Monday, February 10, 2014

Better? Bitter? Who knows?

This week seems better. Kind of. On Tuesday last week, my sister sent me a very thoughtful email asking if 1. I would like to be invited to the baby's bits reveal party (I'm avoiding - hopefully - making this googleable by not using the word "gen.der," which it isn't anyway - it's biological sex that's being revealed) party and if so, 2. would I like to make the cake? It floored me. I don't know why. I knew this milestone was coming - I talked about it in my last post. But something about... I-don't-even-know-what really upset me. A lot. I answered back that I'd like to be invited - I certainly don't want to be excluded (FYI, I think it's best to invite an infertile friend and let them decided their presence, rather than asking if they want to be invited. Usually people don't want to not be invited) from it - and that I would think about the cake and talk to my therapist about it (I happened to have an appointment on Thursday). I passed the email or the details on to a couple people (and to Twitter) to get their thoughts. I just felt I wanted to make a fair decision, and I thought friends' input might be helpful.

Later that evening, I was included on a group email inviting me and Buddy, my parents, my sister's in-laws, and my BIL's sister (via skype) to an early dinner and then the reveal back at Sis and BIL's temporary housing apartment. Now when Sis had told me it was a bits reveal "party," I assumed it was going to be at either my parents' or BIL's parents' house in our hometown with extended family and their friends. But dinner with just the 8 of us and then the reveal felt very intimate and different. At a large party, I could escape pretty well unnoticed if I felt overwhelmed. In a one-bedroom apartment? Not so much. And I started to think about seeing my parents finding out if they would have a granddaughter or grandson and my heart started racing all over again.

I started to try to break it down logically, and bounced all my thoughts off friends and my therapist. Ultimately, I looked at it as three events that were not mutually exclusive: the cake making, the dinner, and the reveal. When I considered the cake making, people made the really good point that I would know first and would have time to process it. I wouldn't be finding out with everyone else and that would take pressure off for an appropriate reaction. I also have been hoping to have a moment where I'm okay with all this - like I did with my best friend's pregnancy - and turn the corner and feel joy. Maybe doing the cake would be that for me. Maybe it wouldn't, but it couldn't hurt to try. On the downside, I haven't made a baby related cake since we were diagnosed, so I was worried about emotions. However, in the end, I decided knowing first and the chance at a unique connection with my niece or nephew (I think niece, by the way) won out.

Now the dinner. What are people going to talk about at a dinner before they find out what their grandchild is? The baby. Duh. So that wasn't super appealing. But I talked to Sis, and we're actually doing a late lunch at a cool spot that is basically a sprawling lawn that people picnic on with food bought from their small carry-out-only restaurant. Not the claustrophobic Chili's booth I somehow had in mind. So there'd be some space, and that seemed a little doable. We'll mark dinner as a possibility.

The reveal? Nope. I really just don't think I can see my parents finding out. And understandably and justifiably, the parents- and grandparents-to-be would be wanting to talk about the little arrival and about names and nursery ideas and all that stuff. Not easy or non-awkward to escape from in a small apartment. No to mention, I feel very strongly that my sister has been robbed of some of her experience as an expectant parent because of me. I wouldn't want anyone to feel that because of my presence, they had to hold back any of their emotions or excitement or even consider me in any way. My sister assured me that they would have fun and enjoy it no matter what, but I have a hard time believing that if I started crying or it became awkward if I was visibly upset and my parents felt torn between celebrating with her and consoling me (which I would want them to do for her if the roles were swapped), shit would just go on as if nothing happened. I don't know what to make of her thinking all would be A-okay on that one (it feels lacking of compassion), but whatever. I decided I'd rather just skip that. Part of me thinks it would be cool to take the new camera and get photos, but I don't know if I'm being realistic in thinking that would be fun. My sister and BIL will know what the bits are already anyway, and half the "fun" of those pics is seeing the parents'-to be faces, so that's a moot point.

So I got that all figured out, but there were some upsetting things during the week that still have me feeling... not better. In trying to open up to my mom some about how I've been feeling, I ended up in tears and she suggested we reconsider our stance on adoption. NOT helpful. The whole conversation in general was a disaster and we haven't spoken in almost a week, which is unusual. At the same time, we haven't really talked a lot since Sis even told me she was pregnant because I didn't feel confident that she'd be very sensitive and understanding about my little crisis. And I was right, so I have little incentive to open myself up again. And even though I came to a bit reveal non-party solution I'm relatively happy with, I still have general unease and sadness about not being able to just be like "sure, sis, I'd love to come to your bits reveal party and be super excited and cry tears of joy and talk about how to decorate the nursery." It just sucks.

And that nursery? Is going to be in a house 67 minutes from us - their offer has been accepted on a home some 50 miles from us. On the one hand, we keep some of our freedom. It's far enough that no one is going to just pop in because they were in the neighborhood. On the other hand, going to see them is going to be a minimum 2 hour commitment. It's long enough to feel like a day trip. That's a lot for us, considering we'll be doing the driving since our home won't be baby-proofed, they'll have more space, and I wouldn't expect them to drive an hour each way with a kid, especially in the beginning with a small baby. I wouldn't expect them to choose our side of town since it's not convenient to them either, but it sucks. I want to have a close relationship with my niece or nephew, and this makes it not as easy. And I keep thinking about holidays. I currently host Thanksgiving and usually Christmas with both my parents and Buddy's. So what now? With Sis and BIL here, they're also close to his parents, who I imagine - wait, know, based on the infamous Thanksgiving grocery list and Christmases that are planned down to the half hour - that they will want significant control over planning holidays. Do we now begin the dreaded splitting of time that we've been lucky to avoid? We've been fortunate that we've been able to just plan with our two sets of parents and it works out. And maybe that's the right approach to continue - we'll plan what we want and if you can join in, great. But with a kid in the mix - and only grandchild on both sides, no less - I just have a feeling everything will revolve around him/her, and we'll want to be there, but want to not be steam rolled. It makes me feel... insignificant. Like, "hey, don't forget about us. We're a family, too." It just gets me down.

Alright, I'm blabbing. Point is: I strategized, figured out a good solution for one thing, and it brought up thoughts and feelings and hard emotions about a whole other thing. I guess this is just the way it's going to be.

1 comment:

Jalara said...

I feel your pain because my sister is having a baby and it's hard. I went to her first 3 appointments with her because she needed me, but it's hard. The family is all about her and her baby.

I really like the cake solution you came up with, it hadn't occurred to me that that would give you more time to get used to the idea. But it also keeps you involved.

I'm sorry your mother can't understand the position you're in. Adoption is not a cure for infertility and people need to learn that.

Sending major ((hugs)).