July 28, 2013

The real me

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:56 am by Erin

Being socially awkward and insecure is a bad combination. Really bad. There is a woman I know through a group of moms who I thought was right at that border of acquaintance and friend—you know the type who seems nice in group settings and you’d like to get to know them, you have some good conversations that go into some depth, kids have been to each others’ birthday parties, and you’re thinking that you’re at the point where you’re ready to hang out one-on-one. Apparently, I WAY misread that one in the wrong direction. 

 

There are some women with similar characteristics of this woman that I know online. They were in town and I thought “Hey, they’re at a local restaurant that’s only a few minutes from my house—I’ll go over and say hi for a few minutes!” This was not totally unexpected, since when they posted where they were, I said “Hey, maybe I’ll stop by for a few minutes” and a couple said “OK”. I didn’t invite myself over to this woman’s house (a mutual friend did so earlier today and it seemed perfectly nice, so stopping in at the restaurant didn’t seem like an idea that was too-far-out). I did not invite myself to dinner. I showed up at the restaurant about the time they were finishing dinner, literally planning to spend maybe 15-20 minutes there while they had dessert and paid, just enough time to say hi to this woman and a couple of others that I had actually met, and the ones I only knew from online. 

 

Wow, talk about me cursing my impulsiveness! When I got there, the other women I knew were fine—casual, but it was nice to see them. The ones I knew online, well, that’s always a little awkward but it was OK. This one woman, though. The only place to sit happened to be next to her, which seemed fine at first. I happened to ask how they’d all met and she said “They’re my best friends. They’re not just some moms who have (this one characteristic).” Clearly implying “That’s all you are.” Ooooooooookay, then. I tried a couple more times to talk to her but it was incredibly awkward and it’s pretty obvious that’s the last time I’ll be seeing her, unless it’s in a crowd.

 

Then I drove home feeling lousy about myself. Why didn’t she like me? Why weren’t the other people pleased to see me even when they’d been so pleased to see the mutual friend who’d stopped by earlier? What had I done? And beating myself up for…well, nothing.

 

These are not friends of mine. They weren’t before I went (since I obviously misjudged this one woman). I went mostly out of curiosity to meet some people I only knew online. Why do I care what they think? They’re not people I hang out with. They’re really just people with whom I share this one characteristic. Even “casual acquaintances” is beyond our actual relationship. Why do I care what they think?

 

And a part of me recognizes that it wasn’t a good idea to go in the first place. I had thought that it would be fun, to hang out with some women and just chat about frivolous things for a few minutes. This particular restaurant was a bad place for that anyway, and I had a weird feeling as I was driving there that maybe I shouldn’t go. I thought it was just nerves since I’m really bad in social situations, particularly meeting new people. Sometimes I feel like I should force myself. Sometimes that works. Tonight, it bombed miserably.

 

But I don’t need to beat myself up too much. It sucked but it also helped clarify things. It was awkward (from this one woman, almost hostile) and I was clearly interrupting their night out. I shouldn’t have done that but even accounting for that, it helped me figure out where I stand and where I want to stand. It turns out that I stand well outside that circle and it turns out that I’m OK with that, and don’t really have a desire to reach out and try to join it. I thought I did before tonight but now I really don’t. The insecure part of me still wants to know why I’m not in the circle. The rest of me, which is what I’m trying to strengthen, knows that it doesn’t really matter. My circles are strong and fulfill me. I don’t have to be part of every circle.

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July 18, 2013

Oh, those hormones

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:35 pm by Erin

So I was watching Call the Midwife with all these new little babies. Then I looked up and saw a beautiful black-and-white baby picture of E that’s on our mantle. And then I started crying.

I get another chance at this. I am the luckiest woman in the world. I can’t believe I get to do this again.

10w tomorrow.

July 17, 2013

After my last post

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:31 pm by Erin

I e-mailed the family member in question to say that I was sorry about what had happened, that we hadn’t been made aware of it earlier or it wouldn’t have taken me so long to write, and that we are glad he’s OK. He e-mailed back to say that it was really horrible but that he’s at peace about it now.

Would that he would tell my MIL…

July 15, 2013

Just need to write

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:56 pm by Erin

So, I’ve been pretty upset by the Trayvon Martin case. Most of the people I know have been as well. When Zimmerman was acquitted the other night, I posted that I didn’t understand how it could happen and one emotion I feel is that I fear for other black children who may be killed walking home from stores because there’s apparently no consequences. I’m the mother of a black son. It’s not like I didn’t know that he will be viewed as more dangerous than his white brother when they’re in similar situations, but I was still hoping that the justice system wasn’t so flawed that a man could get away with stalking and killing an unarmed young black man who was doing nothing more suspicious than talking on a cell phone while walking home one night. But apparently being black is not only enough to be suspicious, it’s enough to make you such a threat to the armed man stalking you that he’s within his rights to kill you and then claim it was self-defense.

Then I got an e-mail from my MIL. Over a year ago, a white family member of hers (whose relationship I won’t explain here, because most of you know me on FB and might see who it is) was mugged by two black men. It was, legitimately, an awful and painful and terrifying experience for this family member. The police in his area didn’t really investigate much and my MIL is justifiably upset about the way it was handled. However, the e-mail she sent basically said that I was a lousy person for feeling that the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case was wrong without also expressing that this white family member had been a victim of this crime at the hands of black men. Also, I should have called the family member to tell him how horrible it was. (For the record, J and I didn’t know it happened until she sent this e-mail because the family member didn’t choose to share it with us. My MIL claims she told us. I have a hard time believing that BOTH J and I forgot something like that had happened, but she’s just convinced we’re awful people at this point.) She said that racism happens on both sides and that both sides need to take responsibility for it. And that she was a social worker for many years, so she was qualified to express her opinion.

Since she copied J on the e-mail, I insisted that the response come from him and that we both needed to agree on what it said. He and I talked about it for a while. I mostly wrote the response and said that we agreed that what had happened to the family member was awful. I tried to, without being obvious, make it clear that we didn’t really see the same comparisons but that I believed that it must be in the hope that the assaulters in both cases would be arrested, given a trial, and imprisoned for their wrongdoings. That we lamented the lack of justice in Trayvon’s case while still hoping that it might be served for this family member’s case.

Her response was that they basically felt it was more ethically and morally wrong for the family member’s attackers to be out with a loaded gun than someone out on a neighborhood watch. I thought about responding to ask if she was saying that it was OK for Zimmerman to racially profile Trayvon Martin in Florida because this family member had been attacked by two black men in another state? I suspect that’s exactly what she was saying. She also wanted to know where was the outrage and press and police coverage for this family member. Never mind that a) this family member is still alive, which is a pretty huge difference, and b) it was Trayvon’s family who pushed for the public outcry against the failed police investigation in that case. She not only didn’t push for media coverage or police responsibility, she didn’t even tell us (not that she’d admit it).

I’m not responding and neither is J. His parents have always been borderline racist—not that I’m sure there’s a border, so I should probably just call them racist. My MIL once told J not to date anyone who was Jewish or black (it must burn her a little to have a Jewish DIL and Jewish grandkids, one of whom is black). J says they’ve never had friends who were minorities—and since J’s mom was a social worker for years (the ones of a certain ethnic refugee population who were always “those people” anytime she talked about them), she was in a position in which many of her co-workers were themselves minorities. Ideal situation to have friends of other races! But apparently not. They expressed racist concerns when we wanted to adopt K. They firmly believe affirmative action is a crock. And on and on. My FIL is worse but he knows my attitudes on these things and chooses not to address them with me, which is fine.

I asked J what I was supposed to say and he said I’m apparently not recognizing my MIL’s victimhood in this. That we’re not be sufficiently sorrowful that she had to deal with this. That this is pretty much her MO—everything is about her and we should clearly recognize it and beg her forgiveness, and try to get word out to the press that this happened (this was all tongue-in-cheek, of course).

I should know this about her by now. It’s always that she, the white Christian woman, is the victim. She was the victim of us being lousy parents to her grandkids at Thanksgiving, because our kids don’t Skype to her each week even though they do with my parents. (My parents set aside that time specifically for that purpose, showing us that they value us and our kids, while J’s parents always tell us “Oh, we don’t know where we’ll be, so just try us and we’ll call back if we’re not around.” Which they’re usually not.) That our kids didn’t even know that they paid for the kids to do soccer that fall (even though we’d made sure the kids said thank you to them when the check arrived). That we don’t spend as much time with them as we do with my parents (because my parents make the trip down here several times a year, while J’s parents—who are both retired and have plenty of money in the bank—do not). That they would rather have longer trips filled with quality time with our kids than shorter trips (so we said “Hey, come down again for spring break—the kids LOVED having you do that a couple of years ago and it would really help us since we have to work.” They said “Sure!” Until it was close to spring break, when they said “We’re just going to come in the summer,” thereby making it BY THEIR CHOICE seven months between times that they’d seen the kids. Who they Skyped with twice in that time.).

Who, the day after putting this whole guilt-trip on us about how we’re such lousy parents at making sure our kids know their grandparents, chose to spend their last day here watching a college football game. Our kids do not follow football. This was not an activity in which they wanted to share, nor did they—the boys went to a friend’s house with J’s and my blessing. But my ILs want “quality time”.

J blows it off—to him, his mom is just being her normal self. I didn’t grow up dealing with this and so I tend to take it to heart when a grandmother is crying about how she doesn’t get to see her grandkids enough. It threw me the next day when they spent 4 hours of their last day watching a football game for which their grandkids couldn’t have cared less. I hadn’t realized how much she is the victim. How much she needs that. And quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to deal with that. I have 3 1/4 kids and a husband who are the center of my world. My energy goes to them first and always.

I told J that I’m going to bow out of conversations with my ILs for a while until this has had some time. It will never blow over, because I can’t forget her attitude in this instance (how can I forget that someday my son may be in the situation of Trayvon Martin and that his grandmother thinks it’s OK?), but they are my husband’s family. We have a future relationship by necessity that I am not willing to throw away based on her need to be a victim. I told J that he is welcome to tell his parents that I recognize there is nothing I can say that will make them see the different situations here or make them change their minds, so I’m choosing not to engage in it further for the sake of our relationship. If they choose to pursue it, though, I WILL tell them exactly what’s on my mind. I don’t think they will. I hope they won’t because I’m just not diplomatic enough to be able to talk to them about this in such a way that we’ll have any kind of cordial relationship in the future.

July 13, 2013

I have been spoiled

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:25 pm by Erin

Y’all, I didn’t know it until recently. I was spoiled in my first two successful pregnancies. I had very little nausea with P’s pregnancy—some food aversions, sure, but nothing really bad. In E’s pregnancy, I was definitely more nauseated. I couldn’t drink plain water and the food aversions were far more plentiful. But as long as I was careful, I didn’t feel too sick. No vomiting with either one of them.

This one. This one is already rough. I haven’t yet gotten sick physically but since I spent 20 minutes heaving earlier, I don’t think it’s far off. I spend most of each day curled up in a ball, wishing the queasiness would go away, trying to remind myself that there are studies showing that more nausea is correlated to a better pregnancy outcome. I keep telling myself that it should peak pretty soon, that there’s only a few more weeks to the end of the 1T and then hopefully it will start to go away—and then I curl up into a smaller ball and moan about the idea of several more weeks of this.

It generally starts at about 10 a.m. and lasts until 8 p.m. or so. If I don’t eat something substantial around 9 p.m., I wake up feeling sick in the morning. A bowl of Cheerios in milk is the worst breakfast in the world (which sucks since that was what I ate probably 5 days a week beforehand) and will have me feeling horrible in minutes. I also like Kashi waffles but eating them is like throwing them into a void—I can’t even tell that I’ve eaten anything within 30 minutes of finishing. The idea of eggs—uh, no. I’m stuck with oatmeal. Dinners are worse, though, because I’ve been feeling so lousy all day that the idea of cooking is usually horrible.

My kids are spending a LOT of time on screens (computer, TV) this summer because a) it’s rained every single day, and b) I’ve been feeling increasingly crappy over the last 3 weeks and have almost no energy or will to do much. I seem to get about 1 good day a week. I had one yesterday and took them to both the park and library, which were good choices. I haven’t run in almost a week. I was really hoping to keep up with it as much as possible but with the way I’m feeling, I can’t do it. Maybe I’ll get back to it soon.

A few more weeks. I can do it. Mostly ’cause there’s no other choice.

July 11, 2013

Thump thump thump thump thump

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:10 pm by Erin

The healthy, healthy baby heartbeat we heard at the u/s today (I wrangled an earlier appt after they tried to schedule it for NEXT Friday). One little one measuring 8w6d, which fits perfectly with where I thought I was. By dates, I was 9w1d but I knew I was ovulating around d16/17.

Due Valentine’s Day 2014.

I ran into someone I knew there and had to ask them to PLEASE not say anything on FB before we do. It’ll still be another month or so before we tell our families and of course I won’t post about it on there before they all know. I’m starting to get excited. This little 2cm baby sounded so healthy and strong. We brought E to the appt with us but left the boys with friends. She has no idea what’s going on, anyway, so it’s not like she’ll start telling everyone. Of course,E patted my stomach and said “E***’s baby brudda” about a week after my last period, so maybe I shouldn’t doubt her so much. I mentioned it to J again and said that I didn’t have any strong feelings about whether this one was a boy or a girl, while I’d had strong feelings from the beginning with both P and E. I said “I guess I shouldn’t doubt her—she knew before I even got pregnant!” and he pointed out that, as she only has brothers, she has no idea what the word “sister” is in relation to herself anyway. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. We have two fantastic boys and an equally fantastic girl. We’re incredibly lucky either way.

July 9, 2013

NBHHY

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:07 pm by Erin

My appointment was very routine, just bloodwork and an exam. My u/s will be on Friday because we couldn’t wait around 5 hours for them to fit me in today. (A friend was watching the kids and J has to work later, so I would have had to take them with me. Clearly THAT’S not going to happen.) The midwife did an internal exam and said “Yes, your uterus is enlarged. There’s a bean in there.” Thanks, that doesn’t really reassure me. I want to know if said “bean” is alive and developing on target! She felt it would be too early to hear the heartbeat with the doppler and didn’t want to make me worry more if she couldn’t hear it, which I suspected would be the case but I was still hoping.

I slept fine last night but woke up in a panic this morning. It was disconcerting—the pounding heart, the shortness of breath, the shaking. I was so scared. I’d mostly calmed down by the time we actually got there and my pulse and BP were pretty much normal. I’m trying so hard to stay calm but there are too many years of IF history for me to be truly laid-back about this.

July 8, 2013

Tomorrow is D-day

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:04 pm by Erin

That’s how I feel, anyway. Tomorrow we will find out if this little one is OK and approximately when to expect him/her, should all go well. My appt is at 8:30 a.m. and J is coming with me. A good friend will be watching the kids—one of the two that I’ve told, so she knows why J will be there. I’m not sure if they’ll send me over to the u/s place tomorrow morning (I hope, I hope) or if I’ll have to make a separate appt (please no).

 

I’m nervous.

July 3, 2013

Six days…

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:06 am by Erin

My appointment with my midwives is in 6 days. I’ve been told that I’ll probably be sent over to the ultrasound place right from there so that they can do a u/s and date where I am. By dates, I’m 8 weeks today. I think I’m closer to 7 based on when I actually started feeling symptoms, but I guess we’ll see in a week. I’m definitely “puffier” than I was at this point with either of my successful pregnancies. I’m utterly exhausted much of the time. I’m dealing with a lot of nausea, which is likely a combination of pregnancy and adjusting to Metformin again. Can’t drink plain water, like my pregnancy with E—fortunately, I went strawberry picking a few weeks ago and froze over a gallon of thinly-sliced strawberries, so I throw a bunch of them in each time I refill my water bottle (I always have one in the fridge, infusing with strawberry, while I’m drinking the other one). I’m considering how to wean E because I’m so sore when she nurses, plus the idea of tandem nursing doesn’t really appeal to me. I wouldn’t mind having a few months of having my boobs to myself before starting to nurse another one. At the same time, my cynicism says “What if I wean her and then miscarry, and I’ve weaned her for nothing?” On the other hand, she is almost 2 1/2—she’s had a pretty good run with this and even though the Metformin doesn’t seem to be making her sick like it did with P, it would be OK to be finished. But then I think that she really enjoys it,  and we really only nurse when she wakes up and goes to bed, so why not keep going for a while? Eh, I’ll keep thinking about it. Maybe she’ll decide she’s done soon. I’ve heard that a fair number of kids do that when the milk changes during pregnancy.

We were at a family reunion over the weekend. It was a really great weekend and we had a lot of fun. It wasn’t even challenging not to drink, since there were so many people and so many options. Not throwing up was a challenge, but not drinking was easy. It took a huge toll on my energy, though. J ended up driving 9 of the 10 1/2 hours home. Yesterday, the fact that I managed to run (more of a 3.3-mile slow plod, really), grocery shop with all three kids, and cook dinner last night was nothing short of a miracle. I have no intention of doing that again today. Today’s for replacing a light fixture in the kids’ bathroom and vacuuming before my brother gets here tonight.

There are times when I’m not sure how I’m going to manage to have four kids. We’ve wanted four kids since before we were married, but giving birth to this last one wasn’t in the plans. The 7+ year spread between P and E seems huge. There’s going to be a 10+ year spread between P and this newest one. I gave birth to P when I was 25. If all goes well, I’ll give birth to this one when I’m 36. I don’t know where we’re going to put this one, and especially don’t know what I’ll do if this one (like E) won’t sleep in a crib. We had a guest bed when E was a baby, so I could co-sleep on that. Now, that room is E’s and we have a twin mattress in there. Our bed is a waterbed, so I can’t co-sleep on it. We got rid of our glider rocker. I got rid of every one of my maternity clothes and almost all of our newborn baby clothes (boy and girl). We still have some of our bigger things, like the crib and high chair, but another newborn really wasn’t in the plan. At times, it makes me feel exhausted to think about having to go through all the newborn stages again.

And then, oh the guilt!

We tried for so long to get pregnant with P, then even longer with E (if you include the time on both sides of K’s adoption, it was over 5 years before achieving E’s successful pregnancy). How can I possibly be at all upset that I managed to get pregnant this time without any of that? Without a single doctor’s visit! Without wands or medicines or tests! In the privacy of our own home!

But I kind of am. I’ll get through it, I know I will. It’s exciting that, if all goes well, we’ll get to celebrate the arrival of another family member in February. I’m just trying to readjust my plans. In my mind, we waited another year or two and then adopted another older girl between the ages of K and E—preferably from Ethiopia but we were open to other options to ensure an ethical adoption, given Ethiopia’s current corruption problems. E was going to be the youngest and so every stage with her was the last time I’d experience it, and I was OK with that. I was particularly OK with the fact that E is potty-trained for days (and almost at night) and YAY, no more diapers!!! Since we would adopt older, we would never have to travel with multiple giant carseats when flying to visit my ILs. (I actually have no idea how that’s going to work—two Britaxes and four kids to manage in an airport?!) We’d put bunk beds into E’s room for she and her sister to share a room.

Now? It’s all muddled, and I’m not a person who deals easily with changing plans midstream. It seems so ridiculous and selfish and ungrateful, and I know it is. I was looking forward to running a half-marathon with a friend later this year—that’s going to have to wait, and the idea of going back to being a lump and out-of-shape isn’t one that I like. All of our friends are done having babies; in fact, most of them were done before we had E, so they’ve moved on past this infant stage. This year is going to be a tough year professionally anyway—I’m up for tenure (not sure how wanting to be out for 3 months as they’re making that decision will work), my department chair just left and our interim one really needed a smooth year (this is going to dramatically ruffle her year since she and I are the only ones who teach certain bio classes; her schedule is reduced with her new responsibilities, putting more of the burden on me), J’s law practice is not going well, etc. Now we’re adjusting to this new reality. It will be great, it really will. It’s just a big change in mindset. I hate feeling this way. I want to just be thrilled and excited, and those thoughts ARE in there, but there are all these others also. I just need to work through this period of rearranging my vision of the future.