Sunday, February 14, 2010


This has been an interesting week. Very interesting. I say this gratefully, as this week should have been dreadful. "Devastating" even. But it wasn't, and that's what's made it interesting.

A week ago I was 10 weeks pregnant and suspicious that things weren't all well. I laid low per doctor's orders on Monday, and had an ultrasound on Tuesday. It confirmed our suspicions--the pregnancy was a no go. It seems embryonic development stopped at about 6 weeks, even though I continued to feel pregnant through last week.

Since then, I've been thinking a lot, as one does when one goes through a traumatic physical and emotional event, but my thinking has been more about my reaction to the event rather than the event itself. Curious. I even worked out an equation, as geeky as that sounds, to try to figure out my reaction. Here's why:

Aside from the physical symptoms, I feel emotionally as if I've just spent several days crying. I feel emotionally spent. However, I have not cried, nor do I think I will. It's as if I'm having all the biological responses of grief, but few of the actual feelings of grief. I think it's because I was very aware of the high rate of miscarriage, and maybe knew on some deeper level that this pregnancy wasn't going to happen. And I think it also has to do with my inherent perspective on reproduction.

I think grief after a miscarriage has two components: one is hormonal and the other is cognitive/emotional. While I'm experiencing all the hormonal responses, I guess I had a relatively small percentage of cognitive/emotional investment in the pregnancy. My body is doing some kind of biological grieving (a mid-brain response?), my conscious mind is a little disappointed, but otherwise okay.

A lot of this probably has to do with my decision to have children in the first place. A co-worker and I used to laugh about our differences: when she saw a baby she'd have an immediate tug-tug of the heart. I'd have a similar response to dogs, but not babies. My decision to have a child was maybe more cognitive and less biologically driven than other people. I've never felt a yearning for a baby, and I can't say I've ever felt the biological clock ticking.

I love my child (and will love any subsequent child, if it's meant to be) as much as the next parent. But I can also envision my life very differently, without children, a faster-track career, lots and lots of travel, more writing. It's not that the other life is more or less appealing, it's just another life, one that I chose against. And if we do not have another child, elements of that other life might be part of my life as it unfolds in the next few years as my child grows and becomes more independent. We'll see.

Ultimately, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity for a life that fits me so well, to have choices about the experiences I'm interested in, even if some of those experiences aren't as biologically hardwired as the next mom or mom-to-be. And I'm betting that lots of other women feel like me, though it doesn't really fit into the stereotype of our gender.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

School lunch

Ray and I were reminiscing about school lunches over dinner this evening. Actually, reminiscing might not be the right word, as some of the lunch selections from elementary school were suspect at best. For example, Ray described "taco burgers" where the school was too cheap to buy taco shells or tortillas, so instead slapped some ground taco meat, cheese and lettuce on a bun. ("Oh, we had was called Sloppy Joe's." "No, not Sloppy Joe's...we had that too, but the taco burger was different.") He also described a cubed-turkey curry dish that sounded worse.

I'm thankful we had neither of these selections in our school. I often longed to buy school lunches since I brought my lunch most days. However, when it was chili and cinnamon roll day ("Huh?! Chili and cinnamon rolls? I don't get it.") I would sometimes persuade my mom to give me the .75 or whatever to buy lunch. Chili and cinnamon roll day was the be-all end-all of tasty school lunchtime.

Anyway, all this reminded me of lunchtime during middle school. After eating in the cafeteria, which doubled as the stage in the auditorium, we would walk around the 1st floor halls in one big circuit. We'd pass by this tiny school store. Out of this little sliding window you could buy maybe 3 kinds of candy, pepperoni sticks, and I think pens, pencils and peechees, but that's it. Classmate John R. worked at the store at lunchtime, and it was a well-known fact that he'd hand out pepperoni sticks to his friends. I think he had a lot of friends at lunchtime.

Anyway, at the end of the year, whichever teacher was in charge of the store figured out that the pepperoni supplies just didn't match up with pepperoni sales. John reportedly had to pay back more than a thousand dollars in lost pepperoni profits.

I wonder if John R. is still embarrassed by this middle-school misstep, or if this was the beginning of a career of white-collar crime.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A rare opportunity

It's mid-quarter, which means I should be in the thick of it. Today is a rare exception: I've finished my take-home midterm for stats (due tomorrow), and I'm waiting to talk to my study's originator before moving forward on my manuscript. Sure there are journal articles to be read and writing to be done, but I haven't had a break since before we moved 3 months ago. Christmas was a break in a way, but when there's a toddler about, it's not actually a break.

(Did you hear all that rationalizing going on? I'm feeling guilty...but I will persevere!)

So here I am, Monday morning, with a "personal day" plot in my head:

1. Leisurely get ready for the day. Write blog post. Make bed--maybe lay in it a bit first.

2. Take bus downtown. Go to Le Panier. Drink coffee. Read 1 journal article. (Ooops--how'd that get in there!)

3. Wander around. Buy 1 or 2 cheap interesting things. Eat something somewhere.

4. Go see The Young Victoria at 1:25 pm. Possibly eat movie popcorn (gasp!).

5. Bus home. Pick up toddler.