Friday, June 19, 2015

Pride and Consequentialism

I've started blogging elsewhere. If you want to follow me there, please email me at the following email and I'll send you the link. In the mean time, I want to keep this blog open and still write about parenting after IF.


I sometimes feel like I'm the worst mother. I lose my patience. I yell. I have to sub-vocally repeat "Do NOT hit her. Do NOT hit her." I'm really not proud of myself at those times. Parenting a toddler should be an olympic sport on the basis of its stamina requirements alone. Parenting more than one toddler at a time makes me want to hit my head against a brick wall. Repeatedly.

But today, I'd rather talk about some of the joy I experience in raising Gummy Girl. I've had some big swells of pride in my daughter and in myself as a mom lately.

First, I feel proud to be a mother. And this may be difficult to read if you are deep in the trenches of infertility, and if so, I'm sorry you are hurting. But I need to write this: I am proud to be a mother. I walk around town with her and I smile to myself. I feel the importance of my role within my bones, and I embrace this role wholeheartedly. At long last, I am a mom. If you haven't yet, I hope you too get to experience these deep, fulfilling emotions soon.

Moreover, I am proud to be HER mom. Of course, I anticipated that any child of mine, and one I had worked so diligently to create, would be someone I would love madly. And guess what: I do! Despite her toddler tyranny (scratching me, throwing food at me, pulling my hair), I think I love her more each day.

I also realize that I am proud of her story, of our story. It's strange to know she may never feel the same, that she may resent me for choosing an anonymous donor and therefor losing the connection to her biological ancestry. In my imagination, I have conversations with an adolescent Gummy about her desperate need to know her donor and not being able to provide her with a name and phone number. I think about how empty a feeling that might be to be cut off from one's biological lineage. But I know the empty feelings I felt when we decided to go to SG for anonymous egg donation. We were lost. We both felt like incomplete human beings in our repeated failures to become parents. We needed to make this happen and here was a method with a high chance of success.

I tend to resolve this imaginary conversation with the undeniable fact of her extraordinary existence: without anonymous egg donation she would not be here. Against all odds, she is here, filled with life. She was given life through unique circumstances. It took her mother and her father, two fertility clinics, two egg donors, a pile of money that both sets of grandparents helped accumulate, and a mountain of hope and love. I am proud of that, people. I deeply am proud of our story, of the persistence it took to bring her into the world. But will she accept this consequentialism, where the end justified the means? Will she ever be filled with reproach for me and the actions I took in bringing her to life?

I don't know, but the end does justify the means as far as Gummy goes. I know this with an unshakable certainty. I love her more than anything or anyone. I am her proud mama.

Hum…you mean someone gave you an egg so
you could make me?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Here and there

I would like to keep more active here on this blog. But for reasons too exposing to reveal, I cannot. Follow me, though, if you wish. I have started writing elsewhere.

There is no good options for transitioning, is there. I have been turning this decision over in my head for months. What to do with my blog. I need to write by I can't write here. This is not ideal, but it's the best I can come up with: I'll still keep up 'All In One Basket', and will write in a new forum as well.

If you have any inclination to follow me elsewhere it's easy. Just ask and I will send you the link.

You can email:


(my regular email if we've communicated before)

The thing about me is that I won't suppose you are interested unless you tell me. So tell me.

And to pique your interest, Dr. Ninja makes an appearance in one of my recent entries. Oh, we love Dr. Ninja!

Thank you for your love and support, women.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


All my winter boots are good for the garbage. They sort of all crapped out at the same time, mid-February, at a time  when stores are willing to sell you their discounted stock of winter boots if you're a size 6. I'm a size 10.

The hiking boots I'd been wearing as winter boots for years, my hiking career having become a bittersweet memory, need to be re-soled but the leather is cracking, so re-soling = pointless. My really old winter boots....let me just provide you with an image: black suede meets road salt. And the middle-of-the-road Sorrels (tough enough to manage a Canadian winter but decent enough to wear to work) I've been wearing for maybe the last 4 years also need re-soling. They take on water. They look worn and truly, I should not be wearing them to work anymore. Except, see paragraph above.

My shoes are not much better. My everyday work shoes are this pair of italian leather black, mary-jane style shoes I bought in 1995. That's not hyperbole. I've had them worked on several times: I love those shoes and cannot let them go. I bought them while I was still residing in a psychiatric hospital, in treatment for the awful eating disorder that ruled me when I was younger. The shoes represented a new life I was starting. And it was one of elegance, genuineness and strength. No wonder I like to wear those at work. I like to wear my black, upper-calf height riding boots, the ones I bought at Macy's in Seattle, as a treat for finishing writing my dissertation in late fall 2010. I wear those a few times per week. They are starting to wear down in the heal. I have a few pairs of flats, one that are much too worn out to really be wearable at work, and the other one decent, but flats can't be worn with everything. The newest shoes are a sweet pair of Fly London black high healed I-am-a-force-to-be-reckoned-with shoes that I bought to wear to the interview for the job I have now. I like to say that the shoes got me the job. The heels are slightly higher than what I'm comfortable with everyday, and so I have to feel particularly brave or in need of a specific boost in confidence to wear those.

The last paragraph can be summarized into this:

I need new shoes.

And if you think this is a metaphor, you are right on the money. The footwear I already own will come in handy to walk the path ahead. But I am walking on a road I didn't think I would need to travel on, one which is going to require new footwear. And since every crisis/life change requires a soundtrack, I have been playing  this song  on repeat.

There is more I would like to write, but it should probably not be in a public venue. I am wondering about going private with this blog, or leaving it and migrating to another space. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Just like that, she turned two. She wore a tutu. She ran around with her friends and squealed when we sang happy birthday. She liked the balloons (which she called baboons). And just like little gorilla (thank you so much, Adele), "everybody came and everybody sang. And everybody still loved him (in this case, her)."

There are many trite statements I feel compelled to make. Time. Speed. Growth. Astonishing. You know them all. Let me just wipe a tear and gather myself together. My baby is….not a baby.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Goodbye Chicken

My girl Chicken died on the weekend. She was my first baby. She was there through those difficult years of infertility. 

I had to make the difficult decision to have her euthanize. Stick with that decision when the receptionist at the vet kept asking if I was "sure". Take her to the vet and watch her die. 

I hope I did right by her. She was 19. Her kidneys were failing. Her heart was failing. Her quality of life was evaporating quickly. 

She was my girl. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

toddler narrative

The Holidays have been a gong show. Are they over yet? I can't wait to go back to my stressful job for a rest.

I will not support the gong show assertion with very many facts*, save for this story.

On December 27, my daughter fell about 10 feet in a stair/window well while under my mother's watch. It's hard to explain how this could happen, except to say that her cottage isn't up to code.** I saw it all happen out of the corner of my eye, and just lost my mind. Before I knew it, I was running out of the cottage with my daughter in my arms. Let's just say that if she had had a spinal injury, I would have added great insult to injury.

Let me save you the worry. Gummy Girl is 100% fine.

We think she fell backwards inside this stair/window well, hit her bum on the ledge of the window and fell face first onto a carpeted landing. She cried (euphemism for screamed bloody murder) in my arms and then opted to lie face down on the floor, just like after she dry-heaved last week when she had the stomach flu. We were gathering all our things to go to the ER, but within 10 minutes, she rallied. She wanted to eat, was lively and chatty and giggly. And then after supper, she started dancing. So, I opted to monitor her at home, knowing all the signs for concussions and not having any evidence that she had other injuries.

I could not look at my mother that night. I just took care of my daughter, made a token appearance at dinner and went to bed (right next to the crib). Anger is an absolute taboo for my mother, and so in the midst of my deep worry, I had to keep reminding myself that my anger was appropriate and entirely ok. I felt very alone, as I often do these days, but I tried my best to be on my own team, to try to help myself process this as best I could so that I could help my kid (and thankfully, through text, I had access to my dearest friend who said all the right things and made me feel so much less alone).

My mother's own adaptive processes dictate that she sweep everything meaningful and negative under a huge carpet of denial/dismissal. So the next day, we were NOT talking about the incident.

Well, my darling 22-month-old toddler whose language is exploding right now had other plans. She needed to process it. BIG TIME. For the remaining 3 days of the trip (and even now that we are back home), GG has been going up and down the stairs saying: "Boom-boom. Gummy fall. OW!" And again and again. I engaged her in it, with words and pantomime, using a stuffed giraffe she got for Christmas to recreate the incident. She watched closely, repeating her narrative LOUDLY. My poor mother's rug was being pulled open.***

Today, GG continued to talk about the fall. "Boom-boom. Gummy fall. OW!", but added "ok." It's difficult to convey the sentiment without the right intonations, but if I were to describe each part of the narrative, it would go like this: "ominous-grim-screetching-assuaging." I just wish I could help her understand the causes of the fall a little better, but I'm not sure I know how.

It is astonishing to see her work through this. If you want to read more about how to help kids process difficult events in their lives, I would recommend this book. I like the idea that children need help to knit together pieces of information that don't fit with their understanding of life thus far. A toddler's narrative for a fall isn't very sophisticated, but Oh boy! it's so useful to her. I will continue to help her work through the big fright she had this week, but I feel like she is well on her way to integration of an incongruous event into her young psyche. (ok, that was a pretty shrinky think to say).

And I guess that's what we do when we write (including blogging). We try to knit all the threads together so that they make sense. And a lot of what we go through in this community does not make sense. Thankfully, we write. And we have each other to help recount, reflect and enhance each other's narratives. Powerful stuff.

* Because it would involve a SHITLOAD of complaining, and that does not make for a very interesting blog post. 
** And apparently, neither are her parenting skills. loud snort. 
*** I understand that she does this because she feels so much shame, which makes me feel empathy for her. At the same time, I suffered under her reign of denial, so it's also very freeing to see my daughter not stand for it. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

sick day

That's what it took to get me to write a blog post. Technically, I'm on my third sick day in a row. Some nasty stomach virus has gotten hold of me and is not letting go. It's not great to miss so much work, but frankly, I'm not that surprised I'm this sick. I've been exhausted. I'm grated down to my apple core. There aren't many defences left. Viruses are opportunistic little creatures, and I looked like a sure bet.

The somewhat hilarious past is that I was at work when this all started. I had to excuse myself during a session with a family to rush to the bathroom and hurl. Splashed water on my face, went right back in there and finished the session. I did ask them to wash their hands when they left my office.

The Christmas preps are more or less done. Presents, cards, tree, meal prep (not done, but planned), cookies, etc. You know it. You do it too. It's hard to fit in to the regular jam packed routines of regular life, a life in which as a working mother, I do so much. You know it. You do it too (whether you have a paying job or not). It all easily seems like a chore to me. Christmas is not an easy time, in my experience. I don't have a good relationship with my family. My relationship with my in-laws has broken down. And there were many years of hoping for a pregnancy and a baby when Christmas was just another thing to endure.

None of those layers of stuff have gone anywhere, except for the childlessness. However, this year, I am approaching it with new eyes. My daughter is almost 22 months. She will awaken to magic, if I but foster this awakening. This gives me a new sense of purpose approaching the holidays. I'm usually such a crank, walking backwards into December, ready for January by the 2nd of the month. But this year, beyond my regular crankiness, I am doing the things that Christmas requires. I took GG out to buy a Christmas tree. I decorated it with safe ornaments for her. I have put up the christmas cards. I have invited her grandparents, the ones who barely talk to me, for Christmas dinner. I am doing the things. It is important to her, and to me.

On boxing day, I'll have to fly with my toddler to Montreal to visit my family. Let's deconstruct that. First of all, flying with a toddler sounds horrifying*. At least the flight is only about an hour. And then there is flying. I have never been a happy air passenger, but my fear of flying became established when I traveled with GG as an infant. Exposure is the best thing I can do to manage this fear, and so I will make myself board that plane. I can see it from here: GG will be happy as pie, and I will be crying with my face stamped on the window, begging all deities to let us land safely (which was the scenario last time, except she was 4 months old and slept on both flights). I'm glad Mr. A loves to fly, because he can show our girl that it isn't so bad. All of this is important. I need to see my parents, my dad especially. My family needs to see GG and be part of her life somehow. I am doing the things. It is important to her, and to me.

To summarize, this year, there is still a generous amount of 'must get through the holidays', but with a dash of heightened sense of parental responsibility to create a wonderful experience for my child. Sounds promising.

Happy Holidays to you, dear women.

* All advice on this topic is welcomed in the comment section.