Saturday, October 20, 2007

Living in the Stupid Gap

I read this post by Katie at Taking the Statistical Bullet, and it really hit home. Katie wrote about living in the gap -- failing to live in and enjoy today because you are always planning for and awaiting tomorrow. For me, it's not just about the gap between today and tomorrow, but the gap between yesterday and today as well. I fear I live my life alternating between regret and anticipation without ever really experiencing unadulterated joy.

I have always been a planner, a list-maker. When we schedule a vacation, I spend the weeks leading up to it reading through guidebooks, cruising the web for information, cataloging the sites I want to see and the experiences I want to have. I then spend the vacation checking things off my list, trying to avoid coming home with a sense of regret at not having done everything I wanted and planned to do. Sometimes the greatest vacation pleasure I experience is after I get home, reviewing the photos I took of the things I wanted to do, since I hardly took the time to enjoy things while there. A guy I dated before P told me he hated taking photographs and didn't understand why people did it, as he felt it kept him from enjoying what he was doing. I thought he was crazy. I didn't understand how you'd remember anything if you didn't have photos to show you. It never occurred to me that other people actually remember things because they really and truly experience them.

P and I decided before we even got married when we would start TTC in 2007. When 2007 rolled around, we set a date to get started, and I began my countdown and started looking ahead to trying. Once we started trying, I began looking ahead to getting our BFP. When the BFP came, I looked ahead to the first ultrasound, knowing that the end of the first trimester was the next landmark, then finding out the sex, and so on.

But the first ultrasound was bad -- the baby's heartbeat was irregular, and the heart seemed to be in the wrong place. But I still didn't live in the moment, enjoying the time I had left with our baby -- I spent the next two weeks waiting for the next ultrasound, trying to imagine good news, that the baby was fine, but continually haunted by the idea of bad, that the baby had died. But I still wasn't prepared for that next ultrasound, when we got the bad news that the baby's heart had stopped beating. All of a sudden, I was living in the moment, but it was a crummy moment for that to start. I'm not sure I ever really enjoyed the time before that. Now, I remember pregnancy as miscarriage and can hardly remember the days when I just assumed that a BFP guaranteed a second trimester, then a third, and finally a baby. And I hate that.

I'm not sure how to change. I don't even know where to begin trying to live in the moment. But I know I want to figure it out before we start trying again, so I can enjoy the experience of trying, or at least before I get another BFP, so I can enjoy whatever time I have with that baby, and definitely before I actually have a baby, assuming that day comes. I really want to enjoy all of it, to truly experience every moment, good and bad. Now I just need to figure how to stop living in the gap.


Katie said...

We should be accountability buddies for each other on this. Get t-shirts that say FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS LIVE IN THE GAP.

infertility just sucks said...

I really identified with that post too. In the past year I have NOT done so many things because I was waiting to get pregnant.

I even put off a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Zambia to visit my best friend who is there for work because I reasoned that since I had to plan it 6 months out there was no way of knowing what shape I'd be in....and so on.

I was hugely disappointed in myself when I realized what I'd done.

I got really angry for a while. I was angry at this phantom baby, that refused to show up, for ruining my young-ish years with my husband. For making me hate being a DINK. I was furious at this absentee child for robbing me of good times.

And then, one day I just kind of had a moment and I thought "Fuck this. I am going to live. Life's too short."

And I've been planning and plotting and buying plane tickets and marking days on the calendar far in advance. Because if I do get pregnant, I'll deal with it then. In the meantime, life goes on and so will I.

If I have to give up a $500 plane ticket at some point I'll be happy to do so.

Small price to pay.