Having time off at the same time I have no Eva is an interesting combination. I took time off to take her to California and then took an extra day off so I could sit and cry at home instead of at work. My wonderful boss suggested I take a couple more days and spend time with my husband, too. Did I mention I have a wonderful boss? She also said that if things don’t go well and I suddenly need a couple weeks off to go get Eva or just spend in California, just to let her know. Like I said, I have a wonderful boss. Well, it is really two wonderful bosses, but they are in agreement.
I spent all of yesterday with my husband. We walked around our own house in nothing but our undies for most of the day (I apologize to my friends reading this if you are getting a mental picture). We drank two bottles of wine (I can hear the infertility community silently giving me a pat on the back for relaxing my rules this month) and watched TV and played stupid computer games together (MMORPG, for the nerds in my life).
I almost felt guilty as I sent pictures of my bottles of wine and a glass of wine to my friend who was hard at work with a boss from hell. I almost felt guilty as I looked around my house that desperately needs to be deep cleaned. I did feel guilty enough to do something about the fish tank because Connor (Eva’s fish) looked like he was begging me to clean his tank. I almost felt guilty as I indulged in wine, cheese, crackers, and even pasta (hello carbs and preservatives, oh how I have missed you guys).
I broke down for a few minutes, remembering by baby is so far away. Before the tears fell, I was almost manic in my attempts to get the husband to go jogging or swimming or something with me in an attempt to avoid the tears. I knew they were coming, and I knew I couldn’t avoid them forever, I had just wanted to avoid them a little longer. But my husband didn’t let me.
He brought my Kindle to the bedroom where I was laying on the bed pretending to read blogs on my phone while weeping and pouting because the tears won, and said “Here, sad face, now you have a bigger screen.”
Bless his heart, he was trying to make me happy.
That’s when I got up and gave in to the fish’s pleas for a clean tank. Nothing like some scrubbing to exorcise a demon or two.
Now, today, I have discovered that Eva spent all of yesterday at a water park, having a blast and loving every second of time she is spending with her father, step-sister, and new cousins. I almost felt guilty having fun without her yesterday.
Also today, I have discovered our bath tub has a slow leak. That’s going on my list. My caring friends, yes, that does mean I took that long bath I am always telling you ladies to take for relaxation. Later, we’re going to do something else I almost feel guilty about doing without Eva.
We are going to the mall.
If she knew, she would be on the next available flight. She is a mall kind of girl. At the mall, just give her twenty bucks and eight hours and she’ll never be bored. Of course, her mom and her Bubba are going to go mad after the three hour mark, but any less than three hours and silent tears will stream down her little cheeks the entire ride home in disappointment.
I almost feel guilty because we are going out to eat with another couple this evening. Eva would love the entire day.
There have been a lot of times that I let guilt seep in and poison my heart and mind.
The first year of Eva’s life, I worked a lot. I was the only source of income, and I worked extra every opportunity I had. I worked a minimum of 40 hours, but most weeks it was closer to 56 hours I spent at work, plus drive time easily brought it to 60+ hours gone a week. I didn’t feel guilty about this. I was doing what I had to for my family.
I quit my job the week of her first birthday. I couldn’t even identify this little creature that I called my daughter. My ex husband was staying at home while I was hard at work, and I just felt completely disconnected from her. I was glad she had a parent with her at all times, but I hit a breaking point in my life. So I saved up two months worth of expenses and bills, and I quit.
It was rough. I cried almost daily for a month. I was terribly depressed and my entire perspective of self had shifted. I didn’t have a successful job to go to anymore. I couldn’t avoid these people that were my family anymore. Instead, I was trying to connect with an infant, newly classified as a toddler, and a disengaged husband. Two months in to this, he got a job as the money ran out. Two months after he got a job, he left us.
I did feel guilty for such a long time that I was to blame for his infidelity and his choices. That if I hadn’t worked so much things would have been different, or if I had only continued working things would have been different. It takes more than one person to have a happy or unhappy marriage. I even let him place all the blame on me for a time. But then, I got over it.
I cried every day for such a long time, but in the middle of all the tears, I still took care of my daughter. I played with her. I took her on drives. I took her to the park. I kept her on a schedule. We took naps together. We ate together. We shopped for groceries together. We visited friends together. We read books together. Every moment I wasn’t at my new part-time job, I was with her. And we finally bonded.
Then I quit feeling guilty. Life is a ridiculous journey with so many twists and turns. If I keep my priorities in order, and I roll with it, I have nothing to feel guilty about. I will not feel guilty anymore.
There are so many parents working, or working from home (I’m including stay at home parents in this category) that feel guilty all the time for working too much, not working enough, wishing they were working outside of the home, wishing they could work from home, etc. I wish I could talk to each of them individually and tell them to breathe. There is no right way or wrong way to parent as long as your child is your top priority.
Now, since I have remarried and we are trying for a baby, the guilt has crept back in. I feel guilty every time I eat something that has more than two carbs in it. I even indulged in a little self-hate as my ovaries continued to tell me to go to hell. I felt guilty for every sip of alcohol I had ever had, for every carb I had ever eaten, for every preservative I had every eaten, and for every birth control pill I had ever taken. I did this to myself. I caused my secondary infertility. I had it coming.
Luckily, I snapped out of it. The guilt is still something I struggle with sometimes, but I’m tired of letting it eat my joy.
To all the people in the infertility community, I wish I could talk to you individually and tell you to just breathe. Stop feeling guilty. You didn’t cause your infertility. No one deserves to be infertile. Stop feeling guilty.
Let me say it one more time. You did not cause your infertility. You do not deserve to be infertile.
Stop feeling guilty. That one was to myself. I’m going to enjoy myself today, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. Guilt isn’t going to eat my joy today.