Monday, January 29, 2007

Please, please, please... let me get what I want, this time

The quest for a child has been such a focus for so many years, that letting go of that is like dealing with a different kind of death. That being said, the idea of adopting (down the road) is seeming more and more like a really good idea. I am adopted myself and my husband never knew his father, but we both had such positive experiences with "alternative" parental figures (mine with my adoptive mother and father, and the hubster with a social worker who fostered him throughout his teens), that it seems right that we should continue the experience within our own family. Before I had Lydia, I thought it was really important for me to be a "proper" mother, but somehow the experience of carrying her and giving birth to her has made me realise that it's more than just biology that connects us to those we love. I know I would feel no less a mother, nor no less important to a child who isn't biologically linked to me. I was lucky enough to hold my own flesh and blood in my arms, but now I just want to be a parent, in whatever form that takes.

In other news, I have a new contract! I start full-time on Thursday, which will be the first time in over a year that I've had full-time work. Mind you, a year ago I wouldn't have been capable of going into an office 40 hours a week, but now that I'm feeling a bit less desolate, I'm looking forward to a new challenge. And it couldn't come at a better time -- 2 more months at where we were at financially and I would have had to sell the house. It has been a very bleak winter -- to cut back, we eschewed the oil furnace in favour of electric space heaters and wood fires (we do have a fireplace insert, which is like having a wood stove). We also ate a lot of vegetarian meals, drank instant coffee and hibernated in our bedroom most weekends, because it was too cold anywhere else in the house! Now that this austerity is just about over, I can almost look back and laugh. Perhaps when I've got a fridge full of fancy cheese and piping hot radiators, then maybe I'll have a giggle at our winter of discomfort...

So, please let this contract hold out for many months to come... please let our quest for an family be fulfilled, however it happens... please let my husband and I be happy together as much as possible, and be a comfort to each other when we can't... please make my dream of living in London actually come true this time... please let me fulfill by potential for babeness and get into better shape... please let me outwardly appreciate all of the people, both virtually and in person, who support me and inspire me...

That's all of the "pleases" that I can think of right now. It goes without saying that a couple of dozen very important ones go to everyone out there who is grieving or in despair regarding child loss or infertility. May we all get what we want, one way or another.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 12:34 PM | link | 7 comments |

Friday, January 19, 2007

Haven't had a dream in a long time...

Now that the holidays are over and 2007 is here to offer a clean slate with fresh ideas, hopes and dreams, it seems like a good time to dig back into this blog. First, my news and updates: it has been over a year since my LMP (time to finally get rid of those old boxes of tampons, lol!), so I am officially post-menopausal. I have decided not to take HRT, mostly because my symptoms are mild (the very occasional hot flash) and with good diet and exercise I should be able to offset the risks of bone loss and heart disease. It's been over six months since I was last in a doctor's office and even though I'm due for my annual gyno checkup, I'm rather loathe to go in. Despite everything, it's been kind of nice not being poked and prodded nor worrying about my reproductive state; I can kind of do without the reminder. But it would be a real bitch to die of cervical cancer or some dumb thing after all of this, so I'm sure I'll make an appointment in due course.

In other news, we're moving to London! Well, only in the fall of 2008, but at least we've got a plan in place. I'm going to go to the Cordon Bleu cooking academy for a year so that I will be more qualified as a food writer. The thought of this -- moving to London and going back to school -- is really keeping me going at the moment. That's what's behind the title of this post -- finally having a dream. I'm trying to focus on that as much as possible, even though the other losses feel like a 10-ton weight on my back sometimes (well, most always, if I'm honest). It does give me hope and a sense of purpose, which is no small thing these days.

Regarding that overpowering sense of loss, I find myself vacillating between being terribly pragmatic ("At least you had a chance to carry Lydia, some people don't even get that.""Look at all the marrieds-with-kids that you know who feel vaguely empty and dissatisfied with life -- parenthood is not necessarily the answer to self-fulfillment") to wallowing in an almost blissful state of self-pity. I say "blissful", because this self-pity has become a real friend to me over the years and even though it can be overpoweringly painful at times, it's a known, reliable pain that is comforting to have around. I know this is an unhealthy way to live and that I have to break the pattern at some point. I'm much better than I was a few months ago (pretty much when I stopped blogging). Sometime at the end of November I really hit rock bottom. One Monday morning I woke up and I couldn't get out of bed. I wasn't feeling ill, I just couldn't face the day. The blackness that had been creeping up insidiously over the previous weeks had darkened my mood so completely that the mere act of shuffling to the bathroom to brush my teeth seemed like an insurmountable feat. Somehow, I managed to pull on my shoes and coat to drive my husband to work, but as we were in the car I told him that I couldn't go on like this. I said that I needed help, probably drugs, possibly hospitalization. I just couldn't imagine living one more day like this, the pain and the sense of despair was so great. I spent the rest of that day back in bed, reading and surfing the web half-heartedly, napping whenever I could. I picked my husband up from work at the end of the day and we talked a bit, but I felt like a complete zombie. Somehow, despite all of the naps I'd taken throughout the day, I managed to fall into a deep sleep that night. And when I awoke the next day I felt... better. It was really miraculous. It was like I had to hit rock bottom in order to scrub away all of the slime at the bottom of my psyche and then I could finally look back up and see some light peering in. My mood improved slowly but surely after that, and although I've had a few dips here and there, I've been doing much better in general.

There's lots more to say, but for now I'll leave things on a hopeful note. Life has so many wonderful things to offer and it's time that I started enjoying them. Especially things with chocolate -- waistline be damned!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:36 AM | link | 8 comments |

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Childless by chance or choice -- an interesting article

I have another more personal post brewing, but I came across this article today and I thought it might interest this community. The fact that it is written by the mother of a stillborn child makes it all the more poignant:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/24/AR2006112400986.html

Stay tuned for more news about me...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:51 AM | link | 6 comments |