Category Archives: blogtherapy

safe harbor

I wrote on our other blog yesterday about our homesickness, that being in the hospital for a month is just plain rough on a family, and we’re missing our lives–what they used to be, what they should be. I have to tell you, though, I’m missing my old blog home too. It’s challenging writing for a new audience. I know many of you are out there reading, but so are our family, strangers who are supporting us, even our son’s care providers. We’re so exposed in so many ways there, and yet I also feel this funny need to protect people from the harsh reality of what we’re experiencing sometimes. Does that make sense? I don’t know if it does. I guess I just miss how free I feel here.

Over the past couple of days, there has been a family here in the process of losing their newborn baby. It has been heartbreaking. When I came back this  morning from staying at the house provided for families, her room was empty. She was gone. Another couple just had a new baby while their toddler undergoes treatment. Brand new baby and recovering mom are all both now in the room with the boy battling  cancer. The cycle of life here in this place is so strange, and so many things just aren’t right. Parents here all share the same types of expressions. You know when someone has had a rough sit-down with a doctor, when a child is having an easier day, when a parent has been here alone for far too long. It’s a surreal place, this floor, one where people get a lot of earth-shattering news. But it’s also a place where people reclaim their children, where lives are saved, where families are reborn. I want to be on the other side of that. Honestly, I haven’t taken much comfort in talking with other parents. I don’t necessarily want to. Their stories are hard to process. It’s hard to accept that some kids don’t make it, that some don’t have what they need from their families, that some cruise through everything and are just fine in the space of a few weeks or months. I don’t know how to deal with these stories when I can hardly grasp our own. But I don’t have a choice. The sounds of kids crying through the walls, the family members coming to say goodbye to that baby, even the cheers for the kids who are progressing beyond these walls to a life of remission–these are all a part of my existence now. I don’t get to filter them out, and I don’t get to filter out the reminders that we’re in a pediatric oncology ward, and that our lives are forever altered by this.

I don’t know why I feel like I can share all of this with all of you more easily than with the rest of the world. These aren’t epic, personal breakthroughs or rants. I suppose we’ve all just held each other up through so many hard times without any sort of judgment that it feels safe here to be whoever I need to be in the moment–even if it’s a swearing, bitter, frustrated, devastated mom. So I guess I want to thank you guys, and also confirm for myself that I’m not going anywhere, that I still need this space, that I still need to be T from Reproducing Genius (And if you know me in real life, outside of these pages, I hope you’ll help me keep it this way). As hard as it is to navigate new waters while continuing to swim in my old pond, it’s something I’ve just got to do. What harm is there, really, in doing more writing, anyway?

 

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the sick + an announcement

Oh, my. The first cold of the schoolyear has hit our home. First BG got it; then my wife was bowled over by it. I am still fighting it hard, but am pretty terrified that I’ll have it next. It’s been a rough couple of days thus far. Whereas normally I have the boy until my wife comes home and I go to work, now, because she is so sick, she is staying home and locked up in our room, and I’m on BG duty all day until he goes to bed. Then I go to work for four hours or so. It’s brutal right now. I’m so damn tired.

Today I had a break for an hour and a half when I went to our therapy appointment alone. An hour and a half has never been quite so rejuvenating. I’ve never enjoyed traffic quite so much as I did today. It was actually nice to have an appointment to myself too. I adore our therapist. Today she had me meditating. Lovely. In all honesty, as much as I like our therapist and feel good about this work, I probably would have felt the same about going to the dentist today.

—————–

On another (and far more exciting) note entirely, the blog carnival yesterday generated so much interest that we have decided to make this a weekly event in our queer TTC/pregnancy/parenting blog community. We have put together a blog specifically for organizing the weekly carnival. If you’re interested, you can access it at the Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival blog.  There is no long-term commitment required. Just join in on the weeks you are interested. Instructions will be on the blog. Next Monday’s theme is donor sperm.

Thank you all, by the way, for your kind and supportive comments on my post yesterday. It took a lot to pull that out of myself, and it’s certainly rough to process such personal revelations publicly. On the other hand, it’s freeing to share in this, and the community spirit around this event has been utterly refreshing. So good for us, and hooray for blogtherapy too!

 

Now, I’m off to swallow some vitamins, treat myself with zi.cam, and get myself a few hours of sleep.

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Filed under blog carnival, blogtherapy, sick

the world is too much with us

I think we need to escape to some mountain hideaway.

Today we ventured out to return a gift I received and then to go to Cos.tco. We thought it would be just fine, since I had planned to wear the baby in a wrap, and because we knew there would be ample locations to feed and change him. The day went really well. I wore the baby in the department store, and when I went to try on the clothes I was getting in exchange for the gift, J held the baby, and then I fed him, and we changed him all there in the fitting room. I have become a big fan of fitting rooms.

We then ventured on to Cos.tco, and we were both nervous. It’s a place that stresses J and I out. The parking lot stresses us out. The countless people making beelines to the sample carts stress us out. The people who are obliviously speaking on their cell phones and nearly running us over with their mammoth shopping carts stress us out. It’s always an exhausting situation for us, but we were determined to go in with zen attitudes, get our necessary items, and get the hell out.

And we did amazingly well with that too. Baby Genius woke up toward the end of our time in the store, and he charmed the socks off of countless employees and patrons with his cuteness as he was nestled in his wrap. When we left, I nursed him again in the car, changed him again, and we were on our way home, patting ourselves on the backs. We had thirty minutes to drive though, and within five minutes, BG started melting down. We kept the screams at bay with a loud Jack Johnson sing-along, but soon I had to pull over, and J had to get in the back seat to help BG calm down. It took a few minutes, but ultimately, it worked well, and by the time we got home, Baby Genius was ready to eat, but he wasn’t miserable. After I fed him, and he fell asleep, I attempted to put him down, and then the crying began in earnest. This was around 3:30. For the next three and  a half hours, he fell asleep three more times only to wake up crying when we tried to put him down. The boy was exhausted and overwhelmed. We were exhausted too. It was hard.

I know that to some of you this sounds like a piece of cake. Believe me, I’ve cared for much more fussy babies, so I know that we’ve got a relatively easy-going boy on our hands, but this was out of character for our son. We have had this need lately to get out, to be a part of the world, to have experiences, so we’ve been going out almost every day to do something, whether that’s going for a walk, going to farmer’s market, doing some shopping, etc. It has done  us some good, but we both began to realize that it has all been a bit much for our son and that we’ve got to dial it back a bit. Lesson learned. We don’t want to overwhelm our boy just so that we can entertain ourselves. That isn’t fair to him.

The thing is, our son is not the only person in our family who is overwhelmed by outside influences these days. J and I have been struggling lately to stay afloat in our relationship. When we went to visit my family and stayed at my parents’ house, we suffered some trauma. My step-dad pulled some weird shit. The first day and a half we were there, he was great, and he held the baby and doted on him tons, but then when my sixteen-month-old niece spent the night (because my sister selfishly decided this would be a good time for her to have a party night), he decided to ignore the baby (he even said, “He has to learn to be a man somehow,” after refusing to hold him), take cheap shots at us, and then ignore us too. It was a whole lot of bullshit that caused a whole lot of strife, and it led J to never want to be around him again. It’s all so complicated, and there is so much more to this, but for several days we were a disaster. My mom was a mess and was placing the blame not just on her husband but J too. It was such a strain trying to talk to her. And then she came to visit again, all too soon, which was even more of a mess. Because my family refuses to talk about issues, and because my step-dad is often emotionally crippled and unwilling to acknowledge when he’s hurt people’s feelings, we are sort of left to our own devices to sort things like this out. It seems that things with J and my mom are smoothed over, but we’re still struggling with the aftermath in our household. We’re trying to make compromises about our visits to see them, but it’s not been easy, not at all.

Through all of this, though, we realized that even though we have been home, we haven’t taken that opportunity to cocoon ourselves as a new family, to work on strengthening ourselves before facing the world, and that world includes extended family. My family seems to have bled all over us once again, and J and I, the only emotionally mature people in the family, are left to clean it all up. I’m not one to cut family out of my life, but I also don’t want us to endure this sort of pain as a family again. I want to be able to protect us from my step-dad’s moodiness or my mom’s overbearing need to control, control, control. I love my parents–I really do–but they’re wreaking havoc on my wife and I, and on our son by proxy.

This year, we have two more visits planned, both holiday-related. Fortunately, my brother and his wife will be there with us one night, helping to distract and deflect. The next day is a huge family reunion Thanksgiving and my grandmother’s house, so we have lots of people we haven’t seen in a long time to help insulate us too. The following day, we’ll get up extraordinarily early in the morning and drive home to avoid any potential alone time with my step-dad. The visit after that will be for Christmas, but Christmas about twelve days early since the whole family is going on a cruise for the holiday, and we’re staying behind. We will likely stay one night at my brother’s house–which is half-way between here and my parents’ place–and one night at the parents’ place, again in an effort to avoid too much alone time or over-staying our welcome with my step-father. These are the sorts of compromises that we have been working on for two weeks now.

And after that? After that, and all of the days in between, we’re cocooning ourselves. Sure we’ll go on some family outings just the three of us, but we learned this week not to overdo it with those. As far as family visits go, however, we’ll be staying home for a good long time, isolating ourselves from their drama as much as possible, learning to be a family, and so on. J and I need this, or we’re going to fall apart.

Few people ever talk about just how hard having a baby is with regard to relationships–relationships between the new parents, between the new parents and the new grandparents, between the new parents and their old friends–but it’s all fucking hard, and I have so few words to describe the hurricane that is my life right now. I always knew having a baby would change things. I guess I didn’t know it would change things this much.

1285 words, and I still haven’t come close to explaining what this has really been like for me, for us, but I’ll keep trying. You know I will.

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Filed under Baby Genius, blogtherapy, family

it’s a small world

Thank you for all the reassurance and the really great questions. I’ll be getting to those gradually over the next couple of weeks. I’m so excited to have some writing inspiration!

I know it’s perfectly normal to blog much less once the baby comes; I think I just miss it, and yet I also miss having much to write about. Honestly, I’m just experiencing a bit of a creative block overall. Our lives have gotten so tiny these days. For instance, today consisted of feeding the baby, trying to get him to nap (unsuccessfully), feeding him again, watching him smile, feeding him, watching him fight sleep, trying to fit in some work, feeding him, and watching an episode of Pro.ject R.unway that we missed last week. There are so many days when I come to the end of the day and wonder where it went and what I did. It’s such a strange feeling.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind at all that my world is suddenly so small. In fact, it’s really rather beautiful. There is nothing so precious as taking a midday nap snuggled up with my son while my wife reads, nothing quite so fulfilling as watching our boy get so excited over something as small as the shadows from the light fixture in his room or the elephants hanging above his changing table. I find myself at the end of the day reflecting on the smiles I’ve seen and replaying the songs we have made up to make him smile or sleep or stop crying. I can’t believe we get to have this life. Neither J nor I can believe that they let us bring this baby home and that we get to keep him forever. And sometimes I just need to remember all of this.

J and I are accustomed to being really busy. Normally during the fall, we’re teaching multiple classes, spending whole days grading papers, commuting, attending meetings, and generally feeling stressed out. We rarely see one another, and we rarely have time to stop and breathe. And during the last two autumns, we were going through the rigors of TTC to boot. So it’s not just having a baby that makes everything feel so different right now; it’s nearly everything. And I think that I may be having trouble writing about it all because it’s unfamiliar, as great as so much of it is, and it surprises me.

Anyway, I’m so grateful for all of your comments, for your perspectives on writing about life with a new baby, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of that with you and finding my voice as a blogger who happens to be a mom. I’m also really looking forward to jumping into these questions (although I think I’ve started to answer oneofhismoms’ question), so look for the first of those in the next couple of days (and if you have others, feel free to leave them).

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Filed under blogtherapy, life

emerging from the cave

…just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good.      –from Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave

I seem to be making my way out into the light these days. I spent so much time last week writing the birth story that I neglected to write what was happening in the moment. There was a lot of good, but I have been having a hard time with the dreaded baby blues. A few days after we came home, it started. I had these crying jags throughout the day. Anxiety would set in after I got up in the morning and would revisit me a few times each day. I couldn’t laugh, could hardly smile, and I was getting scared.

Some of this has been linked to missing my pregnancy–mourning it even. I loved being pregnant, even when it got hard. It was the best I’ve felt in my life, as though I had finally found the right skin. Then, suddenly, I was no longer pregnant, and even though I had the fruits of that pregnancy in my arms, I no longer felt like I was in that right skin. Hell, I didn’t recognize my body at all. It doesn’t resemble the body I had before I was pregnant because I’m much thinner, and it certainly doesn’t resemble my pregnant body. It just felt foreign. I found myself touching my belly only to burst into tears because my big, taut, pregnant belly was no longer there. It was sad. I worried my wife. I worried myself. Was I becoming obsessive? Probably.

I’m finally finding the other side of that though. We have had visitors this week, and we’ve had some outings, and I’m beginning to feel a little more controlled, even, and normal–and I don’t cry when I think about my pregnancy. I think I became transfixed with the act of becoming. I was becoming a mother. The wee one inside of me was becoming a person, but like the poor prisoners in Plato’s cave, I was only seeing shadows of what was to be. After Baby Genius’ birth, I was suddenly thrust into that glaring sunlight. I went from becoming a mother to being a mother, and I wanted to go back. But as we all know, there is no placing a baby back into one’s belly as much as we wish we could. Once they’re on the outside, they’re there to stay, and coping with the reality of that can be more than a little overwhelming. I’m giving myself a break now, and I’m accepting that while this being business is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be, it’s also pretty damn rewarding in itself. It is a skin that can fit me just as well.

Life with a Baby Genius is, in a word, beautiful. We have certainly had our challenges, but he really has been a great baby thus far. After our first few painful days of breastfeeding, he’s now a pro at latching on, and we’ve managed to engage in some pretty advanced breastfeeding maneuvers, like walking while feeding, nursing in public, and more. We’re even starting to get the hang of the side-lying hold. He eats with such vigor and enthusiasm, and he sometimes makes this little growling noise as he latches on. When he’s finished, he pops off, coos, and then throws his arms behind his head and basks in his milk-drunkedness with a half smile on his face. Sometimes I expect him to pat his belly. I love nursing this baby, and even though there are moments when I wish I could eat dinner uninterrupted or sleep a few more hours or finish typing with two hands, I find myself looking forward to our nursing sessions and getting to stare at his cherubic little face.

We’re also beginning to work out some semblance of a nighttime routine. BG usually wakes up twice to be fed, and while he feeds for a good long time, he also tends to give me a good stretch of sleep in between. We just stay in bed and nurse. J fetches diapers so that we can change him, feed him, reswaddle him, and put him back in his basket. Last night was an exception though. He wanted to eat every hour and a half. I hope this doesn’t become the new normal, but if it does, we’ll cope.

Figuring things out does help with feeling more normal, as does doing a few grownup things. My parents came to visit yesterday, and they treated us to lunch–by ourselves. J and I got to go on a lunch date while the grandparents watched the baby. It was wonderful. We took ourselves to our favorite pub where I was able to have a Guinness for the first time in, well, ten months. We held hands and talked about the future, and we both felt like we were seeing the world with new eyes. I suppose we are.

We also had a dear, dear friend come to visit the other day. She’s been out of the country for six years, and we haven’t seen her in four, so to have a visit with her and to be able to introduce her to our son was just lovely. Because we still have only a couple of friends in this town, we haven’t had the stream of visitors that many do upon having a baby. In fact, it’s been downright lonely at times. Having someone here who has known J and I for so long, who knew how badly we wanted a baby even eight or nine years ago, was such good medicine. We went to a winery and our favorite farm, and then we had a picnic–BG’s first! Our friend cried as she held Baby Genius; she photographed him copiously; she celebrated this new existence we have. It was so special. We need a lot more of that.

All of these little things are helping me come out of those murky shadows I was living amongst for the last couple of weeks, and I’m relieved to be returning to the world. I’m recovering physically (although my poor girly bits still smart from time to time), and I’m starting to see that I’ve got a new body to work on firming up. That’s going to be fun. Tomorrow, I return to work, which simply means I spend a few hours a day on the computer here at home, but it also means mental stimulus, a bit more routine, a bit more normal.

I always knew that having a newborn was going to be hard. I guess I just didn’t know which parts would be the hardest. Surprisingly, it’s not the caring for him or the lack of sleep; it’s not even learning to be a family of three instead of a couple. No, I think I’ve been the obstacle, the hurdle to clear, and that is something for which no book or class can prepare oneself. Now that I’ve figured this out, I’m ready to go on with enjoying my baby, my beautiful little family. I’m ready to emerge as a mom.

After signing C's birth certificate.

After signing C's birth certificate.

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Filed under Baby Genius, blogtherapy, post partum

a reluctant juggler

I’m getting a good taste this week of some serious multi-tasking. There is a class that I have been offered for next January, one that I will get to teach online for the community college with which I am currently affiliated. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and it’s an exciting endeavor. It may mean that I’ll have the teensiest bit of job stability at this college (in that I might get one of these online classes each semester), and it will mean that I can teach from home on my own schedule when Egghead is here. It’s a good deal.

What isn’t such a great deal is that I have put off planning this thing until now. My due date to submit the course for approval is August 31st, and I am in panic mode. So what do I do to get the ball rolling? I sit down to blog. Yes, that’s me: the ultimate procrastinator. Honestly, I’ve planned this very class for in-person classes dozens of times. I’ve taught many sections of this class, and I have used online components, so I really just have to make that final leap, but I can’t get my head there. I don’t want to be an academic right now. I want to be the flighty, forgetful, full-of-excitement mom-to-be that I am, and this task keeps pulling me away from all that. Egghead’s giant knee poking out of the upper portion of my belly doesn’t help me stay focused. It just doesn’t. I guess I’m learning the earliest and most gentle of lessons about what life is going to be like as an academic mom.

Can I tell you a secret? I don’t really like it.

I’m far more interested in Egghead’s newest diaper covers than I am in helping young college students find their academic voices. I would far rather read about breastfeeding and swaddling than the latest best practices on teaching grammar. Is this how I’m going to be from now on? Am I really losing sight of my career already? I don’t know–I think I’m just caught up in the excitement of being a new parent, and I’m honestly burnt out on teaching the same thing year after year. But that is nothing new. I’ve been burnt out on this for awhile.

So today I’m juggling. I’m still working at another online educational support job, and that has picked up this month to six hours a day. On top of that, I’ve got to get this class finished (and familiarize myself enough with the technology I’m to use in order to make it work), and on top of that, we’ve got birth class to attend, a hospital to tour, a car to get in working order, and my wife’s birthday this week–and my sister is coming for a quick visit this weekend. Need I even say that I’m a smidge overwhelmed? Is it really a surprise that all I want to do is float around in the pool and then sit in the shade with a good novel or go for a picnic with my lovely wife?

Alas, it’s back to the juggling I go.

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Filed under blogtherapy, Egghead, teaching

feline fury

We’re having some trouble with our cats, and it’s causing unneeded stress in our home–even arguments between J and I. Mostly, we’re having trouble with one cat, and we’re a little beside ourselves.

772

This is Cleo of belly-lovin’ fame. She’s been my close companion for ten years now, and she’s one of the most sensitive felines I’ve known. Unfortunately, her sensitivity can lead to some very undesirable behavior. Cleo is a binge-eater. She eats and eats and eats and then vomits. She does this when she feels she doesn’t have regular enough access to food. This means that if we feed on a schedule, she gobbles it up in seconds and then it’s back up again in moments. Because we have a baby on the way, and because we had noticed that when free feeders are out, she tends to moderate better, we decided that we’d just start feeding the cats via free feeders all the time and give up on trying to control their portions. This has been working for awhile, but then Cleo decided that with all the changes in the house, she’d like to start going outside. Enter food panic.

Now, when Cleo has been outside for any period of time, and especially if we’ve been gone, she comes in, eats as much as she can as fast as she can, and then–you guessed it–brings it right back up. Last night, when we came home late, she did this three times, even though we tried to distract her, remove her from the food area, etc. She’s so sneaky that she very stealthily went over to her dish when we weren’t looking and proceeded to eat very quietly. I think this meant swallowing the food whole. It was a nightmare.

We’re beginning to wonder whether we should let her out, since it brings on such frantic behavior, but it also seems good for her to have some independence (and it’s good for us to get some time away from her).

And then there’s the other issue: the pee. In this apartment, we have to do what I never wanted to do, and that is keep a litter box in our living quarters (before, it was in the garage). It’s in a bathroom, and it’s cleaned by my wife at least once a day. One day, about six months ago, Cleo squatted outside of the bathroom door and peed right in front of me. She has been a peer for some time, and she does this when she’s been slighted. If she can’t come into our bedroom in the morning, and she finds a rug on the bathroom floor, she pees on it. If we have guests that are taking up what she sees as her space, she’ll go into our room and find something on the floor to pee on. Now that we’ve removed rugs and never drop an article of clothing on the floor and have denied any entrance to our bedroom, she goes back to that spot in front of the bathroom. We have poured over a gallon of Na.ture’s M.iracle on the spot, but to no avail. J cleaned the carpets with a steam cleaner last week. The piss odor is still there.

I’m at a loss. We both are. This cat is very dear to both of us. She comes to us when we’re upset, intervenes when we’re having an argument, nuzzles the baby, gives us kisses, and generally protects us from any harm she can. But she’s driving us mad. If we lived where we used to, she would turn into a primarily outside/garage cat with only supervised visits into the house. Here, in a large apartment complex, that simply isn’t possible, and we’re feeling very much at the mercy of this cat. We’ve tried every veterinary and behavioral intervention we can think of, we’re frankly just tired.

Short of finding her a new home, what would you do?

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Filed under blogtherapy, cats

lost in transition

Now that we’re just over two months away from our due date, some panic is setting in. It’s not so much panic that we don’t have everything ready. I know that will happen in its time. In fact, we have just about everything we need for Egghead with the exception of diapers. No, this panic is a bigger one–an overwhelming anxiety about the fact that our lives are suddenly going to change quite dramatically; things for the two of us are never going to be the same again.

I’m not sure why this is coming up so suddenly. It isn’t as though I haven’t thought about this before. Perhaps it’s this refrain we are hearing from new and experienced moms–the “Oh, just wait! It only gets worse!” or “Oh you silly, naive pregnant girl. Enjoy life now because everything you enjoy about it now will soon be gone,” or my new favorite from my sister, “Are you sure you still want to have kids?” Hearing this constant barrage of negativity does tend to focus a person on what one is not going to like about parenting. Whether or not this is actually the source of my anxiety, it certainly doesn’t help.

But I can’t blame the negative nellies entirely. No, there is a fairly real fear that has surfaced that maybe I won’t like that my life has been taken over by a child, that perhaps my transition to motherhood won’t be as natural–or joyful–as I once thought. The thing is, my life isn’t that interesting. I’m not a party girl. I don’t go out much. Mostly J and I enjoy a quiet existence, but I know that too is going to be gone soon. And for so long, the idea that this quiet, simple existence was going to change completely once our child was born has been a welcome thought. It is what we clung to through a year and a half of trying to get pregnant. It’s not that I don’t welcome that change now, but I’m a little petrified of what it might do to my relationship with J or to my own sense of self.

Perhaps this is one of the hazards of having children in one’s mid-thirties or after having been with one’s partner for over a decade. We have had so much time to establish our lives together, and I have had a great deal of time to discern what sort of person I want to be in the world. J and I are closer than ever, but this closeness hasn’t always come easy, and at times, the work to maintain our relationship is downright hard. What is going to happen once Egghead is thrown into the mix? And what of all the work I have done to be a stronger, more successful woman? Will I lose my own aspirations because I’m caring for an infant who doesn’t care what his mothers do for a living so long as he’s loved and fed and has a clean diaper? Will I resent this?

Honestly, I know that J and I will continue to do the necessary work on our relationship, but I know it’s going to take greater efforts too. I know that I’ll want to be a great role model for my son, so in a way, I suppose I’m aware that I’ll continue working toward my personal and professional goals as well–but, again, with greater effort required. So why am I so afraid? Where is this anxiety coming from?

I have to assume that some of this anxiety is normal. If I weren’t thinking about the changes we’re about to undergo, I would be setting myself up for certain shock. If I didn’t anticipate that the changes might be hard, I could be looking at some serious PPD. I think I’m just longing for that happy state of anticipatory glee–wanting to be the naive pregnant girl for even a few hours a day. But that’s not realistic.

Ultimately, change is coming–big, big change. It will most certainly be hard at times. It will most likely make me cry at times and long for my quieter, easier life. But then I also know that this change is going to bring us the greatest joy we’ve ever known. And all of that is what we are in this for–the challenge and thrill of parenting. After all, for J and I, change is not the worst-case scenario; stagnation is–and we all know that stagnation is incompatible with parenthood.

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Filed under blogtherapy, Egghead, us

verrückt

This is the house of crazy. I hate these hormones. I want to feel in control again. I find myself thrown into these fits–either crying or yelling or spouting of nastiness–that I can’t pull myself out of. It’s exhausting, and it’s bad for my relationship, and it’s bad for me.

We’re trying to get ready for this wedding and being out of town for a couple of days. It should be joyous, but I’m finding myself with social anxiety and wondering how I’ll deal with seeing my dad without a glass of wine to take the edge off.

My dad and I have been estranged for awhile. He left my mom for another woman two days after my brother was born. I was three and a half; my brother was two days old. I saw my dad pretty regularly as a child, and he always had these horrible wives. Wife #2, for whom he left my mom, attempted to take me and my infant brother away from my mom simply because she wanted more kids. When he left her, he married Wife #3 with whom he had another son. After this son was born, my brother and I hardly existed. His wife intercepted the child support checks. It was not good. Through my teenage years, we were in a bit more contact as he taught me how to drive, but as I got older, I spoke with him less. He would occasionally come see me, driving the full six hours from his place to mine. He would stay for a couple of cups of coffee and chatting–around an hour usually–and then he would drive the full six hours home.

My dad isn’t exactly sane. He was in Vietnam. His helicopter was shot down, and he was alone in the jungle having to fight off enemy soldiers on his own. He has never recovered from that. He has always been a little off.

A few years ago, Wife #3 was dying, and while she and I had never gotten along well, I went to be with my dad. I sat by her bed with my father and my brother (half brother–the kid of these two–was nowhere to be seen) for a week, waiting for her to pass. I grew closer to my dad than I had ever been. It almost started to feel like I had a dad–a feeling I had never really known.

And then my dad started to take the crazy train again. He met up with a woman from his childhood at the funeral, and he obsessively pursued her. He bought a big Harley and started dating immediately. He wouldn’t clean his house. For the next couple of years, he would call me and complain about the childhood friend not wanting him around. He joined her crazy-ass church. Any time I would see him, he would be looking over my shoulder waiting for her to show up or staring at his phone, waiting for her to call. He never asked or really cared how I was doing, and he was oh so fucking childish. So I just stopped trying. I was tired of being the grown-up in our relationship and so sick of him treating my brother and I like shit when his younger son was offering him no support and yet was still living in his home. It sucked. I finally made the decision one day that I couldn’t talk to him anymore; I couldn’t be his therapist and his relationship counselor when he needed it and then still be without a dad when I needed one. So I stopped returning his emails (for some reason he stopped calling).

It’s been a couple of years since that decision. I’ve seen him once, and he hardly acknowledged me. Now, I occasionally will email him. He’ll sometimes send me these obnoxious Christian forwards or sometimes his even more obnoxious right-wing propaganda forwards, but mostly I don’t hear from him. I know he cares about me, and I know he’s proud of me. I also know that he is more than a little intimidated by me, and that doesn’t help matters. He’s an aging man, though, and he’s alone and sad a lot of the time. Ultimately, he’s my father and I can’t help myself from wanting him to be my honest-to-goodness daddy. That’s not going to happen, which is why this remains so fucking difficult. 

Seeing him at the wedding will be interesting to say the least. I plan to tell him about the pregnancy toward the end of the festivities, and I’m sure he’ll be happy. Despite his right-wing leanings, he’s always been supportive of J and I (he grew up around two out gay couples in the fifties, believe it or not). This will be his first grandchild. J and I have decided that if he wants to be part of the child’s life, great; however, we are already prepared to avoid developing any expectations or even hope. He has always let me down, and I will not allow him to do the same to our child. Still, he’s part of me, and he’ll be part of this baby, and I think the two should know each other. Oof. It’s just a lot to process.

So this brings me back to wishing that I could have a drink, wishing I could rely on those old social lubricants to get me through an already awkward time. Perhaps I’ll have the veil of fatigue to ease the awkwards, or maybe I’ll get really lucky and have crazy hormones to guide me in all the wrong directions. Either way, it’s sure to be a grand time.

Huh. I didn’t know I was going to write about that. Thank the gods for blogtherapy. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

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