It’s been a few days since my period ended, and I guess I’ve bounced back from the low point of the TWW. Although bouncing back is probably not the right metaphor. It’s more like I was pulled under, and now I’ve resurfaced. I really hate this pattern, and I so wish it didn’t have to be this way. Which has really gotten me thinking a lot over the last few days. This will probably be a pretty serious post, I have some stuff I need to get out of my head and onto ‘paper’. Sorry to drag any patient readers into my head, but I’m hoping if I write it all down I can possibly move past it a little. I guess we’ll see.
So, the hardest part of the past (almost) three years of infertility have been my lack of patience with how long this whole thing is taking. Every month that goes by, and really, every day, feels like a million years of waiting. I’ve described this as impatience, but the more I think about it, it has to be more than that. Impatience is when you can’t wait to go on vacation, or can’t hold off on eating desert until after dinner. This is definitely more than that. When I think about another month of not being pregnant, I feel lost and helpless. If I think of having to wait another year, I’m downright disgusted at the idea. So, I asked myself if I knew I would have a baby for certain at the end of five years, could I wait that long? The obvious answer is yes, because that’s the whole point here, right? But the idea of having to wait that long, even knowing it would work out in the end, is extremely uncomfortable to me.
The more I thought about this, the more I started to realize how ridiculous and irrational it is. There is every reason to think that I will have to wait a lot longer before I manage to have a baby. Maybe I could get pregnant this month, but even if I did, it would probably end in another miscarriage. Most likely I will have at least one more miscarriage, and so even if I do go on to have a normal pregnancy at some point, it will be a long time before I have the baby. If we decide to move on and adopt, it will definitely be at least a year and probably much longer. So, this whole process would just be so much more bearable if I could accept the fact that its going to be a long time and expect it. In other words, I would be much better off if I could start playing the long game. Thinking about things from the perspective that I will have a baby at some point, and a few months here or there shouldn’t matter as long as I get there in the end.
But honestly, even knowing how much easier things would be that way, and knowing it’s the rational approach, I hate the idea of it. It feels like giving in. It feels like, if I say I’m okay with it taking 5 years, it definitely will take that long. It feels extremely uncomfortable to me to think about days and weeks and months to come with no progress. This tells me that I have some weird stuff going on inside my head, and I need to try to sort it all out or I’m just asking for trouble each month.
So, as all of this has been rolling around in my head for the past few days, I’ve been trying to figure out why I have this irrational fear of waiting for a baby. I think somehow I’ve gotten to the point where I beleive that my value as a person is based on my ability to reproduce. This is surprising to me because it goes against everything I was raised to beleive, and it goes against everything I’ve done with my life up to this point. I was not raised to beleive that being a mom was the most important thing I could do. I was pushed to have an important career and do something valuable or impressive in the world. When I met my husband, I made it clear that I would always work and my career would have to be as important as his. In fact, up until a few years ago, I was probably too far to the opposite extreme, in the sense that I was determining my entire value as a person on my ability to be successful as an academic. This is something I had to work on pretty hard with a therapist, because I felt that I was failing at my job, and thus had no value. There’s much more to that story, but ultimately I think I moved past it to a large degree, and I’ve tried to get to a place where I can just be happy with doing a good job at a job that I enjoy, and not worry about being competitive or impressing people.
But, I think in the process I might have gone too far to the other side. After grad school I took a job that isn’t competitive and doesn’t make me a huge ball of anxiety. I’m a happier person and I’m glad I did it, but I’m struggling with feeling like what I’m doing isn’t impressive, and that people will think I’ve failed. Basically, my anxiety now is that people will think I’m a failure, and so I’ve tried to find something else to give me value instead. And that something became having a baby. If I’m not going to be a high powered driven academic, then it would at least be justified if I had a bunch of kids and was an amazing mom. It would give me a purpose and a value that I apparently feel I’m missing. I think I was holding out, thinking that it was okay that I didn’t have an important, impressive job because soon I’d have kids and that would make it all worth it. But instead, I just ended up with neither.
Rationally, I think this is all ridiculous. No one, including me, should need to have an impressive career or kids to be valuable. I’m a good friend, I have a great husband and family, I do useful and fun things with my life. But for some reason none of that feels like enough. I wish I knew how to change my attitude about this. I’m hoping that putting it all out there and shining the light on it will make me see how dumb I’m being. Honestly I think it’s so important that I get past this because having kids isn’t going to suddenly fix all my problems either. I need to be happy with myself and my life, or what kind of role model would I be for my kids? Hopefully I can start to rethink things a little, and if I’m lucky, maybe it will make it just a little easier to handle the (probably inevitable) wait that’s still to come.