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Knickknacks and Paddy Whacks

This morning we went to shul armed with lollipops just in case the rabbi only had fruit chews at the end of the service–which turned out to be the case. Baruch ha’Shem for forethought. But the forethought didn’t extend to the fact that shul = life cycle events. People are married in shuls. People are Bar Mitzvahed in shuls. And, of course, babies are named in shuls.

The Bar Mitzvah boy didn’t bother me this week because not only did I gain total immunity to Middle School Annoyance Disease (MSAD) through my many years as a middle school teacher, but I know that a B’nai Mitzvah exists somewhere in my future. When I didn’t have any children, the Bar Mitzvahs bothered me a lot more. And perhaps I’ll go back to feeling a little twinge after the twins pass through that stage of life if we don’t have another child.

But the naming killed me. Especially since I woke to another wonky temperature this morning on CD3 (yes, I am still trying to time that fucking progesterone test). I know it is difficult to feel much sympathy for infertile women with children–even those whose kids were conceived via fertility treatments. There is probably a part of you reading this and saying, “but you got to have a naming and I may never get to have a naming” (um…this is assuming that you’re Jewish. Fill in another event in case you are of a different religion). And it’s true. But there is still a pain that one feels when they want a baby again so badly and their body is still continuing to let them down. Having it work once does not bring anything into your control the second time around. In the end, it is a different pain and it’s one that is hard to put into words. It is not better or worse this time around–just different. The choices are more confusing. It is difficult to find the space to mourn and release the feelings that were easier to release the first time around. I spend a lot of time trying to keep my voice light in the first few days of a new cycle. And in the last few days too.

This woman had her newborn up at the altar and was going through a laundry list of reasons for why they named their daughter this particular name and all of their hopes for her. I really hated myself for everything I was thinking. That’s still the same, regardless of whether you’re currently parenting or not–you still end up spending a lot of time hating yourself for your thoughts.

CD3 is usually my worst day of the cycle. So it’s all uphill from here, right?

I really got on to just post something about the Great Cake Day. Which is Monday. It’s the closest we can get to having a party across space and time, with everyone able to participate, whether they have infertile neighbours or not.

Here’s how it works. On Monday, bake a cake or buy a cake (or any decadent dessert from a box of Milk Duds to a pie to a freakin’ congratulations-that-you-can’t-conceive cake baked for you special by Duff from Ace of Cakes). And you take a picture. And you upload the picture to your blog along with a post that talks about anything you want. You can describe where you ate the cake or who you ate it with or how much you love this particular recipe (and post the recipe). Or you can talk about the walk you took to the bakery or how much you love everyone who commented on your blog this week or how freakin’ sad you are that you ended up inadvertently going to a baby naming.

And then you send me the link. And I will compile a massive list of everyone who ate cake (or another dessert) on the same day. And I will post it on Monday and keep adding to it whenever I get a new link. And then you can jump from cake post to cake post and it is like we are all together in one massive party that spans from Washington, D.C. to somewhere in Tasmania (hi, Patience!). And this party is even better because it may take you days to make it through all of the posts and a three-day party is much better than a three-hour party, n’est-ce pas?

So go eat and be merry.

And this post was not meant to be a boo-hoo-for-me, but to be that release that I can’t seem to find the space to do. And explain that it doesn’t necessarily get easier. Even once I’m done building my family, I wonder if a part of me will always hate baby namings. And thinking like that makes me really sad. Before we started trying to conceive, I never thought I’d be the person who hated baby namings. It doesn’t really match up with the person I am inside my head. It hurts to feel that discordance when the “you” you want to be doesn’t really match up with the “you” you actually are.


1 Michelle { 06.23.07 at 5:26 pm }

Sorry about the wonky temp. Are yours usually consistent during your period? Mine are all over the place – sometimes I would just skip temping until CD 5 or so. In any case, I hope your chart turns beautiful for the rest of the month!

2 Shelby { 06.23.07 at 6:12 pm }

Well said! I’m sorry you had a lousy day though. Hopefully the cake tomorrow will help. When in doubt, cake is always good! Especially if you let the little ones have some. Nothing like a frosting kiss. 😉

3 Patience { 06.23.07 at 6:50 pm }

I can’t imagine having kids and going to a naming ceremony – but I also can’t imagine that all these years of pain will just be miraculously stripped away just because I have a child. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, maybe I’ll never find out. I think there must be some kind of ‘infertility hangover’??

HI from down here!!!!!

4 Shelby { 06.23.07 at 7:52 pm }

Duh- I meant cake on monday. Brain has left the building!

5 Leah { 06.23.07 at 8:13 pm }

Amen! I don’t know what’s worse — the disconnect between who you *want to be* and who you are now, or between who you *used to be* and the evil, bitter, wretched shell of an ex-nice person that you’ve become now. Wait, that’s not you, that’s ME. Sorry.

Also sorry about the whacky temp, why oh why won’t our bodies just get with the program and cooperate with us?!

You really hit the nail on the head about how difficult it is to articulate (and reconcile) the different — yet every bit as painful — feelings that we have when struggling to make a sibling. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if you have 0 children or 1 child or 4 children, if you haven’t reached the magic number for your family, then you are crushed. The longing and emptiness is ever-present, and I often worry if I am robbing my daughter of the benefit of my full, uncomplicated joy while I’m distracted and mourning the loss of her theoretical siblings.

Ugh, now I’m depressing myself! I think I’ll go bake a cake to lift the mood.

6 chicklet { 06.23.07 at 9:01 pm }

When we started realizing we were having trouble, I thought getting pregnant would solve everything. But the longer it takes, the more I think like you – that nothing will make this go away. It’ll just get easier or get less so over time. I don’t know that there’ll ever be a time though where I don’t secretly hate the ones who have it easy. Sorry this day’s so hard for you.

7 Bea { 06.23.07 at 9:58 pm }

All up from here. See, there’s an optimist in there somewhere, even on days like these.

Ditto my temp is never worth taking at this point in my cycle – always all over the place. I’ve stopped temping before day nine or ten. I hope you can get the bloodwork scheduled soon.

Cake! Ok, let me think about that…


8 mandolyn { 06.23.07 at 10:24 pm }

I think that’s a lot of my problem…that the me inside doesn’t quite match up with the me that I wish I was.

I wish it were easier. With cake on the horizon, doesn’t it have to be uphill from here?

9 nancy { 06.23.07 at 10:32 pm }

I totally just clicked with the whole thing about it being hard to be sad about IF when there are already children. Now, while I make sure I always understand how hard it is when ttc#1, as I was there once too, I find it hard to allow myself to feel my sadness now, without feeling guilt.

Maybe it’s the ~fact~ that I KNOW what I’m missing now (the pregnancy and newborn stages i don’t know if i’ll feel again) as opposed to before, it was all still just a daydream. Anywho – I get it. You get it. And I know others do to. I’m trying to feel my sadness w/out an apology these days, but I gotta tell you, it rarely happens.

Okay – that was long. I’m planning on baking a cake on Monday ☺

10 KarenO { 06.24.07 at 1:55 am }

Ouch. 🙁 This sentence of yours: ” It hurts to feel that discordance when the “you” you want to be doesn’t really match up with the “you” you actually are.” I’m struggling with that right now, and no amount of trying to positive is getting rid of it. Guess I’ll just have to try harder won’t I? Thanks for the commentathon and the cake day – it sure helps to keep my mind busy! 🙂

11 Rachel Inbar { 06.24.07 at 3:46 am }

I agree with Leah, it’s about reaching the magic number for your family…

Sorry the naming was so hard for you.

Maybe we’ll make a wacky cake so Nomi (aka mega-allergy-girl) can eat it too…

12 Caro { 06.24.07 at 4:49 am }

I think this “It hurts to feel that discordance when the “you” you want to be doesn’t really match up with the “you” you actually are.” is one of the hardest parts of all this.

13 In and Out of Luck { 06.24.07 at 10:09 am }

There definitely is an infertility hangover. And secondary infertility at first reactivates it, and then becomes its own monster. There’s a lot of classic baby stuff I don’t like. I don’t like to see pregnant women holding the hands of their preschoolers and chatting easily about what family size they want. I don’t even like to read the local mommy list serve where people write in questions like “We’re thinking of having a third! Any advice, pro or con?” Grrr. You are great and there will come a day when CD3 will not come with the hurt that it does now.

14 Carlynn { 06.24.07 at 11:02 am }

“Before we started trying to conceive, I never thought I’d be the person who hated baby namings. It doesn’t really match up with the person I am inside my head. It hurts to feel that discordance when the “you” you want to be doesn’t really match up with the “you” you actually are.” So beautifully put.

I am sorry the naming was so hard. I can totally understand that it still hurts. I hope that once you have the family your heart wants (and I hope CD3 is just a normal blip and fades as this cycle continues) that you find that naming ceremonies are less painful. Hope Monday’s cake day helps a little.

15 Jenna { 06.24.07 at 4:09 pm }

Mel, tough days all around I’d say. The vast majority of the blogs I’ve been reading are all the same.. We’re just feeling pretty crappy lately. I’m sure cake day will help to turn it all around… ok, not ALL of it, but it’ll be a good start.

There are a lot of things about myself that weren’t the same “me” when I wasn’t dealing with ttc. It does teach us things, but sadly it also changes things. Am I more bitter now or is IF just the mirror that I refused to look into before? I don’t know. In my heart I know I’m not this person who is always sad and feeling defeated… or maybe I am that person now but I’ll change back later. I still hope I’ll go back to the old Jenna as time passes, but the more time that passes the futher away that Jenna feels.

16 Stacie { 06.24.07 at 5:24 pm }

Just today I had one of those experiences that drove home that once infertile, always infertile. We were at a brunch after church (a statement that makes me sound both more religious and more social than I am) and I mentioned to the hostess, who has 5 kids and was bemoaning that she is always in the car, that since we won’t have anymore children I hope I never need a minivan but can stay in the “sedan” level of car. She said, “Oh, I hope you reconsider having more. Children are just so wonderful.” No shit. Sigh.

17 Michell { 06.24.07 at 9:03 pm }

I understand what you mean about the naming ceremony. Even though you do have children doesn’t mean you don’t still mourn not having more or having a different path. I hope the temp situation works itself out. I finally gave up on temping as it made me nuts. I also have a pic of my cake and will try to post it tomorrow when I get home.

18 Karen { 06.25.07 at 8:59 am }

I know it is difficult to feel much sympathy for infertile women with children–even those whose kids were conceived via fertility treatments.

I never had this problem… I always felt tremendous empathy for women who had children who were going through secondary infertility. But I think that’s because I was always stuck in this weird place somewhere between primary and secondary infertility. On the one hand, I had never had a successful pregnancy. I had never given birth, held an infant I had carried, or watched my son at his bris.

But on the other hand, our foster son J is every bit our son. Our child. We are his parents. So I was juggling treatment and appointments and hope and disappointment and emotional ups and downs with the demands of parenting, so I definitely get the give and take of secondary infertility and the constant reminder of what I’m missing with each failed treatment.

Physically, I had primary infertility. Emotionally, I had both primary and secondary infertility. And neither is any fun at all, that’s for sure.

19 Sunny { 06.25.07 at 9:27 am }

We have baby dedications. I can’t sit through them. I miss church every time. Once my close friend was dedicating her little one, she really wanted me there. I cried when I woke up and throughout the day after the dedication. It just killed me. I hope one day I can sit through them and be joyful instead of sad.

UGH to charts! UGH to flow! Now go eat a big piece of cake and have a beverage of your choice!

20 Changing Expectations { 06.25.07 at 3:53 pm }

Hope that your cake day is fabulous! Sorry to hear about the temps and the naming getting you down. IF just plain sucks – whether it be primary or secondary IF.

You struck a cord with me when you said that – the you that you want to be doesn’t always match up to the you that you actually are. How true. This is such a tough realization. But I think that it is also okay to come to that realization and to be okay with it. Does that make sense? None of us are perfect, we are human, and we should cut ourselves some slack. Cut yourself some slack! You are a great person! You deserve to feel how you feel without feeling guilty about it! Hang in there. I am thinking about you.

21 megan { 06.25.07 at 8:04 pm }

I know it is difficult to feel much sympathy for infertile women with children–even those whose kids were conceived via fertility treatments.

oh Mel! my heart broke when i read that. you have created such an amazing place of love and support for all of us infertile types…. of course there is much sympathy felt for you. while you’re definitely the creator of an incredible portal of support, i hope you feel that you can use it to your own benefit as well and call on your readers to support you as you get back on this roller coaster yourself. i will definitely be cheering you on.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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