On Mothers: Mary

Another month, another opportunity to obsessively think about motherhood in the hypothetical. Yes, my period arrived mostly on cue, only accompanied with extremely painful cramps. (Because the Universe is kind.)

Growing up, I had several best friends. The truth is I had friends for all seasons, but there were a handful who really took me in. I would spend DAYS at their house, invite myself over for dinner, and even go on vacation with them. In many ways, I created satellite families that were respites from my own when it all was a bit too much. (Love them though I do, my family is often too much.)

And while I adored all my satellite families, I particularly loved the Larks*. I cannot tell you how dearily I wanted to be a Lark. They “got me.” My best friend was the coolest, and joined me in my early feminist vibe. We devoured The Cinderella Complex, The Woman Warrior, and Tales of the City. We jointly yearned for the time when we’d be free of our southern college town, move to cities, and “start living our lives.”

The Larks were “real Southerners” (unlike mine that came from New Jersey and Puerto Rico.) Mary, my friend’s mother, was born and raised in the South. She would tell me stories about her Aunt Fay who had owned and managed the family’s tobacco farm. It was like she was related to Scarlet O’Hara.

Mary was an editor for a small publisher. She was an intellectual, but didn’t get lost in her mind the way my mother did. She was light, airy, and had an exquisite laugh.

Like my family, the Larks were Catholic. We would see them every week at church, and sometimes I would sit with them instead. I started to notice there were parts of prayers that Mary didn’t say, specifically one part about speaking the word of God. Later I asked her why. “Because I don’t believe in proselytizing. So I refrain from that part of the service, respectfully.”

My mind was blown. Because in my house, we ranted and raved. We declared things wrong, unfair, unjust, and inane all the time. And loudly. The idea of silently refraining from anything was a completely foreign idea.

Mary taught me that a Southern woman could be polite and charming, without giving up her own opinions and convictions. She lived thoughtfully and intentionally.

Last summer, I got word from my dear friend that Mary had had a stroke. 3 weeks later, she died. As I sorted through my own memories of her, I realized how grateful I am to have had Mary in my life. She showed me an alternative, one that was a little kinder, a little softer.

 

*Nope, not their real names. But then you probably already figured that out, smarty pants.

 

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The One in Which We Are a Statistical Anomaly

First of all… Real live humans have actual read my blog. Um… WOW. I know I have my dear Bionic to thank for it. Mostly I started blogging as a place to vomit my emotions, and I really appreciate the comments that some of you folks have left. It makes me feel a little less alone in my pain cave. Thank you.

Right now, Mr. Ostrich is at a coffee shop doing his homework, thinking I’m at home cleaning. Cleaning? Why clean when I can procrastinate by blogging?!

Round one of Clomid is complete. I was expecting something horrible to happen, because let’s face it… my body likes to be dramatic.

I have been pleasantly surprised. During the actual pill popping, I felt fine. And afterwards, I also felt remarkably normal. I ovulated about two days before I normally would, but other than that it was fine.

This is the part when we wait two weeks and pretend that we are functioning members of society.

In an effort to keep up this facade, I visited with a friend who I hadn’t seen in some time. She has a one year old. Once the kid was born, it sorta cramped our style. I’m not hating on the baby, mind you. But it is a fact that once Sparrow* had a child, she had less free time than usual. Shocking, I know.

While visiting with her and her adorable offspring, I filled her in on the state of my uterus (i.e. mysteriously still vacant.) Sparrow said “So you’re a statistical anomaly.” This wasn’t mean spirited. She is a scientist by trade, so  approaches this whole baby making thing more like a biology experiment which strangely I appreciate. Better that than “The Baby Fairies will visit you soon!” Bleh.

Sparrow told me that she and Mr. Sparrow got pregnant within the first month of trying. I don’t think she meant it to brag, and it really didn’t bother me too much. It was more like “Weird shit happens” then “I’m soooo fertile.”

They say that the average couple gets pregnant with 6 to 12 months. So for every Sparrow that gets pregnant in the first month, there is an Ostrich who sits on the other end of that average. Once you subtract out the 7 months of Puberty Revisited I experienced coming off the pill, Mr. Ostrich and I are at 14 months. There is a part of me that feels I’m taking the bullet for all those fricking fertile people. I’m taking unusually long to get pregnant so you can just snap your fingers and have a baby. Next time we see each other on the street, I expect to be showered with diamonds and furs for my service.

So here I am. A Statistical Anomaly. Woo fucking hoo.

In the meantime, I have started seeing a therapist, Dr. Macaw*.  Not just because of all this crap, but also because the grief over my mother’s condition is officially overwhelming. The first few sessions, I spoke mainly about that. This week, I started to talk more about my inability to get pregnant and how long it has gone on. Among the many insightful things she said, Dr. Macaw pointed out that when I get my period every month I am also grieving a little bit. Grief upon grief. And I’m so tired of being so sad.

Being a statistical anomaly doesn’t make any of that go away. This is something I’ve struggled with in therapy, to be honest. Sure, there is something powerful about naming your feelings and understanding where they are coming from. But this doesn’t really make them go away. I have this “Ah HA!” moment, and pat myself on the back for being so smart and figuring it out. But then I’m still left alone with my little pile of sadface.

I’ve got two more days to go, and so far I’ve kept my shit together largely because I believe that this Clomid thing won’t work. (Enter Pessimism, stage right.)  I’ve got sore boobs and exotic cramping, which is par for my PMS course. It just want to curl up into a ball on the couch for the next two days and weather the storm. With my cat. And grilled cheese sandwiches. And BBC productions of Jane Austen novels.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent. And because I need an excuse to carry out this bird theme a little bit longer.