Ambivalent

I have been feeling increasingly… ambivalent, lately. This feeling extends to pretty much every part of my life. I am ambivalent about keeping my house in decent shape. I’m ambivalent about doing all the needs be done to ensure I’m prepared for work on Monday. I’m ambivalent about putting in the time and energy with my partner. I’m ambivalent about working on my book, which I’m pretty sure will never be published.

I’m ambivalent about having another baby.

Isa is an amazing girl. Truly, I do believe she is special. People tell me it all the time. Total strangers who meet us at the park assure me that she is a truly unique little girl. She has incredibly energy and a wonderful personality. I feel incredibly blessed to be entrusted with the responsibility of guiding her through this life.

Isa is an amazing girl. She is also incredibly stubborn and strong willed. She wants what she wants when she wants it. Her reactions to disappointment are intense and visceral. She throws herself on the floor. She screams. She hits. She purposefully hurst me. She writhes and twists and makes it impossible to contain her. Her physical strength is astounding; there has been more than one occasion when I’ve been unable to keep her safe from herself, when her head has struck the concrete with brutal force, when she’s given herself bumps or bruises or cuts.

There has been more than one occasion when I’ve totally and completely failed as a mother.

I know that what I’m describing is normal toddler behavior. I know that every mom of a child under four has experienced these things. But the thing is, I NEVER see other kids doing these things. Isa has had so many melt downs in public–at the park, at the grocery store–places with tons of other kids and I NEVER see other kids throwing tantrums like the ones she throws. And Isa throws these kinds of tantrums frequently, every day, many times a day.

Isa is only 1.5 years old. Whenever I admit to other mothers that I feel out of my depth, that this age is much harder than I had anticipated, they assure me that I have no idea what I’m in for, that 2.5 and 3.5 are SO MUCH HARDER. When they say that, something inside me dies. I have a really hard time not crying.

Why do I think I can handle another baby when this one already challenges me so much? Why do I think I can even handle being pregnant when sometimes my own daughter can overpower me? Why do I think I make it work with two when I’m failing so miserably with one?

Isa, losing her shit because she has to wait three minutes for the carousel.

Sometimes, when I come home from a particularly hard afternoon at the park, when Isa has fought putting on her socks, her shoes, her jacket, her hat, getting her diaper changed, not bringing five stuffies with us, going outside, walking down the street, holding my hand, pretty much everything I’ve requested she do, when I’ve failed to keep her head from crashing against the ground–as the eyes of ten parents remain trained, intently, on us–I wonder how I could ever be so foolish as to try to have another baby.

When I feel so defeated at the end of the day that I just want to crawl into a dark hole and never come out, I ask myself, what are you thinking wanting to do this again? How will you ever manage two when you can’t even manage one? 

When Mi.Vida and I get in an argument just because we’re exhausted, because we have nothing left, I implore myself, You will ruin your relationship! Please don’t throw away everything you have!

Because sometimes, a lot of the time, it feels like having another child will be the end of me, the end of this life I’m struggling to keep a hold of as it is, the end of my relationship, my friendships, what little creative freedom I have left.

If I’m struggling this much just to parent one child, how on earth can I ever parent two?

Yeah. I’m feeling pretty ambivalent about it all.

Trying to Conceive When You Already Have

Yesterday I had my first TTC-related panic attack. At least the first one in a while. It came out of nowhere, I don’t remember even thinking about TTC before it happened but suddenly I was drenched in a cold sweat, absolutely sure that our attempts to have another baby would be fraught with struggle and loss. I felt sure I wouldn’t buckle under the weight of whatever was in store.

When I relayed all this to Mi.Vida later that night, during our 10 minute check in, he held me close and assured me that we’d be okay, that we are strong, that we can get through anything.

And besides, we have Isa, as if that were that.

It’s true. We do have Isa. And while I can tell having her means something different for him than it does for me, I wonder how she will change things this time around. What will it be like to try to conceive when I already have. Will it be easier? Harder? Less nerve wracking? More difficult to manage? The truth is I’m not sure, at this point, on the eve of our TTC start date, I can only guess.

In some ways I reckon it will be a better, more positive experience. I want that very much and am going to put a huge amount of effort into assuring that I handle things more positively. Our first attempt at TTC was wrought with anxiety and conflict; it exacted a considerable amount of damage on our relationship, damage we’re just now repairing. Much of the negativity surrounding our first TTC experience originated with me and I intend to do everything I can to approach this situation differently.

I can already feel that some things are different. There is no longer that wild, untamed dread roiling inside me, I am no longer paralyzed by the fear that I will never be a mother. That fear, harbored my entire life, grew exponentially in the years leading up to our attempt at TTC until it became an uncontrollable force, frantic and furious, unyielding, wrecking devastation on my mental health and my relationship. There are few things I’m more ashamed of than the ways in which I let that fear overtake me. I was wholly consumed and what was left of me was only a shell of who I really was, of the woman my partner loved.

That fear is gone and, as you can imagine, the effect is remarkable. Surely this experience will be better if only for that. With that wild, uncontainable beast at bay, I have faith I can manage my trepidation and dominate my doubt.

Yes, being a mother will help my cause greatly, as I assume will the actual act of mothering. My previous months TTC were exacerbated by my irascible impatience. I had been ready to start mothering for years and any further delay was more than I could bare. Now I have a daughter on which to dote and I hope that her presence will serve as a distraction, taming my once irrepressible impatience.

I also must admit that having my daughter has taught me that motherhood is not all rainbows and unicorn flatulence. And while I can’t accurately fathom how challenging caring for two children will be, I’m aware of the fact that it will be exponentially harder than I’m expecting it to be. Reminding myself of the ordeals we are sure to face with two children will probably do as much to temper my impatience as my daughter will be.

Yes, I believe for me, this experience will be different from the first. The fact that I was able to handle pushing our TTC date back by six months without totally losing my mind (as I would have done the first time around) is a testament to how things have changed. With my desperation subjugated and my impatience muted, I hope to weather the storm of TTC with considerably more style and grace. In fact, I hope not to look on it as inclement weather at all.

Of course, not all the pressure is gone. While I am unequivocally a mother, I don’t consider my family complete. I want very much to have two children and I’ll admit there is an age gap I consider desirable. Even if I succeed in evicting these qualifiers from my mind, I will see them all around me. Almost every child that Isa teeters up to at the playground will have a waddling mother in tow. I will be reading of other bloggers completing their families in much the way I hope mine will be completed. Despite my best efforts comparisons will be made, months will be counted, and panic will begin to creep in.

Honestly, the months of timed sex and BBT charts stacking themselves up indefinitely isn’t want sets my teeth on edge – the thing that sends me reeling is contemplating another loss. Because the truth is, losing another pregnancy is something I’m not sure I can handle, at least not with any measure of competency. And if I’m thrown by pregnancy loss into the immeasurable depths of despair, it’s not just my partner that suffers, buy my daughter as well. The idea that I might not be able, or willing, to care for my daughter during a time, or multiple times, of loss, is truly terrifying. And when the fear of TTC comes over me, it’s the fear of loss that is able to sink it’s teeth in and not let go.

Uncertainty is something I strive (and fail) to accept in my life. The first time we were TTC the uncertainty of the outcome overwhelmed me. My entire identity was at stake and not knowing what would happen took me to the brink and I thought many times of just stepping over the edge. Trying to have a second child I feel faced with less uncertainty, but uncertainty all the same. I’m no longer unsure I’ll ever be a mother. I am not as distrustful of my body’s ability to carry and birth a child. But I’m still not sure I will have the second child my heart so desperately craves. The shape and size of my family is yet to be determined. And of course the path I will journey to reach that family is completely unknown. My trepidation is understandable, especially considering the journey of my mother, and those of other women in this community, that I look to as guides. I just have to keep reminding myself that my story has not been written and if I spend my time filling the blank pages with tragedies that haven’t happened, I’m only setting myself up for unnecessary suffering. Life’s filled wth enough hardship already, there is no need to conjure misfortune when it hasn’t happened yet.

So I will wait. And wonder. And hope. And keep taking my B6 vitamins.

Two losses

A lot could be said about this weekend – about what transpired between Mi.Vida and I, both in and out of couples counseling. Part of me wants to get it all out there, but a much bigger part of me is so beaten down and tired, I just don’t think I can. Instead I’ll just explain where I am, at the end of all of it.

Actually, first I should explain where we are, as a couple. It’s been decided, with the guidance of our counselor S, that in one to two years, if we feel we’re more stable both financially and as a couple, we’ll talk about trying to have another baby. This means Isa will be 4-5 years old when her sibling is born, if we’re lucky enough to conceive again quickly and carry a second baby to term.

For the first part of the weekend, before that plan was described out loud but when I sense we were headed there, what I felt was disappointment – sheer and utter disappointment. And I felt like a failure. Having a family has always been my number one aspiration. I never cared much what job I’d have – I literally picked the one I thought was most compatible with motherhood – and I had no grand expectations of where I’d call home some day. The only thing I cared about, ever, was having a family. And it turns out, I suck at that. For some reason we are no good at having a family. For some reason we struggle against it so completely that the idea of having another child is scarier than it is amazing. For some reason we’ve had to pay someone to help us figure out that we literally cannot do it. Do you know how that feels? To know the one thing you’ve always wanted, the only thing you’ve always wanted, is within your grasp and yet unattainable? That you’ve somehow failed at the only thing you ever really wanted to do? I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s utterly and completely devastating.

I am mourning the very essence of a dream I had. I’m mourning a life in which I motherhood is something that brings me unbridled joy and happiness. I’m mourning the experience of parenthood bringing us closer together instead of driving us farther apart. I’m saying goodbye to any hope that this would feel good and right and easy. Because obviously it’s not any of those things, not for us.

I thought this was what made me so upset about the decisions we made this weekend, but later I realized there was something else I felt I’d lost. Something equally as upsetting. As I tried to wrap my mind around trying again not in one and half months as we’d planned, but in one to two years, I became despondent. This feelings was more than just letting go of the size and shape of the family I’d always hoped to have, this was much more profound.

My first attempt at TTC was a complete and utter cluster fuck. I spent over a year wanting to get started with it but finding myself in a partnership that wasn’t there yet. By the time we were “ready” I was a nervous wreck. That entire year was fueled by anxiety and fear. Worry that I’d never carry a healthy pregnancy. Fear that my child would die before I’d ever get to hold her. My year of trying was largely a negative experience and my pregnancy was marred by intense anxiety. How I handled both situations is one of the great regrets of my life.

Thinking ahead to TTC #2 I felt so hopeful. Starting when we were going to, I felt no pressure to get pregnant quickly and the thought of losses didn’t feel so overwhelming. We had time, we’d probably achieve a healthy pregnancy again, it was going to be different. Having carried a healthy baby to term gave me so much more confidence in my body than I had before. My story was no longer just my mother’s, now it was mine as well, and my story contained happiness and joy. There was no reason to believe it wouldn’t have those things again. This time we were going to do it right. This time we were going to do it without costly treatments and timed and charted sex. This time was going to make up for the mess I made last time. It felt so positive for me, for us. This time was going to bring us closer together, was going to overwrite the mess I made last time, was going to heal us somehow.

Now all of that is gone. If we wait 1-2 years I’ll be in the exact same place I was before, anxious to get started and fearful of what might happen. Every month that we don’t get pregnant will be agony. The possibility of loss will loom, ever present, in my mind. The fact that I’ll quickly be reaching “advanced maternal age” will be sitting, restless, in the background. Everything positive I hoped to experience with the conception, and pregnancy, of my second child has been lost. The thing I most looked forward to in life, carrying a child, will again be an anxiety ridden experience. This is the loss I’m mourning. This is the loss that makes me heart ache in ways I can’t explain.

But I know I don’t have to explain it. I know you all know how much all this hurts. I know I was one of the lucky ones to even have the chance at a positive TTC experience. I know this. And for some reason it makes it all the harder to let it go. Like I’m letting you all down some how. Just like I have by squandering my chance to have a happy family that rejoices in parenthood.

Basically, I’ve just fucked everything up. And I’m so profoundly sorry.

The Shift

Thank you all for your kinds words on my last rambling post. I know I need to go easier on myself but it’s so hard. I worry that if I’m always easy on myself I’ll lose sight of my values, of what is important to me, and become a person I don’t want to be. It’s such a fine line to walk and something I struggle with every day. How do I both live my values and give myself permission to make mistakes, to “let it go,” to not do that which I think I should be doing? I think most women struggle with that.

Do men worry about these things? Somehow I doubt most guys are wondering how the state of their kitchen reflects on their character, but I know so many women who do… or maybe it’s just my mom.

Now on to more super deep, intense reflections.

Yesterday I was at the park and I saw a woman with her small child… and her burgeoning baby bump. It was funny because I saw it, and I kind of did this internal flinch, preparing myself for the flood of negative emotions, when I realized that they weren’t coming. Looking at that women with her small child, and another on the way, didn’t gut me like it has in the recent past. In fact, I didn’t feel one way or the other about her situation. It was so strange!

(Oh god, you’re probably thinking, she’s going to talk about TTC#2 AGAIN!? We’ve already heard about it 100 times this month! And you’re right, but this time’s different, I promise, and after this I’ll probably be able to put it away for a good long while, so please, hear me out – or feel free to click away. I totally understand).

I don’t know when the shift happened, I think it was happening even before I had the conversation with Mi.Vida. In fact, the shift must have allowed me to come to those conclusions and create that plan. I guess I just didn’t realize that my feelings on the subject were still settling, even after we’d determined how to move forward.

So yeah. The shift. I guess the best way to describe it is a shift from a place of anxiety and worry to a place of peace and acceptance. For the first time, I think in my life, I feel at peace with the uncertainty of our next steps. For the first time I feel ready (at least as ready as I can be) for whatever might happen as we attempt to have a second child. For the first time in my life I don’t feel scared and maybe for that simple reason, I’m no longer in a rush to “get it over with” so that if there is tragedy and loss, I can face it and move forward.

Actually I am still scared, but it’s not the crippling, paralyzing type of fear that I used to feel. It’s not panic inducing. It doesn’t drive me to make irrational decisions or expect the worst.

I have to admit, this new sense of calm is quite freeing. But more than that, it’s strange. I have literally never felt this way about family building in my entire life. From a very young age I worried that I wouldn’t be able to have the family I hoped for. Having my daughter helped lift some of that anxiety, but the uncertainty of whether we could complete our family remained. Now, for the first time, I don’t feel that anxiety anymore. Now, for some reason, I’ve come to accept that I don’t have any control over how we grow our family or any losses we might experience on the way.

On top of all that, or better said behind all of that, is a faith that we will eventually have the family we hope for. It might not look exactly as we’d imagined it: the spacing between children might be different that we’d hoped, there might be losses in between Isa and her sister or brother, heck, maybe Isa’s sibling will come to us from a different family! All I know is that we will get there, some how, some way and we will survive the journey to our family’s final destination.

I don’t know where this faith comes from. I don’t know why I suddenly feel confident that I could weather the possible devastation that may lay ahead. Maybe it’s the stories I’ve followed, of strong and resilient women who’ve survived unimaginable loss. Maybe it’s the realization that arriving at your destination does something to (at least somewhat) heal the wounds incurred in the getting there. Maybe it’s realizing that my imagined way isn’t necessarily the best way. Maybe it’s knowing that even when we have the family we’d always dreamed of, there will still be struggle.

Does loss still scare me? Yes. Do I think that losing a child wouldn’t devastate me? Absolutely not. I know that it would. I know that I’d be a different person for the rest of my life. But for some reason now I think I could survive as that person, maybe one day even thrive, despite the broken pieces inside me.

Maybe I’m being naive. Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up enveloped in that life-long feeling of dread once again. All I know is that right now I feel peace. I feel calm. I feel grateful for what I have and hopeful for what I will have. I feel ready to concentrate on my present life despite being unsure of my future.

Before we were TTC, when I was desperately trying to make Mi.Vida understand why I was so afraid, why we had to start NOW, I would return again and again to my mother’s story. “She lost a daughter. She suffered three still births. She lost so much! There are seven years between us! SEVEN YEARS of suffering!” Without fail Mi.Vida would always reply, “But she had you, she had your sister, she has her family. She’s happy.”

For my entire life I’ve focused on the seven years between me and my sister. I focused on the loss and the pain. I looked past my mom’s eventual family, the family that made her very happy, to focus on the struggle. Mi.Vida always saw the happy ending but I only ever saw the difficult journey. Now, finally, I have faith in the eventual destination and can accept the uncertainty how we’ll get there.

Blog Happy and other Current Conditions

I’ve been a little blog happy these past few days. I LOVE ICLW and while I didn’t do an intro here I’ve been participating every day, finding new people to follow or at least stopping by. While no one seemed to stop by at the beginning of the week, these past two days I’ve been flooded with thoughtful comments. It’s been great, amazing, wonderful, triumphant, lovely, interesting, fabulous, you pick a positive adjective and this ICLW has embodied it.

And all the time at home (have I mentioned I have this week off?) has got me thinking. About a lot of things. And when I think I want to write. And so the posts have been flowing.

I wanted to apologize for yesterday’s post. I know it came from a dark place but that is where I was. I was directed to yet another blog chronically the sudden, unexpected loss of a child to SIDS and it threw me into a tailspin. And the despair got me thinking and I came to a realization. And it was a big revelation for me, that I’m not so much worried about loss but about how well I’d handle it. Of course I still fear the uncertainty of life, but now that I know I have a sincere panic that I wouldn’t be able to handle it, maybe I can work through that and the intense anxiety I experience concerning things that haven’t even happened yet won’t overwhelm me so completely. I don’t want to live my life in these dark nether reaches, unable to appreciate all that I have. I don’t want to mourn losses that have not occurred. I have a lot of work to do but I intend to build up the perseverance needed to walk through this life with my head held high, resilient enough to face the possibility of life’s tragedies. Needless to say I look forward to bringing all of this up in therapy this Saturday, I have so much work to do.

On the home front I’ve been reveling in my time with Isa. Walking home from our city college mom’s class on Tuesday I felt immediately transported to those idilic months I spent with her this fall. Except I’m also reminded that they were not always idlic. They were also difficult and exhausting. I’m exhausted now! I can’t believe my darling daughter can wear me out like my middle schoolers can. Sometimes more! While I spend my time and energies differently at home than in my classroom, the hours with my daughter fatigue-inducing to be sure.

This little girl surprises me. Every day I learn more about her and as I get further glimpses of her personality, I see hints of who she’s going to be. So far I’ve determined she will be strong willed, curious, fun and … easily frustrated. Man, when this girl gets frustrated she becomes truly vexed. And when she is irritated, very little I will appease her. Things are definitely going to get interesting as she becomes more aware of her environment, of what she can and cannot do (either because of her own limitation or limitations I place on her – like how she may NOT wield a fork at the restaurant), there will be more frequent bouts of anger and annoyance. And not just from her.

Today a friend came to visit. We lunched at a restaurant nearby. Isa was the perfect companion until about ten minutes before we asked for the check, at which point she rapidly and thoroughly melted down. It took constant maneuvering to keep her from screaming with wild abandon. By the time I got her home, changed her out of the cloths she had peed through and got her in her crib I was WIPED OUT. I don’t think I’m fully aware of what it’s going to be like when she can crawl let alone when she can better express her likes and dislikes. Suddenly waiting awhile until we start TTC#2 sounds like a valid plan.

And now I’ll ask you to forgive me if this post meanders to and fro, I’m just following my thoughts as they come and go.

My sister came to dinner tonight. Actually, she helped me make dinner. We shared a bottle of wine and cooked the meal I had intended for my friends who couldn’t make it yesterday. We talked about our lives, our jobs, our parents, our friends, our hopes, our dreams, our similarities and differences. We talked of the things you talk about with people you love and trust and care about. It was nice. It was nicer than nice, it was needed. And appreciated.

At one point my sister told me that Isa had fundamentally changed her views of children. She said that while she always knew it would be a lot of work (and my experience supported that assumption) she hadn’t realized how enchanting a child would be. She said she missed Isa when she didn’t see her. I can’t tell you what this means to me, coming from my sister who has always scoffed at the idea of having children. My heart swelled and then softened. My daughter has truly touched someone profoundly and that means so much.

Another swerve on this thought train…

I continue to search for satisfaction in this physique. I don’t necessarily want to look a certain way, I just want to be happy with how I look. Does that make sense? I want to feel good about how my clothes hang from my body and how my hair frames my face. That is all. I’ve decided that at least once a week I will post a picture of myself somewhere here, in a post, as a post. I just want to acknowledge what I look like and try to find contentment in my physical form. In the coming together of my eyes and nose and mouth. The idea of it makes my stomach turn and for that reason, if nothing else, I know it needs to be done.

And without further ado, I’ll end this post with my first self portrait. Enjoy.

Oh that hair. What am I going to do with it?!

Warped Perspective?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what role the blogging community has played in shaping my expectations about TTC, pregnancy, and loss. Sometimes I wonder if it has had a detrimental effect on my perception of these issues. Do all the stories of loss that I come across (and then usually follow) make me fixate on this aspect of family? Or do I gravitate towards these stories because of my mom’s intense legacy of loss? I really don’t know. What I do know is sometimes all the blogs about pregnancy and infant loss start to get to me. I don’t want to stop following these incredible woman who are making it through one day after another in the face of harrowing losses. But the reality is, it’s difficult to read about their losses and inevitably the losses of their friends, when my daughter is still so young and vulnerable and I’m still hoping to add to my family in the future.

Do “normal” people think regularly about whether or not they will lose a future pregnancy, or child? Do they plan to start TTC early in case of a miscarriage or stillbirth? Do they factor possible (probable?) loss into their timelines? Do they intimately know the stories of over a dozen baby loss mothers? Do they know the names of Angel Babies and think of these babies when they see pregnant women or infants out in the world?

Do “normal” woman associate pregnancy as much with loss as they do with joy?

I honestly don’t know. I also don’t know if the blogging community has created this outlook or if my mother’s story did so.

When I think sometimes about having another baby I always include the word “hopefully”. I use the word “if” instead of “when”. I never make assumptions.

My little sister died when she was two months old (I was two). She was born very sick and never left the hospital. My parents were in another state, looking at a house to buy for our family when my baby sister went into arrest. My uncle, who was a doctor at the hospital, told them not to revive her. She’d had so many surgeries, had been brought back so many times. My parents weren’t even there when she passed away.

After that my mother lost three pregnancies – each at five months. All boys. I’ve visited my sister’s grave often. I don’t know where those babies were laid to rest.

My mother was going to get her tubes tied when she found out she was pregnant with my only living sibling. She couldn’t face any more loss, any more death. She was done trying to build the four-child family of her dreams. She was trying to accept she’d only have one.

But then my sister was born – fat and healthy and happy. My sister and I are like living bookends that support volumes of loss. Did we keep my mother standing? Did we prevent her from toppling from the shelf? I don’t know. The loss of my siblings did not define my life. Somehow my mother moved on, though I have no idea the damage all that death did to her heart. Perhaps the loss of her mother at such a young age (she was seven when her mother passed) prepared her for the devastation. I can never know, as my mother doesn’t speak of these things.

What I do know is I worry. I wonder if my future will be riddled with that kind of loss. So many BLM that I follow have living children – they lost their second or their their child. Will that be me? I don’t know. But I do plan on starting TTC#2 earlier than I probably should in an attempt to prepare for any possible contingency – give myself some extra time in case my family is touched by unspeakable loss. Do other people do that? “Normal” people? People who haven’t had ectopics? Who didn’t buy pinwheels for their angel sister? People who don’t read the tortured words of women who lost their babies at twenty, thirty, forty weeks gestation? At four and half months of life?

I don’t know, but I imagine they don’t. And if following these stories, and hearing from other bloggers of more and more women who experience these losses, is creating a warped and biased prism through which I view the world, would the responsible thing be to stop? I don’t know.

How do you deal with the loss, the heartache? How do you deal with the tragedy and the pain?

Thoughtful Thursdays: Dreading it

Today I found out that my cousin has left her job (as a teacher) to stay home with her daughter. I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty jealous. I wish I could stay home with Isa. Knowing that my cousin will be home all year with her daughter makes me realize how much I’ll be missing while I’m away.

I oscillate dramatically in my feelings about returning to work. For the first three months I cried almost every time I thought about it. I was sure it was the worst thing I’d ever have to endure; I felt desperately sad, and many times angry, when I thought about going back.

At around 4 months the days started feeling longer and more monotonous. I was beginning to wonder if it might be okay to go back to work, if I might actually appreciate being out in the world again, returning to spend three or four hours of intense time with my daughter. While I knew that the best case scenario would be a part time position of some kind, I hoped that I would not loathe being back at work full time. There were even moments I was eager to return to work. Of course these moments occurred over a month before my return, but I hoped that excitement would linger as my start date crept closer.

But as the month of my return to work looms large I’m starting to panic once again. I can’t believe how much I’m going to miss. I can’t accept that someone else will spend more of her waking hours with her than I will. I can’t stand that my daughter might actually want to be with her aunt than with me. It’s just too much, it’s just too overwhelming, it’s just too disappointing.

The thing is I don’t have a choice. I have to go back to work. I have to work full time so I can pass most of my check right along to my child care provider and use the little bit that’s left to help pay the rent (and the insurance and the other bills and everything else). I have to leave my daughter every morning and drive 30 minutes to work and then I have to engage middle school students who’d rather be anywhere else, and then I have to grade papers and attend meetings before finally braving traffic all the while wondering what my beautiful daughter is doing without me. All the while asking myself how many times has she smiled today? How many giggles have escaped her lips? How many firsts took place in my absence? How many milestones did my sister-in-law hide from me so I’ll think, when I see them, that they’re happening for the first time? How much of her precious little life passed me by today?

My friend told me that life is hard and there are difficulties we just have to endure. I guess, in the end, that is what it comes down to. This is a difficulty I have to endure. I’m not going to like it, in fact, I’m going to loathe it, but that is beside the point. I’m going to have to live with it and maybe even try to make the best of it. What do I preach on Mindful Mondays? About impermanence and acceptance… I guess I’m going to have to give those a try even when returning to work tears me up inside.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I kind of let “Buenas Noticias” (Good News) fall by the wayside but I want to pick it back up again. And today I have very good news to share. A good friend of mine at work, whose been trying to have a baby for over eight years, was matched for an adoption today. Her little baby boy is six months old and waiting for her in Korea. They should be able to bring him home in four to six months but they are hoping to do so sooner. I’m SOOOOO happy for her and her husband. They will be such amazing parents. I can’t wait to meet their beautiful baby boy.