These have been a terrible last eight days. Except Sunday—but every day can’t be Sunday. It started last Wednesday when I went off for my appointment with Dr. Young.
Last time I saw Doc, he said he wasn’t sure whether I had PCOS or not. Sadly enough, that was the tiny ray of hope I was holding onto when I sat down in the exam room after an exceptionally long sit in the waiting room with a few fat’n’happies. There are a lot of terrible things you can see on an ultrasound, and really only one good one. I was just hoping to not have to have surgery at the moment. And that by some miracle my ovaries looked nothing like PCOS and somehow I no longer had hormone problems.
With such high hopes, I was destined for disappointment. And naturally, the non-need for surgery was overshadowed by the black, lumpy, beaded bulges my ovaries had become. How could they possibly look that much worse than last time? Once he was done prodding me with gel-covered probes, but before I could put my pants on (doctors prefer to talk to the pantsless), Doc looked at me, lifted his eyebrows, and said, “You have the disease.” My light at the end of the tunnel dimmed substantially.
Though I know there’s a chance I’ll conceive, those four words sounded to me like the death knell of any hope I’d had to be pregnant, give birth, or raise a child that looks like the man I love most. Over the past week I’ve become a bit more acquainted with the reasons women faced with infertility do such crazy things as spend their lives away, undergo insane procedures, and have their maid bear their husband’s child when there was no technology to make it easy.
So you shouldn’t be surprised at all that though we won’t start “trying to get pregnant” (Doc’s words—and yes, they do make me unsure of what the heck we’ve been doing for the past year) until June, I decided I might start slowly building up a tolerance to the Metformin I’ll HAVE to start taking again come May 24th or so. I figured one pill every couple of days wouldn’t do too much damage. WRONG. OW. ICK. I passed Saturday in bed. Sunday wasn’t horrid. Monday was.
In the midst of all of this, I barely had time to think about how in the world we were going to come up with the money we suddenly found out we’d need to cough up for the CPA exam. And still somehow enjoy our trip to Europe. I’m glad we’re going, but I feel guiltier and guiltier about the financial irresponsibility of spending money on fun when we should be spending money on living our stinking rat-races of lives.
In considering my total inadequacy at potential motherhood, I looked to my job for some kind of satisfaction. I might not make much as a writer (a terrible one at that), but at least I have a bit of a career going for me to distract me from moping around about my ovaries and getting even more depressed.
And then David O. McKay showed up and slapped me in the face with the whole “No other success can compensate for failure in the home” thing. Not really. But that’s what it feels like when my failure to put babies in my home bleeds over into making me too sick to have success elsewhere. It feels more like “No other success will happen because you’re a failure in the home.” So when Extremely Diplomatic HR Lady had a “chat” with me today about my colleagues’ and superiors’ complaints about my being ill disrupting the workflow, surprise was not on the menu. My choices? Work through the pain or take disability leave. Now, my coworkers are basically my only friends outside of my family and my tiny circle of former roommates and a few other girlfriends.
Now I understand their complaints, but it’s hard to feel like I have friends when the people on whom I rely for daily social interaction complain to HR about me. And the problem is not that they’re not my friends. The problem is that I expected them to be. If there’s one thing I learned from the Office, it’s that. But they’re coworkers. And being chronically ill, I’m a crappy coworker. And maintaining coworker relations is all about going behind backs and complaining to HR to “avoid conflict” (another lesson from the Office).
And certainly, Extremely Diplomatic HR Lady could have NOT told me that the people I thought liked me were actually secretly complaining about me. But HR is all about motivation, and negative peer pressure sure motivates. So does the idea of a “leave” that I’m sure would consist of much more sleeping, crying, moping, and eating than a woman can sanely endure.
So I feel like an infertile loser, and my consolation for not having kids being that I can travel and have money and a career and be some kind of modern liberated woman (ha), my entire life is basically in the crapper just now.
Oh, and last night the car broke down.
But I have Tim. And in a time when so many men are incontinent losers, I’m lucky to be with a man more patient and compassionate than I’d imagined a human being could be. I’m blessed with a kind and completely sane set of parents, in-laws, and siblings. I have a home and comfortable couches and a dinner table I share with the most wonderful person I’ve ever met. And that’s the only thing that matters.
And that’s why the home and family should be the center of our lives. If we center our lives on ourselves, we risk heartbreak at the loss of our good looks, our health, or our fragile egos. If we center our lives on money, we risk falling apart when it disappears, as so many people have just found out it does. If we center our lives on careers, we trade meaningful relationships for the kind that come from months of being paid to sit in the same room with other people who are being paid to sit in the same room with you.
But if we center our lives on families, we can make meaningful relationships for ourselves. You may come from one family, but no matter what that one was like, you have the power to build yourself another. A family, in essence, is a group of people who care more about staying together and caring for each other than they do about themselves or about anything outside of the family. A congregation at church can be a family, or it can just be a husband and wife.
But those family relationships are the kind that, if we devote our lives to them, will pay dividends beyond anything money or beauty or self-love or employment can buy.
And that’s why in spite of all of my ridiculous, PMS-soaked complaints, I have a place I can find comfort and peace away from my job, outside of my pathetic body, in the type of home that doesn’t burn down and the type of relationship that doesn’t end with death.