Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I know it's folly, I do, but every once in a while I sit and think what my life would be like right now if we'd gotten married and had the first child we conceived. Or the second. Or Thomas. Any of them.

So much of my life right now is about waiting and wondering and worrying. And missing and grieving and healing. I spend so much energy doing all that, that I'm exhausted by the end of the day, or just too preoccupied to do the things I think I would probably be doing were it not for all the mental energy I use up dealing with uncertainty and sorrow.

I haven't worked since Thomas was born. I've done some freelance jobs here and there, but I haven't reallygone back to work. I left a contract writing position to have Thomas and fully expected to be a full time Mom for the next few years. Maybe doing the odd freelance job here and there, but basically I was planning to be a mom.

And I am, but I'm not.

I'm just waiting. Always waiting.

The psychologist who spoke to us in the hospital after Thomas died urged me to take my maternity leave. He was so earnest and insistent, that I gave myself permission - guilt free - to do just that. To take a year off to recuperate and heal and figure out what was going to come next.

It's just that I didn't realize it would be secondary infertility. And tests, and appointments, and surgery and still more uncertainty. And in that climate I froze. It seemed impossible to even contemplate finding a job. No one from the company I left has ever asked if I've considered coming back, and the idea of telling a prospective employer that I'd need an unlimited number of free passes to attend regular clinic poking and prodding sessions makes me very uncomfortable. No boss I've ever had would be particularly impressed with, "I'll be needing to be out of the office several hours of several days each month - and no, I can't tell you what days or when or for how long".

And I don't think prospective employers are particularly interested in taking on someone so desperate to get pregnant and bugger off on maternity leave anyway.

I don't suppose I'd have to disclose the reason for my frequent absences if I didn't want to, but the cloak and dagger routine really isn't me. I've had enough of people looking at me curiously and wondering what's going on in my head.

I've thought a lot about how wonderful it would be to jump back into the world of meetings and deadlines, and to feel useful and productive in that working girl kind of way - but I can't. I just can't right now.

Believe me, I'm not blaming my lost children for the fact that I'm a housewife in limbo right now. I don't blame those little souls for anything.

It's just that there are days when I think how much easier my life would be if things had worked out the way we'd planned. I know there would probably still be turmoil and uncertainty - it is life, after all - but I would know where I was headed, and things would make sense. My purpose would be clear. My job would be to be a mother - to a live child who needs me.

Maybe easier is the wrong word. Maybe life wouldn't be any easier if one of our children had survived. But I think my life would certainly make a lot more sense to me. I would understand it and my place in it so much better than I do right now.

Now having said all that, I suppose I do know what I'm doing - I'm doing everything I can to bring a living, breathing, healthy happy child into our lives. And I'm sacrificing parts of my own life to do so.

Hmmm. Maybe I'm more of a mother than I thought.

Maybe I am.

I just didn't realize motherhood was this confusing.


niobe said...

I think you're absolutley right that it would be easier. You would be able to see your path more clearly and, just as important, things would have worked out the way you planned.

It's when things go wrong and our hopes and dreams and expectations crumble that we see that we can't control the course of our lives and that nothing really makes sense. Of course, that was true all along. We just didn't realize it.

That said, for me, I think my job has saved my life (figuratively, if not literally). It's the one area of my life where nothing has changed, all the old rules apply and I know exactly what I'm supposed to do.

Sara said...

I agree with Niobe. Absolutely life would be easier if your children were with you. I have no doubt that the chaos of motherhood would be a compared to all of this - thing is we might not have realized that. NIobe's second paragraph sums it up perfectly.

I don't think my "job" has saved my life - right now I wish I could do anything else than sit quietly trying to write about history. But if it were a job with daily routine and activities, I think it might help the days go by faster, and make me feel at least like I'm accomplishing something.

Hugs to you.

BasilBean said...

I know my life would be completely different if William were alive. It may not have been easier--in terms of how busy I would be trying to juggle motherhood, work, and my relationships.

But the way things are without him cannot be described as easy either. I am constantly feeling the emptiness of his absence. And it has been a struggle--one that I have not done very well against--to fight the tendency I have to work too hard and keep myself busy to fill the void.

wannabe mom said...

I've been thinking about your post all day. And I think you summed it up very nicely. As I finally pulled into my garage tonight after work at 7:45, I thought, how the heck am I going to ever bring a baby into this world being under all this stress from work?? and I can't say I'm working to keep my mind off my grief; I'm that stupidly loyal.

I think it would easier to have my girls with me than figuring out where to duck when the tears come. Damn, here they are.

Rosepetal said...

I don't know anything about the freelance writing world, but maybe you can up the freelance work you do? That would give you some flexibility over appointments.

I took all of my maternity leave (16 weeks) and went back to work. But I have changed completely the role I do and work in a different part of the company now (I work in big evil multinational land).

I found that I needed the time to think, and have been lucky enough to arrange an 80% working arrangement - in fact today is my first Friday off since that started and I'm able to read blogs and leave comments!

I also need the time to think about Moksha and think about my feelings. If Moksha had been born alive, I would have taken 7 months off total, including some unpaid leave, and then had planned to go back to work at 60%. I would be rushing home every working day to see him!

I think it is just inevitable that we wonder what life would have been like without the grief and pain and strange new "normality" we were forced to get used to.

Sherry said...

God, I've thought about all these things too - the what if's and what not.

I really relate, too, to the job searching and having to explain to a prospective employer about "appointments." I dealt with that at my last job and it was horrible. It was disappointing enough having to go through treatments and endless appointments, but trying to explain the nature of those appointments to someone who would NEVER understand was almost excruciating. It left me feeling like I was always having to explain away my "brokenness," but it seemed that no amount of explaining made sense to anyone outside my own little world.