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05-21-2002 @ 9:22 p.m.
Passion and Stoicism

Ever perspicacious, Plankton may have hit the nail on the head in my guestbook entry. She suggested that maybe the birthing experience is affecting me in more subtle and quiet ways than I realize. That could be quite true. I was feeling great, emotionally, until Saturday. I was thinking that maybe it was the come-down from the emotional and mental high of the birth, but that feeling hasn't shaken off yet and it's been 4 days. This has happened before--when we were first trying to get pregnant. I was a masochist--I'd plan and host baby showers for all my friends who were fertile, all the while smiling and fully pulling off the image that I was delighted for them and totally ok with the situation. But inside, I was screaming "Why can you do it and not me???" I remember in my mind being so pissed off at my cousin who got pregnant, by surprise, for the fifth time thinking that the reason I couldn't get pregnant was because she was hogging all the fertility in our family. It was crazy and I was crazy and I've successfully buried it for years and years and years.

But the fact is, I'm nearing the age where even if I weren't infertile already, I'd start becoming infertile slowly because eggs degrade and fertility wanes in your late 30s and early 40s until it's all gone. I'm feeling torn--part of me wants to deal with the grief of saying goodbye forever to the possibility of pregnancy but a tiny sliver of me isn't ready to throw in the towel yet. That sliver isn't interested in going for heroic measures, a la IVF, to get pregnant but holds on to the shred of hope, however small, that my body could somehow, some way not be a total and complete failure to me.

So there I am--torn between giving up/grieving and holding on/punishing myself. And still, I'm inexorably drawn to pregnancy and childbirth in other people. I gravitate toward pregnant women and want to know all about their pregnancies and their plans for childbirth and hear their previous birth stories. I want to be at births. I want to catch babies. I want to hold mothers' hands while they struggle to introduce their babies to the world of light and air. But a part of me also wants to run away from them because they remind me, in very vivid ways, that they can do something very basic, very primal and very, very female that I simply cannot do.

I was thinking about this and other things today and I realized that somewhere along the way, and perhaps as a result of having my heart ripped out many times over with this infertility and with losing some very key people in my life, I have lost that deeply passionate part of myself that used to define me. As a teen and in my early 20s, I was an intensely excitable and passionate person. I remember sleeping on my friend's living room floor after a party and talking with her for hours about this very subject. I remember telling her, "I'm the kind of person who when I feel something, I feel it very deeply. I don't just go halfway--I go all the way and then some." When did I lose that? When did I lose the ability to whip up enthusiasm for almost anything at the drop of a hat? Is this just part of growing up and aging? I'm thinking no because my sisters still have that amazing excitability but somewhere along the way I traded mine in for this stoicism that I never thought I'd have.

Ed was always the stoic. Steady Eddy, we call him. There is no Steady Lisa. I am not supposed to be this way. Yet here I am--flat. Blah. Emotionless. Or so it seems, in comparison to where I was before. I'm not saying I'd like to be that hyperfrenetic person who freaked out over stress all the time and who had almost manic highs and depressive lows. But I don't like this automaton feeling either. There has to be a happy medium. A place where I can still get excited and happy and passionate without the intensity of youth.

I still have passions--cooking, photography, scrapbooking, my family, my dear friends--but the passions have lost some of their edge. I don't know--maybe this is what happens to people as they get older and have lots of other things to deal with.

I'm just babbling now. I really don't even know what I'm talking about. I just know that I am so not the same person I was 20 years ago and for that sometimes I'm glad and sometimes I'm sad.

I do know that somehow I've got to get a handle on this infertility thing. I wish I weren't so afraid to make that phone call to the therapist to get started. I have carried a to-do list around with me for months that has the same things on it: make eye appointment, make internist appointment (to test for insulin levels and TSH levels), make therapist appointment. Have I done any of it? No. How hard is it to make an appointment? Not hard at all. So why can't I do it? Why can't I make a follow-up appoitment with Joey's orthodontist? Why can't I make an appointment to get my hair cut? Why can't I make an appointment for anything lately? It's almost like I've become an appointmentphobe. Is there such a thing? These are all appointments that I want to go on--that I need to go on--but can't seem to make myself follow-through with.

This is so not what I wanted to write about today but then again, there wasn't much in my day to write about anyway. I did want to mention that Saturday was a truly lovely day with my family. It started with breakfast with my sisters and daughter at 7:45am at one of our favorite hole-in-the-wall places. After breakfast, we went to see Star Wars II. I liked it a lot except for the Anikin whininess and leering looks. (I'm not a Hayden Whoever fan. Those half-lidded glances that he shot at Padme gave me the creeps!) Having only slept 5 hours Friday night (on top of 4 hours Thursday night), I needed a nap so I sent the crew off to lunch and grabbed myself a 2+ hour nap. It was lovely. We got ourselves decked out for a nice downtown evening and met for dinner at 5:30 at one of my favorite downtown Italian restaurants. We had a room all to ourselves, since there were 9 of us (dad, Ed and me, both my sisters and BILs and a couple who are friends of the family), and ordered some really amazing food. My fettucine bolognese was divine! I only wish I could have kept the leftovers because they gave me a large portion! Our tiramisu was the best I've ever tasted--my dad even liked it and he's like Mikey. We walked up to the concert hall and listened to the symphony and symphonic choir perform Carmina Burana. It is one of our all-time favorite pieces and they did not disappoint. The baritone soloist was world-renown for his performance in this piece and he happens to be a local boy so he received a warm reception. The whole evening was just wonderful--my whole adult family together, dressed up and acting entirely civilized. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope there are many more of these kinds of gatherings in the future.

--L

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