The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Thank you for the kind comments on that last post; my manifesto. Feel free to link to it or send the url anonymously to anyone you need. When I wrote it, I was so frustrated. Frustrated by the commentary of others and frustrated with the situation itself that brings out the tendency to need to turn temporarily inward. Women are raised with the word yes tattooed on their tongue. Yes, I will take care of that. Yes, I will attend. Yes, I will bake it/sew it/buy it/bring it.

I want to teach my daughter to say no when she needs to say no. It's a hard word to say. I really dislike turning someone down when they've invited me or asked me for something. Possibly turning down an invitation in order to do IVF? It makes me feel like shit.

Treatments sometimes feel like a giant mountain that is casting a shadow on everything else. You can't move it, it's exhausting to go around it, it is constantly in your field of vision.

We're still two cycles away from starting treatments again and they're already shaping our winter--making us work all plans around the possibility of a monitoring appointment or the timing of an injection.

Thinking about it sometimes makes me feel frozen. The closer we get to that appointment, the more emotional ground I'm uprooting. That imaginary soil has turned out anger, jealousy, and not a small amount of anxiety and indecision.

I think the best way to describe it is that I have arthritis of the soul and sometimes my thoughts just become frozen. What if? I am so paralyzed by the choices and not knowing what will happen next: do I take a chance with my first choice which isn't necessarily the best choice? Do I hold off and wait? Do I go to my second choice, which makes me feel sad, but is probably the better choice? That sort of thing.

When I was applying to grad school, I would go home every day after my last class and go to the mailbox to see if there were any acceptance letters. When the mail contained nothing, I would be so overwhelmed by all of the anxiety I had been carrying around all day and the disappointment of the mailbox trip and the uncertainty of my future that my first thought always was just to stop. To go to sleep. There are few choices with sleep and what will happen next is pretty much a given: you will close your eyes and you will be unconscious. I started calling this time of day mailbox narcolepsy.

I am feeling the pull of mailbox narcolepsy as I consider choices. They don't even have to be life-changing choices. Just getting all of the day-to-day stuff complete. Should I clean the house first or start the hummus? Should I say fuck-all to the cleaning and do some work? I guess the best way to describe it is that I feel like I'm on one of those people-movers at the aeroport. I hate to fly. Those people-movers, they bring you closer and closer to the place you need to be. But the place I need to be--whether it's on the plane or in the stirrups--just sucks. It's necessary and it has to happen. I have to fly if I want to get from point A to point B. And I have to go back to the clinic if I want to have a third child.

Unless I want to go with Plan B. With driving 8 hours instead of flying or adopting instead of treatments. The Plan Bs have their own issues.

They make me tired too.

I've always made quick, decisive choices. I don't look back. I've always been the type who has had little patience for those who are wishy washy when it comes to decision making. And now I'm stressing about whether or not to make a salad for lunch and eat it because you can't unring the lettuce bell once the salad is consumed. And what if something else would have been the better choice?

I have rarely experienced writer's block--when it happens, it is usually because I am out of practice and need to get back into the thing I am writing. It takes a day or two, but I usually find my groove. But for days, I've wanted to describe this state of feeling frozen and I haven't been able to do it. It has felt too overwhelming--not the act of writing, but the act of writing something specific. I've sat down at the computer and started this many times. I have Microsoft Paint drawing in wait and diagrams explaining this emotional state.

I'm happy; I'm fine. When I look at all on my plate right now, I feel like I have a decent meal. I like to be busy. Right now is much better than when I was starving and the plate was empty. Or when it was entirely filled with trash. But you know those dinners--when everything is fine and the day was okay and you were even happy through most of it? But, inexplicably, you're crying into your spaghetti and vegan meatballs? That state of crying when you can't even really put your finger on why you are crying or why you are frozen. That's what was happening at the beginning of the week.

To the untrained eye, they would read that last paragraph and say, "I'm worried about you; you sound depressed." But I know that you probably understand what I mean--how you can be laughing, having a perfectly normal dinner, and then the topic of a future event comes up and somehow, you end up in tears. It passes, you move back to laughing, but...well, you know how it feels when you glance out the window and see the mountain.

I feel like I am becoming more unstuck. Tonight, my best friend from college is coming. We have been friends for 15 years; this fall was our 15 year anniversary (yes, Jill, if you're reading, I'm talking about your SIL!). I met her the first day of Hebrew class. And I knew the moment I saw her that we would be those friends that grew old together.

Can I just talk about her for a second because she makes me so happy? One day, we were having breakfast and she told me that she was going to leave her job and bike through Southeast Asia. And she did it. She just picked up and left with her bicycle and went on this incredible adventure. This trip was preceded by similar trips through Central America and a half-a-year in Mexico. Travels through Europe and the Middle East. She has been everywhere.

When I'm with her, she reminds me to grab onto everything in the moment; to take chances, to put myself out there, to risk stability for great rewards. Everyone should have a friend like Amy to kick them in the ass from time to time with her sassy, adventurous foot.

You know how you feel when you enter the house and you close the door and you can completely be yourself? That is what it is like being with her.

Back to cleaning. And cooking. And preparing. And becoming unstuck.


Esperanza said...

Yes I do know that feeling. It is overwhelming. Also have cried over nothing and everything - being completely fine - just needing to get it out.

Glad your friend is coming to visit. Enjoy yourself.

Searching said...

I must have life narcolepsy. I see sleep as my escape and want it so desperately most of the time that perhaps that is why I have such problems with sleep disorders. I'll have to think on that, but I do like your term. Better trademark it before it becomes some widely published phenomenon that someone makes big bucks off of (don't worry, I'm too lazy and nice to steal your idea). I hope you are able to get unstuck in one piece. It is hard.

I'm so glad your friend is coming. Those very few who stick with you through so much are a treasure. Have a wonderful time!

Tina / Anxious Changer said...

How real those feelings are... It is almost like living in a house of cards - each new, higher story depends upon the base one you set, and one wrong move can completely collapse the house into oblivion. You think and ponder and contemplate the next move, never knowing if it will be a weak or strong one.

May you find your grove again... A visit from a dear friend may just do the trick.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I know that feeling all too well! Have a great time with your friend-I bet you'll feel much better after spending some time with her!

megan said...

i too know that feeling. it can be so immobilizing. i'm glad your friend is coming to visit...have a fantastic time!

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Sounds like Amy's visit is just the thing to continue the unstucking process.

Have a wonderful, rejuvenating time.

Jackie said...

Mel this is an amazingly deep feeling post. I can't wait to share it with a friend of mine who was voicing many of the same ideas over dinner with me last night.
You've been on my mind...even more than usual. I dreamed this morning that you were teaching me how to bake bread. It was a great dream nevermind the fact that my bread turned out horribly!

Geohde said...

Hmm, yes, I get it.

I plan my life (and have done for two years now) around fertility treatments.

It's all just so soul-sappingly damn EXHAUSTING.


Nessa said...

Everything you have said in your last two posts are exactly how I am feeling and don't know how to get it out. This has been a rough day and thank you for being there. When this whole journey for us started I never thought I could gain strength from a person inside a computer. Oh how silly was I. Thanks.

Jess said...

I don't think you sound depressed. Busy, yes. Overwhelmed a bit, yes. But not depressed.

Don't worry, most of us have been there. Hard thing, choices. Harder thing than just choices...choices so big that affect yoru whole life: children, marriage, college. That sort of stuff is the stuff of anxiety. But one step at a time, my dear, and you'll get through it. After all, the Good Lord never gives us more than we can truly handle. And to have grace is to know that and plug on, believing it'll all be ok in the end if we just trust.

Enjoy your visit with your friend!!

Natalie said...

Your friend is like my best friend - the one where it's so easy and I'm so me, I just can't believe it's that easy to do both.

On the crying out of nowhere - twice this week. Cuz I too am frozen, waiting for something to start, waiting to get going, not able to make real plans until I know dates. It's awful. Hang in there, have a drink with the friend, and enjoy the calm before the storm.

Bea said...

Ah, such a familiar feeling. All of it. The bit about having to say, "I can't - IVF," and how it kind of doesn't feel like an adequate excuse, the bit where these choices just pin you to the spot, unable to make even the most basic of decisions...

You have to work hard to overcome it, or perhaps "keep it to a dull roar" is a better description. You have to constantly keep trying to put things into perspective, so you can get through the everyday, and you have to constantly relieve yourself of responsibility for things you have no control over.

It's exhausting. Either way.


battynurse said...

I like your point about teaching your daughter to say no. My cousin got upset with me once when I told her daughter no when she bit me (she was about a year old). She told me "we don't use the word No with T." I never got that, still don't. Seems to me that you are teaching a child that it's not ok to say no, when sometimes it really is.

Baby Step said...

I am stuck too. Thank you for describing it so perfectly. Every morning when I wake up I debate whether I should just go back to sleep. For the WHOLE day. I have not done it yet, but the thought is always there.

I hope you get unstuck soon.

Samantha said...

I recognize every one of those feelings you described--starting with always saying "yes to the feeling of being stuck to the feeling of indecision to the unexplicable tears.

May you have a good weekend with your friend.

Kir said...

I think I have a bit of the frozen places too, here I am, PG with the children I prayed and wished for and I just can't make myself believe they are coming. I hear their heartbeats, I feel them move and yet I move through things getting their room ready like I'm just watching and would really really rather be taking a nap. I want them to come and I am afraid at the same time. Frozen. Excellent way to put it.

have fun with Amy...she sounds amazing and that will help with the "thaw" :)


Tracy said...

"I am feeling the pull of mailbox narcolepsy as I consider choices."

I love that I can come here and there's always somebody that gets me. I used to be such a planner. Always knew what I wanted and when my hubby asked me, "what do you want for lunch" or "where do you want to go on Saturday" or "are you going to the gym in the morning" I could give him a precise, definitive answer.

NOW, such questions cause me to unravel into hysterics! Why do I have to decide? Can't we just wing it? Why does everything have to be SO planned out? It FREAKS me out! Who have I become?

So glad to know it's not just me that is utterly exhausted by the day-to-day.

Hope you have a great time with your friend. Those relationships are priceless.

Meghan said...

Definitely know that frozen feeling all too well. I spent the better part of last weekend that way.

I'm glad you're starting to melt and thaw out a little. Have a great time with your friend