61: Tomatoes and Tests with Two Lines.

I wrote the following over a year ago. I have updated the timeline to be current but I have since worked through most of the emotions I am about to discuss. I considered not making this public (it has been published privately for a long time) since I feel like the words are no longer true. However I believe some other person might feel the same as I did a year ago and may find comfort from knowing they are not alone.

It has been almost two years since I last fell pregnant. It has been more than three years since we started trying to get pregnant in the first place. I keep a tally of all the babies we know that have been conceived and born in that time. I also know of multiple miscarriages that multiple women in my life have experienced in that time. I’m not alone. I’m always aware of that.

I had an ultrasound during my second miscarriage. The doctors wanted to check it wasn’t ectopic pregnancy. It was an awful experience. I wish I hadn’t gone through with the ultrasound as the experience was worse than the miscarriage itself. I was uncomfortable and in pain; then I had to get undressed and lay on some towels while I had an internal ultrasound. There wasn’t anything too see. It was too early. My hormones were high, my lining was thick, but it was wasn’t a pregnancy that was meant to progress.

I get worried that none of it was real. I don’t want people to think I had a phantom pregnancy because there wasn’t anything on my ultrasound. My doctor assures me that I was pregnant. It was real.

My logical mindset told me not to cry. I cried silently in the waiting room. A few tears rolled down my cheeks but I didn’t cry loudly. I normally cry loudly. I normally feel every emotion so strongly. In that moment I didn’t feel anything. I knew there was nothing I could do, there was absolutely no way to prevent it, there was no point being upset… in that moment. The next few days I would feel more complex emotions. I expected to feel much more than I did. I was annoyed that I didn’t feel enough. I have known other women who had lost pregnancies and they felt so strongly and we all felt for them. I would stand alongside any woman and support her, but when it was my story, my experience, I was numb.

My dominant feeling throughout the experience, and ever since, is frustration. I’m frustrated that it doesn’t feel real. I’m frustrated that the validity of my pregnancy could be questioned (mostly by myself) by an empty ultrasound. I’m frustrated that I didn’t feel more. I’m frustrated that my mind tells me other people are allowed to feel more than I am. I’m frustrated that after a while of trying to conceive I lost an opportunity to finally achieve my goal. I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to get pregnant since. I’m frustrated that I can’t control my body or my emotions or my fate. I’m frustrated with not knowing whether or not I will ever have a successful pregnancy. I’m frustrated that I have spent so much time thinking about it and have began doubting myself.

Most of all I’m frustrated that I can’t talk about it because that’s not how the world works. I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable. I don’t want to have to explain all the details. I want to respond honestly when people ask me if we want kids or when we are planning on having them. I want to say things like “when I was pregnant I loved tomatoes” because for a only a few weeks in my life I didn’t hate tomatoes!

I kept all my positive pregnancy tests, discoloured and faded, in a ziplock bag. I did it so I can remind myself it was real. Sometimes I feel like I imagined it but those lines are definitely there. I remind myself that I will have another positive test one day in the future but it always seems like a lie.

56: My Mister

I know that you have been feeling left out after I wrote about my ex-boyfriends recently. You really shouldn’t because I married you and I talk about you far more often. I have been trying to think of what I can say about you. This is a very public setting after all. When I wrote about my exes I didn’t care what other people thought about them. I want to protect you from the scrutiny of others. Yes, I am aware that you don’t care what anyone thinks of you, you tell me that every time I get too self conscious. You have suggested that if we were to separate then I would suddenly become inspired as I was after breaking up with the others. I suppose in many ways that is correct, there is a reason why they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It could also be said that after a break up we experience clarity and can better assess what we liked and disliked about the other person. I live with you. I have done so since May 2014. We are married. I see you almost every day, with the exception of the time we spend visiting our families away from one another. 

I suppose I could imagine the things I would miss about you if you were to leave. I know I would miss your enthusiasm for new technology and the way you can discuss the details in length even though you know I have no idea what you’re saying. It is satisfying to see that you love what you do and as your wife that makes me proud. 

I would miss watching you interact with our pets, the affection you give towards your ferret or how you talk to the cats as though they understand you. I also love to watch you interact with children, the patience you afford them is nothing like the way you interact with any adults. You engage with them in a playful manner that makes me smile and assures me you will be a good father. 

I would miss your strange interests that you pursue on a whim, like that day you spent hours researching how to make your own mozzarella or the week you converted all our empty jars into terrariums. It’s adorable and random but it’s a part of why we understand one another. 

I would miss the way you discuss my university assignments with me. The subjects I am doing are no where near your wheel house yet you try your best to ask questions and comprehend my work. 

I would miss seeing the progress you have made. When we met you weren’t a very social person, your confidence was low and you didn’t get out much. Now people are always approaching me to say how much you have changed, you connect with people more, you make eye contact when you barely ever did before, you go out and meet new people, you have even started your own business. I know people try to credit me for pushing you but it’s you who has been making the effort and overcoming your fears. You make me proud and it is worth all the arguments we had while I was trying to break you out of your shell.

I would miss watching Netflix with you before bed. I don’t love that you always steal my pillow or that you always turn the brightness up far too much, but it is our routine and I miss it whenever you’re not here.

I would miss the way you always act like you don’t know what something tastes like just so you can steal a bite. We both know you know what ice cream tastes like, we both know you like it, but I always give it anyway so you can take a bite and pretend it’s the first time. I would miss how much you love certain foods, you get so passionate about the things you like, it’s cute and it’s infectious. 

I would miss having someone to eat my pickle at fast food restaurants. I always remove it from my burger and give it to you. It feels like such a waste now if you’re not there and I have to just throw it away. We joked when we first started dating that true love is finding someone who will eat the pickle from your cheeseburger.

I would miss you bringing me peanut m&ms. Clearly you remember that I bought some for myself three years ago because now they’re the treat you go to when you want to surprise me even though we both know they’re not my favourite, you know they’re a safe option and that’s good enough. It’s practically our tradition now and that makes me like them even more.

I would miss the way you try to calm me down by changing the subject. Whether I’m angry, sad, or anxious, you manage to distract me in a way that doesn’t make me feel like my feelings are being dismissed. I don’t know how you do it, you’re sneaky, I love you for it. The best bit is that we always double back once I’ve calmed down so I don’t feel like nothing got resolved or that my feelings don’t matter to you.

I would miss having you around. We have shared this house for three years, which is longer than I lived here alone. You get on my nerves, we argue, we irritate each other, but we still care about one another. We can both me ridiculously stubborn and value our independence but at the end of day we love each other. 

There are so many more things I could say but I will leave it there. I hope you’re satisfied. I hope this didn’t bore the heck out of all my readers who aren’t my husband. 

46: To breed or not to breed?

I am bitter. Let me tell you why. I am 24 years old and I am struggling to get pregnant. Yes, I know this is still very young. I know some women don’t start trying until they are in their 30s. However, in the area I live in, it is not considered so young. Also it’s important to note that it’s commonly considered easier to get pregnant when you’re younger. So why am I having such issues? 

My husband is the same age. He has four brothers, all of whom have children, he is not the youngest of his siblings. Some of our neighbours have had two or three children before they turned 21. The problem I have is that I was taught this was not appropriate. Growing up it was stressed upon me by my parents and teachers. Don’t get pregnant. I went on the pill at 16, I wasn’t even sexually active. I had a long term boyfriend at the time and I was so determined that if the relationship was to advance in that way, I was not going to get pregnant. I wouldn’t become sexually active for a further 3 years. I was under the impression that I was “doing the right thing”. 

Being on the pill wasn’t a problem. Going off the pill was complicated. They say that the pill doesn’t affect your chances of getting pregnant but my experiences have been evidence towards the contrary. Last year was rough. In January my grandmother died. In March, two weeks before the wedding, I had a very early miscarriage. In the five days between the wedding and our honeymoon we found out that my darling sister (and best friend for life) is gene positive for Huntington’s Disease. I will have to write separately about my sister’s diagnosis another time. I got pregnant again on the honeymoon but that ended very early also. After over a year of trying to get pregnant I had two consecutive miscarriages. They were extremely early, before six weeks, and I am aware that it could have been worse. There are explanations for everything that I don’t want to go in to detail here. I have come to terms with the knowledge that getting pregnant is not going to be easy. I’m still young at 24 but when most of our friends have children already, this just adds to a feeling that we are missing out. 

I don’t want to seem ungrateful. I know some people have it much much worse. It’s hard to remember this when so many people around us have fallen pregnant so easily. I have encountered so many people who complain that they fell pregnant accidentally. While I appreciate how difficult that must have been for them, my emotional side can’t help but feel bitter. Logically, of course, I know that every person is different and every lifestyle is different. What is a good time for one person might be vastly different than another’s. My uncle is in his 40s and expecting his first child. My neighbour is 22 and has three children under 5. While some people don’t have any interest in having children at all, for example, several people I went to high school with and my very own sister.

I love my nieces and nephews whom I inherited when I married my husband. One of my best friends finally had a baby girl this year after years of trying and I love her daughter. I know I love children and I want children, however, recently I have began to have doubts. I think we thought it would be easier than this. After my miscarriage I began to doubt if I have the strength to persevere. Will I be a good parent? Is it ever going to be the right time? What if things never work out? What if we wait and miss our chance? If I’m struggling now then I can’t imagine what we would have encountered if we waited until our late twenties or early thirties. 

People say that there’s never a right time to have children. I’m also told I will be a good mother. This doesn’t help my doubts. If I was a person with more faith I might consider our fertility problems a sign of fate. A divine force intervening and sending the message that we shouldn’t be reproducing. I am writing this because I know that I will look back years from now and I hope that I will have gained some insight. I don’t have any insight at the moment, I only have doubts and fears, yet I hold on to hope. It’s a very confusing feeling, so hard to define. I hope that at least one person reading this can relate. This story isn’t over yet, and neither is yours. Please don’t judge me on my indecision. I’ve come to accept that it’s okay to be confused. I’m not always prepared, I’m not always perfect, and I can’t always explain how I feel but I will never stop trying.

Chapter 39: I Fell Down The Aisle

On the 16th of April 2016 I got married. Some people have said that we pretty much arranged our own marriage because we just kind of decided that we wanted to get married. We got engaged after only dating a couple of months but it wasn’t a choice made out of impulsive passion. One night I was going through the calendar in my phone looking for dates that I found interesting. Because I suffer from bouts of insomnia and I like patterns. I was writing down dates that have repeated even numbers or that were palindromes. I found this soothing. I had a very long list spread over about a decade. Then a date just kind of drew me in. 16/04/2016. It was a Saturday. 2 years and 2 days after we started officially dating. I wrote out a whole list of reasons why this was a perfect date to get married. I woke up my then boyfriend at 2 am and I said “we should get married on the 16th of the 4th, 2016” this was some time in June 2014. I can’t even remember the exact day. He drowsily replied with an okay and went back to sleep. The next day we had a discussion about whether we were both serious. We both expected the other to admit they were joking. That never happened. We still laugh to this day saying that we are waiting for each other to call our bluff or something. 

A lot of things didn’t go to plan on our wedding day. A lot of things worked out well. When things started to get out of my control I started breaking down. I was at the hairdresser screaming down the phone and crying all my make up off. We had decided to have a night wedding so we had all day to organise everything. This was a good decision and saved us from complete disaster because when things began to go pear shaped we had enough time to make some changes. I ran almost an hour late for my ceremony. 

We got married on a farm and had decided we would get ready at the venue together but in separate rooms. We had decided to do first looks and then walk down the aisle together because I didn’t want anyone giving me away. I wanted to make it clear that we were in this together. None of that went exactly to plan. By the time I rushed in to the venue from the hairdressers, frantic and without my bridesmaids (they were still getting their hair finished), I had cried off all my make up and I was completely distraught. My flowers hadn’t shown up. I had run out of time to do all the things I had wanted to. This was just the tip of the iceberg of things I had to accept that I couldn’t change. I am not very good at accepting these kinds of things.

My husband and his groomsmen had been ready for over an hour. They were also hung over from the night before. After screaming at everyone and crying the remainder of my make up off there was a knock on my door. I was sitting on the bed in my underwear. My curls had dropped. My makeup was running down my face. I had ripped off my false lashes. My wedding dress was hung next to the door looking spectacular in comparison to my emotional disarray. In walked my husband and everyone cleared out of the room. He sat next to me on the bed in all his exhausted glory and hugged me. I cried on his hired suit shoulder and looked disgusting but he didn’t care. He was the only person who truely comforted me that day. I felt so calm as soon as he walked in. I have never felt that relieved to see someone before or since. 

My husband is not the kind of guy to show emotions. He doesn’t like to be vulnerable. Sometimes he can come across as unsupportive because he’s not a big communicator but this isn’t true. He’s also the kind of guy that will always defend the people he cares about. He’s loyal. He only shows his softer side to kids and animals. He never smiles in photos but if you know him well enough you can always tell when he’s secretly smiling on the inside. When I was finally dressed and ready I didn’t even bother fixing my make up because I was in too much of a hurry. I walked out to meet him ready to walk down the aisle together in front of all our friends and family. I told him I was worried that I had cried all my makeup off and he assured me that he liked it better because now I looked more like myself (I never usually wear make up so this was actually a compliment). Then as we were walking out the door to our garden wedding I tripped down the stairs and he caught me. We laughed all the way down the aisle as I illustrated just how much of a clumsy dork I am. They are some of our best photos and he’s smiling in every single one.

Chapter 35: Love is important.

Let’s have a chat about marriage equality shall we? Frankly I don’t care that it is a controversial subject. I know I’ve said before that I make a genuine effort not to offend anyone however today I’m going to voice my opinion. Honestly if you’re offended by marriage then you’re offended by love. If reading a blog in support of equal rights for all humans sends you in to a tail spin then perhaps you need to look outside of yourself and reevaluate your sensitivities. 

Clearly I am in support of marriage equality, you can call it same sex marriage or gay marriage if you like but when it comes down to the bare bones of the issue we are talking about the basic human right to love. As a straight cisgender female I hesitate to take a stand this openly on the Internet. I worry that I will receive hatred from conservatives and people who’s religious beliefs differ from my own. I am concerned that I may upset the people in my life who’s opinions differ. Then I remember that I am lucky to be saying these things from my comfortable position of a straight cisgender woman. There are many people out there who don’t have a choice because when they argue for marriage equality they are arguing for their own right to spend their lives married to the person they love. There are people in my life who belong to the LGBT community, people who I love and cherish. They did not choose anything so the least I can do is choose to support them. I chose a long time ago to be an ally. I worry that sometimes I won’t get it right but I have to trust that those who I am closest to will appreciate my efforts.

Australia is the last developed English-speaking country not to allow same-sex marriage. I believe that this is outrageous. Last night our government held a meeting to vote on whether or not the Australian people should participate in a free vote on marriage equality. Our leaders sat in a room a debated whether or not they should allow the general population to voice their opinions. The vote resulted in 66 to 33 against holding a national vote. “The last thing you should do is dud the people who voted for you,” Mr Abbott said during a press conference. [Information and quotes taken from a news.com.au article.] Prime Minister Tony Abbott has always been vocal about this stance on marriage equality. The PM believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. The argument has been made saying that this is the definition of traditional marriage and it is obvious the Australian government is hesitant to redefine this. However the fact that Australia is the last English speaking developed country where same sex marriage is still illegal goes to show that marriage has already been redefined all over the world. Having an outdated dictionary does not make you traditional, it makes you ignorant. 

The most disgraceful aspect of Abbott’s position on this issue is the fact that his own sister, Christine Forster, is a lesbian herself. When our PM opposes marriage equality he is also activity arguing against the rights of his own sibling. If denying the rights of a member of his own family members has not convinced him to change his tune I honestly don’t believe he ever will. With protests being held all over Australia during the past couple of weeks we can see that a large percentage of community are in favour of marriage equality. I have never studies politics but it seems to be that by voting against holding a conscience vote those 66 politicians are showing that they are too hung up on their own beliefs to allow Australia to speak for themselves. If our representatives truly believed that the population of their electorates shared their opposition to same sex marriage then they would not have been too fearful to let Australia decide for themselves. 

Maybe that is just the way it looks from my perspective. However I know that I am not wrong in saying that this issue should be decided by the people themselves in order to represent the true opinions of the Australian people no matter whether they are for or against the issue. In the lead up to the events of last night Canberra airport was lit with rainbow lights and the supportive slogan “#we can do this”. Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron was quoted (source) as saying “this issue transcends politics”. I whole heartedly agree with this statement. How can a select few decide the fate of an entire community of people. Our Prime Minister has repeatedly ducked the issue suggesting that there are more important issues at hand. Perhaps he means the protests against the tampon tax? Or better yet the ongoing issue of the treatment of refugees

I am so lucky to be getting married next April. I am so disappointed by the way our government is handling these important issues. Something has got to change and the sooner the better. In the meantime I just want to say that to everyone reading this, I believe that your gender is valid and I believe that your love is valid. You have the right to feel safe and to be accepted by your community. Love is love. 

Chapter 13: First Comes Love….

I believe it’s true that girls start to think from a young age that their wedding day is all about them. This one day and only one day where they are the centre of attention and a vision of perfection. I have felt this way before but even as a child I knew this was a ridiculous thing to think and tried my hardest to nip these thoughts in the bud. I don’t know where this idea came from (for myself anyway). I know it didn’t come from my parents. My parents raised me believing in equality and strong female role models. I think we grow up watching movies with princesses or in which marriage is the end goal. Being a bride is the closest most people get to being a princess. I know a lot of girls grow up fantasising about their wedding day, sometimes even acting it out. I didn’t really start to think about marriage until I got a little older.

I wasn’t really interested in boys until I got into high-school. Some of my friends had school yard ‘boyfriends’ but boys didn’t really interest me. I knew early on that I was not required to like boys and that I would be accepted by my family even if I liked girls. When I started high school and showed a lack of interest in dating there was even a brief conversation where my mother made it clear that it would be acceptable to be asexual. But I realised eventually that I did like boys and that one day I would choose to get married. It makes me really sad when I think about all my friends and family who are members of the LGBT community who aren’t as lucky to have equal marriage rights. I know gay couples who seem a lot happier than some of the straight couples I know. It just doesn’t seem fair and it isn’t.

Now I am engaged and my idea of my dream wedding has changed. I once thought about my wedding as my day. I wanted all the things I liked. I wanted to be by ocean. I didn’t really consider who I would be marrying and whether or not they would even like the beach. I care more about who I am marrying now and making the day represent us both. I care about what he feels comfortable wearing more than what I think would like good. I care about my bridesmaids and his groomsmen and what they would like to wear and how they will experience our wedding. I care about involving our mothers and making sure they feel appreciated. I care about the children who are also members of our family and how they will spend their time at our reception and more importantly how we can keep them occupied.

There are often times when I’m told that it’s my day or that I should be able to make most of the decisions because it is more important to me. But it’s not as important to me as I feel people expect it to be. I’m not trying to make a trendy statement with my wedding. For a while we discussed just going to the courthouse and signing some papers. We decided we cared about our families being present and that since it would cost us more to book the courthouse and drive to the city we might as well hire a celebrant instead. If we do end up spending a lot on our wedding it will only be so we can facilitate having both of our every large families present. That is what is important to me. I don’t need an expensive dress or to change into an even more flashy dress halfway through the festivities. I don’t want flowers that are out of season to be imported for my special day. I don’t want a convoy of classic cars to drive me up to the aisle or live animals released when we say I do. I want to eat some good food with our huge families and be happy and be loved.

[Note: Any references to gender stereotypes are accidental. As always I am only talking about my experience and this is not intended to offend anybody or make any blanket statements or suggestions on gender roles.]