most likely be responsible for hours of therapy sessions and countless issues.  I have to be ok with that. Because every parent messes up their kid. They just do it differently than their parents before them.

I’m muddling through it, working on embracing motherhood. Working through the anxiety of being different and trying to balance it all. Working through what it means to raise my daughter, while being who I am naturally, but also recognizing the fight and legacy of loss that brought her into my life.

And coming into my own.

For the first time – most likely ever – I feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel absolutely grateful for what I have, and I’m trying to embrace this contentment.

My mother-in-law commented today that I keep on losing weight.

I told her I actually haven’t lost a gram.

Maybe it just re-distributed?

Nope. I’m the same size. Everything fits the same.

So what’s changed?

I hold myself up – just a little higher.

And everything I have at this exact moment? It would not have happened without everything that had come before it – for better, for worse.

Will I return here more often? If I were a betting woman, I’d say yes. But not yet. Not quite.

There will be a moment, sometime in the future, when we will decide it’s time to try to make us a family of four.

And when we decide to jump back into that freezing ocean, I hope this place will continue to be a warm retreat.

And I hope some of you will still be around.

In the meantime, we are basking in the sun, and embracing chaos, routine, and contentment.

I wish all of you the same. I’ll see you again soon.

 

Birthday Boy

21 Feb

This week I’ve been teetering between being on the verge of tears and working so much I don’t have to think or feel.

Yesterday at the office, work was no longer enough. I locked myself in a room and cried until I couldn’t any more.

Lucky my little corner of the open space hides my face.

He’s been moody. Blaming work stress, but we both know that’s an excuse.

She’s been clingy. Maybe she’s taking her cues off of me and him. Maybe it’s because I went away for five days and she’s still recovering from that. Maybe it’s because she’s cutting another tooth.

Last night she woke up crying and I went in to comfort her. I started singing, but my voice broke. I cried and cried until he heard me and came in to take her.

This afternoon as he slept, we played. Puzzles. Play dough. Dr. Seuss. Looking at her through a fog. Smiling, but not present.

It was my turn to read her stories and put her to bed. But he did it. I didn’t think I could manage it.

She wakes up crying. Once. Twice. Three times. When he goes in, she yells “momma”. When I go in she yells “aba”. Always both of us. One is not enough tonight.

The fourth time she’s burning up. He asks her if her mouth hurts. She points at it and says “mouth”. We give her something to break the fever. Put her back down in her bed.

Up she goes again. Five times. Six times. She’s feeling better now. But is too wide awake.

The seventh time comes and she’s screaming.

“Maybe I should just take her to our bed and let her fall asleep on me?”

“That hardly works any more.”

I insist.

“Well, nothing else is working.”

“Will you be ok?”

“I think so.”

I go in and pick up my baby girl. She’s red and raw with tears. I take her to our room. She calms.

I hold her on me. She rolls next to me. I put my arms around her and start to rock gently.

“Shhhhhh”

She gently starts whispering a song to herself about the rain. She claps her hands quietly. She strokes my face.

“Shhhhh”

Her breathing slows.

As February 20th ends and the 21st begins, she grabs my finger with her tiny hand and whispers “momma” as she finally drifts off to sleep.

I whisper back.

“Lili.”

I put her back in her bed. Deep in slumber. Quiet.

1am on February 21st and the tears come back again.

Not sure if they’re happy or sad. Not sure if they’re for her, for me, for her father.

But I am sure of one thing.

They are always for him.

Happy third birthday, precious boy.

These tears I’ve cried
I’ve cried 1000 oceans
And if it seems
I’m floating in the darkness
Well, I can’t believe that I would keep
Keep you from flying
And I would cry 1000 more
If that’s what it takes
To sail you home
Sail you home
Sail you home

I’m aware what the rules are
But you know that I will run
You know that I will follow you
Over silbury hill
Through the solar field
You know that I will follow you

And if I find you
Will you still remeber
Playing at trains
Or does this litte blue ball
Just fade away
Over silbury hill
Through the solar field
You know that I will follow you
I’m aware what the rules are
But you know that I will run
You know that I will follow you

These tears I’ve cried
I’ve cried 1000 oceans
And if it seems
I’m floating in the darkness
Well I can’t believe that I would keep
Keep you from flying
So I will cry 1000 more
If that’s what it takes
To sail you home
Sail you home
Sail you home
Sail
Sail you home

nadav

The Big Podcast Giveaway

15 Feb

**Disclaimer: This post was written with the consent of only one other person, though I believe is respectful to other people’s ownership of the Bitter Infertiles podcast. I have made every effort to do so.

Two and a half years ago, in an attempt to find some healing, I had an idea. That idea later became a podcast. It was a podcast that originally started with four hosts, then down to three, then down to none.

There were a lot of reasons we stopped doing it. Some would say it was “drama” because there was a backlash that the three remaining hosts were all pregnant. Some would say there was “drama” behind the scenes.

But that’s not the truth. Yes, there was backlash. There was some drama behind the scenes. But I think most of you know me well enough to know I can deal with backlash and I thrive on drama.

That’s not why we shut down. Not really.

We shut down because I, being the primary driving force behind it, was very down. It was February. I was just heading into bed rest and dealing with Nadav’s first birthday. I was struggling. I couldn’t keep it going because I just couldn’t find the energy.

Then other stuff happened. But we won’t go into that.

A couple of months ago, me and one of the other hosts had a lovely discussion about possibly passing the torch. The BI podcast was important to us. It was important to a lot of people. It should have a chance to thrive.

We still hadn’t figured out the semantics of how to pass on the torch without hurting feelings. Because we knew it didn’t just belong to the two of us. It was a discussion. We were getting there.

Then another host decided to beat us to the punch without thinking about others’ feelings or discussing it with us. Which inevitably has forced our hand.

Notice I’m not naming names. If you know, you know. That’s fine.

I am not writing this to start a flame war. Because the truth is the person who “forced our hand” had a darn good idea, despite the very bad way she chose to go about sharing it. The past is the past. I have bigger and more productive things to do. And I don’t want this amazing thing, which a lot of people worked very hard to make happen, to be marred with bitterness and BS.

Here’s the thing: This podcast was and is bigger than egos. Bigger than passive aggressive BS. Bigger than drama. It meant a lot to a lot of people It meant a lot to me and the other hosts.

So after discussing it at length with one of the hosts, I am passing the torch, because I know I am no longer built to hold it.

I am passing it on with fairness and love of what it was, what it can be, and the good it has done.

Here’s how it’s going to work:

If you want to take up the Bitter Infertiles brand, complete with iTunes approval, blog and gmail access, podcast hosting service password, EVERYTHING, send me an email and tell me why you want it and what you’d like to do with it.

I will forward your email to ALL FOUR ORIGINAL HOSTS of the podcast. Because we all deserve a say. There will not be drama, we will vote on the merit of the person who wants it. Nothing more.

When a consensus is reached – and it will be reached because I don’t intend on making any of this personal –  the new owner will be announced on this blog and on the BI blog, and will be handed the keys to the kingdom.

A few things to keep in mind:

1) Running a podcast costs money, and the more popular it gets, the more it costs because of hosting and streaming costs. At its peak, I was spending $300 dollars a month to keep the podcast running. You can try to crowdfund it, but whatever you do, you need to find a way to fund it.

2) This will take a lot of time out of your week. I spent an average of 5 hours a week planning, answering emails, and booking guests, 2 hours recording, then anywhere between 5-10 hours editing the podcast every week.

3) Running it requires a minimal knowledge of audio editing and exporting.

4) This podcast meant a lot to a lot of people. Please be willing to take my baby and nurture it for the long haul. I can promise you the rewards are worth the hard work.

When something is created, all of its creators deserve credit and a say. This is the way to do it. I want this podcast to live on. I can’t keep it going myself.

Though I hope whoever takes it over will let me and the rest of the girls drop by for a visit every once in a while.

So… Who’s up? Feel free to share this post with anyone who you think would be a good fit.

The Gap That Is and Isn’t

4 Jan

There’s a community I used to belong to. A community that saved me on my worst days. A community I left with a protesting whimper.

Every once in a while I check in. I pop into the old reader and see what’s going on. Every time I see why I left. Every time I understand it was the right decision for me.

But I still check in. I see the debate. The infighting. The pain. The ongoing triumphs and tragedies.

And when I do, I get thrown back to the days I was a train wreck myself. I find myself being what made me so angry so long ago. A spectator.

So on nights like these, when I go through and click on links from the yearly list I stopped being a part of…

Nights like these are when I cry for my Nadav.

I cry for him and sneak into Bunny’s room, just to see that my little girl is breathing.

Then I pick myself up and realize that I am still glad I left.

I left because I have chosen to move on. This space is still my space, I am still a part of that club. But I choose not to be an active member.

I choose to forget the meaning of BLM and TTC and PCOS and TWW.

On nights like these, if Shmerson is up, I usually tell him I miss Nadav. Because on nights like these I do.

*****

I read about a mother telling her four year old son again about the older brother he’ll never meet. And I wonder – will I tell my four year old daughter the same?

No. She is here and ever present. He was here and fleeting. He was and always will be a gap. An abstract. Something that could have been, that never was. Someone I loved more than anyone I loved before him. Until now.

Had he been there, my lovely amazing wonderful little girl would not be.

And she is here. And she is present. And messy. And scary. And wonderful.

No. I won’t tell.

There will be a day, when the time is right, when I will tell my little girl the reason her dad was the one who dropped her off at daycare every day.

The reason he talks to her teachers and not me. The reason I cry sometimes when I read her a story. And sometimes when I tickle her. And sometimes just when I look in her eyes.

The reason the paintings hanging on our walls are abstract.

That they are what he is to me. And abstract that hangs on the wall in my daily life. Often overlooked, sometimes lingered upon.

I will tell her one day. But she will no longer be my baby girl when she learns the reason her momma used to be a much sadder person.

*****

I read about a mother about to lose her son at 19 weeks. I click to her home page and see she now has another on the way. I see how slowly she is embracing the physical. The present. The “what is” and not the “what should have been.”  I am happy for her.

I read about a mother visiting her daughter’s grave. I wonder where my son is buried. I cry and cry and cry for him.

But then I stop. I look at my daughter sleeping. I pick up discarded pacifiers from the floor. I straighten her blanket and feel a sense of calm.

********

Loss broke me. Loss shattered everything i was. I am still picking up the pieces. I am rebuilding. Trying all at once to capture what once was and reconcile it with what is.

I am building up. Slowly. Slowly.

Building my career. Building my sense of self. Building my identity.

Nights like these I dive back into a world I lived in for years. A world I loved and hated. A world that saved me. But a world I am no longer a part of – at least not in the way I used to be.

A world I choose to stay away from because I am building bridges over gaps rather than staring at them.

I build and build. Sometimes the bridges fall. But mostly they stay up.

Nights like this a brick falls off of the bridge, into the big gap. The one that had to happen for us to be here. In the present.

Building bridges, building contentment.

******

Today I was folding laundry. Bunny can’t stay away from our bedroom when I fold laundry. She loves climbing on the bed, getting eaten by the tickle monster and bouncing up and down to the horsey song.

Shmerson and I look at each other and smile as she struggles to stand on the wobbly bed so she can bounce.

I look at him and say:

“You know another great thing about waiting another year or two? By then she’ll be in municipal preschool so we won’t have to pay for daycare twice.”

He nods.

I start singing the horsey song and Bunny bounces until she falls back, giggling.

There is no gap when that laughter is heard. There is only her. Only us.

“Abba. Mama. Una. Yiyi.”

Shmerson, and me, and Luna and Lili. There is no gap when her voice fills the hallway, squealing those names gleefully.

“Abba. Mama. Una. Yiyi.”

Lili.

I look up at his paintings. Wipe my nose. Long day tomorrow. Wonder what I’ll make Bunny for dinner.

Good night.

4 Years, 500 (and One) Posts

18 Dec

Me: Hey! Hey you over there!

Me: Yeah, what? Oh crap. What are you doing here?

Me: Just thought I’d come by and say hello.

Me: Hello! Bye now!

Me: Aw come on don’t be like that!

Me: Look, I like you. Really I do. But I’m just not ready to restart our relationship.

Me: I saw some choice pee sticks at the pharmacy today. You know they’ve got ones that tell you how far along you are? I wanted to pee on them right then and there!

Me: Do you in any way think I find that story tempting? Besides, you know better than I do that beta levels aren’t really that indicative of the age of your pregnancy.

Me: So are you telling me the pee stick makers are LYING?

Me: Yes. It’s just a way to get more money out of women. Those tests are very inexact. You know the only way to actually date a pregnancy is –

Me: Do you want to talk about it? Let’s talk about betas!

Me: Oh hell no! This has already gone far enough, thankyouverymuch.

Me: Come on! Let’s play the pregnancy symptom scavenger hunt! Let’s pee on all the things!

Me: No. I’ve got Bunny and Shmerson and my career right now. That’s enough.

Me: Look how cute Bunny is! You know you want another one!

Me: Not now. I promise I’ll call you when I’m ready.

Me: You swear? This isn’t one of those things like when assholes say “let’s do lunch” and then never actually call back right?

Me: No, no. I’m sure there will be a day when I will call you and will once again get pulled back into your circle of crazy. But today is not that day.

Me: You swear you’ll call?

Me: Yep.

Me: PINKY SWEAR!

Me: Fine

Me: Ok. I’ll go away then. All by myself. Maybe I’ll find a bridge to live under where I can corner sad looking women and see if they’re infertile and want to pee on things with me. All alone in the world. No purpose. Just a feather on a breeze. A rolling stone. A lone wolf. A pee stick without a control line.

Me: OH WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP ALREADY!

Me: Ok how about an ovulation test? A single tiny little thing. You’ll barely notice it. Come on, you know you want to.

Me: GO! NOW!

Me: Fine fine I’m going.

*********

Today (well, technically it’s yesterday since it’s past midnight, but let’s not get into semantics) marks 4 years to the day since I started this blog. It’s also my 501st post. Funny enough, when I wrote my last post I didn’t even notice it was number 500. But I think it was worthy of the honor.

I’ve done more than enough reflecting on this blog. On anniversaries and due dates, birthdays and death days, milestones and moves.

So I won’t get mushy, there’s really no point. This space has seen enough mush.

Instead, I thought I’d say hello to an old friend, and then tuck her away again.

I’m sure she’ll emerge victorious again, some day.

Thank you all for reading.

Love,

Mo

The Paradox of Equal Parenting, to a Child of Unequal Parents

29 Nov

I was raised in a home with a detached and self-involved father, and a stay-at-home mother who made me her whole world, and still does to this day.

At the age of 6, I declared that I want to have a career and liked my first boy because he wanted to be either “an astronaut or a house husband”.

I liked him because of the latter. Well – that and the fact he shared his astronaut ice cream with me.

But mostly the “house husband” thing.

These two facts are important to note because they provide the context to throw my internal struggle into brighter relief. Some of you may read this and declare that I’m ungrateful. I am not. Or you may decide that I think stay at home moms don’t have a life outside of mothering. I don’t think that. I am eternally grateful for what I have. I understand that my upbringing was an anomaly and not that norm. But that doesn’t make things simple. Far from it.

Shmerson and I made the decision to move closer to our office (we work at the same company, in drastically different departments with no overlap) a year ago. In July, we finally pulled the trigger and moved a 10 minute walk away from it.

What was once a 4 hour-a-day commute for Shmerson, and a work-from-home most days situation for me, was transformed into something completely different. My schedule didn’t change by much, but being in the thick of things made me reorder priorities, remember that meetings, networking, heels, make-up, and business trips exist. It brought me back to a very ambitious, career-minded place.

This is something I hadn’t truly felt in almost a decade (pretty much since finishing grad school tired and disillusioned).

Shmerson’s schedule changed drastically as well. Instead of coming home at 9pm long after bedtime, he gets home just in time for Bunny’s dinner and bath. Instead of dropping her off quickly at day care each morning so he can catch a train, he usually takes her in her stroller, and literally has time to stop and smell the flowers. He spends the morning with her and drops her off, I pick her up and spend the afternoons with her.

When once I was the dinner-bath-bedtime officer during the week, we now rotate. We split weekends into time where we each have Bunny separately while the other sleeps, rotating chores, and quality family time.

In short – we’re 50/50 parents. As in – we really are. Yes. For reals.

Sure there are discrepancies. I’m usually the one to make and take Bunny to doc appointments. Shmerson is the one who gets her up and ready each morning. I cook and in general plan meals. He clears the table, does dishes and most of the laundry. I do the grocery shopping, he deals with anything involving paperwork, and running morning errands like going to the post office and bank.

In the 15 (!) months since Bunny was born, and especially in the last 4, we have fought, negotiated, and compromised our way into equilibrium. We both have quality time with Bunny, manage to push forward our careers, and even grab some quality time for the two of us, and with friends.

Granted, we don’t sleep much. But we’re pretty much “in the zone.”

We fought hard to reach this place. I’ve wanted it for as long as I can remember. Before I even knew him. This is what I wanted.

Now that I have it – I’m scared out of my mind.

There are days she clearly wants him to comfort her over me.

There are days I have to work late and I barely see her for an hour.

There are mornings I choose sleep and miss something adorable she’s done. Or a new word she said.

There are things he knows about her that I don’t.

Of course, the same thing can be said of him. Of course there are nights he works late. There are words he misses. There are things I know that he doesn’t.

But –

And I’m just going to go right ahead and say this, my women’s studies minor be damned.

But I’m her mother. I’m not supposed to miss things. She’s not supposed to go to anyone but me for comfort. I should be the one putting her hair in pigtails each morning, and in PJs each night.

This is what a mother does. A mother gives everything to her daughter.

This is the only world that I know.

And now I’m living in one where that isn’t true.

I know I’m modeling a wonderful, respectful and balanced relationship for her.

I know I’m demonstrating ambition, and being a strong independant woman and all that good stuff.

I know that making myself happy is critical to keeping her happy.

I know having two parents that are involved is GOOD FOR HER.

But it goes against what I experienced. It goes against what I grew up on. My mother is my whole world because she was always there, and still is.

Will Bunny feel the same way about me? I want her to more than anything else. And I’m deathly afraid that she won’t.

Every day, logic and experience are in a constant tug of war.

Of course she’ll always love me. I’m her mother, and I’m a good mother.

But I’m not there 24/7. I’m not always her soft place to fall.

That’s good. That means she has multiple soft places to fall.

But I want it to be ME. That’s the way it’s SUPPOSED TO BE.

No. It’s just what you were raised on. It can and should be different, and for her – it is different.

What if she hates me because I’m not always there?

She will always love you, you are her mother.

Yes, but I’ve chosen to be other things as well.

 

At the age of six, I thought I knew what being an ambitious woman with no desire to stay at home meant.

At the age of 34, I’m starting to realize that it isn’t as simple as I thought it would be.

*Tap Tap* Is This Thing On?

13 Oct

I’m still here. And I don’t plan on leaving.

I think that’s important to say.

I know updates here have been few and far between. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there weren’t times over the last few months that I considered boarding up the windows on this blog. I considered it, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it.

Between Bunny and putting my nose to the grindstone at work, blogging has fallen by the wayside. I want to write, but I don’t have a moment to do it.

Things are hectic, and complex, but all around good. I have so much to say about becoming connected to my ambition again, working mom guilt, my anxiety rearing its ugly head again…

But I just can’t find the time to say it. And for now, that will have to be ok.

A few weeks ago I talked to Shmerson about shutting this space down, but before he even had a chance to put in his two cents, I already realized that the truth is that I know that the day will come where I will need this blog desperately again. I know that day will come. And I want this space to be here then.

Yesterday I took Bunny to the pediatrician because she was running a fever. In the waiting room there was a couple with a boy, around two, and a baby girl.

The boy’s name was Nadav.

I looked at Bunny and looked at that family, and for a clear moment I saw an alternate reality – where Bunny’s big brother was there, wreaking havoc in that waiting room.

Needless to say, last night was a hard night.

Hard nights these days are fewer and further between, and for that I’m grateful. And I know that it may be “wrong” for this space to be a wailing wall, where I come to in crisis, but abandon otherwise.

But that may just have to be what this is for now. And I’m going to have to be ok with that. Because honestly – I have enough to feel guilty about. I don’t need blogger guilt on top of it all.

So bear with me while I deal with occasional contentment, continuing complexity, and routine. Forgive me if I only engage during a crisis. It’s just the best I can do for now.

I hope you drop by sometimes to check on us. I promise to do my best to keep the lights on.

Questions I’ve Been Asking Myself

24 Sep
  1. How is it that tomorrow I turn 34, and I still feel 14?
  2. Bunny is over a year old and I still sometimes don’t feel like she’s real. Is that just me or is it normal?
  3. Will I ever find the willpower to get my weight down?
  4. Is what I’ve been feeling lately contentment, or emotional detachment?
  5. What do I really want to be when I grow up?
  6. Am I dividing my work/family hours right? Because I keep on feeling like I’m not?
  7. Should I shut down this space and move to someplace less anonymous?
  8. If I don’t shut it down, is it fair if I only update here occasionally?
  9. If I open up a new, less anonymous space, should I promote it here?
  10. If I keep on travelling for work, will it affect Bunny? Will she be mad at me? Or traumatized?

Answers welcome, but not mandatory.

What a Difference a Year Makes

5 Sep

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For My LiLi, On the Occasion of Your First Birthday

5 Sep

Note: I’m not a big believer in the “letters to babies” genre of blog posts. However, in honor of Bunny’s first birthday, I’m giving myself a pass. Feel free to skip this one if you don’t feel like slogging through it. This one’s for my daughter.🙂

 

To My LiLi Love,

Exactly 365 days ago you came into this world, and this world became a whole lot better.

You don’t know this yet, but with time you will learn that birthdays involve a lot of “thank you”s.

You thank people for their good wishes, you thank them for coming to your party, you thank them for gifts.

But you’re not quite old enough to say thank you yet.

I’m sure the time will come that you’ll say it quite a lot on your birthdays, since your mama and aba will make sure to teach you how to do that.

But in honor of your first year, I’d like to turn the tables a little bit.

I’d like to say thank you to YOU. Because you’re not old enough to understand this yet, but for such a little person you’ve given your mama some pretty huge gifts over the last year.

So: Thank you LiLi Love.

For teaching me what it means to love another human being in a way that transcends all reason.

For every time you smile and bounce up and down when I come to pick you up from day care.

For every night that you can’t sleep, and I take you in my arms and cuddle you in mama and aba’s bed, and you promptly drift off, and keep your hand over my heart.

For every time you start dancing when music plays.

Especially when it’s good music. Like yesterday, when Queen came on and you immediately started rocking out. That made me very proud.

For your exuberant love of my cooking. Watching you passionately pig out on my chicken meatballs is one of my favorite new hobbies.

For your boundless curiosity, which helps me see the world differently.

For having the most exquisite laugh I have ever heard, and for sharing it with the world so freely.

For smiling and waving at total strangers, even when you’re tired and cranky.

For making me laugh. All the time. Because you’re freaking adorable.

For being as stubborn as your mama, and helping your mama understand that being stubborn is ok.

For giving me perspective.

For making your aba and I work hard at being good parents for you.

For grounding me in reality.

For loving me even though I’m imperfect.

For making me constantly strive to do better.

For giving me the best year of my life so far.

For being you. For being exactly you.

Like I tell you every night: I love you more than anything in this world, and I will always love you no matter what. Even if you grow alfalfa sprouts out of your ears, paint your skin purple, decide to talk exclusively in Latin, and pursue a career as a roller skating fire eater. I will always love you without limits.

From here to the moon to the sun and back. Times infinity to the power of infinity.

Happy birthday LiLi Love. Mama loves you.

Not Freaking Out at ALL

29 Aug

Next Sunday night, I’m getting on a plane and flying to the US.

Alone.

For 6 days.

2 days after Bunny’s first birthday.

On one hand – I’m SUPER excited. This is a really important move from a career standpoint. On the other:

HOLY CRAP I’M LEAVING MY BABY FOR 6 WHOLE DAYS.

Any working mommies out there have any tips for making this easier on Bunny?

And on me? Because let’s be honest – I’m going to take it harder than she will.

On a slightly different, but related note: Who’s coming to Content Marketing World?

I know you’re out there, FSM knows enough of us do this writing thing for a living. Email me if you’re planning on going!

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