Tuesday, November 17, 2009

At a Loss

I have other things that I wanted to blog about today but I received an e-mail from my stepmom that has completely thrown me for a loop. I e-mailed her and my dad to update them on my doctor appointment that I had a couple of weeks ago. Basically told them that I haven't given up all hope and that the cost of IVF through the other clinic wouldn't be impossible if we really saved hard for it so on and so forth. My dad sent his best wishes and told me to keep him informed about any additional steps we take. The e-mail I got from my stepmom started out encouraging and then changed.

I know it's hard to interpret tone over e-mail and I know that she would never intend to hurt me. She raised me from 3 years old until I moved to MD at 16 so I know she loves me as her own. I have pasted her e-mail below.

I am not going to get my hopes up this time yet until everything takes place
but I do so pray that this works for you. I will say only one thing that
Dad would call me "goody-two-shoes" for, but I hope and pray that if this
works and you finally get to have a baby that you don't go back to work and
stick it in day care. I can't imagine that you would do that after all you
are going through to have a child, but then you did just build a house so I
hope you don't choose "things" over children. That is all I will say. I
wasn't going to say anything but in case this pans out I just wanted to give
you plenty of time to think about it. You never get that time back and I am
forever grateful for the time I had before things were taken away. Children
are a gift but you only have them for so long then they grow up and make
their own lives, as they should, and nothing and no one can be substitute
for a parents love. Well anyway I guess I could go on but I think I got my
point across. I hope I haven't trod on any toes and I know you will all do
whatever you decide as a family but I just had to put in my 2 cents of
motherly advice. I tried to tell my half sister the same thing when she had
her children but it didn't matter to her I guess.

I don't want anyone attacking her for these thoughts that she has shared with me. She was a SAHM. I agree with her that a mother should be home with her child(ren). I think it did me wonders as I compare myself to my friends growing up and I see the affect that daycare has on the Little Guy and other kids I know. I know it's a very old fashioned way of thinking, but I would live that life in a heartbeat if I could. BJ would love for me to stay home or maybe just work part time close to home. Even if we didn't build this house we still could not afford for me to quit my job. I carry our medical and dental benefits. The Little Guy would still have to be in daycare that we would still have to pay for because his mother works and he spends 50% of his time with her. This house was supposed to be for our family of 4...with a yard and a cul de sac that is perfect for children, and a play room and a more convenient location over all. This house was not meant to be a choice of a "thing" over a child. And my choice would not be daycare if it could be avoided. BJ's sister graciously offered to watch our child if we were lucky enough to have one. Will it kill me to go back to work all day and be away from my child? YES. Would I cry and suffer separation anxiety? YES. Would it make BJ and I re-evaluate our lives and maybe try to change things to where I could be home? MOST LIKELY. We have thought about it plenty already. At this point in our lives my option is to work away from the home. I'd love to get a degree in something and then work out of my house but I don't see that as a reality right now.

I feel like even though she says she's hoping and praying for us that she thinks I won't be a good mother because I will work. I feel like she's telling me that I'm too selfish for buying a house and that I don't deserve a child. I feel like I will ruin a child if I get to have one. I feel like maybe this is why God hasn't let me have a baby...because I choose "things" instead. I feel like a failure as a mother and I don't even have a baby.

I know what I would miss out on if I was a working mother. Like I said, I'd quit my job in a heartbeat if I knew we wouldn't go homeless. It kills me right now thinking of the lack of time I'd spend with my child during the day. And I know she means no harm by offering her advice. It's something very near and dear to her and that's fine. I'm not mad at her for expressing her feelings. She's right, in my opinion. But knowing that I will work and still sending that e-mail upsets me very much.

I didn't know what to say in response to her so I just said:

I've thought of 20 different ways I could respond to your e-mail but will just say thanks for the advice. I know you mean well and would never intend to hurt my feelings, so I will say thank you for looking out for me. I love you lots and I'm lucky to have you.

And I mean every word of that response.


Lara (NoodleGirl) said...

OK, that email made me really mad when I first read it. Not only is it a really old fashioned way of thinking, but the sad fact is that 2 jobs are often a necessity these days. Plus *horror* maybe you LIKE your job? Why doesn't the father stay home then? And to just imply that you would value "things" over a baby is just too ludicrous to response to.

If/when I ever have a baby, I do intend to put it in daycare. I also wish we didn't have to. To be honest, we probably could scrimp and save and downgrade our house and allow me to stay home. But I grew up poor and I also know the stresses that can weigh on a kid with financial burdens on the household. Plus, I do both like my job and like having some independence. No, nothing will be even close to the level of importance in my life as a child but I don't think we should be condemned for wanting to provide a comfortable life.

Anyway, obviously you know your stepmom and know she meant well. And your response was great. You thanked her but let her know that you did not have simple feelings on the issue. When you do get pg, you'll have to continue following up with her, letting her know that it was not as easy decision, etc.

TeeJay said...

Thanks Lara. You are pretty good at pep talks, too. :-) My ex and I had discussed him staying home back in the day while I worked but we were never faced with the decision so who knows. My dad stayed home with my brothers once he retired from the military, but he was drawing a pension so they had 2 incomes. And yes, we could move away from this expensive northeast area, but BJ will not leave the Little Guy (I'd probably divorce him if he did) so we are stuck here for now and we are just trying to make it good for us all. Anyway, I'm blabbering now...thanks for understanding that it's not a simple choice.

Steph said...

TeeJay - First, of all, let me start by saying that none of those things are why you don't have a baby. I know, how easy it is to slip into these kinds of thought processes, especially being raised to believe that the choices we make affect what God blesses us with. But, that is so NOT true! God does not bargain with us for the things we have in this life. He gives freely. God has chosen this path for you, because you are able and worthy of it. You will appreciate that little one so much more for all the difficulty you had in obtaining him/her.

Her letter sounded almost verbatim some of the things I have heard from my own mother's mouth over the years, and it can be very discouraging and depressing. You will find a way to make things work for YOU. Remember that it is YOU - YOUR circumstance - not hers. Things that were meant for her to do/be in life, are not your path. You WILL find a way to make everything work, and your life will be rich and full for it! One thing I have to continually remind myself of - life is NOT made with a cookie cutter. Our lives are not cloned from anyone else's, and that is what makes it OUR life. What I struggle with is not what you struggle with and vice versa.

Your reply was very appropriate, sincere, and to the point - without being rude. Very well written. Be encouraged that you will hold a little one some day. You will be able to care for them. You will be the BEST mother for that little baby that God could pick, and He gave them to YOU!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't imagine someone thinking that you chose "things" over a baby. As if building a house (or putting your child in daycare) makes you a bad person! What on earth was she thinking?
I'm sorry she sent such a hurtful letter. I don't think I would have been able to send such a nice reply. I'm also sorry that she made you feel like she was right. I guess that's one thing about family - they definitely know how work the guilt angle!
I don't know why we are all "blessed" with this difficult journey of infertility, but I don't believe it's our own doing...
You will have children, and you will be a great mom!

A said...

Wow, I had alot of reactions to your post, but I guess I am SO impressed with how you responded that I just want to leave a comment about that- short and sweet and in awe! Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure she's just old-school and that she meant well, but I was in shock that she wrote those words to you. You deserve so much credit for your response.

I will never understand women that don't support other women. Whether it is staying at home, working full time or working part time, there is no one way to raise a family. We are all faced with difficult choices, and have to choose what is right for ourselves. IF only complicates things for those unlucky enough to be impacted by it.

There is no doubt in my mind that when you have a baby, and with respect to the little guy, you and your hubs will do the best that you can do in raising them. XO

C said...

You handled that very well.


julie said...

I definitely wouldn't let this change your outlook or make you feel guilty at all. You know she means well and didn't say it to make you feel horrible, she is just trying to give you some wise, motherly advise. BUT this is your life and your family and you know what is best for them. Doing what you know is best for the family makes for a more happy, more relaxed mommy!
Good luck. (-:

Anonymous said...

Wow - Good response. I honestly have no idea what I'd have said. I'm glad you can recognize that though the execution may be way, way off - it came from a place of love.

Lu said...

You're a better woman than me! I could never have responded with such love and compassion, especially after all of your emotions must be completely raw after going through everything you have.

You're one tough cookie! And, your example of a thoughtful response to her will make me think twice before I spout off a bitter response to someone who says something insensitive the next time that happens (you know, it's practically on a daily basis).
Thank you (and your step mom) for sharing and for the lesson.

Liddy said...

You handled that very well.

My MIL gave me some old-fashioned thinking once. When E and I bought our house we had elected for four bedrooms. When we didn't fill them in the first two years of our marriage my MIL informed me that we did not need that big of a house for two people if we were not going to fill it with children.

Stopping by for an ICLW visit...
No. 2: the unfair struggle (mfi, speedskating, nanowrimo)

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I'm just amazed at people who have the audacity to talk like that! Talk about passive-aggressive! Geez!

I think your response was very diplomatic. It would have been very easy to be rude right back at her. Way to go!

Happy ICLW!

nh said...

You handled your response well, far better than I would have. Well done. I think that it's tough for those that love us to watch us suffer, but I'm so impressed that you didn't respond in anger.


Astrid said...

Wow, what a difficult thing to have happen. Even though she means well, she doesn't have a right to make you feel guilty or scared about the future. I think plenty of us in this community would love to spend every moment of time with our babies, should we ever be so lucky to be blessed with them. I think because we know how difficult it is to have them, and because we go through all that we do to have them, we have an understanding that you cannot take a single second for granted. It's not really about job vs family, it's about how to maximize your time with your family and you need to take everything into consideration, including your livelihoods. It sounds like you have a beautiful home and will make the best effort to prioritize your children. There is no reason to allow anyone to make you feel badly about that. You should feel very proud. I too was the beneficiary of a SAHM but I've also learned that there is no one right way to raise a child.

Anonymous said...

Here by way of ICLW and I just wanted to say that I think your response was perfect. The decision to be a SAHM or work is never easy because most people don't have the ability to just forgo all of their financial obligations. I don't think it's a matter of materialism so much as it is life today. I this your step-mother's heart was in the right place in giving her opinion and it sounds like you both love eachother immensely, which is such a gift. I don't think working or wanting/needing to work makes you a bad mother or person. When the time comes you will know what is best for your family. :)

Miriam said...

You are very diplomatic. I get upset at the idea that many people seem to have that when you deal with IF you become somehow more dependent on the child for your fulfillment as a woman. This said as a woman who is a SAHM and wouldn't go back to work unless absolutely necessary. It fulfills me, but not every woman is me just like I'm not every woman.

Meta Megan said...

Hi - Here from ICLW. I love the name of your blog. Princess Bride, right? The best. Also, I am so impressed by your response! You could probably go into business working from home as someone who composes diplomatic emails for people. I would hire you!