Saturday, November 27, 2021

Opposite Traumas

Hello and Happy Holiday Weekend!

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I've written. Not much has happened, although I did get good results from my colposcopy! All three samples taken were negative for malignancy. Yay!!! Getting that good news was very relieving.

Other than that, I'm still experiencing heightened anxiety. The pandemic doesn't help. Neither does my current situation at work. I spent some time today reading several articles about being gaslit in the workplace. Signs, symptoms, what to do about it. It all made sense, so, unfortunately, I think that's the situation I am in right now. To cope, I am practicing redirecting my thoughts (so I'm not always thinking about it) and focusing on the things I do enjoy (sewing and reading blogs).

I'm honestly annoyed. And tired. And I wonder if I'm not still experiencing some trauma-related entitlement. I feel like I've already been through so much, I don't want to deal with a crappy situation at work. I don't want to quit and look for another job. But I also don't want to stay and deal with drama.

You know what I really want? And I'm sure everyone feels this way. A break. I want a freaking break. I've been going nonstop since 2015 and I think my nerves are shot. All of my trauma started in 2011 and I'd really like to just put the last decade to rest. I want to rest. I need to rest. We all do.

I am also incredibly thankful for so much. I'm probably more thankful right now than ever before.  First, the tangible, I have a HOME. Then the intangible, I have clarity. Well, somewhat. Well, maybe not clarity exactly... But I have a strong sense of self. I have my experiences and values. I have boundaries. I have a new life. And I have my grieving process to thank for all of it.

Infertility sucks. It completely sucks all of the energy out of you and all of the meaning out of life. I feel like not having kids--not through trying to conceive, fertility treatments, or adoption--is the worst thing that could have happened to me. I'm so damn maternal. It runs deep. I was born to be a mother. Or so I thought. 

I dreamt of raising kids throughout my whole life. I wanted it to happen in my early thirties, but it didn't. It was completely traumatizing and life altering.

Which brings me to the point/title of this post...

My boyfriend and I have opposite traumas.
I'm an infertile woman. He was a teen dad. 

It's a pretty significant detail. I've had his permission to share here, but it just never seemed to be the right time. I never found the right words. Even now, this post isn't flowing like I normally like. 

But Thanksgiving came and his young adult children drove up to see us. We hadn't seen his son since January and we hadn't seen his stepdaughter since the pandemic. It was so good to see them both. They stayed two nights and the four of us ate an early Thanksgiving feast on Monday.

My boyfriend raised them both, his son from birth and his stepdaughter from toddlerhood, with their mother. I can only imagine how hard it was. While teen parents may get a lot in terms of judgment, they don't often get a lot in terms of actual support. At least my boyfriend and his partner at the time didn't. They just got jobs and juggled childcare and made it happen.

It's weird for me. My boyfriend raised children. There's lots I could say here. There's lots that I have said to my boyfriend. Take Thanksgiving for example. I loved seeing his kids and having them stay with us. But it also felt weird. Like I was hanging out with some other woman's family. And it made me sad that I didn't get to raise them. But hell, I was nowhere near around over twenty years ago. 

So that's our opposite trauma. I'm infertile and my boyfriend was a teen dad. 

We have more in common than I would have ever guessed. For one, we are both missing our peer group. Most people our age are raising kids, but I'm not (obviously) and he's done doing that. So... We find ourselves hanging out with much younger or much older people. 

Well, before the pandemic anyway... Nowadays we are at home.
(But at least we have a home. We do not take that for granted.)

So now you know. 

I am not a mom or stepmom; I did not raise children. But my boyfriend is a dad. He raised children and now has two young adults in their early twenties. I love them both very much. I tell them whenever I see them and they know me as stable, practical, dependable, and effusive with my feelings for them haha.

Maybe they will come up in future posts. Maybe I will write about incidents that happened in the past couple of years. Maybe I will share the unexpected things my boyfriend and I have in common through our opposite traumas. Maybe I will just write as an infertile woman who is in love with a man who raised children. 

Who knows what the future holds. But for now, I am thankful.

Part of our feast! Cranberry sauce, two kinds of dressing, green bean casserole, and that big silver pot is holding our homemade macaroni and cheese. Not pictured: the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and two pies (pumpkin and cherry).

Here's something I'm thankful for! I finally unpacked my fabric. I can lie on the guest bed and be surrounded by shelves of books and fabric. It's so relaxing! I love it!!

Did anyone listen to Jody Day's Reclaiming the Childless Holidays? It was really, really good. I took notes. I should write a review post. She and the other panelists encouraged us to enjoy the parts of the holidays that we've always liked. One of things I've always enjoyed about the holidays is ornaments. Even during my darkest years, I never stopped buying myself an annual ornament. And pictured above is this year's ornament! It's designed to look like a Welcome mat. :)

And, in keeping with my own traditions, I put up the Xmas tree on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. You can count on me enjoying the Xmas tree lights every night for the rest of this year. I'm thankful for the little things that make me happy. What little things do you enjoy?

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Sick of Feeling Anxious

I had a bad week.
Every day there was something Very Not Fun.

I chipped my tooth last week and went to the dentist on Monday to get it filled.

On Tuesday I had my annual mammogram. It's not painful, just everything makes me emotional.
(Upsides: Yay for following through with preventative care. Plus, it was negative!)

I went to work on Wednesday and had an extremely awkward day. I don't foresee things getting any better any time soon. I'm so frustrated. But I've been through worse and I'll get through this.

I had a colposcopy on Thursday. (You know your job is bad when you look forward to a gynecological procedure. I took two days off from work. I needed the medical respite, but it was also a much needed break from the work drama!)

On Friday I felt like crap. So sore, so cranky, so over it. What has my (non)reproductive system ever done for me?? (Answer: nothing good.) Fortunately, I was able to spend the entire day on the couch. I rested, watched tv, and finished sewing the binding on my nephew's quilt.

Now it is Saturday. My favorite day of the week. A day to do what I feel like. I did a little bit of sewing, a little bit of picking up, and my boyfriend and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Then he cooked some food while I just tried to RELAX.

I am very stressed. I feel it physiologically; I feel it emotionally. I am so sick and tired of living in a heightened state. I lived like that for many years while trying to conceive and then while going through fertility treatments. Then grad school, divorce, and moving a bunch sucked a whole lot. Then the pandemic hit. 

It doesn't take much to make me feel anxious. Who can blame me? It was a shitty decade for me. And now life is harder for everyone. It's so easy for my anxiety to shoot up. Then it's so hard for me to come down.

I recognize it. I feel it. I give myself grace. I mean, damn, I didn't create any of the chaos that is currently around me (at work and also in the world). I cry a lot. I sleep. I sew. I read. I write.

And I bought myself this card. Then I bought a frame for it at the thrift store and got a little crafty.

Keep on enjoying the little things.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Still Stings

Well, this is far from the first time something like this has happened, but it still stings.

I got ghosted by a friend. He just stopped replying to my texts. Then yesterday I learned through a mutual friend that his wife just had their third kid.


I lost another friend to parenthood.

It sucks. It stings.

When we became friends he already had his first kid. I was happy for him and his wife when they had their second kid. But I didn't make the cut for their third kid. 

I get it. He's busy. His life is going a hundred miles an hour in another direction.

I also don't get it. A parent is still a person. They still get to have 5 - 10 minutes of free time every now and then to text a friend. Personally, I think I'm a good friend. I also think I'm a good person to keep around because I will always be an outlet completely separate from the parenting world, which I'm sure is a much needed mental break every now and then. Not to mention, I'm busy too. Life is made up of what you make space for.

But the dynamics and rhythms in people's lives change and friendships often don't last, especially when one person has kids and the other doesn't.

I'm done pursuing friendships with people with kids. I can be friendly, but I doubt I'll ever be in an active friendship again with a person who is currently raising children.

I've had enough loss in my life.