my name is eve

Today was Women’s Conference at church, which I support, so I went. When I arrived we had the following classes to select from:

  • dating for single women
  • caring for your aging parents
  • caring for the young child

I am married. My mother is not yet 50. Don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was getting into before I went to the parenting class. For sure. I figured I could justify it as learning strategies as I “teach young people”. I even attempted to prepare for the onslaught by sitting next to my friend who (gasp) has left her children in the care of her husband and returned to work. So I figured we’d make a good pair with a room full of insecurity and crabs pulling others back into the bucket, allowing me to listen quietly and continue to prepare for that day when I do have children to care for.

To my dismay, we had to do introductions. Not just of ourselves, but of our (not present) children. Heaven help me. I thought about running but I was kind of trapped in the middle of the room.

“My name is Tiffany and I have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 4 month old.” “I’m Brittney and I have beautiful daughters- a 2 year old and a 6 month old.” “I’m due in June and our baby is modest so I don’t know if it is a boy or girl! Oh, and I’m Jessica.”

It came to me.

“My name is Eve.” Big. Wide. Fake. Smile.

Ally, teacher, and 22 year old mother (“I was home schooled and graduated early!!! I was in college when I was 15!!!”) of a four year old, 2 year old, and one due in May: awkward silence. “Well!”

Woman behind me, Mother of 8, 6, 4 year olds, hugs my shoulders. “You have a husband!” Conspiratorial laughter as if my highly educated husband somehow merits the same strategies as a toddler, thus justifying my invasion into this class.

I credit my Heavenly Parents for inspiring the woman at the end of my row for piping up with with her name and progeny and moving it along. Unfortunately, that woman was actually one of my STUDENTS early in my career.

I could feel the tears beelining to my eyes from somewhere where they stay until someone asks me about my lack of children. Oh, mother of mercy, I wanted to dissolve. Become one with the terrible metal chair and ooze out the door and into the sunshine before these blessed mothers complained about the habits of their toddlers, all the while pointing out how smart they are. “It’s such a pain when he is so smart he can unlock all the doors and run outside. I yell at him about the coyotes on our acre and a half property!”

Maybe I just need to figure out a way to complain about my problems while still showing how wealthy and smart our family is. “Oh I hate it that I don’t have kids and so I have all the free time in the world to teach yours Sunday School and weekly Youth Group and attend meetings and run a successful county-wide educational reform initiative and take care of all our household responsibilities and support my husband in grad school and all the while have to deal with your constant questions into my inability to reproduce probably you know because I love my career so much I am not putting family first.”

It really doesn’t have the same “uumph” as coyotes.

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unopened

Today while cleaning the tops of my closets found the plain brown package I wrapped nearly four years ago, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. I decided some two months after my marriage that when I ascertained I was pregnant, giving this package is how I would tell my husband. All the years since, I’ve kept in hidden away in the hopes he will one day have cause to open the gift. How many more months can I bear it hidden?

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encore

Dear friend,

I had to start a blog to keep these feelings from exploding out in circumstances that might damage our friendship. I am already mustering up every ounce of courage I have to assist with your baby shower. I have avoided 37 baby showers in recent memory, so this is a big deal.

Please don’t come to my home and tell me the same story about the four pregnant family members. Again. Even when I make polite hints that I am up-to-date on the situation.

And really, for the love of anything holy, please do not proceed to tell me how one of the couples “thought they might be ready to try” and so “decided to go off birth control” and then panicked when one month later they found themselves pregnant.

I have been trying to find myself pregnant for the past four years. I want to fall through the floor approximately 10% of the time that I am with you. Going to your home and finding your baby’s things all set up and ready in your front room was a lot. I thought I would have two more months to come to terms with this.

Sincerely,

Eve

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four’s company

Dear pregnant close friend,

It took me six months and a lot of emotional work to not want to disappear every time you mentioned your pregnancy. Please do not come to my home when I am ill and tell me about all the other pregnancies in your family. Even if all four of you will be mothers again within the same year, I do not trust myself to not do irrational things while medicated, and fear the impact this will have on our friendship.

Sincerely,

Eve

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insanity

The hopeful yet emotionally mine-riddled DMZ of waiting for cycle 48 to commence. It seems like such cruelty that the symptoms of impending menstruation mimic those of pregnancy. I don’t want to hope and yet I don’t want to give up hope so I wait.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Who knows who said it first, possibly Rita Mae Brown, but I am feeling a little insane.

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dead even

I did not want to disappear yesterday evening while politely listening to details of friends’ pregnancy. This has not happened since July. Only three months to go!

On the other hand, fielded so many comments while holding other friend’s baby so she could teach at church. What is it about me holding an infant that gives people license to stay the most idiotic things? A sampler from ONE DAY:

  • “You should get yourself one of those.” Thank you. I’ll pick it up with the milk next time I’m at the store.
  • “Hope this doesn’t convince you not to have kids!” No, but the thought that they might be as nosy as you makes me think twice.
  • “Whoa, you’re fast!” That’s right, I conceived and bore a child within the past week, thanks for noticing. It was practically no wait at all!

What a day.

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feeling like a princess

Today, even though my mother-in-law clung to this book at the store, intending to purchase it in hopes of reading it to her grandchildren, I did feel like I would rather fall through the floor. Small victories.

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