Thursday, November 29, 2007

Infertility Revisited (the topic, not the condition)

I've got one more for November. I know, it was a far cry from the every day posting of NaBloPoMo, but hey, for someone who barely posts one a month or two, getting four or five in in one month is an accomplishment. And I'd like to keep it up. One day, maybe I will be able to post every day and have loads of readers and commenters...

In any case, what I wanted to write about today is something I've touched on before. I've been thinking about it for a few months, letting it stew, and then today, I met someone who drove it home for me. We advertised a while ago that we want to sell our car. So, the other day, someone called, saying he wanted to come see it, and today, he came, with his friend and his wife. So, he and the friend went for a little spin while the wife stayed behind and chatted with me by the curbside. She asked me if I have any kids, and I told her about my girls. So then, I figured I'd ask her, although she didn't strike me as someone who had kids, but who am I to judge, really? So, I did. Even though I don't like to ask women if they have children because I know how painful it can be to say no. But she had asked, and I'd like to say that I sensed she wanted to tell me something, but I just wanted to say the right thing, and I figured that if she asked, she wanted me to ask her, or at least it was okay to ask. So I did. The conversation went like this:

Me: So, what about you? Do you have any kids?
Her: I'm still waiting.
Me: (not sure if she is purposely waiting or, you know, waiting) Uhu.
Her: Well, Sarah waited a long time.
Me: (still thinking she's waiting on purpose) Well, you might not want to wait that long.
Her: Yeah, not sure if I'd want to be a mother at ninety...
Me: (finally realizing that she meant waiting, and not wanting to put my foot in it further by telling her if she waits that long it'll never happen) Right. The Waiting is tough.
Her: We're thinking of adopting now.
Me: Really? Wow. That's a big decision.
Her: Well, I've had three miscarriages...

I felt terrible. I mean, in retrospect, I think that she wanted to talk to me about it. I have a history of random people talking to me about personal things in weird places. So, this wasn't a bus stop, but it was pretty random. Maybe I give off an aura of someone who cares. Not to say that I don't care. I felt terrible for her situation, and wanted to tell her about my history. But her husband came back and they got ready to go, so all I could say was, "Good luck." And I did. I said it a few times as they left, trying to make up for my misunderstanding and insensitivity, and the fact that I hadn't shared my own story with her.

But again, this brings me back to the question of fertility and infertility. This is not an infertility blog, but I do read lots of those - and a lot of mom blogs that are written by ex-infertiles, or still infertiles, or successful infertiles, or whatever you want to call them. And now, I have an announcement to make. I'm pregnant. Yes, you heard me, I'm expecting again. This time at Pesach. Yes, I know, believe me, I was as shocked as you are. My younger daughter is eleven months old now, and will be, please God, 15.5 months old when the new baby is born.

Why am I shocked? Because this happened with no interventions. None. Not even Clomid. Not even temping. Nothing. The doctor said that it was possible for a woman's body to "reset" itself sometimes after a birth, but when it didn't happen after my first daughter was born, well, I thought it wasn't going to happen, ever. I thought, "Yeah, sometimes that happens, but it doesn't happen to me." But it did happen. And I'm having a hard time telling people I'm pregnant. I always have a hard time with it, but now I'm having a harder time. People have kids close together all the time, especially where I live, and in Israel in general, so it's not really that. But I'm definitely more embarrassed than usual to tell people of my delicate condition. Why? Because I feel like it's not me. That happens to other people. I feel like I have no right to be pregnant now. I feel like it's some cruel joke that's going to fall apart at any minute, leaving me empty and sobbing. And I'm not trying to be melodramatic. I really feel sort-of lost about this pregnancy.

But as it becomes more real - my stomach grows, and I can feel someone moving around in there, it's becoming familiar again, and the fear that it will all vanish becomes even stronger. I need this to work. I need to have a healthy baby this spring, for so many reasons. But the strongest reason of all is that I want to prove that I am also completely normal. I can also have babies the old-fashioned way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Empowered with Dignity

Another perhaps on-the-edge post - haven't had one of those in a while...

I was reading some erotic literature not too long ago, and I was disturbed by something. Even if women were the "strong" characters in a story, it was rare for the "weak" character to be male - where there was a strong female character giving orders, the one taking orders was usually also female. This made me wonder about two things. First, who is writing these stories? What is their point? Is whoever writes these stories trying to appeal to a certain audience (keeping in mind that this was a for-women forum)? Is he or she trying to send a message about roles in society - even a society like the one portrayed in erotic literature? Even when two women were portrayed, the strong one was the "butch" character. Is that built in because of social expectations/norms? Would it be true to say that in order for a woman to be "strong" she had to be more "male?"

Second - and related, perhaps this accurately reflects reality? Now, of course I know that erotic literature does not accurately reflect most people's reality. What I mean is that maybe women are actually writing these stories, and they are writing out their own fantasies - do they want to be dominated? Do they want to be told what to do? Do they want to be objectified? Yes, in the end, everyone gets their pleasure, but is that the route to pleasure for women? Or, at least, is that the route that these authors are telling us is their fantasy? And since people do read this, is this what appeals to the readers, as well?

Makes me think, do I want to be a strong woman? What is my fantasy, not only sexually, but in life - who am I aiming to become? What direction am I trying to take? I feel that strong woman emerging sometimes - will that be appreciated, both by myself and by those close to me? Because no matter how much my husband encourages me to be a strong woman, something in me resists this. Is it just me, or is it everyone?

I read this article yesterday, and though it's not exactly what I'm talking about, it raises a bigger, and possibly more subtle question for me. I feel that there is a difference between being a "strong woman," and the implications involved in that, and being empowered with dignity. Rabbi Boteach does not really address this in his article. He talks about being strong, and he talks about returning dignity to women, but he doesn't really explain what he's getting at, or even what he thinks would be ideal.

Personally, I do not think that I would want to be (like) Hillary Clinton. But, I would still like to be empowered, and therein lies the difference. Perhaps a woman who is empowered with dignity can choose when to shed that dignity, when to be strong and when to be weak. She can be in control, quietly. That is who I want to be. My husband always talks about how he likes that I am tz'nua (in a very encouraging and good way, not in a patronizing way), and that is who I want to be. I want to run the world from behind a curtain. I want to write anonymous bestsellers. I want to feel the love and admiration without being embarrassed by a showy public display. Sometimes I want to be in control and sometimes I don't. And I want to be able to call the shots. Empowered with dignity.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


No, not me...the baby is not well...Ten months old and has a somewhat hacking cough and not sleeping well etc. It's so sad when little kids are sick. They just let out all the frustration, kind of like I would like to, but adults can't get away with that. Actually, my husband does that too sometimes when he is sick - lies in bed and moans and groans until somebody (me) pays attention. Anyway, the baby. So sad. Off to the doctor tomorrow morning. No time to waste!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Being confronted with all the things you know about yourself, but had hoped that nobody ever noticed...well, that's a real kick in the face. I mean it. It's tough to face yourself, to know that you're handicapped when it comes to so many things. But, it's tougher to be told that somebody else has also noticed these things about you. It's the kind of thing that leaves you speechless, that makes conversation almost obsolete. It's the kind of thing that, well, it makes you realize exactly what it is you need to do, exactly where in your life that change is needed...and it might help you know how to begin that change. Maybe.