Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I want to, but I can't seem to.

Write, that is.

Here, in this space that for so long had been so comfortable and so necessary.

I have so, so many things that I want to say but then I find myself pulling back and wondering why? Why do I need to say it here, in public? I'm not sure anymore.

I have been processing grief, over losing my father. He is dead and while I know this, some days I still cannot quite get my brain around it. And yet most people--everyone--assumes I'm over it, and because he suffered for so long that it was a very good thing that he passed. And yes, it was a very good thing that he is no longer suffering but I'm still sad. I had breakfast with a friend in NYC (yes, we took a trip!) who had recently lost her mother. We were suddenly in that Fun song, talking and talking about how our parents will die (except they already died) and I didn't feel so alone, or weird.

NYC, ahhh how we had missed thee. It was grand. We happened to be there for the big blizzard, which was lovely. We took long runs in Central Park while the snow fell. Heaven on earth for this runner, who loves a very cold run but doesn't get many. We stayed at the same hotel where we received our adoption referrals December 2010 and it was surreal to be back in that space, to remember those moments where everything changed. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. We ate (Indian food on Curry Row is just divine, and has anyone discovered Otarian? OMG--why is there not one where I live?) We shopped. We slept late. We ran.

Did I mention our children were not with us? Two two-year olds in NYC a vacation would not make.

Below I talk about some of the angst of motherhood. I apologize to those who are still the trenches and woud like nothing more than to have this angst.



I am reading a book called Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety.

It's really interesting.

I mean really interesting.

The author talks about how many of today's mothers don't really seem happy, as they worry endlessly about the possibility of not having the perfect child, panicking as each developmental benchmark approaches. She asks why are so many moms so stressed out and so out of balance.

This sentence in a review by the New Yorker sums it up (if you're interested):
Warner argues that the gains of feminism are no match for the frenzied perfectionism of American parenting. In the absence of any meaningful health, child-care, or educational provisions, martyrdom appears to be the only feasible model for successful maternity—with destructive consequences for both mothers and children.

I think there's a whole other layer if you are parenting after infertility, because let's face it--if you waited a very very long time to become a mother you might not be as forgiving of yourself if you're not perfect. And no one is perfect. And there are endless ways to feel like a failure. And I completely agree that for some people, martyrdom seems to be the only way some people know how to parent, and that's a little much wouldn't you say?

Anyone? Anyone?

It's been a crazy two weeks lately--our refrigerator broke, our car broke, our nanny gave notice, we chose a Montessori, our car broke again (only this time, after three hours on the road and while we were being re-routed around a massive wreck that had shut down the freeway--good times, let me tell you!), our internet went kaput but through it all we just kept saying "first world problems, first world problems."

If you're still out there, let me know what you think. About anything. About nothing. About Perfect Madness, if you've read it, or about the ideas it bring ups.

I miss this space.

26 comments:

  1. Good to hear from you! Um, I'm totally buying Perfect Madness. Right. Now. And your kids are adorable. Best of luck navigating these weeks of chaos.

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  2. OMG that book sort of makes me nervous. Right now I am reading "Odd Girl Out" about girl's aggression towards girls and it is scaring the pants off me. Well. It's scaring me AND it's giving me some very good practical things to do and say, etc, etc.
    I agree though with the idea of the book you are reading. Parenting is tricky and to people who are or have been successful in their careers (re:high powered over achievers) it's difficult to accept that our children--and our parenting-- could be anything less than 100% perfect. (not that I am high powered or even medium achieving, but you know what I mean)Parenting feels like a competitive, full contact sport.
    Personally, I try my darndest to ignore what everyone else does/says/is and try to do my best. Then, when my kids are grown, they can take it up with their therapists....haha.

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  3. thinking of you always
    xoxox

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  4. OMGoodness they have grown soooo much! They are just so adorable! Hugs for all the chaos, hope it gets better soon!

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  5. I have missed your writings so please keep posting if you are so inclined. You have interesting posts, and they always make me think. Grief is strange, and it does take time to work through. As you said, it is good your dad isn't suffering anymore, but it is still sad that he is gone. My son (2 1/2) goes to a Montessori school, and we LOVE it. I wasn't familiar with the Montessori philosophy before we started there, but I just think it is incredible. I hope you have as great of an experience as we have had. As for parenting and maternal guilt, please go easy on yourself. We all do the best we can and try to make the best decisions with the information we have. Parents is tough, and there is no how-to manual. Just go easy on yourself. Thanks for sharing, and the picture is gorgeous. Children, however they arrive, really are a precious gift, and it is so much fun to watch them grow and develop. Enjoy every moment!! Heather

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  6. those kiddos are precious! nice to read an update from you!

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  7. A few things:
    1. Your kids are insanely cute. *INSANELY*.
    2. I'm going to read the 'Perfect Madness' book. I'm putting it on my list.
    3. I'm sorry about your dad. I loved the post you did about how much he loved running. Sometimes, when I'm out there running, I think about it. And I give myself a kick in the pants about enjoying it more (which I do...mostly...but sometimes I don't).
    4. You should blog more.

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  8. Wow, I'm going to have to read that book, the New Yorker sentence really sums up how I feel! And about your dad, my own dad has been gone for 20 years (gulp). I still can't believe that i don't get to talk to him or see him. I still talk about him often and am open about missing him, who cares what other people think. Love the pic of your beauties :)
    Carolyn

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  9. Your vacation sounds wonderful. We're supposed to take one sans E next week, but alas #2 has other plans. Maybe in another couple of years.

    Grief can't be put in a box. It's such a fluid thing. And I'm sure given the circumstances of your dads illness make it even more complicated. Take it slow and at your own pace. Hugs to you.

    I haven't heard of this book, nor about this phenomenon really. I guess I'm more about taking things as they come and not really comparing myself or my kid to others. Of course I don't spend much time in mom groups, as they don't appeal to me at all. I've got 5 weeks of bed rest, so I think I'll add this book to my list and check it out.

    And lastly, your kiddos are so cute! And big! When did that happen?! I bet they'll love preschool. I still remember my own Montessori experience 35 years later.

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  10. I'm so glad you blogged! Sounds like a rough few weeks, and that you guys have a good attitude about it. A stay in NYC (alone!) sounds divine. And I'm so sorry about your dad, I can't imagine losing mine. I would miss him every day forever.
    Your children are absolutely gorgeous!! 2 already? Holy moly!!!

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  11. I'm glad to see you're writing again. Sounds like so much is going on. And look at your two!!! I'm amazed at how much they've grown. I can't get over the fact that they are 2 yrs old.

    First off, I think you're in a very natural place to still be grieving. There's no formula for how one griefs, but it is important to take the time you need. After all, you lost your father. Just because he was sick for so long doesn't mean you should be over it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    The book sounds like a must read, especially for anyone parenting after infertility/loss. I think it's very true that we are prone to perfectionism and I also think our society (just watch commercials or infomercials) promotes this But, as with many other examples, our society has never really promoted healthy outlooks on life. Hence all the more reason to be aware.

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  12. Love that picture. Like, totally love it.

    I'm with Lost Planet up there... I think about your dad every once in a while when I'm on the treadmill. Weird how that happens, 'eh? The stories we read from other people and how they infiltrate into our own?

    My dad died three years ago. I cried on Sunday night, my heart missing him in a big way. The grief surprised me.

    Also? I need that book. NOW!

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  13. Lurker of two internationally adopted kids here :) I am totally getting that book! Love the picture of the kids. They are adorable! So glad to read your post. I lost my dad in 2006. I miss him every day. Sometimes I get to see him in my dreams when I'm lucky. Glad you were able to get away.

    Kristi

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  14. Oh my, could your kiddos possibly be any cuter??? Just lovely :)

    And sorry, no kiddo advice here. We were just talking that our 2 y.o. pup might need to go to doggie boot camp. For reals!

    About your dad. It's indescribably hard I bet. It feels awkward at times for me to bring up my brother time and time again, but losing him was my introduction to soul piercing grief. It has been 7 1/2 years for him, and out of the blue, I will feel my eyes well with tears because you just don't share love with someone for that long and not miss them every single day after they die. I wish I had words that would make a difference to you, but my truth has been that it just takes time. After we got through the first holidays and birthdays, it became a bit better, but it's always there, as it should be I think. I hope the sadness becomes less and less... but you won't get over it... he was obviously too special to ever forget. Hang in there. He would be proud of you right now.

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  15. A word about grief...something a friend recently told me: "You won't feel like this forever, but you have to feel this way right now." I am repeating this mantra to myself to try and get through this crappy time. There is no statute of limitations on grieving the loss of your father...it will well up and hit you in the gut for the rest of your life. Fucking sucks.

    On perfect parenting...I do think there are some parents that promote the "only the best" attitude. We do our best. We screw up. I guess my reminder to myself is that my parents were abusive and mean (even though they loved and provided for us) and all three of my siblings suffer from anger management, anxiety, etc. Stuff like giving them the best, making everything perfect, don't matter...making your kids feel loved, making them feel safe, and explaining to them the limitations of what you are able to provide them materially is the most important thing. My husband grew up on government issued welfare cheese by a loving and supportive mother who never beat or berated her children. He's now a successful entrepreneur and a healthy family (sans the whole infertility/dead baby thing). Don't let yourself get sucked in for even a minute.

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  16. Blogspot has now sucked up and lost two comments...... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh this is my last try!
    My abbreviated version...

    1. I am glad you are still here.
    2. I am trying so hard lately to be a more intuitive mom, trust my instincts, stop reading so much and just know my child.
    3. I blogged today about leaving a group of women on FB who were not a good fit for me.
    4. I think I need to get that book!

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  17. First: holy smokes those are two of the most adorable kids I have ever seen. I can't believe how big they are getting.

    I just had a conversation this week about the loss of a parent and how even when you are prepared for it, even when they are sick, it doesn't make the loss any better. Because no matter how ill they are, they are still present in your life. You know you can go and hold their hand, touch their cheek and feel that physical connection. But when they are gone, they are gone. Nothing makes that easier and there is no amount of preparation that makes the grieving less painful.
    My dad has been gone 10 years this summer. 10 years. I still miss him terribly but the sharp pain I felt when I thought of him is no longer there. The instant tears are no longer there. Instead, I tell MG about him and all the great memories I have of him and hopefully keep his memory alive in a child that he never got to meet.

    I am jealous of your trip to NYC. I visited there early last summer and I am totally in love with the city now. It must have been glorious for you guys as a couple.

    There is no perfect parent. I will say though that being someone with naturally high anxiety and GAD, I do worry when I see how anxious MG gets. I try so hard to calm her down and let her see some things are just out of our control but I wont lie, I am scared as heck that she will have to endure the same thing I did growing up. I don't want her to be a nervous wreck all the time like I was. I want her to be carefree and enjoy her childhood and not beat herself up for mistakes she makes but rather learn from them.

    Huh... this is posting me as anon but it's Barely Sane @ infertilitylicks.wordpress

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  18. Your children are beautiful. Adorable.

    I've been reading your blog for a very long time, I think mostly because our stories are so similar. I've done 7 ivf-s, but after first two of them, I decided I wanted to adopt. My husband was hesitant, so we've done five more and then did all paperwork and everything necessary for adoption (it took us 8 months), I was so happy and so ready, but then my husband changed his mind again. It broke my hart, we separated for 6 months, but then got back together. A year and a half ago I got pregnant and had a beautiful baby boy. After 15 years together, not one natural pregnancy, without any treatment. Why am I telling you this ? Because that didn't change my desire to adopt. Because now I am sure ( I was sure before as well, but now I speak from experience) that I would love my adopted baby just the same as my biological baby. Because When you see the baby, your love grows, the more time you spend together and the better you get to know each other, the more you love the baby. It's probably jot the same for everyone, but many of my friends have the same feeling.

    I guess I wanted to say - thank you. For your honesty, for your big heart, for being here (there) when I needed to see that I'm not alone in this all. Your every word is true.

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  19. Wow! They are so damned cute. Especially your daughter and please forgive me for putting it that way - I'm just so partial to little girls ;)

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  20. Wow. My grief is such that I didn't even remember posting on here. Thanks for abiding with me during this time.

    Grief f'ing sucks and seems to never go away.....just dulls on some days.

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  21. Thought I'd let you know that as one of your readers, I am still here and curious to see how you and your babes are doing. I don't know how I stumbled upon your blog, but it is of particular interest to me, as I have IF and am now in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. It warms me, and gives me hope, to see your beautiful twins thriving. I am also interested in how thoughtfully you discussion international adoption. Be well.

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  22. I can't post anymore, at all. I just can't. It's just too hard for me to be cohesive in any way, my life is like a crazy juggling act with no focus anymore.

    But I like keeping up with my old peeps, so I'm glad you still write. Plus, I love the photos. What sparkly-eyed sweeties!

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  23. I think that quote about martyrdom is really interesting. I am now 4 months into parenthood after 4 years of infertility, and I think my experience with infertility has actually helped me to not become a martyr, and not panic with each milestone -- because I know that biology is not perfect. Because my life got thrown completely off track for 4 years, and milestones went out the window.

    Anyway thanks for posting -- I miss this space too. I am also crazy busy with first-world first-time-mom problems, and somehow, impossibly, a tiny part of me misses the quiet introspection and thought that I had during infertility. Did I really just say that?

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  24. I'm way behind on commenting, but still reading. Very jealous of your trip to NYC! We want to take Miss A there at some point, but when she's a little bit older - maybe 5 or 6.

    I guess I'm a weird post-IF parent, because I don't stress out about being the perfect parent. I know I'm not going to be perfect at it. (Case in point - I dropped her on her head on the cement floor of the garage the other day. Well, more accurately tripped and fell while holding her, but still, the end result was her precious little head hitting concrete.) Instead, I just enjoy every second with her, and my attitude is that I worked really hard to have her and there's no way I'm letting guilt take that enjoyment away from me.

    I love the photo. They're getting to be so big!

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  25. Thank you so much for commenting on my post today. I realized that I had read your last one but hadn't left a comment and meant to. I'm sorry you've been feeling sad. I know there isn't much to be done about it other than to acknowledge that you miss your dad. Of course you do. I also wanted to tell you how amazingly cute that picture is. It's blow it up and put it in a frame worthy. They are just so adorable. I can't get over how big they are now! So cute. Thank you for sharing that with us. And please keep telling us how you are! xoxo

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