Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

In Tune

This morning, I experienced perfection.
That feeling of floating awareness, of being in the self, but not of the self, that moment of “Yes!”.
I get it during a good yoga pose, while painting, when finding the right puzzle piece, near the end of a decent workout.
Today, it happened while singing the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel’s Messiah. Five hundred voices and an organ with pipes two stories high. We’d been practicing for two hours; the most wondrous way to spend a Saturday morning. It’d been going okay, with missed notes and tricky passages and certain pieces I’d never sung before. My lungs were tired, having coughed every few bars. My bronchitis, as usual, always has the worst timing. But, I was there.
We were wrapping up, and the conductor wanted to end with a bang. The organ starts, and the song is unmistakable; like Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, it’s built into my bloodstream, beating in time with my pulse. And then, the voices. All of us at once, a wave crashing ashore. Yes.
I floated home, to unpacked grocery bags and hungry children, with a choir singing inside my head.
Bonhomme was a basketcase. He’d stayed up too late last night, gotten up too early this morning, was fighting my cold. It’s a good thing the friends we had over were our best friends, and had already seen all his worst behaviour before, because he brought it all out for a full-day display. But I, floating already, could withstand it, bend with it, give him the patience he needed. “In trying times, keep trying,” I read on a church billboard recently. I smiled at it at the time. I thanked it today.
At bedtime, hiccupping and sniffling and pouting and snuggling, I whispered to Bonhomme:
“Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow will be better.”
“No it won’t, Momma! I always have hard days! I always just cry!”
“No, Darling, you don’t always. Sometimes you have hard moments, and today you had an awful lot of them. You’re a sensitive person, like me, and that’s never easy. But you’re also creative, and clever, and lots of fun, and you just need to learn why you’re feeling yucky sometimes, so that you can know that at those times, you have to be extra kind and patient with yourself. So today, you were tired. Your body hadn’t had enough sleep, and you felt everything more intensely because of that. So that made everything harder – you bumped into things more often, it hurt more when you did, you had a shorter temper and couldn’t negotiate and share and play nicely with Sunshine and Rainbow. Everything was the end of the world all day long. It was a hard day.”
“Yahhhhhh…!” More tears.
“Yes it was. But, tomorrow is a new day. It can’t possibly be as bad as today was. Tomorrow will be better. When I have hard days – because, you know, I have days too when I feel like crying all day, and I’m grumpy, and my body hurts all over, and I lose my temper.”
“You do?”
“Sure I do! And I bet you notice when I’m grumpy.”
“But I try to be patient with myself on those days. I remind myself that I am having a hard day that day, and that tomorrow will be better. I make that into a promise for myself – I do myself that favour. So, I’d like you to do yourself, and me, that favour too. Say it with me. Tomorrow will be better.”
Mumble. Snuggle. Sigh.
“Say it with me, Love. Tomorrow will be better.”
Silence beside me. Handel’s Messiah in my head.
I whisper in his ear: “I love you on your bad days too, you know. I love you when you’re good, and I love you when you’re grumpy. I love you today, and I’ll love you tomorrow, no matter what tomorrow’s like. Now try making that promise – tomorrow will be better.”
“Tomorrow will be better,” he whispers.
“Tomorrow will be better,” I whisper back.


Inside out.

Here’s what we tend not to talk about much about regarding IUDs (Intra Uterine Device): they stop implantation, not fertilization.

For most fertile women, that distinction probably doesn’t mean much – it still accomplishes the goal of preventing unplanned pregnancies. For those of us, though, who:
a) feel every single GODDAMN hormonal twinge and change under the sun, and/or
b) wish they were planning a pregnancy, and/or
c) suffer from anxiety,
that distinction is hell.

I’ve just had another not-exactly-a-miscarriage – that is, a pregnancy that was, but wouldn’t live to be. It’s two weeks. Two weeks!
Nothing, in the grand scheme of things, nothing, to any and every woman who has ever tried or wanted to try becoming pregnant, nothing, to the duration and intensity of a full-term pregnancy. But to me – being in the a) and b) and c) categories – everything.
Especially this time.

Sleeplessness. Aching back. Nausea. Hope. Financial worrying. Marital worrying. Dreams. Cramps. Sore ligaments. Hope. Bloating. Shape change. Sleepiness. Planning. Sore breasts. Bliss. Sensitive skin. Dry skin. Increased thirst. Peace. Decreased coffee. Fear. Increased blood supply. Hope. Waiting. Hormonal crash as the body rejects the barely-even-an-embryo.

I’ve spent five years fearing another pregnancy. I’ve spent five years wanting one. Thinking it’ll never happen. Thinking it shouldn’t happen. Debating which outcome is more selfish. Selfless. Convincing myself of all the beautiful and amazing things a child of mine would be, despite the genetic history of mental illness I’m likely to pass on. Convincing myself of all the strengths I have as a mom that offset all the hardships of the mental illness I have, or that a child of mine might develop. Shoring myself up for the inevitable physical toll any future pregnancy will take on me.
I’ve spent five years in limbo, waiting for my husband to decide whether he’s ready to face the reality of another pregnancy, another baby, on a wife who’s already overstretched and a son who’s already overstrung. Ready to take on more. Ready to gamble genetically. When he knew he wasn’t ready the first time – without even knowing any of this then. Neither of us knew how pregnancy would affect my mental health; neither of us knew how strongly it ran in my family; neither of us knew what it would be like to raise the next mental-illness-prone generation.
Now we know.
So… it’s been five years.

Dearest and I agreed, quite some time ago, that this Christmas is decision time. I don’t have to be pregnant by then – but I need to know what our decision is on the topic. Including on whether we’ll go the fostering/adoption route, or the one-child-family route.
This not-knowing is hurting me too much.

It’s difficult timing, though, since Dearest and I are currently healing the biggest rift our marriage has ever suffered – when I came home from Iqaluit in August to a seething, roiling, not-particularly-mentally-healthy-himself husband who essentially placed depression medication and pregnancy on an ultimatum teeter-totter. I’ve never known such rage, disappointment, and loss of trust. He didn’t intend it to be an ultimatum, but that doesn’t change the fact that I saw it that way, and therefore, that’s what it became. In communication failures, intent doesn’t tend to matter – fallout does.
We’ve made it through to the other side now, I think. I hope to never have to go through anything like it ever again.
But, the silver lining is: if I can survive that, and still stay married, I sure as heck can survive another pregnancy (and hopefully, so can my marriage).

Until then, I’m trying to keep my balance. Find my focal point. Breathe. Become comfortable with uncertainty. Ground myself in all things art and music and light and love. Practice patience. Come to terms with the things I cannot change. Become nimble enough to seize change when it does come. Become strong enough to stay myself throughout it all. Be brave.

He’s charming. Really.

Bonhomme: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a bum hmm, hum, hum hm.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a big poop!”
Me: “What?! Eggs don’t poop!”
Bonhomme: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a peepee!”
Giggle, giggle.
Me: “You know, Bud, I think maybe you don’t remember all the words to that nursery rhyme.”
Bonhomme: “Yes I do!”
Me: “Really? How does it go?”
Bonhomme: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a poopy-pee-fart!”
Me, voice pitched above the giggly background: “How about – Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a big fall! All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again!”
Bonhomme: “Well, they could put him back together again – if they used poop glue!”
Me: “Poop glue?!”
Maniacal giggling. Stop-in-the-middle-of-the-sidewalk giggling.
Me: “C’mon, Silly Billy, we’re going to miss the bus.”
Bonhomme: “No we won’t, cause I built a fart bomb trap at our bus stop! The bus will have to stop and wait for us because it will be totally stuck in the stink!”
Me: “Well, in that case, so will we. Don your gas mask, and let’s go.”
And giggling-wiggling, off we went.