You have to be so much better than you ever thought you could be

7 Jun

Stupid Stork wrote a post about infertiles in film and reminded me of a movie I had blocked out of my memory: Away We Go starring Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski.  I watched this movie right after I lost the baby.  I think.  I don’t really remember.  I know I watched it but I can’t remember when.  All I know is that when I watched a scene she posted on her blog, I had this feeling.  It was a feeling like “once upon a time this broke my heart into a million pieces and made me feel like dying.”  This feeling usually happens when I remember things that happened either while I was pregnant or after we lost him.  That’s not really the point of the story, though.

The point is that the part of the movie she posted on her blog was my favorite then and it’s my favorite now.  It’s when they visit their friends in Montreal who have a bunch of adopted kids and this seemingly awesome life.  Before they even walk into their house, they are awed by it. They have this gorgeous house, they are grown-ups (compared to how Maya and John’s characters feel about their lives) and obviously have it together.  They walk into the house and are greeted with a Sound of Music sing-a-long and the happy chaos of a big happy family.  They then go out for an awesome night on the town that makes it seem like this couple has everything they could ever want to be happy.  After a lot of drinking, they go out to grab a bite to eat and the guy (played by Chris Messina, who I also love) says this about parenting:

It’s all those good things you have in you. The love, the wisdom, the generosity, the selflessness, the patience. The patience! At 3 A.M. when everyone’s awake because Ibrahim is sick and he can’t find the bathroom and he’s just puked all over Katia’s bed. Patience when you blink, when you blink,  and it’s 5:30 and it’s time to get up again and you know you’re going to be tired all day, all week, all your fucking life. And you’re thinking what happened to Greece? What happened to swimming naked off the coast of Greece? And you have to be willing to make the family out of whatever you have.

Then his wife (played by Melanie Lynskey, who I also love so I think I just love everyone in this movie) says the title of this post.

You have to be so much better than you ever thought you could be.

She’s talking about parenting but she’s talking about so much more.  Later on, it is revealed that she has just recently had her fifth miscarriage.  That seemingly perfect life is not so perfect after all and they don’t have everything they’ve ever wanted.  Maybe I’m reading way too much into this but I feel like when she says that, she’s not just talking about being a parent this huge family she has created through adoption.  I feel like she is also talking about being a parent to those five babies that she lost.

Later on, her husband says:

I know she loves all those kids like, like they were her own blood. But, I wonder if we’ve been selfish. People like us we wait till our thirties and then we’re surprised when the babies aren’t so easy to make anymore and then every day another million fourteen-year-olds get pregnant without trying. It’s a terrible feeling, this helpless, man. You just watch these babies grow and then fade. You don’t know if you’re supposed to name them, or bury them, or… I’m sorry.

You have to be so much better than you ever thought you could be to watch those babies grow and fade.  You have to be so much better than you ever thought you could be to name those babies and bury them and to not want to shake those fourteen-year-olds and to not beat yourself up for waiting until what you thought would be the right time.  Most of all, you have to be so much stronger than  you ever imagined to try again.  I always get upset when people call me strong.  I tell people I’m not strong and that I’m just moving forward because it’s the only thing I can do.  But I’m wrong.  I am strong.  We all are.  Despite the loss, we move forward.  Even if you’ve never been pregnant, every failed cycle is a loss. My friend calls them misconceptions.  She’s right.  A loss is called a miscarriage but there isn’t a word to describe the loss of that hope of a baby month after month and year after year.  There should be a word for that.

Despite the failed cycles, the miscarriages, the stillbirths, we move forward.  We conceive again.  We adopt.  We choose to live a life without children.  We try to make our families out of whatever we have, whether it’s our biology or adoption or just making a family out of the two of you. We feel like we don’t have a choice so it doesn’t mean anything.   That’s wrong.  First of all, we do have a choice.  We could crumble, fall apart and never get out of bed again.  We don’t.  (And when we do, we realize we can’t do it forever.) Second of all, moving forward requires every bit of strength we have.  We open ourselves up to a world of loss again and again in the hopes of building a better life for ourselves, no matter which way we decide to resolve our infertility.

I have been beating myself up lately about taking so long with the adoption process.  I feel like we have dragged our feet every step of the way.  We have taken our sweet time with everything and I feel like people are judging us because we should be on the books already.  I feel like if I really wanted a baby badly enough, I’d be done already.  A couple that was in a class with us already has a baby!  I feel like I have failed already.

But it is HARD, people.  It is so hard.  Once we are on the books, we are opening ourselves up again.  There is the possibility of more loss out there.  Yes, if we stick with the wait, we will have a baby at the end.  In between now and then, we could still lose, though.  We could be scammed.  We could have a birth mother choose us and change her mind.  She can change her mind before the birth, after the birth, or after we take the baby home.  We can have a birth father decide to parent.  There is so much that can happen between now and our happy ending.  It’s really freaking hard and it’s really freaking scary.

So, I am being strong.  I am putting myself out there and it might hurt.  Our profile is nearly done.  Soon,we will officially be a waiting family and that is going to require me to be so much better than I ever thought I could be.  I’m going to have to stop being so hard on myself because there’s already enough stress involved in moving forward and I’m going to need my strength.

PS I don’t know why but I can’t put the video in here so here’s a link. 

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Things that are driving me up a wall

29 May
  • The guy that wanted to talk about how I should let my dog come up to greet his dog… while my dog was jumping up and down and pulling on his leash and squeezing my hand off my arm because I had the leash wrapped around my hand.  Oh yeah.  This is a great time to discuss this.  Sure, I’ll let my dog greet your dog and when my dog gets excitable and jumps on your dog or nips him, whose idea will it be then?  Why don’t you let me walk around you like I tried to do to begin with?  I know my dog and I know when he is riled up  and obviously it’s a bad idea right now.  Especially since a toddler just riled the dog up by running towards him and the dog got so happy that he practically peed himself with joy.  Except that the toddler’s father had some sense and told the toddler it’s not a good idea to run up to a dog like that. 

 

  • Little Miss I’m 20 weeks pregnant by accident and I’m going to post pictures with obnoxious hashtags and who is just now starting to use a hair tie on her jeans.  You make me want to puke.  Two  weeks ago when you posted a bikini pic of how you still have your upper abs? That made me want to puke, too.  You’re pregnant. Please stop caring so much about ab maintenance and please stop posting pictures of yourself every 12 seconds. Trust me, we cannot forget you’re pregnant.  Every status update is about it.  

 

  • The person who posted inflammatory comments on a Facebook adoption site just to get a rise out of the people on the site.  You are obviously just there to cause trouble and upset people.  However, if you’re not there to cause trouble and you were serious about your comments, I’m so sorry that something happened to make you so bitter.  However, you’re not going to change anyone’s mind with rude comments, especially when they are illogical and incoherent. 

 

  • People who like all sort of random crap on Facebook and clutter up my News Feed.  Sure, sometimes you like something funny or sweet and I enjoy seeing.  However, you’re going to get hidden really quickly if you like 100 pictures of horses and saints and fill my feed with that kind of crap.

 

  • As you can tell, I’m in a bad mood today.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better and I will feel less like punching people in the face.

What I am…

21 May

1. I am watching: Strip Search

My husband reads this website and goes to this convention every year.  When he came home from the convention, he turned on an episode of this show.  It’s basically a reality tv show that airs on YouTube where they are looking for someone to draw an online comic strip. It is so random because I would have never watched this show on my own, but he just started playing a bunch of episodes and I became invested in these people and can’t wait to see who wins!

2. I am reading: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book got rave reviews from multiple people whose opinions I respect. It’s a YA book about teens in high school but it doesn’t really read like one.  At least the very beginning doesn’t which is as far as I’ve gotten so far.  From the beginning though, I was hooked by the writing and the characters.  Even though I just began the book and they literally had like one bus ride together, I’m dying to find out how Eleanor and Park’s relationship progresses.

3. I am pinning: Adoption announcements.

Because why not plan ahead?  Even though the profile isn’t done yet (but we’re close), while I wait for it to be completed, I look ahead to the future.  That’s where the fun stuff is!

4. I am listening to: The National

Their new album comes out tomorrow.

5. I am eating: Cinammon sugar pretzels

We bought one of those Auntie Anne’s at home kits and my husband made them tonight.  They were incredible!  He did such a great job.  Although it would be much easier just to buy them. 🙂

6. Different blogs I am loving: 

The Unslut Project

This is amazing.  This woman is blogging her old diary entries from when she was in middle school.  Reading them is almost painful because some of the entries could have come out of my own diary.  It’s crazy how dramatic everything was when we were young.  Emotions were high and every situation seemed like it could change your life.

Stop labeling

20 May

I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it. – Maya Angelou

At my infertility support group, someone labeled herself as defective because she’s comes to the end of the road of her fertility treatments and has only losses to show for it and no live baby.  It broke my heart to hear her say that about herself because I don’t see her as defective.  And yet, I see myself as defective.  It took 8 IUIs to get me pregnant.  Then once I did get pregnant, my body revolted.  It went full on crazy.  My baby was healthy and fine but my body gave up.

It’s funny how we see ourselves.  I doubt that this woman would ever call me defective.  Yet, she has no problem labeling herself. I would never ever describe someone else as defective, especially not based on their ability to carry a child. When it comes to me, though, I can very easily label myself a failure.

It’s so easy to judge yourself.  It’s so easy to blame yourself.  It’s extremely difficult to rise above.  But we have to try.

What’s Making Me Happy This Time

18 May

Thing number 1:  Arrested Development is coming back.  Oh Bluth family, how I missed you!

 

Thing number 2:  A cat walking a dog home.  I wish our animals got along like this.

 

Thing number 3:  A comedian hired a skywriter (funded by Kickstarter) to write a joke in the sky.

Thing number 4:  This commercial makes me want to eat nothing but Oreos for the rest of my life.

 

 

The things people say

17 May

Sometimes, it feels that after infertility, it seems that people try to explain why they deserve their pregnancy so much.  “I’ve been suffering for two years and it sucked big time so I deserve this pregnancy.  And because I had it so hard, I deserve for it go smoothly.”   What bothers me about that is that it implies that the ones who aren’t pregnant after three or four years, didn’t deserve it enough.  The ones that lose their babies don’t deserve them as much apparently .  It means that to them, I don’t deserve it.  I’ve been waiting for nearly six years and they only waited two.  So they must be a better person or more deserving of a baby.  That’s simply not the case.  It’s luck and it’s random.  If everyone that got pregnant did so because they “deserved” it, there would be no unwanted babies out there.

Someone in my support group had a successful IVF and she said she was feeling good and had no morning sickness.  She said it was because “God knew how much she suffered to get a baby, so he was making it easy on her.”  I didn’t say anything. I was too stunned.  Because what does that say about me?  I didn’t suffer enough trying to get pregnant so God threw in a good dose of morning sickness and pre-eclampsia and a baby death just so I would get the full suffering experience?
It’s like the saying that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.  A comic, Tig Notaro, talked about that after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her mother died.  She was saying how the angels were standing back and saying, “God, what are you doing? You’re out of your mind.”  And God says, “No, no, no.  I really think she can handle this … Just trust me on this.  She can handle this.”  That’s insane.  Are you saying that if I was weak and crumbled at the thought of any stress, God wouldn’t put this on me?  You’re basically telling me that this is my fault.  You’re telling me that because I’m so strong, God is really piling it on there because I can take it.  The weak woman who wouldn’t be able to stand her baby dying:  that’s the woman who gets her baby.
It’s all just luck of the draw.  I know that we’re taught to believe that good things come to those who wait and good people get rewarded while bad people get punished.  It’s just not true.  Crappy thing happen to good people.  Good people lose loved ones, they get sick, they lose their jobs.  It’s not because of anything they did. It’s just the way life goes.  Anyone that tells you otherwise is either very lucky or just in the pre-crisis part of their life.
People don’t mean anything by it.  They just say things.  Things spill out of their mouth because they don’t know what to say next.  They don’t know how these things can hurt.

You ruined everything

16 May

Jonathan Coulton is a geek singer-songwriter that my husband really likes.  I started listening to some of his songs because my husband had them on and they are pretty funny and catchy.  My husband burned me a CD so I could listen to songs in my car and there is one that I always always skip.  

I was fine,
I pulled my self together
Just in time,
To throw my self away
Once my perfect world was gone I knew,
You ruined everything in the nicest way

You should know,
How great things were before you
Even so,
They’re better still today
Now I can’t think who I was before
You ruined everything in the nicest way

It’s about having your first child.   This song always makes me cry.  It didn’t used to. I could listen and tune it out for the most part.   We saw him in concert about a year ago.  He sang this song and as soon as it started, I burst into tears.  I was having a great time and the tears came out of nowhere.  I buried my face in my husband’s chest and sobbed.  Thank God it was loud and dark and so no one really noticed.  If they did, they were kind enough to pretend that sobbing in the middle of a show where everyone was laughing and singing along was perfectly normal.

That CD is in my husband’s car and so I haven’t heard it in a while so I haven’t had to quickly push the skip button while driving.  Today though, the song popped into my head.   Out of nowhere, I started humming it.  And while it didn’t make me sob like it once did, it did hurt my heart.  

I can’t wait for life to be ruined.