Monday 13 April 2009

Some stuff about some stuff, and some other stuff, as well, including why I hate Facebook

Still no C of E. Did I mention that I have been collecting data on the time taken by the relevant government department to process this paperwork? Well, I have, because I am a nerd, and I guess all that stuff about watched pots never boiling must be true, because we have now been waiting the longest for our papers to be done out of anyone that I have data for (with the exception of one person who was caught up with visa issues). And now we've written the first in what will almost certainly be a series of increasingly annoyed emails to said government department, demanding (very politely) to know what's going on and when they are going to get their act together and process us. I'd like to think that I have better things to do with my time, but it turns out that I don't.

And so we wait.

While we're continuing to wait, I've been trying to do a few things that I haven't wanted to do. One of these has been to do a bit of bridge-building, or fence-mending, or whatever you want to call it, with some of my friends. This is really hard to write about, and I'm not going to write about it in detail because I decided a while ago that I can write whatever I like about me on this blog, but that for all kinds of reasons I should stay away from writing about other people. And I plan to stick to that. And anyway, most people who read this probably don't need my stories because you've all got your own about how hard it is to navigate the normal world when you feel shattered and broken. And how hard it is to maintain friendships when nobody comes to your house anymore, because you might as well go to theirs, because after all you don't have to put any kids in the car, and then you have to sit amongst the baby toys while they talk about feeding schedules and you have nothing to contribute to the conversation and you feel like someone is hammering a spike through your brain and they don't ever ask you how your homestudy is going or want to know about anything that's happening in your life and you find yourself wondering whether you ever really had anything in common with the person sitting across from you and then it's not one or two of your friends it's all of them and you wonder whether a time will come when you will ever find it other than painful to be in the same room as any of these people ever again and you know that they are the ones with the normal lives and you're the freak so you should probably accommodate but there comes a point where you JUST CAN'T TAKE IT any more and suddenly the only people you want to see are your husband and your cat and one of those isn't even a person.

Or maybe that's just me.

This whole feeling of freakdom, of course, is why I hate and despise facebook. I know I'm not the only one. Oh boy - I do NOT need to see another ultrasound picture as an avatar. I've just got nothing to say to the status update of how pregnant you are now, or what your little boy is doing, and I do not want to take the 'how many children will you have?' quiz, even if you do assure me it is 'scarily accurate'. (I wonder is there an option of 'zero! After a failed adoption attempt, you will rot in an Ethiopian jail for attempted kidnapping'. I doubt it).

But I digress - I was intending to write about how things have been getting better. For a while, I think I've had a vain hope that I was going to hear the words 'you've been through a lot of pain and grief in the last few years, and I probably wasn't very helpful to you. I'm sorry. I wish I had been kinder' from some of my friends. I think the appropriate response from me would then be 'Thank you so much for that. I also realise that you've faced lots of changes in this time, and I probably had unrealistic expectations about how much support you could give me. Also, I probably didn't cook you as many dinners as I should have when you were adjusting to being a parent'. Or something. But you know? I think I've finally realised that those conversations are never going to happen. Most of my friends will probably never think through how painful the last few years have been for me, because they will never need to. And that's good, I think. And so... I need to let a lot of this stuff go. On my own. Without any confrontations or 'big conversations' about it. I owe that to our child, apart from anything else - socially isolating myself wont' do them any favours. So I've been actively trying to see people who I've been avoiding. As in - making times and going to their houses (after all, we don't have any kids to put in the car...) and having the conversations about feeding schedules and just sucking it up. I think this is kind of working for three reasons. One, I do actually like my friends. I do want to have friends. So I feel motivated to do it. Two, the pain of being surrounded by that much normality is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, and is now mostly outweighed by one. I still get sad, but not for as long, and not quite so deeply as I used to. I still find it really hard to be around newborns, because I start thinking about all the difficulties our baby will face in its first weeks and I compare it to the maternal cosseting a tiny baby should have and I just want to cry for both baba and birthmother but Three, I've started to believe that this is really going to happen, one day, and I'm trying to look at the sea of babies and see my child's future friends, rather than just potent reminders of mine and my baby's losses.

It's such hard work though.

At times like this, I think 'this sure would have been easier if I just hadn't drifted away from my friends in the first place' and I feel really tempted to pass judgement on my former self for letting this happen. And in a way, this is a good thing because it shows me that the pain I felt must have faded a lot, if I've already forgotten it enough to be judgemental. And it's good that the pain has faded, but I wonder: what else will I forget? I know how easy it is to think that only what I'm going through now is difficult, and that other thing was not actually that bad, and really I must have overreacted if I thought it was tough because wow! That wasn't tough! This is tough! So this is to me, in the future:

If I have a house full of screaming children, a nappy to change, a spill to clean, and a song to sing, now, mummy, I want to remember: this.
When I'm crazed with sleep deprivation,haven't showered for days, and smell of poo, constantly, I want to remember: now.
I want to remember the feeling of empty arms, of waking at night, but not to feed anyone. Only to stare at the ceiling and wonder if we should just get another cat.
I want to remember. Because: I know that won't be easy. But this wasn't easy too.


  1. Claudia, you really article feelings better than anyone! I mean, I really understand some things when I read your blog. And further, I am sorry for the grief and pain you've gone through.

    I think we all have expectations of other people that hinder communication, I've definitely fallen into that trap. It's really cool that you can recognize what is happening, b/c it's really hard to do that.


  2. Great, great post, my friend. You said it all so well and I'm sorry it is so hard.

    That friendship thing is a delicate balance - wanting to be a good friend and have good friends too when we are in such different places (and desperately wanting not to be). There are so many that I have distanced from too and I know those bridges will not be easy ones to mend. We do what we have to in the "now" to survive sometimes and when it hurts that much you can't ask anymore of yourself...

    I wish you strength and peace on your journey to mending. I do love that part of the drive is in the name of your child......a wonderful mother you are already.


  3. I'm so happy you're taking such positive steps, esp when it's such a hard thing to do :) Hooray for you!

  4. Well said. I go through that a lot with friends and babies. I don't think anyone outside of the "waiting" experience can connect to the depth of frustration and isolation we get to experience. I do think it makes it all sweeter in the end though.

  5. Friendships are like sine waves, I think. And sometimes your waves are sync'd with your friends' and sometimes they are not, but sooner or later you will match back up again, if you truly care for one another.

    Also -- you will never smell of poo. You always smell lovely.

  6. C. Thank you for your honest words. I felt my heart being searched and exposed in good ways as I read this post. I appreciate the ways you are choosing to live and the truth you are embracing. You are a brave heart! I am sorry also for the grief and brokenness of these past years for you. I am trusting God with you that the grief and pain we and others have lived will result in more faith and love in our hearts. May he turn the deserts into gardens in our lives!

  7. I wish I could figure out how to send you an email directly, but I can't. So here it is in the comment section. Do you have a best friend? If you don't, I am available. I stumbled onto your blog (I am in the research phase of starting an Ethiopian Adoption and am blog obsessed.) Your first post really hit me. Although I haven't lived the infertility nightmare, I just know the feeling you were describing so well. So now I am reading the blog from the beginning and actually laughing out loud (can't bring myself to type lol - hate people who type lol - are they really lol? I doubt it.) I also loved TINMWY and find the Ethiopian Adoption Yahoo group to be CRAZY.
    I am 41, live in Oregon and have a bio-baby - these three things might make it a bit odd for us to become bffs. I guess for now I will just be a lurker.
    Good luck on your journey. I know I will enjoy reading about it.

  8. I love that metaphor of friendships are like sine waves...



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