Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!
It's taken me a few days to get the proverbial balls required to write this post, which is difficult to do, since I don't have balls. Somehow, I got 'em though. So ready or not, here I go. First, though, you get to slog through the necessary background information.
When I reluctantly started this blog last summer, I was fortunate to stumble into all kinds of e-friendships, "blogships," if you will, with the infertility fighters of the world. I was allowed inside of their sprawling community of brilliant, witty, brutally honest women who are childless-not-by-choice. Their situations weren't quite like mine, but still, I felt a connection was there. It's the palpable grief that brings us together, I think, the sinking sensation of realizing that you can't have a baby when you want one (and might, in fact, not EVER have a baby). In launching Exhale, my understanding of the TTC/infertility/otherwise-childless-not-by-choice perspective has grown even deeper, even in just these few short months. I have tremendous respect for the columnists that make Exhale the lovely thing that it is. And, as one who certainly doesn't get pregnant at the drop of a hat, I found solace in reading about others' infertility struggles. Perhaps that's awful of me, shamelessly finding joy in someone else's suffering.
Let me cut to the chase:
I'm knocked up for the third time, and due in September.
I don't know why this is so hard to announce. Never mind. Yes, I do. It's because in announcing this fact, by making this abrupt leap from the non-prego side of the line to the prego-side, I dread losing some of my favorite readers and "blogships" from the world of TTC. My persona will be different from this point forward in the eyes of the childless-not-by-choice community, for I will now be viewed as one of those women who get knocked up when you are not, leaving you behind to wish you could feel happy about this news the way that normal people would, and kind-of-sort-of-feeling happy, but kind of feeling like shit at the same time. The mere fact of my pregancy will be a source of hurt for some, and I don't blame them. Statistically speaking, after all, this does leave one less person on the non-prego side of the line, and adds one more person to the prego-side, supposedly not even looking back and remembering life on the non-prego side fondly, but now looking eagerly forward to that shiny day on the calendar, nine months ahead.
I hope I'm at least 60-70% right. I hope that my description of this composite TTC blog-o-woman isn't too far off the mark, for if it is, then I have vastly misinterpreted the hundreds of blog posts I've read, Exhale submissions I've reviewed, and phone calls I've had with my TTC friends. Besides, I've been there myself in my years (what now feels like decades) of KuKd status.
This is where my Social Experiment comes in. I suppose a better name might be "Social Challenge:" I want to know if it's possible, humanly and emotionally and logistically possible, for me to still find common ground with my TTC homegirls, and with my KuKd Strong Momma readers who have suffered very raw and recent losses and don't want to hear about other people's pregnancies. I want to know if it's possible to straddle both sides of the "prego line," without becoming invisible and irrelevant and hurtful to either world, a notion that's almost more than I can stomach. Can I still post empathetic remarks on others' blogs, and visa versa?
Can I manage to say the right things on this blog about my knocked-up status, things that will be as honest as I like to be, and yet sensitive to the TTC world? This will be my wholehearted effort, although I am sure to occasionally miss the mark.
If I complain, for instance, about the severe coffee-withdrawal-hangover I've been suffering for the past few weeks (worth a novel-length post of class-A bitching), you could rightfully say: "Well, at least you're pregnant. Quit whining about it."
You're right. Touche.
If I eagerly post pictures of the Ralph Lauren "Country Farm Hay Bale" yellow paint I've selected for the baby's room (no part of which will I EVER do), you may just click out of my blog in a fit of disgust.
I wouldn't blame you if you did.
Perhaps a good place to find common ground is for me to offer up some "assurances," if you could call it that, about what it actually MEANS to be pregnant for the third time in a series of previous failures. To put it bluntly, this is not a rainbow-happy-normal pregnancy brimming with optimistic thoughts of strollers and blankets and poop-filled diapers. It's not one for which I've already drawn a red heart in ball-point-pen around September 24th on the calendar, and begun researching baby names. It's not a pregnancy of which anybody should be jealous, not a pregnancy I would wish on anyone, except for maybe that school bully in 5th grade who stuck his bubblegum in my math textbook. I forget his name, but he was an asshole.
Nope, I won't be boasting about this pregnancy. Take these telling truths:
I'm cramping all the time, which people say is normal, but I don't believe anyone. Every time I pee, I check the toilet paper for blood, almost certain I'll see some. In sort, I'm practically waiting to miscarry. I expect it. I can't help it. I feel doomed. Put it this way: Extra-Strength Tums is a part of my daily diet. If this baby becomes a baby, my expectations will be sub-ground low. Just stay alive, get your high school diploma, and stay out of trouble with the law. That's all I ask.
Given my track record and relatively high (not high, but relatively high) probability of recurring failure, I enter into this pregnancy with a tremendous fear of growing attached to the tiny blob of fetal material in my pelvis. It's like I'm one of those adopted kids with attachment disorder, and cannot figure out how to love this entity that may or may not turn into a baby. I'd down a shot of strong tequilla to give myself some beer goggles - thereby perhaps helping with the love factor - but neither Jesus nor Kevin would forgive me if I did that. So scrap that idea.
If it's a boy, then there will supposedly be a 50% chance of him getting that god-damned-forsaken heart defect again. If I were religious, I'd pray that this was a girl. Of course, no amount of praying would help me now, since the gender has already been determined. So all I can do is kick back and wait. If it's a boy, I'll be stocking up on extra Tums and taking more meditation classes than are probably considered healthy.
I have an ultrasound next week to make sure the tiny entity is still alive, and I simply cannot bear the thought of going without Kevin, of ever going to another ultra sound EVER without him, potentially reliving the horror of last time. I hate to be this clingy and demanding, and hope I get over it soon. Let's call it a passing phase for now. I hope our civil rights-era grandmothers and mothers forgive me for ditching my feminist views, for now.
Being pregnant again is causing some old sadnesses about Zachary to surface, unresolved grief, I suppose. Not surprising, since I did only get about a C- in Grieving 101. I'm sure some social worker would have predicted this would happen. That's okay, I'll deal.
And finally, I'm not reading any pregnancy books or blogs or magazines. This will not become a WOO-HOO! CHECK OUT ME AND MY KNOCKED UP SELF! kind of blog, because my head and heart aren't there. And I'm not joining or starting any groups for knocked-up gals. To do any of this would be to freefall too quickly into eagerness and happiness, which would set myself up for rejection in the end, which is too frightful to bear. I imagine it being why, for example, people who have been married and divorced three times already don't have a huge, expensive wedding the fourth time. Just a quickie at a Las Vegas love chapel with maybe a friend or two in the audience. At some point, skepticism wins out, you know?
SO, I'm going at this floating through this in a sea of skepticism and fear of my own, trying to confront these feelings, not relating on this particular issue to my other pregnant friends, nor to friends who have never been pregnant before. That makes for a pretty slim sliver of the friend-population to choose from.
And yes, through the murky waters of all of this anxiety, I'm hoping as hard as I can hope, oftentimes with hot watery tears forming against the backs of my eyeballs but not coming out, that this little potential person inside me stays strong and viable, and makes it to the very end.
Make it, make it, make it.
Any thoughts on this Social Experiment, this joining of the prego- and wannabe-prego minds and souls? What will the results be? Can it be done?
I'm going to assume "yes" for now, and give it a shot.