By Melissa Mensavage
For the last few months I’ve felt stretched very thin. No solid focus on any one thing. No completion of a task fully.
I hate unfinished projects or tasks. I mean literally, I’ll wash half of the dishes. Or get one of three loads of laundry done.
Is this motherhood in general? Or is this single motherhood?
Either way, its driving me crazy.
A perfect example is the due date for my writing. It comes every month and its on my mind, but a three year old and an 18 month old suck the life out of me playing referee. Mind you, we are getting better at playing together, but that is only roughly 15% of the time.
I love this task. This lets me take what is on my mind and in my life and put it into words. LOVE IT!! Brandy has been very kind, and I swear I will do my best every month to be on time. I know as a mother she gets it, but as an editor … she has a responsibility to get content published to keep her readership.
They say raising a child takes a village … or whatever the saying is. I’ve been trying to do it all on my own lately because I feel like I rely too much on my village. I don’t want to burn that bridge for when I REALLY need them. So here I am doing all of the doctors appointments with two kids, referee, illnesses, parties, household chores, etc, all on my own. And I guess that is why I am stretched so thin.
Will this burn me out? I am pretty sure of it. When? Don’t know. I do know that I am seeing the signs – I’ve been yelling at the kids quite a bit lately. I hate that I yell. Or I get frustrated with the fact that they don’t know everything. (I mean how stupid is that? They are kids, babies still and they shouldn’t know everything!)
As you can see this post is short this month because I am multi-tasking my passion for writing with my passion-less job. Need to cut it short so I can make sure I still collect a paycheck and have insurance.
Maybe someday in the near future I’ll be able to focus again, or maybe this is the new way of life. I am so unfocused right now I cant even come up with a closure to this jumbled post.
Happy Holidays everyone.
(Where’s the egg nog?)
At the end of this month I will have what I hope to be my final appointment with my doctor for my post-partum depression diagnosis I had received after I gave birth to my youngest son, Theo. Eighteen months of periodic check-ups with my primary care physician, bi-weekly therapy appointments and countless mornings where I forced myself out of bed.
I had no clue I would ever suffer from such severe depression. I had mentioned previously that I had situational depression episodes throughout my life but nothing a night out with friends drinking my sorrows away didn’t cure. Or a few weeks time of eating and watching sappy romantic comedies. Though neither of those solutions would have worked in this case.
My world was black. My thoughts were fuzzy. I couldn’t comprehend too much. I was in care-taker mode of an infant and a two year old. I didn’t sleep. I cried. A lot. And then I cried some more. I hated myself. I hated my kids (oh do I have guilt for that). I hated the world. I hated that I wasn’t married.
My mother and I fought constantly. She was trying to help me, and I was being a perfect bitch. She comes from an era where you either just deal or you brush it under the rug. She didn’t get it why I was so crazy. So when I showed up at her house, sobbing, to drop off Max so I could go to the doctors, I think she might have gotten it then. I know she was concerned.
And during this whole time – this first 4 weeks of Theo’s life, all I said to myself was, ‘What have I done?’. What had I done to my family dynamic? What had I done to bring this kid into the world – who is not perfect in my eyes (yes, of course he was he just wasn’t what I knew – Max.).
About a year prior to this I sat in my fertility doctor’s office saying to him with confidence I wanted to try for another baby. He smiled and said, ‘fantastic!’. I smiled knowing in my heart this is what was right for me and my life. I got pregnant after the first try. I was shocked, I had expected it to take a bit longer. I was then excited and felt SO blessed beyond means. Little did I know about the change that would occur when I brought Theo home from the hospital. When people ask how it went, or how it was going, I was honest. It was hard. It was a huge change for all of us.
Yet, we made it. We made it through the tough parts. I started taking an anti-depressant after my initial appointment. I started feeling better about three days after that. Therapy helped. Getting some sleep made it even better. I started to research this diagnosis on the internet. (A big fat no-no.) Women die from this. For some reason they couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I pray for them. I pray for their children. I am thankful everyday that those types of thoughts NEVER crossed my mind.
Its been a rough October for us. We were plagued with illness after illness. The boys are finally healthy. Though I had a pretty bad case of bronchitis, and now an ear infection, I feel great. I feel happy. I am SO thankful for my two beautiful boys. Life is good.
I never could comprehend why people would take their own lives. I never understood why they didn’t think they were worthy of living. After the black period I experienced, I now get it. It breaks my heart to know that people don’t feel worthy. I wish a hug would help. And maybe it does in some situations. So to anyone who might be feeling this type of pain or know of any one, you are worthy. You belong here.
… Summer comes to a close.
I usually write about the struggles or experiences I have as a single parent, but this time I want to show you that we are a happy family. I tend to forget this when in the thick of parenting, when I am the bad cop and I am walking around the house like a screamin’ meamie because the house is a disaster or if one more fruit fly comes out of the kitchen sink drain I am putting a bomb in it. (kidding of course)
So in between all of that, and even as I sit here and write this on Labor Day morning I can hear my two boys upstairs talking to each other in bed, we have a lot of laughs, smiles and fun. Here, have a look.
We went to the local pool with a giant sandpit, where I learned I need to work on my sandcastle building skills. We explored a local park with our cousins. Then we went on our first hike together (man I missed this activity!). We enjoyed fresh fruit smoothies almost every day and learned that Theo can photo bomb with the best of them! Theo’s choice dessert was teddy grahams and left over blue frosting. And finally we had a sole flower in the yard so Max made an End of Summer Wish. It was a good summer indeed.
And you can see we do a lot of things together. When I am away from work I hardly ever spend any time by myself unless its 4:30/5:00 in the morning where I get up just to veg and plan my attack on the day. And maybe this contributes to the screamin’ meamie but the guilt of being away from them kills me. Just yesterday Max got dressed all by himself. I stood in the kitchen and rewarded him and had a little of relief but it hit me, he is growing up. No more little sweet boy. Now he is a boy who likes to wrestle and play with trains, can go to the bathroom all by himself and get himself dressed.
I will be honest, its great that the boys are gaining their independence, frees up time for us to do fun things. This internal struggle I have I am pretty sure does not go away, hence why I rarely do anything now. I figure when they are older and I have much more time to myself I’ll be able to date, have dinner with friends, read a book, etc. And I will know when we do our seperate activities we will all be happy.
By: Melissa Mensavage
Is this career burn-out, just plain ol’fashioned boredom or a midlife crisis?
I sit here at my desk in an office cubicle that has beige walls. I hear the pounding of keyboards all around me. People are huddled by the coffee machine, moreso now that the company has decided to offer free coffee, albeit crap coffee. The world is gray in my eyes. People are overweight here in corporate America because they sit all day long. People are grumpy for having to do the same thing day in and day out. People are always rushing in from being late due to traffic or oversleeping, and rushing to leave to get to their next activity whether its with kids, parents or the couch.
I started in corporate America right after college because I needed a job and health insurance. And things just evolved since then. Being so ‘I need to find Mr. Right’ focused, I never took an interest in my career. Then my thirties hit and still no Mr. Right, though one failed marriage was behind me, I threw myself into my job. However, I still viewed it as a job, and not something I was passionate about. I traveled the world, something I was passionate about. Then I became a mother, still with no Mr. Right around.
So I sit here today, most likely bored out of my mind with the mundane of corporate America. I am done sitting at a desk. I am done with staring at a computer for eight hours a day. Yet, I am locked to this desk and computer because of my chidlren. How can anyone make a career change with children? And on a sole income?
I bet people do it all the time. I bet people throw caution to the wind and jump. My analytical and practical self cannot do that. I chose to be a single parent on my own without a partner. That means no breaks from the boys, as in every other weekend or one night a week. That means I am the sole provider for the boys. That means I need to make sure I have health insurance for them, and myself, and other benefits to keep everyone safe and secure.
That also means, corporate job for now. It is here that I can get those necessities.
Yet, every day as I drive to work I feel an empty feeling in my stomach and my heart. This isn’t what I was meant to do. Recently I had a conversation with my sister about jobs and what I was meant to do kind of slipped out. I wasn’t expecting it, it wasn’t something I was hiding, but it just surfaced.
Early childhood education, preschool or working with the elderly in senior centers or nursing homes.
Working with people.
I Googled salaries for those types of careers and estimated starting salaries would put me in a poverty situation. I wouldn’t make enough to cover my necessities, especially with two children. And I am torn, why cant I have the job I love? Why cant I be doing what I really want to do? Is it true that things find a way of working out when doing something you love?
I don’t know the answers to those questions and I am not sure if I’ll ever find out – probably by choice because I am too chicken to jump. Knowing at the end of the day when I leave my desk and I get to walk to the other side of the company campus to pick up the boys, this is worth it. My commute home with them in the backseat and we talk about the day or what we are going to do when we get home, worth it.
As a parent, you have to make hard choices all day long. For me, one of them right now is to be in a job that I am not passionate about. A sacrifice I am willing to make for my two boys.
By: Melissa Mensavage
Will this ever end? Or is this cyclical like the seasons? Because when this started up again, I became rather annoyed with it.
I’ve written about sleep training with my oldest, Max, a couple of times previously. He was just a baby and a toddler and we had a bad habit of sleeping in my bed. I did break it. Then we had this awesome long stretch of him sleeping all by himself in the crib.
Then my youngest, Theo, came along and I took Max out of the crib and put him in a twin bed. Thankfully I was smart and transitioned him before the baby arrived, though it was a rough month or so. Once Theo arrived, we had some adjustment issues altogether, so I was patient (or as much as I could be with post-partum depression).
Fast forward a year and now that Max is potty trained he’s gotten the idea of getting up in the middle of night and going to the bathroom – KUDOS!! to him for recognizing that while sleeping. However he has to come into my room and tell me. Then there are the nights when he doesn’t make it to the bathroom and the bed is wet. When I check it I am so tired I just tell him to get in my bed and go back to sleep.
I should be changing sheets at 2, 3 in the morning??? I probably should be. But I don’t. Any maybe I might start. See, I can’t even make a decision on this.
Have you noticed that Theo has not even made an appearance in this conversation about sleeping? In his crib by himself, without waking throughout the night? Yeah, he’s my sleeper, has been since he was 7 weeks old. (Is it bad I called him my favorite in my PPD?)
What kills me is the crying. It killed me back then, still kills me now. And I know why they do it, they just want to be with me, but I need my rest. I cant be a happy single parent who handles everything possible – job, chores, parenting – if I don’t get my rest. I do send Max back to bed most nights and he will cry or stall (saying, ‘I have one question.’) and then I get annoyed with him. Then I get annoyed with myself for getting annoyed with him.
All the waking up makes Max a very tired boy, so he takes a pretty decent nap during the day. This then causes a later bedtime. Another vicious cycle. Just thinking about all the changes I need to make makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over me.
I can do it. I can get back my evenings to myself. I can have a peaceful bedtime routine (did I ever mention that bedtime is almost a nightmare and I dread it?). This is tough for any parent – single or married. I think its just a bit harder for a single parent because there is no one to trade nights with or basically help. Did I know about this when I became a single parent? No. Would it have swayed my decision? No. These two little people are the absolute joys of my life – sleeplessness and all.
Time for another cup of coffee.
By Melissa Mensavage
My mind is blank on what to write this month. May was a whirlwind month for us. It started with my oldest’ s third birthday. Ended with my youngest’ s first birthday. It also included officially calling potty trained and moving to pre-school for the oldest. It included the elimination of baby food for my youngest. Somewhere in there I had to find time to actually process all of these changes. The ‘me’ time that I had prior to getting pregnant with my youngest is now making a very welcomed come-back, albeit small.
I’ve done quite a bit of reflection recently due to I am not having any more babies so I want to savor as much as I can of the baby time because this is it. I want to remember the snuggles, the sweet breath felt on my neck as I rock them to sleep and the toothless smiles.
Its been one year since I gave birth to my youngest, and I felt that chemical shift back into ‘me’ again. I had this shift with my first but it was earlier, around six or seven months. I had very bad post-partum depression with my youngest. I was given an anti-depressant and have been under my doctors care since. He wont release me at the earliest 18 months post or when he feels I am doing good. I’ve been in therapy to help with this. I’ve dealt with situational depression throughout my life, but never did I experience the black days like I did during the first six weeks of my son’s life. I still cry thinking about that time. Though I am thankful I am fully functional, living life, enjoying my boys and working. (I had googled PPD a while back and boy oh boy. My prayers are with those women and their families.)
The other day I was sent home with leftover diapers and wipes from my oldest’s cubby at school. He’s a full-fledged kid now. There is nothing baby about him. Though he is only three, he is certainly demonstrating attributes of an older child. The phrases, ‘just one piece mommy’ when wanting a piece of his brother’s cereal bar. ‘I have something to say mommy’, interrupting me when I am trying to talk to him about being nice and sharing. Before it would be him silent, and me bribing him with candy or using reverse psychology (‘no you cant have that…then put away your toys’) but now he just flat out doesn’t listen and will proceed with what he set his mind to. This is all unchartered territory for me, having a kid, a three year old. I fear that trying to maneuver this territory will make me forget the baby and toddler stages.
I’ve also noted that it was around this time two years ago I started writing for The Next Family, sharing my story. I took a break because I had a very hard second pregnancy and post-partum. When Brandy sent an email earlier this year, I welcomed the opportunity to try this again. And to say the least, its working out it my favor. I am getting to take many of my motherhood experiences and fears and put them out for this world to see and not feel judged. Thank you for that.
So as I look at my calendar for June, I have scheduled one play-date, one birthday party and swimming lessons. That is it. I don’t want to do anything other than soak up these ages and years because in a blink I’ll be at their high school graduation.
We recently returned from a trip to Denver to visit with my sister and her family. It was a great trip. I completely logged off all my techie tools (ok, almost, there was a periodic post to Facebook of the cousins playing). It was a great feeling. The trip was just what I needed, a change of scenery especially after what felt like a very long winter.
However as I boarded the plane on Monday I couldn’t escape the feeling of being under the mommy microscope. Or the feeling that I rely on other people too much to help with the kids. I think about it and I was always handing off my youngest to either my mother, my step-father or my sister so I could take care of my oldest.
I noticed last night after story-time at the library, the boys and I went to a park with another family, and again I found myself passing off my youngest to take care of the oldest. (I’m pretty lucky these people are great, and trustworthy.) And again, last night as I laid in bed all I could think about is why I cant just do it all.
I worry about what my sister, mother, step-father and these new family friends think of my lack of multi-tasking. I worry they say, ‘she passes off Theo way too much’. I worry they think I expect them to help.
I feel like I fail at that part of parenting. Not able to multi-task.
When I signed up to become a single mother by choice, I did my research. Boy did I do my research. But the one thing that isn’t written anywhere is how to handle multiple tasks at once. Nowhere does it say this multi-tasking is a required trait of motherhood.
Since the three of us haven’t spent too much time together this past week and we are heading into a couple of busy weeks for us, I am completely stressed about my lack of multi-tasking and getting through these next weeks. How am I going to handle a birthday party? How am I going to handle a garage sale? Cleaning the house? Play dates? Unfinished projects around the house? And quality time together?
I woke up early this morning due to this stress, and thought I had an idea that could work – Ergo Baby Carrier – but failed immediately once I saw the price. In addition, my youngest is completely mobile and wouldn’t want any part of it. I’m back to the blank slate for ideas. And maybe there aren’t any brilliant ideas and I just need to take it one day at a time, be kind to myself and not worry what others think.
I’ve been asking myself this question quite a bit lately: what does it mean to be a mother? What does it mean to be a single mother, and by choice?
And I really haven’t come up with a decent satisfactory answer yet.
I mean I could state the obvious of motherhood – feeding, bathing, educating the young ones I’ve brought into the world – yet this doesn’t make me feel like a mother -more of a caretaker. I suppose I could consider the times sitting on the floor with my two-year-old son teaching him how to do puzzles and then watching him do it all by himself as motherhood. Or the time I spend with my eight-month-old son trying to get him to roll-over. (He is my stubborn one…just like his mama. Oh the irony. Oh the payback. Oh how my mother is doing a happy dance.)
I am pretty sure this feeling of ‘operational parenting’ is what happens when a family goes from one child to two, or anytime the number of children increases. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to have another child. I surely have no regrets, but had no clue that I would feel so much like a caretaker and not a mother. Is it because I have to keep the household running as well? Is it because I totally forgot what its like to have an infant in the house? Is it because I am still fighting for the ‘me’ time that I had a glimpse of prior to the baby arriving and my son’s independence growing?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Let’s also add to that that I am doing this by myself. I have no husband, or ex-husband (well I do, but thankfully we never had any kids), or boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend (and have a couple of these thankfully no kids here either). I have family that helps out tremendously but they don’t live with me so I can’t just run to the store to grab milk and come back in 15 minutes. That task alone is 45 minutes by the time I get everyone bundled up, loaded into the car, get to the store, get the milk, get back in the car, and unload when we get home. (Is it bad that I’ve thought of texting my 21-year-old niece to do a beer run for me?)
Recently I met up with another SMC, who also happens to be a family from the same donor. Lots of thoughts and emotions about this new friend, but the one thing I really took away from our visit was how much she embraces being an SMC. I took notes when she talked about her daughter and being a mother. It truly was the most important things in her life. Everything else came second. You could see the joy on their faces.
As I drove home from our meeting I reflected on our short time together and the notes of saying, ‘no thank you’, when I hear ‘nope’ for an answer, serving the same food to the kids as I eat -no more making kid-focused meals. And most of all, have fun with them. One of my biggest struggles is when I am on ‘borrowed’ time (you know when the kid is LONG overdue for a nap) and I find that I am getting angry with them. Or it’s okay that my living room floor is buried under every single toy we own and I’ll probably see it for 15 minutes this weekend when I pick up during naptime. The dishes and laundry can wait until they go to bed.
But I need to sit on the floor – at their level – and just be in their world each and every day, having fun and smiling together. Maybe that is what motherhood means, really.
By: Melissa Mensavage
When it started
I was sitting there rubbing my cold, clammy feet together waiting in the crisp, mauve-pink paper vest and sheet laying across my lap. I was wondering how long this was going to take and how soon I could get back to the office when the doctor walked in.
We said the usual uncomfortable greetings to each other. I was ready to rush through the visit because I really don’t enjoy the annual gynelogical exams (as if really any woman does!). The doctor then turned the usual visit down another road after reviewing my chart.
“Do you want to have children?” he asked, with his back turned to me, standing at the counter.
Floored, and annoyed, I responded. “Yes. Someday.”
Looking over his glasses at me, smiling, he said, “well now is the time.”
“Now is the time,” I repeated.
“Yes. You are thirty-five -prime time to have a baby -or it will be too late.”
“Yes. Well I need to find the guy,” I said, with a defeated tone.
My heart sank so far into my stomach I thought he was going to see it when he completed the exam. I felt the tears well up behind my eyelids. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that the window of opportunity was getting close to an end. I wasn’t anywhere near close to snagging a husband, let alone a date. How in the world was I going to have a baby?
The appointment came to a close. He wished me luck and left the room. I proceeded to lie on the patient bed for a few more minutes when there was a knock at the door. The nurse wanting to clean the room for the next patient didn’t realize I was still there. Still undressed. I was feeling paralyzed with this information. The nurse was startled, said her pardons, and proceeded to leave when that nagging, uncontrollable, I-am-not-breathing sob escaped. She turned around and reached her hand out to me, with kind words of “his delivery tactic can be very poor sometimes. Do your research on this and call me with any questions,” and lastly, “it’s not over yet; you have time.”
Feeling lethargic, I got dressed, wiped the mascara off my cheeks. I put my game face back on and returned to work, not giving this appointment and conversation another thought. I had big time travel plans for work coming up. I was a part of a high exposure project. I needed to make a name for myself. I let work runneth over everything baby related in my brain.
I was surprised to find myself feeling an emptiness within me a couple of months later, after the project came to a close and I was starting to resume my regular responsibilities. I wrote it off to post-implementation let down/depression. A few more months passed and this emptiness was still lingering. The emptiness would appear in the mornings before I arrived at work, it would appear as a heavy heart and the same lethargy I felt the day of the appointment. I would go through the motions but at a slower pace and internally I felt like I was a zombie.
This was also around the same time Angelina Jolie had just adopted -or was in the process of adopting -a child internationally, as a single parent. I read an article about her decision in one of the fashion magazines that contained the most adorable picture of her and her son. He was sitting on the bed, she was laying with her head in his lap. He had one hand on her face, embracing it, cuddling it and was kissing her forehead. I felt the love. I felt the connection between the two of them. I felt the same tears stream out of my eyes as they did the day of my appointment.
Through the tears and the mascara, I flipped open my laptop and starting searching the internet for international adoptions. Overwhelmed by the countless number of links to adoption agencies, websites with tips on adoptions, and online adoptive parent communities, I closed the laptop and again put it out of my mind.
It had been about eight months since I had completed the international adoption search on the internet. I hadn’t really given the baby thing too much more thought after that. Though I did focus on dating very seriously after that appointment. I joined Match.com and eHarmony.com, and communicated my ass off with dozens of men. I had numerous first dates with all the WRONG men. Date, date, date, date, date, and as I sat there in the bar or restaurant or coffee shop with these men, I knew within ten to twenty minutes of meeting them that they weren’t going to be the next boyfriend or husband, which meant no marriage, no baby. I would completely check out of the date. Trying to find a nice break in the conversation so I could make up an “emergency” and bolt! I was getting super frustrated with the dating process. I had nothing nice to say about it. I then met a man from work who I connected with while traveling in Mexico. I thought he was nice, somewhat funny, cute. He and I were both so cynical about dating. I immediately had us married in my head because now I was 36. One year older, one year closer to that cut-off date.
We had chatted via instant messaging quite a bit, grabbed drinks and dinner a couple of times. It was after one date when he proceeded to kiss me goodnight with chewing tobacco in his mouth that I realized that I was done with dating for a long time. I mean, really, who does that?
As I drove home from the restaurant, I knew I was never going to hear from him again. And it was then the adoption/single parent idea just popped right back into my head and settled in. It felt real and right, comfortable, like an old shirt.
The next day, I opened the laptop and again Googled “international adoption”. This time, I read each link that was returned, one at a time. So much information to process, so much to consider regarding what country, age of child, costs, etc. I wrote down as much as I could on the countries that accept single parents. I put all of this information in my purse and kept it there. Before I did anything I needed to tell my mother. She is my sanity, my insanity, my rock. Whether or not she approved, I was moving forward with becoming a mother.
I picked up the phone, dialed her work number and before she could say hello, I blurted out “I want to adopt a child internationally. I want to be a mom. I want to give a child a good home.”
I was nervous about her response. I expected her to either say nothing or have a negative comment about being a single parent. She had neither. She said, “have you considered having one of your own?”
“Uh, you need a man for that mom. And I don’t have one.” (Hello, mom, obvious? Thanks for rubbing it in!)
“No, you can try using a donor. I am sure there are donor banks somewhere.”
Dumbfounded by her response, my lower jaw hit the desk. After a long pause I said, “Ok, never thought of that. I’ll consider it.”
And that was it. Call was over. I went back to work.
That night, instead of doing more research on adoption, I Googled “donor sperm”.
It came time for my annual appointment. I had a different kind of nervousness going into the office. I wasn’t nervous for the exam as I usually am. I was nervous because I had planned to ask about the donor insemination process. This meant I was going to tell someone about my desires. My unconventional, non-suburbia way of achieving my dreams of being a mother. I was shaking when I wrote it down on the paperwork. I was petrified of the judgment the doctor would have about me wanting to be inseminated using a donor and not having a husband.
I didn’t say a thing when I was called back to the exam room. I let the nurse take my vitals, and when she asked if I had any concerns for the doctor, I bit back quickly, “No!” I know she read the paperwork I had completed when I arrived for my appointment. I didn’t want to tell her; that would make it real, and I wasn’t ready for the judgment.
Then I waited. And waited. It felt like an eternity for the doctor to enter the room. My hands and feet were clammy and I could feel my heart pounding so hard it was coming out of my chest.
Finally, the doctor entered. We exchanged the usual uncomfortable greetings. He flipped open my chart and started mumbling off my vitals, my history and then paused. He sat down in his chair, and turned around to look at me.
“So, you want to have a baby with donor sperm?”
“Yes,” I replied, biting my tongue to a point of bleeding, fighting off the tears, praying my heart stays in my chest.
“Ok. Well, we don’t do that here. You’ll have to see Dr. XYXY. Do you understand the process?”
Fumbling over my words, I said, “Yes … not really …well, no.”
He explained the details in his thick Irananian accent, never making eye contact with me. I kept my head down, repeating “uh-huh”, to all of his statements. It was like neither of us wanted to have the conversation, but he was doing so out of medical obligation and I was doing so because if I didn’t, I’d be letting myself down.
Appointment came to a close and as he walked out of the exam room, he said, “I’ll have the nurse give you Dr. XYXYX’s phone number. Good luck. We’ll see you when you are pregnant.”
No sooner did the door meet the door jam, was I standing over the garbage can vomiting up whatever I had left from breakfast. I couldn’t believe I did it. I actually told someone who could make a difference in this plan, of the plan. An action step completed. An action step that actually had action. No more dreaming about this, no more fantasizing. Actuality. Reality. “Holy Crap Melissa” I said to myself, looking in the mirror on the wall as I pulled myself together.
Standing at the nurse’s counter, with the doctor next to me, he instructed the nurse to provide the phone number and the reason why. I could have fallen over and crawled under the carpet at that point. I thought I was going to get out of the office before it was mentioned. Nurse looked over her glasses at me, and said, “ok” in a disapproving this-isn’t-the-city-this-is-married-with-two-kids-suburbia tone.
I grabbed Dr. XYXYX’s card and hightailed it out of the office. I cried all the way back to my car. How dare she judge me? I thought to myself. She has no idea what I’ve been through in my life. No idea that the quality of man that I find attractive and available today is far less than I had ever imagined. No idea that if I don’t become a mother, it’s a life deal breaker (now, not sure exactly what that means because it’s not like I was going to die if I didn’t become a mother. And there are many avenues of motherhood other than just giving birth to your own biological child).
I put the card in my wallet, where it sat for almost a month before I looked at it again.
By: Melissa Mensavage
Disclaimer, this is about my personal faith. This is not directed toward anyone or their faith choices.
Lately, I’ve been attending church on Sundays with Max. I am driven to go for that inspiration or strength that can help me get through the week. It’s a total drag having to get up early on a Sunday, when lounging around the house seems so much more relaxing; however, knowing the benefit I receive from my attendance and participation is, on most days, worth it.
I was born and raised in a traditional Catholic family. One of the biggest and oldest Catholic churches in Chicago is where my family started almost a century ago (grandparents’ marriage). Growing up I had no appreciation for the church, I just grumbled each and every Sunday. After college I elected not to go, arguing that I didn’t see how the church will help me find a job, pay off my debt, bring me a husband or children. My mother would get so angry with me.
When I was trying to get pregnant a couple of years ago, and I would give my half-hearted prayer each month of ‘please let this work’, I couldn’t understand why my prayers were never answered. I would cry each month, convinced this would never work, I would never become pregnant, nor be a mother. My mother would always say, ‘Be positive. You have to have faith and believe.’ I would just roll my eyes at her.
When I finally did become pregnant, and delivered, I felt something come over me in the delivery room, as the nurse moved the curtain for me to see Max. I felt the power of believing. Looking at my son, all wrinkly and a cross between pink and blue, crying, I was overcome with emotion that I couldn’t believe he was here. I was overcome with emotion that my very little faith that was hanging on by a thread came through for me.
For the last 18 months, every morning I wake and walk into Max’s bedroom and say a prayer of thanks. I get to spend another day with Max. I get to see with my own two eyes that my faith is true.
So I sit here tonight on the eve of a big test tomorrow. I am nervous. I am optimistic. I have been praying. My faith has been helping me build up strength.
I’ve always believed that the fertility doctors can only take the conception process so far and after that it’s all up to God, the universe, or whatever was meant to be will be. And with this, I believe my test results will only provide me with the answers of what I was meant to have.
(But I am still nervous! Keep your fingers crossed!)