And, for whatever reason, Olivia and I have been getting along better these past couple days than we have in a long while. Not that we don't get along, but Olivia is very much a daddy's girl and usually spends the day telling me she wants her daddy. Of course my 2 1/2 year old doesn't mean to hurt my feelings, but hearing "I don't want you, I want somebody else who's more fun" all day every day can wear on a person. So having her want to play with me and be happy to be with me and want to sit on my lap to read stories and having her come cuddle up with me of her own accord has made daily life so, so sweet. She's my daughter and she's little and I'll always love her no matter what, but having her embrace daily life with me lately has made us both really happy I think.
For a long time I resented (directed at myself, not at her) the way I constantly felt like I was just doing everything I could to get through the day. And I haven't felt that way at all these past couple days. It's been amazing. This afternoon we made cookies together and for the first time I didn't feel overwhelmed and irritated by her desire to be involved in every single little part of it. I try to be a good mom and I do my best to do what I feel is right for Olivia, but one person in a two-person relationship can only do so much. Spending my days with Olivia has always been a blessing that I treasure, but lately it has felt more like a joy than it did before. I feel like you'll look down on me for saying that maybe Olivia didn't like me so much before. But there it is. And, luckily, that strangeness seems to be melting away. Good riddance, I say, to whatever it was. I sure love my sweet girl. All the more when she's a little more loving in return.
Still, with all of this extra goodness and renewed productivity, it's hard to keep the background of my mind from buzzing with all the unanswered questions that I carry in my pocket. It may be that I'll be pregnant soon and we'll end up having twelve kids and we'll all just laugh about this later. But right now, it's hard.
I've had so many (too many) close friends and family who have struggled with infertility. And while I'm sure I've been obnoxious and oblivious plenty of times throughout the years, I also really feel like I do my best to be caring and empathetic to their trials. I can put myself in someone else's shoes and see that the road they're on isn't easy. I do whatever I can to help them and ease their pain. And maybe there's some shallow part of me, deep down in there somewhere, that's said all these years, "If you do everything you can for them, there's no way it'll ever happen to you." Sometimes it doesn't seem quite real that I'm struggling so much with what's going on (or rather, what's not going on) with pregnancy. I've always been empathetic. But I never really wanted to know first-hand what it felt like. I'd rather just be the friend of somebody with that problem. But here I am.
I also never wanted to be that girl who's tired of pregnant bellies. Not for a second would I ever judge anyone who struggles with infertility or miscarriages (or anything else, for that matter) who just can't handle being around pregnant women or hearing birth stories. It's a really hard thing for some people and I totally respect that. They're not being babies about it. They're not being overly dramatic. They're coping. And I'm not here to judge the way anyone copes with something like that. So I can honestly say that I don't mind when other people who are struggling choose not to go to baby showers or not to spend time with someone because they're pregnant. I fully support people knowing and respecting their own limits.
It's just that I never wanted to be that person. I don't want people to not tell me that pregnancy is uncomfortable and that they're feeling kind of miserable at the moment. I don't want people not to tell me how far along they are. I don't want people not to get excited about pregnancy and babies around me. I don't want to feel the exclusion of having to be that person that everyone filters their real conversation for.
And yet, I find myself relieved to spend time with my friends who aren't pregnant. I find myself edging toward a quiet inner sadness when people tell me when they're due. Sometimes when I'm with friends who are due pretty soon it's hard not to do the math and think, "If I hadn't miscarried, I'd be having a baby soon. And none of this trying and failing would be going on. And I'd still be blissfully ignorant of how hard it can be." Sometimes I really, genuinely, wish I couldn't do math in my head. If only figuring that kind of thing out required calculus.
I was talking to my sister-in-law Anna yesterday and she was asking me some really thoughtful questions about what I've been going through. I don't think I ever settled on a real answer to any of her questions, but I do remember telling her, "Most things in life get easier, the longer you deal with them. This is exactly the opposite. This gets harder."
I think there are too many of you out there who know what I mean. I wish that weren't true. I wish you could empathize, but not understand. Because if you really understand, then that means you've gone through things I wish you didn't have to go through. To those of you who do understand, hang in there. It's a lonely road--I know that--but you're not alone. Eternity is a long time. And things won't stay this way forever, even though it feels that way right now.
Anyway, if you asked me in person, I'd tell you everything's fine and things are going great. But the truth is, I've been feeling a little down lately. I'm not looking for pity or anything. I just, I don't know, want to be real.