Sunday, December 06, 2009

A funny thing happened

See, I was just thinking "hmmm, I really better do a blog post before my 2 remaining readers think I have shuffled off this mortal coil..." when my A/C broke. What's that got to do with blogging, you might wonder. Well, if one doesn't have A/C it gets kinda hot. And when it's kinda hot, you tend to open a window. Or two. So there is my house, sitting there with windows open while I am at work one Friday, thinking "I really should call the A/C repair guys, but I don't want to spend the money and maybe I can last out until the cool weather arrives." And wouldn't you know it, the open windows looked so inviting that a couple of guys just couldn't resist popping the screens off the windows and climbing in. In broad daylight. On a Friday afternoon. As some of my neighbors were walking past with their dogs, and shouting that they were calling the police. So, that was that for my laptop. And my iPod. And some jewelry. Sigh. Off it all went into one of my pillowcases and on to whatever pawn shop/fence is currently paying the most for such things.

So, no computer = no blogging. And you thought I was just lazy - shame on you. Well, OK, I am lazy. Uh, I mean, busy. Uh, well, not living an interesting infertility-related life. But now I have finally got myself a new computer, so I feel obliged to post that I am not dead.

I am doing OK, actually. I'm taking stock of the fact that I'll probably never have kids. You'd think I would have been dealing with that all along, and I have. Kind of. But I always had this fantasy that I'd meet a nice guy and get knocked up the old fashioned way, against all the odds. But the odds are climbing higher and higher every day so it's featuring less and less in my imaginings of what my life is going to be like in the future. And that's surprisingly OK. I spend some time every now and then imagining my child-free life, and it brings me comfort. In fact, it's been one of the main ways that I have used in order to be able to crawl out from the pit of despair. What I do is picture myself at 70 and see what I've been able to accomplish without children - what sort of life I've built for myself. See, without paying for kids' things, and school and college, without needing to live in a place with extra bedrooms in a good school district, I figure you can afford to make different life choices.

In my imaginings I have built up a picture of myself as a thin, elegant lady who lives in a bijou apartment in NYC (or some other great city like Paris or London), who you might find dashing off to a yoga class, or to the library, or to tea with a dear friend, or to a free concert in Central Park. I have a small wardrobe of high quality designer clothes, and I have minimal but carefully cherished possessions. I am happy and serene, and although I don't live an expensive life, it is interesting and fulfilling.

It's funny, when I first started doing this, I set myself a task of picturing ANY sort of life, money no object, reality be damned - let's just picture anything that might make me happy without kids. I had spent so much of my life imagining that kids were the natural progression that I couldn't picture an adulthood without them. So I felt that I had to re-imagine life, and come up with a goal. And this is what gradually emerged. No fabulous yacht sailing around the south Pacific islands, no large mansion, not really anything that wasn't totally unattainable. So when I am wallowing in pity or feeling annoyed with life, I return to this picture, and try to put into action concrete steps that will help me get from here to there. I mean, without kids, why not be totally selfish and just make a life that will feel right.

So, I am doing yoga. I am doing it 2 or 3 times a week, and am getting back to bendiness and am gaining some good muscles. I am slowly losing the weight I gained doing infertility treatments. It's taken me over a year, but I am down nearly 25 pounds. I have a ways to go, but one of these days I will be in shape. Each time something no longer fits right, I am being brutal about putting it aside to take to Goodwill. I am no longer hanging on to bigger clothes in case I need them when I am pregnant. Slowly my giant wardrobe that is mostly clothes I can't fit in is being whittled down. Not that I'm at the stage of buying expensive designer things to replace the stuff I am giving away, but I am trying to think about buying things that are stylish and work well together. See, they're little steps, but they are actual, concrete steps that help me to feel like I am doing something. That I am creating my imagined life.

And there's school. It's a little (lot) crazy right now because we have a big comprehensive year-end exam coming up. But I am liking my class (yes, even the annoying guy has calmed down a lot and is growing on me), I am liking what I am learning and I can use it as an opportunity to have a fulfilling not-too-stressful job and to move anywhere I want when I graduate. And maybe I will move nowhere at all, and will stay put. But it'll be a choice because I like my friends and my life here, rather than just being in my current city because that's where my job is.

So. There. That's where my head is. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone mired in the pain of infertility, it's to start imaging a life without kids. Maybe you'll find that parenting really is the most important thing, and you'll adopt or succeed through treatment. Or maybe you'll find that life might not be so bad and lonely after all.


gwinne said...

Sorry to hear about the break in--yikes!

I've been reading your blog for the past few months and just wanted to say I appreciate it. I'm an SMC (I have a five year old) currently struggling with secondary infertility and recurrent miscarriage. My RE has been encouraging me to think about next steps, living with only one child, adopting, donor egg, etc, so this post is quite timely. Thanks.

calliope said...

and he took one of your pillow cases too???!! damn

I have missed you. Very glad you not only got a new computer but that you also wrote something here.

I find your NYC vision very interesting. I have always viewed you as worldly and metropolitan.

There is more I want to say, but I can't seem to get it to come out of my brain in a way that isn't dorky.

Almamay said...

So good to hear from you! I've been wondering what you were up to. Damn burglers.

Missed you x

Sara said...

Sorry about the laptop. Ugh! I once had mine stolen (from a bar in NYC--so much for living the glamorous life!) and it totally sucked. It sounds like you are rolling with the punches, though, which is admirable.

I really liked this post, and am very happy to hear that you are doing so well. I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful child #1 (through IVF after almost 3 years of infertility), but I'm now two years into ttc #2 with no signs of progress in sight, and am 40, so I'm also trying to reimagine my life as a happy mother of one. There are setbacks along the way, and I'm not really sure if I'm done trying, but I agree that the happiest moments are when I see myself enjoying my life as it is, with one child, rather than when I obsess about how to change it.

Not on Fire said...

I am glad to hear that you are in a good spot.

Tanya said...

Thanks for posting--and as witty and wise as always. Sorry about the break in. Big drag. Happy about your growing peace.

Miss X said...

So glad to hear you are alive. I was starting to worry.

Thanks for your honesty on possibly living child-free. I wish I could say I'm at the same place but I'm not (haven't even tried to become a mother, just dream about it).

Sam said...

I would like to have tea some day when we are old and gray(er). I'm glad that you posted, but sad for your possessions. Assholes!

Sheba said...

Good advice. Loved your old life in NYC vision. It's nice to see you back. I've been checking in and wondering how you were. And sorry about your laptop loss - you are handling it so courageously!
For someone who now has a handful of a toddler after years of trying, I can tell you I find myself sometimes daydreaming about all those things that one can do in a life without/before kids... like museum strolls, happy hours, and relaxed lunches/dinners/movies. We trade-in one aspect of life to get another and get a few unknowns with it. That's life, but it's good to keep perspective on it through imagination, like you described :-)

Anonymous said...

I am an aspiring SMC (at 42 - Yikes!) but I do believe childfree living is wonderful TOO!

There are pros and cons in both.

My fantasy about being 70 is that my child will be out on his/her own and that me and a couple of girlfriends will buy a house together and live as The Golden Girls - having a blast, dating, dancing and enjoying one another's company.

You're going to be just fine.


Peaches said...

I'm glad you are back. It was like losing touch with an old friend. That really sucks about your laptop & iPOD getting stolen from your house.

jen breese said...

Nice to see you back and I'm so sorry about the laptop. Your post was very timely and meant a lot to me. I'm not a parent but would like to be. A friend of mine just lost her IVF fetus and it has been heartbreaking to everyone.

Best of luck and I think Paris might be a fun place to be too. :)