I am really good at telling people other people's good news. For instance, if you happen to be related to me and you happen to be getting married, I may have gleefully shared that with the hairdresser this weekend when she asked me what was happening in my life. I love writing the Lost and Found every day, not just for the knowledge that it helps people get the support they need but because I love sharing the happy stories. I am a glutton for a good story.
But my own news? I sort of did okay with the engagement announcement but I sucked at telling people I was pregnant when I was carrying the twins. Most of the time, I didn't tell people at all. I did actually try to keep the pregnancy hidden until I was five months along, and even then, I never made a formal announcement. I just stopped wearing my winter coat and everyone said, "oh..." and that was that.
It's not that I wasn't happy; but I think when happiness comes at the end of a dark path where you've been dodging and weaving for so long that you walk tentatively. I really couldn't shout about it because I was too busy holding my breath and beyond that, I knew how it felt to be on the receiving end of a crowing session. When you're not in a good space yourself, they suck. I mean, you're happy for the other person, but you're sad for yourself and even though most people can grasp that intellectually, when they are in a moment of bliss, they seem to forget this life lesson, this strange dichotomy where you can be simultaneously as happy as can be and as sad as can be at the same time.
I'm just really no good at telling news. As a case in point, I've started this post three times and now I am filling it with a long explanation instead of actually getting to the point.
I sold the book*. It will be on bookshelves in Spring 2009 (so a little more than a year from now).
I got the call during Chanukkah and I've been sitting on it a bit until details were worked out, but it feels safe to tell you. As safe as it ever can. Because, like pregnancy, publishing has not been an easy road for me and you always walk tentatively.
Can I just have a waaah waaah waaah part to this story? While my MFA classmates were publishing, I was trying. They were at conferences; I was at the clinic. I don't regret my choice for a minute--if I had never published, but I had given trying to get to motherhood my all, I would have still felt like I had fought the good fight and put my hat in the correct ring. It doesn't mean that I wish I hadn't had to make a choice. I wish I hadn't sunk into a two year depression where I didn't type a single word. That sort of sucked.
Starting this blog was my concession to Josh to try to stave off that depression again this go-around. I love my therapist and I would return to her in a heart beat. But blogging is like self-guided therapy with questions or statements coming in the comments that can be done without the hour-long drive in traffic to the therapist's office. That doesn't need to be scheduled. I didn't always have something to say when I showed up at my appointment, but here I can sit down at the computer precisely when I have something to say. I think even if no one read the words, it would still be helpful to get them out, see them in print, consider them from different angles.
Free therapy is just one of the many reasons I blog.
And, for me, it has worked. I may be bobbing in infertility, but I'm not drowning in infertility. Some of that is probably also the ChickieNob and Wolvog--secondary IF, for me, is different from primary (though, to quote Smarshy, just a different bag of ass). But I think that if I hadn't started writing the blog, I would have stopped writing the book. That is what happened last time. Life simply stopped. I stopped writing, and, for me, when I stopped writing, I stopped thinking. My thoughts for two years became an endless loop about parenthood.
I know I'm lucky--you don't have to tell me. I am well aware of all the things that aligned to bring me here. I'd like to think that it wasn't just dumb luck--that I put in the work and then luck carried me through the rest of the way. But I'm also aware that the way you look at things also depends on where you stand. So...I understand other responses too.
Unlike graduate school and marriage (which for me were straight-forward and semi-easy in comparison to others), publishing a book has followed a path similar to conception where my classmates got to do the 100-yard dash and I was assigned the marathon. Actually, it was more like I was assigned a marathon where observers kept throwing cats at me. I was going to say crickets, but it wasn't scary. It was just annoying and frustrating and confusing--as I'm sure it would be to have cats thrown at you as you're running a race. I've published articles and online pieces, but this is my first book. Not the first one I've written, but the first one that will be sold at a bookstore.
I didn't conceive and carry a child alone, so it seems fitting that several hundred people also helped out with the conception of an infertility book. Without you, I wouldn't be writing because I'd be on the kitchen floor crying. Without you, the book would have a single point-of-view. Thank you.
I wrote these next two paragraphs a few weeks ago--on the night when I received the phone call from my agent--and though they are maudlin beyond words, I wanted to include something I was feeling that night. Because I didn't cry until I started writing about it on my blog--which is a case in point about how powerful blogging can be, emotion-wise, and how important you all are to me.
This book is ours. There. Finally. The tears. I knew they were in there. I didn't cry when I got the call and I didn't cry when I told Josh or my parents or my siblings--all people who sat with me through so many years of plugging away at publishing. But I cried when I just wrote that sentence. We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of chapters to write. We have a chance to get our voice out there--not only to each other, but to the non-IF world too. To REs who may read it or mothers who may pick up a copy to understand.Let me repeat that last part again in case you missed that because it was indented. This blog has been around for a year and a half, but it sort of feels like it's just getting started. There are many more emotions that need to come out on my end and there are many more connections that need to be made and there are interviews to collect and voices to be heard. And though I may be shitty with email for a bit, I promise not to leave you if you won't leave me since we're both still running the race. With cats thrown at our heads for good measure.
I may not be pregnant, I may not be ovulating anymore, I may be going back to the clinic in a few days, I may be doing the exact same thing I was doing four years ago. But this time, I'm in a better place. And I'm about to have a book published. And that is sort of blowing my mind at this moment. So thank you. For letting me get out all of the words that have been inside of me for the last year and a half. And please don't leave me now because I now need to collected interviews for at least 8 other chapters.
*For those who are saying to themselves, "what book?" since they started reading this blog after my last call for interviews, I've been writing an infertility and pregnancy loss book. Every so often, when I start a new chapter, I do a call for interviews on the blog. And I hope you'll add your voice to the book if you fit the chapter. I cannot even tell you how cool it is to read through a chapter and think "oh, so-and-so said that!" or "this is a quote from this blogger." Though most are posting anonymously within the text. So...that's the book.
P.S. (can you have a P.S. to a blog post?): send any questions my way; I'll answer them in a post because I also have some good stories to already share about the process.