I’m feeling really judgy as I overhear the brunch chatter this fine Thursday morning. The complaints are all 1st world problems that have really easy solutions, and the pains these women express are so shallow. Stuff like how hard it is to fit a run in when you have kids to feed, and how many times a day they miss a photo op of their kids being cute because they left their phone in the kitchen. Why can’t I tune them out and enjoy reading the book I’ve packed, the book about shame and vulnerability and our culture. I start journaling to see if I can glean some kind of lesson from my irritation, and find that I’m going to have to ask my bestie for insight so I text her. Do I think my pain is more validated than theirs, are my complaints any less 1st world than theirs? It comes down to this: they are moms. Since they have the one thing I want most they can’t complain at all. The guy who grumbles about a work trip to Hawaii in February, the person who gardens in the valley and says its so hard to keep things from overgrowing, the person who loves to fish but has so much chinook salmon they can’t eat it fast enough. See you are irritated now too aren’t you?
We think we would happily trade problems with people who have something we want. I have an response to every whine a mother makes: None of your clothes fit because you haven’t lost the baby weight yet? Trade you my size for yours if I could have great kids like you have. You never have time for yourself? All I have is time with myself. There’s snot on your shirt and crackers ground into your backseat? I can and do wear white often and it looks clean at the end of the day. Your teenager is ungrateful and disrespectful? Yeah good luck with that.
There comes a point where you have to humanize the villain in this story, after all being a mom is the job I want. I have my things I’m sensitive to and careful about in social settings, my soapboxes,flippant talk of suicide, chemicals in food, being a parent are a few of my things. I made up some stories about who these brunch mama’s. Once I got creative giving them really hard lives that they couldn’t discuss at brunch I was suddenly compassionate of these strangers. I talked with Josh about it for a while and he helped me guess what their things might be, maybe one has a mom who was a world class athlete and she lost her foot in a tragic plane crash so now this woman wants to run to fulfill her mother’s dream, maybe one had a house fire when she was 10 and all the cute pictures her family took were incinerated so now she wants to do what her parents couldn’t and have zillions of photos backed up on the cloud for her kids to cherish. Yeah I gave them a lot of credit, I hear what your saying that its not realistic. But now I want to cheer for them and hope they can reach their goals, so it was a good mental exercise.
They couldn’t have known that within earshot was a person struggling with infertility. We need to learn to be more sensitive to the invisible pain around us, at least willing to admit that the world is filled with people who are in the fight of their life. I need to be slower to judge people as shallow or vapid, and gently teach what wisdom I have extracted from the 36 years I have been on planet earth. So much goodness can be drawn from being teachable too, knowing that there is much to learn. I do grow weary though, do you sometimes want to quit being soft and strong and teachable? Hard times are real and there’s dusty fields wherever you go. (Yes, I have been listening to Waylon Jennings )
I’m tired of writing and being raw with you all, seeing you at the grocery store hearing you kindly say “I read your blog, how are things going?” It’s hard to be known and seen, it’s hard to report that we aren’t pregnant yet. I’ve been eating beans and corn and hash browns sometimes, I’ve gone days without taking my vitamins, I did yoga only 2 times this summer, and I am hardly interested in reporting data on my fertility tracking app. I’m choosing to have a little more grace with the journey and be less unyielding with my expectations of when and how. We have looked into IUI which is the less invasive way of “helping” to get pregnant (its what you do before IVF) and its not covered by insurance. I’m told that the IUI procedure is likely to increase our chances of pregnancy by 20%. We may have to go through a few cycles of it and that’s not in the budget right now. The simple joy of eating corn is likely to increase my chances by 20% too right? Corn is in the budget so we are going to back off from the strict paleo way and be mostly healthy with some corn. Here’s to hoping that joy is as valuable a health tool as discipline.