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Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Angst

I had lunch with an old friend (our kids went to the same preschool but I haven’t seen her since we left 3 years ago). She has two boys, ages 7 and almost 10. She suffered from infertility and decided that adoption was her path. She adopted her younger son, first, as an infant, and the birth mother decided some time later that she could not parent the older brother so my friend adopted him, too. Her older son suffers from anxiety and a form of ADHD and takes medication for both which has helped him immensely. I know that getting the dosage right has been stressful and she posts on FB a lot from a group called “Easy to Love but Hard to Raise”. What struck me most during our lunch was how zen she was. She is a full-time working out of the home mom. She has a challenging parenting situation with her older son, they are months into a huge home remodel that has them living in 2 rooms of their home, yet, she was so relaxed.

And it struck me because I feel far from that. I feel frenetic and angst ridden and antsy and out of sorts and not any of the things I thought I’d be almost 7 months post partum having achieved what I consider to be my life’s biggest dream, being a mother of two. In one very important way, I do feel settled and at peace and that is with my post-infertile self. I’m at a loss in describing just how much life space (head, heart, soul) not being in the trenches, no longer struggling, not having to figure out how/when/if there is going to be a child or another child in my life has been freed. Battling to create and complete our family took up the better part of my waking life for eight years. Eight years is 17% of my life. Still, I am grateful, grateful, grateful. Other than living through the death of my brother, nothing has been more life affirming than being on the other side of and having lived through infertility.

Beyond that, though, I am unsettled. My marriage is strained. The demands of having two children so far apart in age has us almost single parenting each boy. Because of baby’s nap time (and because he is not good at sleeping on the fly in his carrier), one of us is with our older son at his activities and the other is home with baby. We do get out as a family, mostly for dinner or on the weekend between nap #1 and #2, but there is a new rhythm and monotony to our life now. And, since I usually wake at 4 (sometimes 5 if I am lucky), I am dead dog tired by 8 PM, and sometimes am asleep before our older son goes to bed. As discontented as I am about the family dynamic, I’m won to do anything about it.

Most men aren’t intuitive parents like women are, nor are they adept at noticing what needs to be done. If my husband doesn’t set a reminder in his phone to do one of the myriad household chores that are his domain, they won’t get done, despite the fact that he’s been doing them for a decade. This alone creates a lot of stress between us. The trash cans need to be put out every Wednesday evening (which means that the household trash should be collected prior to putting the cans out). The dog poop needs to be picked up several times each week. The dry cleaning needs to be taken in/picked up weekly. When the dog food container is nearing empty, new food needs to be procured. These are the predictable tasks that are his responsibility. No one ever has to ask me to: go to the grocery; plan or make meals; pick-up/clean-up messes; do the laundry; do the dishes; make doctor appointments; clean the house in between bi-weekly visits from our cleaning lady; pay the bills; make sure our policies are up to date; buy clothes; get prescriptions re-filled; schedule our older son’s activities; schedule baby play dates, etc. Why do I have to mind him?

I know this may seem like a gripe-fest. The issue is really that if we can’t partner in the running of our household it creates resentment issues in our relationship. In order for most long term relationships to work, there has to be balance, however that is defined and achieved by the parties involved. It is beyond burdensome for me to have to manage my husband, too. It is up to him to bring something to the party, so to speak. It is a long standing bone of contention between us and I am fully aware that the bitterness and resentment it creates is what chips away at the foundation of our marriage.

And, it’s not that he won’t do things. My husband is actually very good at doing them, without complaint. From early in our relationship, if I gave him a “Honey-Do” list, he would make his way through it happily. It’s that he doesn’t think to/remember to do things and it is up to me to constantly remind him. And, now, with the baby, I can’t be responsible to. And, I like order. I was raised that chores and responsibilities come before leisure and I believe that and hold myself to that standard. And I feel that my husband should do the same (but he puts leisure first, saying ‘I’ll get to it” (whatever ‘it’ is) and then ALWAYS forgets). Before he gets on his computer for 5 or 6 hours, he needs to check-off his list so that I don’t wake up in the morning and find his disarray from the night before.

Ugh, I sound so whiny and I KNOW that these are first world problems, but it creates such discontent in our house (and, believe me, I have other contributors like my inability to lose weight, my not knowing what I’m going to do for work, the upcoming change to our older son’s school, the estrangement from my family and how I’ll handle upcoming invitations to both my nephews birthdays). I’m not sure what the answer is and it goes in fits and spurts (like, when my husband senses I’m “done”, he is much better at chipping in, funny how that works). I’m taxed by it and it contributes, in large measure, to my feeling of angst. The grease in our wheels is where we are both contributing and I am not the task-master. We need some grease.

6 comments to Angst

  • Wow. What you’ve written about the difficulties your husband has with household chores could’ve just as easily been written by me. When provided with very specific directions, my husband is also willing, but that takes such an enormous effort to organize him on tasks that should be second nature by now (after 13 years of marriage!). No, you don’t sound naggy or whiny at all. This is your reality, a reality that is very much impacting your life. And I honestly can’t imagine it with two kids. It’s hard enough over here with one!

    I like what Karen said. Just because your friend seems zen and together doesn’t mean she is. Some people bluff really well. I’m one of them. When I reveal my real challenges, people are shocked. I always show up on time, with a smile on my face, and a kid in spotless clothing. I don’t seem harried, but oh the effort it took to look the part! That’s probably what’s going on!

    By the way, 7 months post-partum is really not as long as it seems. You’re allowed to be frenetic and angst-ridden. I know I still am and my kid is almost 4! Ha! Hang in there…

  • Crone

    This issue is why national magazines (Atlantic in April I think for one) have recently published research saying same sex marriages are happier because they are more egalitarian.
    Several comments mentioned gender boxes happening.. Clearly this is true. If you were on the side that didn’t have to do as much work….well, it is easier to continue to not step up. That this leads to less happiness in your sexual partner, and possibly divorce, is not immediately obvious … and maybe not very important. Remember most men are richer with more discretionary money and time post divorce.
    It isn’t about him OFFERING to pick up the child, or HELP YOU with household chores …it IS about being a full time partner and carrying a full share of the load… or not.
    Tough to change behaviors once established. Most men are following their father’s modeled behaviors. Behavior mod therapy might help. Good luck!

  • Sarah B

    This post TOTALLY resonates with me! It’s not so much that I have to nag my husband to do everything, it is that we are stuck in these boxes that we put ourselves/each other in long ago and now we don’t know how to get out. We both work full time, and I have the more flexible (and less demanding/stressful) job, and so most of the extras of raising kids – managing doctors appts, chasing paper for the school district, buying kid clothes, picking kids up every day, breaking up sibling squabbles while I cook dinner, making lunches etc etc – falls to me. It is a classic gender division of labor. And while it is likely the most efficient, I hate that it is just assumed that I will do it, that I’m somehow more suited, and that it isn’t also stressful and demanding in its own way. Maybe what Buttermilk said, that boys are just raised this way (and hey, look what gender modeling we’re providing my son!) and it simply doesn’t occur to them to step outside their box once in awhile. I’ll admit to expecting him to do the “man chores” of the house – taking out garbage, fixing stuff, anything that involves getting dirty – and so I know I’m not without fault in this dynamic. Childcare vs working outside the house, I know it is all work one way or another – but I’d love for him to offer to pick up the kids every once in awhile, you know? And yeah, it does feel like a first world problem. I mean, this is the dream, right? Two kids, great careers and financial stability. And I think our husbands are WAY more involved than fathers were even 20 years ago. But it wears on me and on our marriage too. I hope you find your grease. If you find out anything that helps you along in this area, please share!

  • “Most men aren’t intuitive parents like women are, nor are they adept at noticing what needs to be done.” You’re making a fair generalization here, but I wish somebody would explain to me why men tend to share these traits. Is it biological or are boys being raised this way? As mothers of boys I think it is important to future generations that we try to get to the bottom of this and change the tide if we can!

  • Esperanza

    Wow, I feel like I could have written this post, except my partner does not happily do things on a to-do list, instead her gripes and complains and sighs loudly as he barely makes his way through. He has such a hard time getting anything done and it’s a huge issue in our relationship, in fact it’s the only thing we’ve been to couple’s therapy for besides our secondary infertility.

    We’re expecting our second child in three months and I’m absolutely terrified that it’s going to tear our relationship to shreds. My husband does not step up in times of stress, instead he breaks down. I already do so much and when I need his help I worry he simply won’t be able to provide it (or he’ll believe he won’t be able to provide it, which is the same thing, in the end).

    I wish I had words of wisdom instead of just commiseration. I totally feel you on all of this though.

  • The one thing I’d say is that your friend likely has similar feelings as you do. She may SEEM zen but if it’s one thing I’ve noticed, all women – especially the ones who seem to be zen, or have it all together – share similar concerns and frustrations, and stresses.

    With your husband, I have no real assvice, except to share with you that mine is similar. He freely admits that he outsources his thinking to me when it comes to household duties and home projects. And I am similar in that I get stressed out when I see a sink full of dishes in the morning because he didn’t get to it.

    We share a google calendar, so often I will set up calendar “recurring meetings” to remind him to do things like trash. I put in early release school days. Our social engagements, etc.

    I’m not sure that this will help, but when a reminder pops up, it will warn him AND send him an email and he’s more likely to get it done. Maybe you can set up a “Marriage Happiness Rule” that when he gets a reminder, he does it immediately?

    At the very least, I don’t think it’s hard to tell him that you feel resentful because you’re getting everything done and don’t feel like he’s pulling his weight, that you have an expectation that BEFORE he relaxes, he gets his chores done, and how can you BOTH find a way to make sure that at least the household runs smoothly?

    Hang in there. As I remind myself on the days where I am unhappy with my current situation, it won’t always be like this. Change is the only constant.

    xoxo

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