On the Same Page?

Last night I sat my man down and told him exactly how I feel about TTC#2. The problem is I’m not even sure how I feel. So I laid it all out and explained how uncertain and unsure all of it felt.

Basically, this is what I said:

– There is a part of me, the part I believe is driven by my biological imperative, that wants to have a baby right her and right now, come hell or high water. This voice is oscillates between a loud shouting and a quiet whisper and is fairly persistant, though frequently drowned out by the day to day.

– Another part of me, the part I believe is driven by my perpetual state of anxiety, is well, anxious. I’m worried about all the uncertainty, the myriad “what if”s? I’m scared it will take a long time to get pregnant, I’m terrified we’ll suffer another a loss (or God forbid multiple losses or a still birth). I’m worried that TTC#2 will be road we’re struggling down for years. I don’t know if I can handle that.

– Another cause of (considerable) anxiety is that a second child will be the nail in our relationship’s coffin. The way I see it – worst worst case scenario: a second child before we’re both ready would be the end of our relationship. Best worst case scenario: we’re totally miserable for one or two years and it takes another one or two for us to recover.

– Of course our financial ability (or better said, inability) to have another child is also a huge reason to put this whole TTC#2 business on hold, big time.

I said all of this very calmly; even I was impressed with how collected I was during my whole spiel. The fact is I’m feeling pretty calm about the whole thing, despite my oscillating thoughts and feelings about it. I think I’m realizing that there is no best answer, that every approach has considerable positives and negatives and we’re just going to have to make a decision and hope for the best.

The surprising part of all of this is not my new found understanding but Mi.Vida’s response to it. Turns out Mi.Vida is similarly conflicted by all of this. I assumed he thought waiting was the obviously more appropriate choice. In reality, Mi.Vida sees positives to jumping into TTC#2 sooner rather than later too. For one, he isn’t so interested in stretching the baby/toddler years out so that they span the better part of a decade; he would rather the babyhood of the second baby overlap with the toddlerhood of the our darling daughter, thus shortening the overall span. He also likes the idea of our children being closer in age so that they can more easily and appropriately play together (or course being close in age doesn’t guarantee friendship but might make it more plausible). He also mentioned being worried that it might take a while and/or that we might experience more loss, which I really appreciated.

Of course he’s terrified of the financial implication of two children, especially since we’ve determined he’s the one responsible for making more money. He also shares my trepidation surrounding how a second child might test the mettle of our relationship. This past year does seem to suggest that we might be found lacking.

So where does all of this leave us? As you know, I need to have some sort of plan so currently what we’re doing is this: In January we will start our first ever stint of “not trying but not not trying”. We originally planned that for right now but I eventually conceded I would be unable to have unprotected sex without secretly (or even subconsciously) trying to get pregnant. Now, I fully believe that I can, in fact, do that. So in January we’ll throw out the condoms and see if any of our bedroom antics have (somewhat) unintended affects. During this time we’ll also be working to increase our fertility, eating less processed foods, taking supplements, and keeping hot computers off our junk – you know, that kind of thing. Then later, maybe three months, maybe six, we’ll start going at it for realsies.

So yeah, that is our plan, and I feel strangely at peace with it. I know it’s not perfect but I realize now no option is. I feel this plan is the best mix of caution and courage that we can muster right now.

I hope I’m right.

Confessional Fridays: Secondary (Circumstantial) Infertility?

As most of you know financial realities have forced us to postpone our TTC#2 plans indefinitely. Originally we were going to start trying again in October. Our thinking was, if we (miraculously) got pregnant right away, and everything went off without a hitch, the baby would be born right after Isa turned two. This age difference felt a little close and overwhelming to us but we believed we could handle it. And of course we assumed it would not happen right away and wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to let it happen. Even if it took a year, or longer, we wouldn’t feel particularly stressed (hah, well in theory anyway).

I have to admit there was a part of me that was sure we’d get pregnant right away, just because we were scared to. And I was so looking forward to trying without the pressure of having it happen quickly. Now none of that matters because we are not trying in October. We’re not trying in the foreseeable future. I don’t know when we do plan to start trying again, in fact. And it kind of terrifies me.

With that in mind, cut to pregnant bellies.

I have always been kind of obsessed with pregnant bellies. Even before I was TTC I’d look longingly at them. When I was in my early twenties, long before I really felt (or was) ready to have a baby, I was jealous of pregnant bellies. They are just so, I don’t know, awesome. I truly hope that my obsession with pregnant bellies will stop one day. I don’t think anyone condones a 60 year old woman staring wistfully at every burgeoning baby bump that happens by.

Of course when we started TTC my pregnant belly obsession became markedly more pronounced. Especially after my loss, I immediately checked every woman in the vicinity, wondering whether she were pregnant. It got marginally better after I had Isa, but I I still felt drawn to pregnant bellies, now longing for that idyllic (as I always choose to remember it) time of excitement and potential.

I will admit that now, if I see a pregnant woman walking alone I no longer feel jealous of what she has, after all, I had it to once (though I might feel a twinge of envy that she still has it). But then I remember how when I was pregnant and I saw people with babies I coveted the assurance that everything would be alright. I do remember (vividly) how uncertain that time was and I have no desire to resume the anxious worry that accompanied my pregnancies.

Oh course seeing a woman with a pregnant belly and a small child in tow? That has felt a little different. That woman has something I do not yet have. And even when I wasn’t ready to have it, it still stung. But now? Now that TTC#2 is postponed indefinitely? Now I it stings something fierce. Now it’s more akin to a dagger in my heart than the small but persistant paper cuts of before. Now it’s really hard.

I don’t know what it is exactly that hurts so much about seeing someone with what I want. Is it just a reminder of what I can’t yet have? Or is it the reminder of how easily others achieve it? Does it just suck when it’s pointed out that we are being prohibited from growing our family as we’d hoped? Is it shameful that we can’t manage what others so easily afford? I really don’t know. All I know is it hurts. More than I expected.

Yesterday I took Isa to a children’s museum. In the Tot Room, which is for children who are no taller than 42 inches, there were dozens of mothers and their kids. I would venture to guess about 1/3 of them were noticeably pregnant. So many beautiful pregnant bellies being rubbed incessantly. It was kind of overwhelming and it made me want to leave. It was the first time, since our postponed family planning, that I’d seen one pregnant-mom-of-a-toddler let alone 10+ in an enclosed space. I was even informed of a totally un-pregnant (and super skinny) looking well-to-do mother’s “fragile state” when she barged into the room (which admittedly did wreak of poop – someone’s kid needed a diaper change STAT) proclaiming that as a newly pregnant lady she could just NOT TOLERATE the stench. And then she went on to repeat how newly pregnant she was multiple times, lest we had other more personally relevant issues to consider.

Recently someone posted an article on Prompt-ly about “circumstantial infertility”. The author was a 40-something woman who had always wanted children but never found the right man. She claimed that her suffering was similar to her medically infertile counterparts – after all, they all wanted a child but were denied the chance due to circumstances outside of their control. This article inspired a really interesting conversation about the idea of “circumstantial infertility” and if someone who can’t have a child when she wants to because she lacks a partner or her partner is currently deployed or otherwise unable to participate in the necessary physical act should be considered infertile. What about same sex couples or single moms by choice (SMBC) who have to pursue ART? Are they also circumstantially infertile, even if they do achieve pregnancy through medical means? Does my (financial) inability to have a child now, when I want to, make me a sufferer of secondary circumstantial infertility? Is there such a thing as financial infertility and if so does someone who has to wait a mere year to continue building her family even quality?

I want to clarify that I in no way believe I am circumstantially infertile. Nor do I claim membership in the infertility community. I have always flashed my loss card in this space and when commenting on others’ blogs (though I believe my history of amenorrhea and the thousands I spent proactively on acupuncture blur that line somewhat – more on this forthcoming). I would never assume that my current frustration and pain mirrors that of a woman who needed to pursue ART to achieve her first pregnancy and isn’t sure she can afford it, or if it will even work, a second time. I personally believe the suffering when one has to pursue ART due to what might be perceived as a “failure” of one’s body is of a different caliber than of those who can’t build a family because of other circumstances.

I remember waiting for Mi.Vida to be ready to have a child. I remember being frustrated and angry when others got pregnant during that time because I wanted so much for us to be at that place too. But it was a different pain than when we were actively TTC and not getting pregnant. The disappointment of “we’re doing that too, but for it’s not working for us” was much more visceral than what was felt when I was waiting for it to be our time. For that reason, and many others, I believe that the truly (medically) infertile suffer a different kind of loss than those who might claim circumstantial infertility.

I remember when we started trying again after my loss. When my fear of amenorrhea was overshadowed completely by fear of another ectopic. I remember bargaining in my stages of grief, that if I could only have one child, I’d be happy. I only need one, I pleaded, and I’ll be okay. And you know what. It’s true. I will be okay with one child. The desperation I felt of just wanting to be a mother, is not there this time. I am a mother and while I will grieve deeply if I can’t build my family the way I’d hoped to, I will always be so thankful for the daughter I have. I know how lucky I am to have experienced pregnancy and motherhood and I will let my desire for another child overshadow the gratitude I feel for those special blessings.

Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really want to have another baby. A lot.

What are your thoughts on “circumstantial infertility”? How would you compare it with medical infertility? How would you compare primary and secondary infertility? Or is it infertility is infertility, is infertility?

Gratitude and Regret

This is actually an apology note, but it’s also a thank you card of sorts. I want to apologize for yesterday’s post – for its dismissive, disrepectful tone and its divisive content. I also want to thank you for not only engaging in what I felt was a very interesting and constructive but dialogue, but also for calling me out on the inherent negativity of my post. I really, really appreciate the fact that instead of telling me off, as you had every right to do, you provided me with constructive criticism that allowed me to learn more myself and my thoughts and feelings.

In St. Louis I spent a week with my cousin and her baby. This is the cousin who got pregnant the first month she was “not trying but not not trying”. This is the cousin who just bought a house. This is the cousin who left her teaching job and is staying home indefinitely with her daughter. This is the cousin that I love dearly but that also awakens the green monster in me.

And I realize I feel a lot of jealousy towards other SAHMs too. I want to be a SAHM. I don’t think I realized, until this week, who worn down my WOHM schedule was making me. I don’t think I realized how little I was seeing my daughter until I started seeing her all the time. I don’t think I knew how great it would felt to be home with her again until I was home with her again.

I was so lucky to have almost six months off when Isa was born. I had my summer break and then my three months of FMLA leave. It was truly amazing to spend those months with her and I am forever grateful for them. And then I went back and it was hard. Harder than I thought it would be. But I sucked it up because I didn’t have a choice. I took comfort in the fact that my very capable and loving SIL was taking care of Isa and soldiered on. I even convinced myself I didn’t mind working so much, that it wasn’t that bad. I tried hard to adopt a Buddhist attitude of acceptance and mindfulness, getting through each day and being grateful for the good in those 24 hours. I cherished the time that I had with my daughter, but I was also, deep down, always wishing for more.

Lately the financial realities of our situation have become increasingly clear. We can barely afford the life we are living. Having another child, if we’re lucky enough to do so, will bring even more financial hardship. My big dream of staying at home for one year, with two children, looks less and less likely. Unless Mi.Vida finds a new job, I will never be able to stay home. I will have to say goodbye to what feels like a modest dream and I’m resentful of that.

Of course this is assuming we can get pregnant and have another healthy baby. I know I’m already asking for too much. I know I’m already asking for everything, and then I want even more.

But other people get to have it. Why not me? Why can’t I have two healthy children and my own year at home with them?

I think I’m mourning what I will probably never have. I’m mourning the chance to be a SAHM. My heart keeps saying that maybe we can make it happen, perhaps we can swing it, but my head sees that writing on the wall. We can’t afford it. We just can’t.

I’m trying to focus on what I do have, my healthy daughter, my loving husband, a FIL who is willing to watch Isa for us next year and a job that is allowing me a part time schedule… and of course the next six weeks of summer. I have so much. I am truly fortunate. I know this is in my head and in my heart and yet I still feel this emptiness, the place where “what I can’t have” lives.

It’s that empty place that drove me to write yesterday’s post. It’s “what I can’t have” that makes me feel those things. I love being home with Isa and I want it so much. Does it make it easier for me when I lash out at those that have what I want? No. In fact it makes me feel worse but I still seem to do it. Self-destructive behavior is so strange that way.

I apologize again to everyone who was rubbed the wrong way by Friday’s post, to all the SAHM and WOHM who don’t want to further fuel the war between two kinds of mothers that really aren’t all that different to be being with. I’m sorry for sinking to that level of antagonism and I thank you for helping me find my way back to the surface of understanding and acceptance.

I hope we can all remain friends.

Confessional Fridays: I’m frustrated with feminism

There. I’ve said it. I’m frustrated with feminism. Not because of what it is has given us, but for what it has failed to secure. I’m frustrated that feminism brought us this far and then seemed to stop, leaving us struggling. I guess, upon closer inspection, I’m not frustrated with feminism. Instead I’m frustrated with the rest of the world continuing to work against it, keeping the status quo, failing to change along with women and their place in our society.

I know that the changes brought about by feminism are very new, relatively speaking. We’re only talking about three or four generations between the-everyone’s-a-housewife/secretary/teacher/nurse experience to our current women-running-for-president-and-becoming-CEOs-of-multi-billion-dollar-companies reality. That is a staggering change and one I don’t take for granted.

I know there are growing pains associated with any major social transition. My frustration is not that I am unfortunately soldiering through the difficult transition stage, but that maybe there is no transition phase at all. That this is it.

Feminism has brought us a long way, but it has a lot farther to carry us. I hope we don’t think our job is done.

Feminism has secured us so many things. Now, as women, we are free to pursue the career of our choosing. We can be doctors or lawyers or influential government officials. We can obtain post graduate degrees. While we are pursuing them we have access to as many athletic opportunities as men do. If a guy can do it, so can we. Legally, men and women are equal.

In practice, of course, we aren’t. Our gender has gained so much, but we haven’t been able to let anything go. While we’re now allowed to get graduate degrees and work at high paying jobs (for which we continue to get paid less than men who do the same work), we are still expected to clean our houses and take care of our kids. We haven’t redefine our roles, we’ve only added to them.

Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that some of us have let things go. In our pursuit of more education and higher powered positions we’re waiting longer and longer to start our families. And some of us are finding out that because we waited so long, we can’t have families at all. Again, we’re told we can have it all and then suddenly we’re faced with a different truth entirely. And we can feel cheated and deceived.

Even if we put building a family before our profession, we can still find ourselves with few choices. As a woman who wants (needs) to work and wants (needs?) to have a family, I feel considerably more underwhelmed than overwhelmed by my options. I’m sure I take for granted the volition that I do have, but I’m also accutely aware of the discretions I don’t enjoy.

America needs us to be working, we make up almost 47% of the workforce in this country and yet there exists very little support for working mothers. There aren’t enough affordable, high quality child care opportunities for families. Most companies don’t offer flexible work schedules or work-from-home arrangements. Instead employers expect us to come every day and give 110% to their company without admitting that we even have children at home. Many view us as less invested in our position if we have to stay at home with a sick child. Some even resent us for having priorities other than (and exceeding) our jobs.

America also needs us to raise our children. No country can exist without a next generation to take up the reigns, become educated, fill workforce positions, pay taxes and carry on the traditions. In a financial climate that all but requires (for many) both parents to be working, that necessitates working mothers. And yet working mothers can be resented, both by the people they work for and by society at large.

Supposedly working mothers have it all, a spouse that shares the household responsibilities, children that offer love and respect, and professional and personal fulfillment. But in reality most of us have only pieces of those things. Despite the fact that men pitch in at home more than ever before, they still spend much less time on chores and child rearing than women do (most studies say less than half as much). A woman is still expected to perform the “housewife” duties of her predecessors despite the fact that she works as many hours as her spouse. She is also expected to perform the bulk of the childrearing responsibilities; the health, safety and wellbeing of her children rests primarily on her shoulders. When children struggle academically or emotionally, the working mother is usually to blame.

No wonder many women find it impossible to achieve a work/life balance and are left instead feeling under appreciated, overwhelmed and exhausted.

It doesn’t have to be this way. And hopefully things are changing. More and more, men are taking on additional responsibilities around the house and with the kids. Some companies are providing mothers (and fathers) with flexible work arrangements or allowing them to work from home. There are even companies that pride themselves on promoting a healthy work/life balance. For many couples, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s shining pretty bright.

But I would venture to say that for the majority of working moms, it’s the same ole’ same ‘ole, the status quo. For many of us working is a necessity, and it’s frustrating that we receive so little support from our society as a whole when we support both our families and our country by doing so.

I will always be grateful for feminism and the opportunities it has given me. I just hope that women continue to fight for what they need to be happy. That they pursue the opportunity to build a family and a career without one undermining the other, or rendering it impossible. That they insist on appreciation and respect for what they do both in the workforce and in their homes and that they demand the support required to perform both duties well.

Stumbling Financially

Well my week off is over. I’m trying hard not to dwell on returning to work Monday morning. I’m also trying hard not to start the countdown to my Spring break in late April. I was actually doing a really good job of living in the day this month and it helped this break come faster and allowed me to enjoy it without lamenting how fast it was coming to an end. Usually I feel intense depression at the end of weeks off because the anticipation for them is so great that their brevity ultimately disappoints. I didn’t do that this time and I’m proud. We’ll see if I can last the six week (I couldn’t help but count it out) before my next week with my daughter without counting down.

The in-home child care place was NOT what we were looking for. It was incredibly depressing, in fact. Mi.Vida said he almost had a panic attack when we walked in. It would have been a great deal though, at only $900 a month, but I know now that the “clearance” option is not what I will be choosing for my daughter.

I’ve started looking into other in-home child care opportunities. Two have already said they do not have space for an infant this fall. Our situation is restrictive because we only have one car and I take it to work very early in the morning. So an in-home child care would either have to be open by 7am so that I could drop my daughter off with the car on my way out of the city or it has to be on a light rail/bus line so that Mi.Vida could get her there on public transport and then get himself to work without it taking two hours. I’m currently calling Spanish speaking places exclusively, but I have my list of English-only in-home care places to fall back on. I still hope to find something. It seems there should be possibilities that cost (and are worth) more than $900 somewhere in the city. Of course, finding one with space for an infant is probably going to be difficult.

On the nanny front, we already know of a woman who has been recommended by my SIL and the woman who runs the City College Child Observation class that I used to go to. She has been working part time for a family of three for many years. Her daughter is just starting Kindergarten so she wants to start working full time and would love to work on the school year schedule (get the school breaks off). She seems like she would be a great fit for us, but she’s (a relative deal at) $16/hour. That is over $2,500 a month for what rounds out to 9 months. In case you are crappy at mental math (like me) that is almost $23,000 for the school year. That is more than I paid for my graduate degree.

Some people have mentioned nanny shares but I’m a little hesitant about that, mostly because I just don’t see our apartment being a good fit for a nanny share. We don’t really have plans to baby-proof it to the nines, which we’d have to do (and would be pretty much impossible). Also, it’s so small, I can’t imagine where we’d put a Pack n’Play for the other baby to sleep in. Finally, I just get nervous about the liability of having another child in my house half of the year. Plus, we’d have to find someone willing to share on our strange, school-year-driven schedule. It just causes me anxiety. And the reality is, nanny shares cost about $12/hour so we wouldn’t be saving ourselves that much anyway (about $630 a month), which has us spending $18,000 all told. Good gracious these are insane sums for ONE year of child care. And it’s not including the summer or four weeks of vacation during the year!

Needles to say, Mi.Vida and I have had some difficult conversations about money. Money sucks.

I read recently somewhere that ours is the first generation that will not be as financially well off as their parents (and the generation that is currently in school is the first to have less education than their parents). I know that for me that is definitely the case. My parents were quite financially comfortable, definitely upper middle class (Mi.Vida says upper upper middle class). My dad made six figures. My mom was a teacher and made the “spending money” I suppose. They didn’t start out with anything but a job overseas, all expenses paid, allowed them to pay off their debt and start paying off their mortgage while my dad’s company paid their rent in Hong Kong. Of course that kind of thing never happens anymore. Anyway, we went on fun vacations all over the world, I was given a (used) car when I turned 16. And when I crashed it 36 hours after I got my license I was given another (used) car (I did have to wait five months). My parents paid for my undergraduate education, completely. Despite many different bouts with unemployment my parents were always well off.

Mi.Vida’s parents were less secure financially, but definitely middle class (Mi.Vida says upper middle class). They made it in San Francisco with only his dad working for most of their childhood. His mom sometimes worked part time at a pre-school. They were able to buy a condo because he was a city employee and they won a lottery for the opportunity. His dad worked for the city for 35 years, gradually earning himself an impressive salary and an insane pension. They helped pay for Mi.Vida to go to college but they had to take out loans and so did he.

I didn’t realize until I had kids that I expected to be in a similar relationship, one where the man made the “money” and my job was helpful but not essential to the family’s financial stability. Of course, that is not the case, and I’m struggling with the fact that my meager teacher’s salary contributes more (just barely) to our household income.

I realize that we will not be able to give our children the life that we had. We will probably never buy a house, which means they will not have that asset when we’re gone. I will not get to show my children the world. I will not be buying my kids cars (which, if we live in SF, they won’t need anyway). I know that my kids will not have the things that I had, and that is fine. I don’t feel I needed those things to be happy, they are not what I look back on when I think of how fortunate I was. I’m content giving my children a loving mother and father in a close relationship, a good (but probably free) education and a safe home.

I also want some financial security. I want to be able to rent an apartment that fits our family’s needs, both in location and size. I want to at least help my children pay for their undergraduate degrees. If they really want to go to a reasonably priced summer camp, I’d love to give them that experience. I know I will struggle with not providing my children the life that I had, but I think I can do it and still be content. I would hope that I can.

Figuring all of this out is hard. We cannot draw so much from our parents’ stories as they are not relevant to our situation. In the short time since they had children things have changed. It’s even more important that families have two earners than it was back then. Instead we have to look for guidance from friends who are trying to build their families, but as lawyers or employees in the private sector, none of them make the kind of money we do. So we’re just kind of left to figure it out for ourselves. And I suppose we’ll do that.

I just don’t want us to wake up ten years from now and realize we don’t have the things we want and that if we’d done things differently we might have been able to have them. I just want us to have a plan.

Right now the plan is to sit down and figure out the plan at the end of this school year. I guess it’s a start.

Weekend Resolution Round-up

Okay, my resolution was to actually keep checking in on my goals and I promised I’d do it every week or so. Of course it’s already three weeks into January and I haven’t posted anything about my goals, but (surprisingly?) I have been keeping track of them. I’ve actually been using an App on my iPhone to mark when I’ve been achieving my goals. To make things easier, I will be rating myself with smily faces for each goal. 🙂 🙂 means I did great, 🙂 means I did well, 🙂 😦 means I did okay, 😦 means I want to do better and 😦 😦 means I go to jail, I do not pass Go and I do not collect $200.

Eating my fruits and veggies. 😦 I had some good days but I also had some horrible days and the horrible days out numbered the good ones.

Cleaning the house. 😦 While I did do some work around the house it was never more than basic maintenance. I am planning on cleaning the shower today but I can’t count that when it hasn’t been done.

Practicing mindfulness. 😦 😦 I did absolutely nothing for this goal. I’m really disappointed about that.

Exercise. 🙂 😦 I didn’t do much walking but I did go on my first post-pregnancy run. It was fabulous actually and I would have gone again on Friday and Sunday but my running stroller has a defect and is veering left really strongly when the front wheel is locked so I’m waiting for a replacement in the mail. My plan is to run 3-5 miles on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. We shall see!

In bed by 10:30. 😦 😦 Epic Fail on this one. Seriously. How hard is it to get my ass in bed at a reasonable time? Evidently really hard.

Plan/grade papers. 🙂 😦 I did okay on this one, mostly because I used time during my Study Skills class to grade papers and asked other teachers if I could borrow their Peer Helpers to do the mindless stuff. Still, I’m behind on my grading so I can’t say I did great on this one.

Mi.Vida time. 🙂 We’ve been making “time for each other” once a week and in my book that is good stuff! I’m sure we could do better, but I’m pretty happy with this so far.

Saving money. 😦 We hardly ate out at all this month, which I’m very pleased about. But I did buy some things here and there that weren’t necessary. I still need to work harder on this goal.

Working on my book. 😦 I almost gave this two sad faces but I realized I have been reading through the one book on writing children’s books and last night I finally started sketching illustration ideas, so I guess I deserve some recognition for that.

So far I’m trending towards 😦 for my goals overall and that is okay. It’s a work in progress. Many of these are life-style changes and I don’t expect them to happen over night, or even over the course of three weeks. I talked to my therapist yesterday about how the state of my house causes me anxiety and she suggested I just do 15-20 minutes of work every day. I think that is a great idea, and I’ve thought of it myself, but I’ve never followed through. Still, seeing how badly I did with that goal I’m more motivated than ever to give it a try, so we shall see.

I think what needs to happen is I need to let go of the idea of having so much “me” time at night. I also need to cut out some things. Right now my Creme de la Creme Attempt is taking up a ton of time. The thing is, I read so many posts from there on my phone throughout the day and then I need to catch up on the commenting when I get home, or I forget what the posts were about. So I’m still trying to figure that out. The reality is, there are only so many (few?) hours in the evenings and something has got to give, especially if I want to do 20 minutes of work around the house, practice mindfulness and get in bed by 10:30 while still keeping up with the laundry and getting some papers graded every once in a while. I’ll start experimenting with new schedules this week. Wish me luck!

A funk

I’ve come to an important realization recently – I am in a funk. A pretty intense one. It is definitely the kind of funk that can turn into a bout of depression if I’m not careful. I know these kinds of funks well, I’ve spent many a month and year in some gray, monotonous places. I have some tools at my disposal to try to combat how I’m feeling but it’s just so hard to be in the place at the moment. I’ve suffered bad episodes of depression on and off for years, since I was in high school. I’ve seen therapists and taking meds on and off and I know that I will continue to do so for the rest of my life (hopefully not the meds, but probably the therapists). I’m currently in therapy and it helps, I’m also currently taking Zo.loft (for anxiety and I guess now for depression) but I’m keeping myself at a low dose because of out of control weight gain. Anyway, it’s been a little rough and I’m hoping it doesn’t last for long.

Some things that I’m having an especially hard time dealing with while in my funky emotional state are:

  • The theft of my computer. I didn’t realize how much I depended on it until it was gone. The one we’re using from Mi.Vida’s website studio does not have the processing power, is very slow to change between applications (which I need to do a lot during grad school work), does not have Microsoft Office (which I need for grad school and work), does not have a microphone and camera (which I need for online grad school classes) and is just generally not nearly as nice as my machine was. I probably break down from the frustrating of having had my computer stolen about once a day. During most of those breakdowns, tears are shed. I want so badly just to get a new one but I just can’t justify spending the HUGE amount of money to do it. That is really what makes me frustrated, wanting so bad to replace it and not being able to (oh, and the fact that someone STOLE it in the first place).
  • Friend stuff. I’m realizing more and more that this is very much my own thing and not my friends. I keep trying to remind myself that my pregnancy is not that big of a deal to my friends and that their lives do not revolve around me during these nine months. It’s not that I really think they should, but sometimes my responses to what my friends do or say are somewhat based on my expectation that right now is a special time and my expectation that it will be treated accordingly. Of course that is really not true, not really. I mean it’s special for me, but its just something their friend is going through and doesn’t mean my wants and needs should become a top priority for them. In an attempt to show that I know everything is not all about me right now I did buy tickets to see my friend in NYC that couldn’t come out to see me. I’m happy to see her but worried about the financial decision to go out at all (thought the tix were very reasonable). I’m hoping it was a step in the right direction (away from me issues and towards my friends).  I’m still kind of struggling with a feeling of loneliness though, and I know I need to be the one to change that.
  • Finances. The computers being robbed and our plan to get a new (to us) car soon, have really got me thinking about finances. Man, we are in some trouble for next year. Between our sad little salaries and child care expenses we’re going to be sucking our savings dry. I know we can make much more responsible choices regarding money and we will, but the whole situation stresses me out. We’re going to keep writing down what we spend every month until the baby comes  (and then after the baby comes) and hopefully that will help us make changes in the right direction. Until then I need to not stress out about that which I cannot change – how little we make and how much child care will cost.
  • Grad School. I’ve been totally dropping the ball in my grad school class lately too. I didn’t show up for the last two classes (which were also the first two classes) and I’m so embarrassed. I’d love to have a good reason, but I didn’t read my email early enough to be at the first one and I totally forgot about the second. It’s no good. I’ve always been a responsible student and I just can’t believe how bad this looks. I’m nervous to talk to my professor tomorrow but I need to face the music. I hope this doesn’t mess up my final grade too much. The worst part is this is the Linguistics class I’ve been waiting to take – I love Linguistics, it was my major at Berkeley! I can’t believe I’ve been so irresponsible about it so far. It just makes me feel lousy.
  • Being busy. I have had so much work to do lately and so much tutoring, I just feel overwhelmed and tired all the time. Mi.Vida and I have been trying to see Shutter Island for FOUR WEEKS and every time I have to cancel because I have too many papers to grade or too much grad school work to do, or will be at tutoring for too long. It’s really starting to wear me down. I have to tutor because we need the money, and I have to grade papers because I have to give my students grades and I have to get this grad school class done because otherwise I’ll be doing it while I have a baby. There is nothing that can give, except my sanity I guess. I just wish I had a whole weekend where I didn’t have to do anything.
  • Back pain. I have been plagued by this mid back pain for the last three weeks and it’s driving me insane. I’ve gone to the chiropractor twice and a massage therapist twice (both of which are costing me a pretty penny) and there has been no improvement. I don’t know how to make it better. It makes work, chores and sleep very uncomfortable and puts me on edge all the time. If I have to deal with this for the rest of my pregnancy I’m going to really lose it.

So that is where I’ve been lately. I know that my mood is both being caused by some of these stressed and also, causing enhanced reactions to them (in which I tend to freak out and cry a lot). I’ve just gotten the book The Mindful Way through Depression and am looking forward to reading it and putting its ideas into practice. I really am so happy to be pregnant and so enjoying the experience, I don’t want it to be marred by a low grade depression like this. Hopefully between therapy, Zo.loft and being mindful of the present moment, I can get back to where I want to be.

In the meantime, I’m sorry I’ve been a bad blog writer and commenter. I promise to resume my old habits of more frequent commenting in the coming days. Also, thank you for all the kind comments about my pictures. I know they are hard to see for many people, but I can’t help but share them. I appreciate the people who say kind things about them, I really do. I know they would have torn my heart to pieces after my ectopic. You are stronger women than I. And please know that if you couldn’t handle them and did not comment I TOTALLY understand.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I had some girl friends over for dinner yesterday and it was a lot of fun. Tonight I’m catching up on LOST with my sister and tomorrow I’m getting together with my SIL. I’m definitely keeping busy while Mi.Vida is away at SXSW!