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Round 2

Now that some of my closest friends have had their first babies and some are approaching their first birthdays, I wonder when I’ll hear about baby #2. Because these friends know about my struggles with TTC I wonder if they will be resistant to tell me. I hope not. I think I would feel worse knowing that they felt they couldn’t share their happiness with me. I was reading Infertilegirl (see blogroll below) and she had a great way of putting it:

Pregnancy announcements are so complicated with infertility. It is hard communicate with people that you want to know when they are pregnant, and you are happy they are pregnant. However, it also brings up some really sad feelings about ourselves. We still are not pregnant, and we long for the day when we get to announce the pregnancy.

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Cramps

I think PMS is upon me. I noticed mild cramping last night and now I have some more, slightly more intense cramping. I also have a few pimples on my chin. I’m currently on CD28 so I wouldn’t be surprised if AF came for a visit tomorrow. I’m not surprised, but I hope I’m wrong.

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TTC Equivalent of Bridezilla

When J and I were initially planning our wedding (read: I was planning our wedding and J was letting me have full control), he said once that he was scared I was going to turn into a bridezilla. However, I was pretty calm and collected about the whole thing. I was in my element.

Apparently I was saving all the angst and crazy meltdowns for TTC. I’ve actually been pretty good for the last while, but when J and I had our little fight a couple weeks ago I realized that I am the TTC equivalent of a Bridezilla. I think this alter ego of mine was peeking her head out earlier because when we went to see What to Expect when you’re Expecting in theatres, J said I was like Elizabeth Banks’ character with her excessive planning and fertility alarms. I don’t have a fertility alarm, but as the proud new owner of an iPhone (my very first smart phone!), I did get the iperiod app and it does make it really easy to figure out our fertility window (there’s even an option of changing the luteal phase length – which I definitely need). But I digress. My point was that it is pretty easy to get carried away with baby plans and when those plans go awry, it’s pretty easy to get carried away with the “what ifs”, home remedies, and fears. In short I am obsessed.

I will be ECSTATIC whenever we have a baby on the way, regardless of how huge I get or how gross I feel . However, if one of my friends’ theory  is right, I will be the extremely bloated, hemroid infested, stretch mark laden pregnant woman. My friend said that in her observations at work, the women who wanted to be pregnant most and tried the hardest to conceive end up gaining a bunch of weight all over and lamenting their lost figures but the women who fell pregnant by surprise or with ease tend to be those statuesque, radiant pregnant women who you can’t even tell are pregnant from behind. So you might want to prepare yourselves for TTC Bridezilla to turn into Pregzilla whenever the time comes. Feel free to remind me of how I said I’d be grateful for every pound and stretch mark if it meant I could be a mom :)

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Opinions from the Peanut Gallery

A good friend of mine is also dealing with infertility. She has been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Her RE has already outline the first plan of attack and she’s waiting for AF so that she can get started. Although getting any diagnosis (of any kind) is a scary process, it can also be  a lifeline. Now there is a targeted treatment plan!

Yesterday she mentioned that someone else she knows has PCOS but will not undergo treatment because she doesn’t think it’s natural. From the way it was told to me, she presented this as not only her personal opinion about her situation, but as a judgment against all fertility treatments and those who seek them. Honestly, such a statement can be quite hurtful since motherhood is thought of as one of the most natural processes in the world and when your body makes that harder for you it is like a cruel joke. The process of suspecting (and then finding out) that something is wrong and then seeking out and undergoing treatments is so difficult that having others decreeing those treatments as unnatural is adding insult to injury (imo). Sure it’s not the most technically natural way, but by calling it unnatural and saying you wouldn’t do it for that reason you’re essentially equating unnatural with wrong. So many other parts of life and modern medicine could be called unnatural as well – e.g., chemotherapy, pacemakers, artificial hips, etc. Is the ability to continue living or to walk again unnatural or is it a blessing that we’ve progressed so far through the “magic” of science?! I am thankful that we have these innovations and that fertility is one of the areas that we have been able to successfully treat. To me, being a natural at motherhood is much more important than how you got there. If your desire is to be a mother, then any way you get there is the natural path for you and, therefore, the right path for you.

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Sorry for the lack of posts . . .

Work has been busy, but hopefully after this week it’s a bit less hectic. Everyone is leaving things until the last minute and I have to meet some pretty tight deadlines. I apologize for not keeping up with my posts as well as I once did. I will start writing more again I am sure. Another reason that I haven’t written as much lately is that I don’t have as much to write. I still think about babies/TTC at least once a day, but I have been happy in general and so busy that I haven’t been sitting around actively thinking about it or how I could turn those thoughts into a blog post. That’s probably healthy, so I’ll go with it :) I hope you’re all having happy, healthy thoughts as well! Enjoy these last few weeks of summer xo

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Baby Shower

I spent this afternoon at my friend’s baby shower. It was great weather so luckily our plan of a party in the park panned out. Several of us were in on planning different aspects of the shower. I was in charge of games (my favorite!). My friend knew that we planned on throwing her a baby shower at some point, but she had no idea when. Her baby is due Sept. 21 and her husband told her that he was told the shower wouldn’t be until later. So the girl in charge of decorations arranged to go for a walk with the lady of honor in the park and brought her to the party. She had a bit of a delayed reaction while she took it all in and it actually sunk in that we were all there for her. Her reaction was priceless! She was truly surprised and I could tell that she was incredibly touched.

I had been a bit worried that maybe I would be a bit upset attending a baby shower when I’ve been having a hard time dealing with TTC lately, but it was just a lot of fun! I made a tasty mixed greens, strawberry, and fried goat cheese salad with orange vinaigrette and it went over well. As did the prize gift bags that I put together. My games weren’t the best organized, but hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves. The decorations were great and because the park was bustling with many other groups, we even had free entertainment in the form of Arabic music and a bit of dancing at the end. It was such a beautiful day and we were all there to celebrate our friend during this major transition in her life. I’m so happy that I was a part of it.

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Can I have it all?

In my undergrad I took a course on the psychology of women and one on gender across the lifespan. In those classes I learned about the “double shift”, which is the term given to the fact that working mothers really work 2 shifts: one at their paying job and the other once they get home. It was also pointed out to me that almost all of the female professors (at least in our department) were childless. This highlighted another societal condition: in order to get to high career positions, many women sacrifice at home. Historically women have been primarily responsible for raising children, keeping the home in order, and putting food on the table. This continues in many homes and, as far as cleaning and cooking are concerned, that’s how it is in my house. In contrast, tradition dictates that men are the primary financial providers and that is their main focus. History has not faulted them for remaining more distant at home or making it their “job” to kick back with a beer in front of the tv after a hard day’s work. It used to be that women didn’t work outside of the home. Looking back on it, it makes sense. After all, running a household and raising children is a full-time job in itself with a hell of a lot of overtime! However, as time progressed, more and more women began working outside the home as well. This didn’t mean that the previous duties were obsolete, only that we were expected to manage it all! So, the question is, can you really have it all?

Ever since grade 10, my plan was to become a psychologist. I didn’t quite know how much work would go into that at the time, but I knew that all my friends came to me for advice and I loved being able to help. Once I entered undergrad, I was sure that I had picked the right career path. I found the courses so interesting and along the way I learned about grad school requirements and different types of psychologists. I was mainly interested in clinical psychology, but because programs are so competitive, I opened myself up to school & applied child psychology as well. During the application process, I met J. I actually told one of my best friends that it was a shame that I’d just have to break up with him once I moved for grad school because I could really see us getting serious. By the time grad school acceptance letters were sent out, I was completely in love and sure that he was the one. And he felt the same. The problem was that he had a really good job already waiting for him across the country and if I pursued a PhD as planned that could mean 5+ years of long distance. We both agreed that wouldn’t work. So I crossed my fingers that I’d be accepted at the school where his job was located. Luckily I was. It wouldn’t have been my top choice for programs, but it would still lead to my end goal of being a psychologist and we could be together. As much as I was driven in my career goals, having a family was always more important to me.

Then I started grad school and hated first semester. I had total imposter syndrome where I felt like I didn’t belong and everyone would soon figure out that I didn’t know what I was talking about (turns out I was actually doing quite well). It was that semester that led to my diagnosis of depression. During that semester I also learned that to work in Alberta (the province where I went to grad school and still live) you could be a fully registered psychologist for the same pay whether you had a Master’s or PhD. So with that in mind and the stress I experienced, I decided I would stop at a Master’s. Another driving force behind that decision was that J didn’t want to get married while I was still in school and I also didn’t want to be held back in trying for kids. So twice in my life, big decisions have been made in favor of home life over career (to an extent).

The reason I bring this up is because when I finally get to be a mom, I want to be a super mom! I want to make crafts, play games, go to the park, read stories, go to museums, etc. etc. I also love looking at blogs and pinterest for ideas for DIY, cake decorating and fun food preparation (even though I don’t know if I possess the skills to pull that stuff off). I have checked out what Mommy & Me classes are available here (because I research things to death and obviously over prepare), but pretty much all of them are during the work day :( I want to learn photography so that I can take some great photos of our little family. Add to that that I feel that I need to keep a perfectly clean home and I want to try out a ton of new recipes. I just wonder how will I do it all and still work!?

I will admit that I used to have a completely biased view against stay-at-home mothers. My own mother worked and in a high powered profession at that. I admired that about her. She also managed to keep the house very clean, cook every night, and play with me. I still think of her as one of the world’s best moms. When I was little though, she worked part-time. Now I see all the “yummy mommies” in my neighborhood (many of whom are stay-at-home moms and still have nannies . . . .) and I am jealous because I won’t be able to spend all those daytime hours with my kids. There’s always the choice to become a stay-at-home mom myself, but that obviously changes our financial situation (which J especially doesn’t like the sound of) and I feel like all the hard work toward my master’s degree and the extra training involved in getting registered as a psychologist would be a waste. The other thing is that I only really want to be at home during the pre-school years.  So there’s the option of staying home just until they start school. But my profession involves a lot of continuing education and if I am behind on the latest research and assessment measures, it might be quite difficult to even find work. I could always switch to part-time while they are young, that way I can have daytime fun with them and keep my foot in the career door. But that brings us back to loss of income. Like with most major decisions in life, to have one thing you must sacrifice something else. For working mothers I wonder if they feel like they sacrifice a bit in each department so that they can try to have it all? Hopefully my children’s lives will be fulfilled by my love and quality time when I’m not working rather than feeling like they got jipped because I couldn’t turn their sandwiches into dinosaurs.