Friday, January 26, 2007

Something I never thought I'd be

I've had a hard time writing lately because I'm trying to ignore the one topic I want to address. In fact, for the first time ever, I was at a complete loss as to what to write about for my newspaper column this week. I ended up putting together a humorous look at dog ownership, noting the fast-approaching one-year anniversary of the day we brought Toby home. I know they can't all be winners, but at least the dog lovers will enjoy it.

I'm sure it sounds hard to believe, but when I repress what I want to write about, my entire creativity and mood suffers. And as much as I want and need to put this out there, I can't express how difficult it is for me. It's hard to look at yourself and realize you've turned into something you never thought you'd be. Something you despised for much of your youth and young adulthood.

Needless to say, I didn't think my newspaper was the appropriate venue for that. And, frankly, I'm not sure I could've done it in 500 words or less. It seems like more of a "don't overthink it, just type" kind of topic.

So here it is: I'm baby obsessed.

I've turned into this woman whose moments of private thoughts are entirely dedicated to wanting a child. I don't know exactly how or when this happened, all I know is that I wish I could turn it off and get back to my previously perfectly happy existence where I was more than content with my husband and my dog.

Before we got married, Jerry and I talked at length about children. As confused as we were on the topic, we came to a consensus: maybe none, maybe one, maybe two, but three tops. And certainly none before we had tried out married life for awhile. We wanted to wait at least until our first anniversary, maybe second. Then assess the situation from there.

As a college student, I remember coming back from classes to find my roommates huddled around our TV watching back-to-back episodes of "A Wedding Story" and "A Baby Story." Personally, I never understood the draw. Weddings and babies weren't necessarily a part of my future. They certainly weren't a goal or a destination. But if I happened to meet the right person at the right time? I'd embrace it.

When Jerry's proposal came, I wasn't pining for it. I wasn't looking at rings in jewelry store windows or flipping through wedding magazines wondering when it was going to be my turn. I didn't feel too old to be dating. I was happy and didn't question it.

The same used to be true with having a baby. I wasn't pining for it. I wasn't drooling over babies in public places. Infant clothing stores and diaper commercials didn't even register on my radar. But if it just sort of happened? I'd embrace it.

And that's what did happen. After a serious bout of nausea and feeling like I might faint when I saw that second line show up on the EPT test, I embraced it. I pushed aside my fears and mentally prepared myself for the life-changing experience of pregnancy and motherhood.

But when fate stepped in and took that child from us, everything changed. I experienced a profound feeling of loss, and at times, even a confusing feeling of relief.

Over the days and weeks and months that followed, Jerry and I have completely changed our outlook on children. At first, he was immediately ready to start trying again. I, however, wanted my body to heal. I wanted to feel healthy again. Besides, my doctors recommended waiting at least two normal periods to ensure that my reproductive organs were functioning properly.

During that time, while I was trying to get over the loss, I noticed things I hadn't ever noticed before. I found myself looking at children's toys while I was shopping for Christmas. I paid attention to umbilical cord blood banking commercials. I found myself mentally rearranging the living room to accommodate a playpen. Newborns don't look as gross and wrinkly as they used to. Now they're borderline cute.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Jerry, however, has gone in the opposite direction. While he was the one who was ready for a baby before we even knew I was pregnant, now he wants to wait. He isn't ready to go through that kind of pain again. And I can't blame him. But somewhere in the recesses of my heart, I know it won't be the same next time. I know we'll have a healthy baby. We have to.

But I don't want the kind of relationship where I pressure my husband to have a baby. That isn't right. That's not the way it's supposed to be. I want it to be a mutual decision when the time is right for both of us.

So I swallow my feelings. I spend a lot of energy concentrating on not talking about it. And I have to work not to think about it.

Other than that, I don't know how to cope. This is a completely new realm of unfounded obsession for me. It's not like trying to quit smoking or trying to recover from alcoholism where you can talk about it openly and get the support you need. There's no such thing as Baby Obsessed Anonymous.

But maybe I don't need group therapy. Maybe I just need to talk with the one person who needs to hear this.

So a few moments ago, when Jerry walked in to kiss me goodbye and asked what I was writing about, I just burst into tears and spewed a borderline incoherent rant about how I'm completely mental.

And being the awesome and understanding guy that he is, he listened. And sat on the floor with me. And told me that that maybe the reason he's been pushing for another dog so much is because he wants to expand our family, too. And that all of it is completely normal.

I don't feel normal. But I do feel better.

24 comments: said...

Im so touched.

Beth said...

Dearest Kelly,
This is such a normal and such a painful feeling you're having now. You have all my sympathy and beyond that, you have my empathy, because I've been there. I lived there a long, long, LONG time--twenty years--before our daughter was given to us. During those years I watched my brother have six children. I watched my sister have four. I watched my in-laws have their babies, too, five of them.

I sat beside a woman at a church retreat the year I was recovering from the surgery that meant I would NEVER have a baby, and heard her say that she knew just how I felt, because she wanted more children and she thought that her hurt was just the same as mine. This woman, who had SIX wonderful healthy boys, telling me she knew how I felt with my empty arms, empty body, and broken heart.

I think the hardest thing for women is that having babies is something only we can do. Much as Jerry loves you, he can't do this. And from my own experience, we never think we WON'T be able to do this until we find out we can't. I remember all the same kinds of conversations, the planning of the family I would one day have. I never once thought that I wouldn't be able to have those babies when I was ready for them. And so I think it cuts right to the core of our self-identity and self-worth. I remember absolutely loathing my body, and not caring whenever it was sick or hurting, because it had denied me the one thing I wanted most.

Your Jerry sounds as loving and caring as my own Grizzy is and was when we dealt with all this. Hold on to each other, as you have been, and keep talking. I have been praying for you and your baby angel since it all happened, and I'll continue to, and I believe with all my heart that your longing will be fulfilled. Maybe it won't happen exactly when you want it to, or even the way you think it will, but it will happen.

I know this, because an earth angel laid her baby girl in my arms one May morning a few years ago and said 'here is your baby.' And I held that newborn to my face, so only she would hear what I whispered, and said 'there you are. I have waited my entire life to meet you.' And that baby opened her eyes, and looked at me, and nestled, perfectly still, into the curve of my shoulder.

Throughout that miraculous day, the only time the baby didn't cry was when I held her. And so when well-meaning people tell me it's too bad this didn't happen ten years earlier, I tell them no, it was meant to happen exactly as it happened: with THIS child, in 1999, and not one moment sooner.

Your baby in heaven is already choosing siblings to join you here, when the time is right.

Bless you, dear lady.

Kay said...

I'm glad you and Jerry have eachother and you can both talk about things that are bothering you. I think it will come when you are both ready.

Anonymous said...

i'm so glad that you wrote this post because, within the past month i have had the same feelings. and even though we're not trying right now to have a baby, even though I'm still on birth control, i think i secretly hoped this last cycle that my birth control would give out. i actually cried this week when my period came but, in the same moment i was a little relieved.
we watched scrubs last night and when i character found out she was pregnant, i cried.

what is this going from not caring much about kids to having it take over? good luck, i remind myself we're at the mercy of God and it will happen when it's supposed to, if it's supposed to. said...

It's human nature to want to reproduce.

We like to distance ourselves from animals, but that's exactly what we are. And because of this we have the same need to keep the species going.

Sorry if this sounds very static or cold, but that's how I look at life. How animal-like we humans are.

I blame my father who insisted we watch lots of "Nature" and "National Geographic" as kids. :) said...

I wrote a comment but it didn't post for some reason.

Anyway I just wanted to give you **hugs**. This reminds me of when my bestfriend suffered a miscarriage and then went through the same type of feelings with her hubby and feeling "baby obsessed". Just hang in there baby! *imagine the cat hanging on remember?*

Janice said...

You know, it's really great that you have Jerry, someone to confide in about these situations and it is so strange for me to hear about them since I'm in college and I love babies, but I'm no where near ready or even thinking about being ready for them. Good luck on whatever the two of you decide... I'll be reading. said...

btw, as you know, my website might not help with the whole "baby obsessed" thing right now ;-) Just thought I'd throw out the warning. said...

kelly. i love you & i don't even know you. i'm sitting here at my desk, in the middle of my office & there are tears spilling down my face. i read the comment from beth just now, & here come the tears again... you are so brave to share your story with the world. i've been there too, and you know something? i thought i was completely insane. i wasn't insane & you weren't either. god, jerry is a wonderful man... it means the world at times like these just to have arms to fall into, huh? thanks so much for giving a voice to this. you aren't mental, you are brave.

The Plainsman said...

Whew! Try this one: Think of having two swings hanging from the old tree in the back yard. You and Jerry are on them, swinging madly away, having a great time, but each of you are not in sync.

You're going back and up, he's on his way forward and down. At some point, though, both of you begin to, either with some effort or magically, syncronize and move in the same direction. It's a great feeling, right?

Its evident to me, and I'm sure to many here, that you both will synchronize on this, It just might take a few more "swings."

Ps. And I don't mean fisticuffs!

Caitlin said...

You're amazing for being so transparent about something so painful and close to your heart. Thanks :-)

Tiger said...

I had a feeling you were avoiding the subject and I could totally understand why. Even though I have never been through that kind of pain, I knew how you felt. And I understand it even more deeply now that I am pregnant.

Wanting a baby and being baby obsessed is something I went through for years. It started before I was even old enough to have a menstrual cycle! Since I was 5 years old and I was playing with my baby dolls, I knew I wanted to be a mom and have my own baby.

It's hard to get a grip on everyday life when your every thought and dream breaths "baby".

You are very brave and a very strong woman, Kelly. You really are. And I think that it's good you finally blogged about your feelings. Getting things out in the open, always feel better in the end.

And I am so glad that you have an awesome guy like Jerry to be supportive of you. That is something you will treasure and appreciate forever.

Try not worry about how much you are worrying about babies. It's natural and healthy. You will have a healthy, beautiful baby and when you do, you will wonder why you worried so much about it before.

All my love, support, and hugs...


Naomi said...

And I was naively thinking how amazingly fast your recovery has been!

Your sincerity and creativity have built your readership and those qualities will keep us coming back--even when you're writing about about baby-fever!

Maybe your fever will rub off on me. We want children, it's nearly time, but it's scaring me to death.

Natalie said...

*wonderful* entry--it touched me so much.

Sheryl said...

Oh, Kelly! You're extraordinary. You and Jerry do things together so well. You're going to make it. One day you'll have that baby and be wondering what in the world were you thinking?! :) Hang in there!

Tina P. said...

this almost made me cry
it scares me to think about this because as you've said you never expected anything in life, but for me, i expect so much and i feel like the exact opposite will happen like i'll never get married and blah blah

Tina P. said...

p.s you and your kind (secret wannabe moms) make the cutest pregnant ladies- i swear they get get so happy and glow while showing off their bump pride and blaming everything one the baby. don't worry waiting this long will make everything worth it i have no doubt in mind that it will be soon

loren said...

The good thing about this post is that you also talked to Jerry about how you are feeling. Even though it won't magically fix everything it does help yes?

Nutkin's Ho said...

aww, you're not mental. A lot of women go through being baby obsessed! While I'm not one of them, I definitely have friends who are.
Once again, I'm glad to hear that you & Jerry have each other. :)

Melissa said...

When you hadn't really talked anymore about losing the baby or your feelings surrounding that, I wondered if maybe it was something that you were trying to keep the lid shut tight on. I'm glad that you have finally been able to get some of those feelings out through blogging. And of course that doesn't meant that they'll go away but at least you are being completely upfront with yourself. And with Jerry. Which is a really good thing. And it WILL happen for you...and when it does, it will be the perfectly right time for the both of you, because that's the way God works.

jsi said...

You are not mental, especailly now. On the cute side, B.O.A. makes one wild looking business card, a target for insidious comments and snickers and giggles.

You are not mental. Very focused and feeling, yes, and beside yourself trying to understand. It can make yourself feel like you are suffocating when you cannot be open with the one who knows your heart the best. Like your soul cannot exhale and breathe in again.

You both have been deeply moved by these past 4 months. You have proven to yourself one of life's oldest knowledge: grief meets each person wearing a different coat. Even though you both share a branch of that same grief, that same series of events and life trauma, it works its way through you each differently.

Trust yourself. Trust your doctors. Trust your husband. Trust God. Not to sound like a rock cliche, but this is too true to ignore: love hurts.

This heavy burden will feel lighter and more manageable when it can be shared. Maybe not every minute detail, but to give the directional arrows where your heart/your mind/your psyche have been. Simply a small conversation has already added a deeper sharing, an understanding for you both.

Praying for you in your joy and in your tears.

Another little puppy could simply be a hawk hors d'oeuvre for a doggie entree in that hawk highway you have in your neighborhood.

Hold on with all you've got.

Leslie said...

Definitely not the same but similar, in a way.

All of my friends have been getting engaged. I know about 20 people in the past year that have gotten engaged. And I really don't want to be married any time soon. I want a stable career first. But just seeing everyone else getting engaged makes me want it too. Most of the time I don't think about it at all and I'm fine with just Steve and myself and being what we are. Then someone else goes and gets engaged and I become bitter and annoyed because it's not me.

I really don't know why. I don't want to get married for another few years. I don't want kids for another 6-8 years or so. But I see so many others around me getting engaged and feel so jealous.

I don't know what to do with myself sometimes. There is really nothing that can be done. I'm just confused I suppose.

Ray said...

Hey, Kelly. I know I haven't commented on your new site and that's because my dial up is crappy but know that I do read your site.

Anyway's GOD willing one day Kelly, Jerry and you will have a beautiful and healthy baby. You just have to wait for it. I too find myself watching "A Wedding Story" (And every other wedding show that you can think of) and a "Baby Story".

But I find myself watching a "Wedding Story" because that's what I want. And though I don't think I'll ever want children "The Baby Story" show fascinates me, and I can't help feeling emotional when I watch. Not to mention that baby clothes or anything baby, melts my heart. But I guess that's what makes us human. And the crazy thing is we want things we don't even know that we truly wanted to begin with. And I guess that can be an awesome thing in itself if you look deep within yourself to find it.

Well take care, Kelly.

P.S. This is Marilynmonroe4u2nv from xanga. ;o)

Ray said...

I also forgot to mention that even though I don't want children, everytime a family member announces that their pregnant I become awfully jealous and depressed. I guess it just makes me jealous that they're starting a family with wives and kids and here I am all alone. Confused in this world and alone. So don't ever feel like you're alone in feeling kind of jealous when you see people with babies and such. I guess we all feel that way from time to time when life just doesn't seem complete.

Well once again, take care.

*Marilynmonroe4u2nv from Xanga.*