Tuesday, July 31, 2012


 I always wanted 3 children. Growing up our family of 4 felt small & quiet. To orderly. Another child, I figured, would add some delightful chaos and asymmetry. I vowed to have 3 children, and when I mentioned it to G, he thought it sounded just dandy.

And then the realities hit. The emotional, physical, and financial expenses of infertility. Draining & debilitating (though medically uncomplicated) pregnancies. The colic and subsequent PTSD for the newborn period (really, it was that bad). There were times in B's infancy that I declared tearfully that I was never doing this again. But it passed, and we mustered up the courage & quickly went for round 2 before we lost our nerve, just to get it over with, provide our child with a sibling, and move on from the family-building. Two boys. Healthy & happy. A nice neat family.

But I don't feel done. I never understood, before, when people said they wanted more children because their families felt "incomplete", but that's what I feel right now.Our kids are so amazing, why not have more, right?

There is a "why not", though. There are several, that stop my careening dreams in their tracks. First, who knows if we can conceive another child, carry it to term, deliver a healthy baby. Who are we to expect THREE healthy children when so many have so much less? Every potential child is a gamble. A roll of the reproductive dice. A possibility of walking away from the table with nothing except lost time, money, sanity.

Honestly, I'm afraid. I've been so so lucky and I know too much and I'm afraid its our turn. That we should walk away, happy with what we have instead of being greedy and pushing our luck.

I don't know what we're going to do. I'm thankful I've got some time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I've gotten pretty good and focusing on the here and now. Nine-month-olds, with there newfound skills in constant shenanigan-seeking will do that. One mind-wandering moment and you're fishing dogfood out of a mouth or a toy out of the commode. Every once in a while, though, I see my future flicker right in front of my eyes. B will actually answer a question without "I dunno", and I imagine  discussing the cool volcano experiment in science class or how fractions are hard. We'll sit down to dinner (L in the highchair flinging sweet potatoes & B on the bench painting on the wooden table with avocado), & I'll picture us gathered around talking about our days (and 99% of the food NOT ending up on the floor). L substitutes a human sound for his usual pterodactyl shrieks and I can almost hear his little voice singing songs. L has outgrown the bouncy, the infant tub, and sleeps in a big boy crib. B has dropped his nap, sometimes uses the toilet, tries to drink from a regular cup, likes to take a shower instead of a bath (!)...soon all this assorted paraphernalia of young childhood will be done with, the gazillions of garish & loud toys will give way to books and electronics, we'll be reading chapter books for bedtime after they brush their own teeth. Its bittersweet, but kind of exciting to imagine...no more diapers, teething, tantrums, pumping and being up all night! While my heart aches a tad, I also feel my shoulders lower 2 inches and my eyes brighten at the prospect!

The other day I was on the floor doing puzzles with B as L crawled around trying to eat the pieces. I felt a...flicker...in my lower belly & I instinctively laid my hand there with a familiar sense of relief, until it hit me a second later---there is no burgeoning life there, probably things just settling back into working mode after months of lactational inactivity. The emptiness and sense of longing was unexpected, but I tuned in to it. And my view of the future? Flickered and changed 180 degrees.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


A comment I received on my last post (from a loyal reader who I consider an online friend) left me a bit uncomfortable and led me to dig a bit deeper into my motives in developing and tracking progress on my Intentions. I have to quote the comment here for context into what I'm going to discuss but I want you to know that I truly appreciated your thoughtful responses, and am not trying to "call you out" or make you feel bad for what you wrote.  One of the main reasons I write this blog is to engage in meaningful discussions, and that absolutely includes disagreements & differing viewpoints. Not everything I think about is logical or rational, and its healthy to get an outside opinion once in a while. End disclaimer.

"the process you go through these areas of self-improvement to grade yourself seems really harsh and not very healthy to me today. I guess this is a normal thing that women are supposed to do..... always actively try to be better, but why not just try living life and doing what you can and being ok with that?....That's not an "F" that's just reality."

This  definitely hit home....am I pushing myself too hard, disguising self-loathing as self-improvement? Shouldn't I just be "going with the flow" and enjoying whatever life brings? Does trying to be better imply that I don't think I'm good enough?

I think it is the grading system that seems harsh. Definitely giving myself an "F" seems a bit punishing from the outside. Truly, I started using the grades because I saw another  blogger do this, and it seemed a useful way to track my progress...when I started, I kind of assumed that I would get poor grades in some categories and then I could focus on those areas and "bring my grades up" to end up with all As. Halfway into the year I realized that is not the case. There is a lot of ebb and flow to it...I'll focus on one thing for a while & then another, I can't possibly do it all every day or even every month. Energy & time put into one area obviously can't be put into another.

But. That does not mean its not worth doing or thinking about right now. There are times in life when you have to cut your focus down to one or two things...you're in pure survival mode and everything else simply has to wait. I've had LOTS of those times. My entire 20s and early 30s was survival mode. Med school, residency, the difficult first year of fellowship, studying for 3 different board exams, moving, pregnancy, newborn phase... I didn't have the time or energy to even THINK about what I wanted in life, much less to make them happen. And that's OK. It wasn't all grim endurance, I tried to have fun, do things that brought me joy. I met my husband, we got married, we traveled a lot, I squeezed in a social life and exercise. I learned to cook, read lots of books, I lived life.

Then I found myself in my mid-30s, on the other side of all these "major life-changing events" and I was still living like I was in survival mode. "I don't have time for that" "Lets just make it through the weekend" and it was kind of...grim. I wanted something different & better...what was I waiting for? There wasn't something we had to "get through" to get to the life we wanted, we simply had to make it happen. So I thought about what was important to me & came up with these Intentions. By and large, I think I'm doing pretty good with them. I use them to make decisions about how I spend my time but also to shift my attitude from that of endurance to enjoyment.

These areas I chose to focus on are 100% my priorities in life. Others may have different ones. Getting up early to sweat on the elliptical may seem a bit harsh, but the endorphins & confidence that come from pushing your body...I need that. Staying up late to watch a movie I don't really love with my husband may seem annoying, but his appreciation with me for sharing something important to him & the closeness it brings...I need that. I chose these goals not solely to push myself or change myself, but to bring myself joy. The proportions might change over time but I need all the ingredients in my recipe for happiness.