Thursday, December 25, 2008


I have been thinking about this year and what I have achieved.

My main aim this last year was to get pregnant and also try to limit the financial damage of the process. Needless to say, I am not pregnant. We just saw our specialist and have a lot of testing to do to find out why. More delay, more waiting, more life in suspended animation. We have managed to actually pay for the cycles, which is an achievement in itself, but I have mentally consigned our finances to oblivion.

Sometimes, I wonder if I actually want a child this much. There is no doubt in my mind that what I went through to have our Little Dude was worth it. But about a second child, I am less sure. A second child is more joy. But a second child is also more of the unending work of being a mother. I dread it (almost?) as much as I hope for it.

I also started a new job in a very new field. I have made a decent success of it. I was very competent in my old field and much less sure of this one. I really feared humiliation and failure. I'm glad to finish the year knowing that I have done well.

But the truth is, I don't have a great sense of passion and purpose about this job. It's the only job I have picked solely as a career move. For the actual content, the meaning of the job, I feel very little. My work is interesting and enjoyable, but something is missing.

I started the year with a serious intention to join my church as a real community. I must honestly admit that this has not gone as I hoped. I go most weeks. I've volunteered for the cooking. I like the people, they seem to like me, but I still feel that I hardly know anyone. What I want is a sense of seeking God, knowing God, but also truly knowing other people, and the fact is that I don't have it. I would like to think that this is because of the church, but it's quite possible that this is because of me - because of my natural reserve, a suspicion that they might not approve of me, a reluctance to truly join.

One great success has been having my mother move in and build a flat in our backyard. I left home at eighteen and was worried about what it would all mean to have my mother so close. Would she and the Big Dude get along? Would she try to interfere in our relationship? Would we all commit our money, our time, our finances, and have to confess a big mistake? To my relief, the answer to that is no. It's really been a great success. We get along very well, we all maintain our privacy, but we also support each other. Perhaps only another mother of a young child will understand what it means to be able to send my Little Dude over to his grandma for an hour or two and just have that little bit of time to myself.

One other success is that I really have succeeded in addressing my health, my fitness and weight. Fertility cycles are a major challenge to all those things, with weight gain and other problems a standard side-effect. But I have managed to lose around 10kgs (a little over 20 pounds) in the past few months and more over the past two years. I am finally lighter than I was before I had my baby. More importantly, I am fitter and stronger than I have been for a long time. I feel younger, not so weighed down. I am really proud and pleased about the results of the effort I have put in.

All in all, a decent year. Not much fun to do, but at least I feel like I accomplished something.

But one of these days, I will ask myself seriously why I don't enjoy my life more. Why does it seem so...flat?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How I Am

A little guilty about how rarely I blog nowadays, actually. But aside from that...

Our holiday was great. Just a week by the beach - we played in the surf, built sandcastles, cruised second hand bookshops and rose dodgem cars. Simple but good.

I really needed that holdiday. Things have been a bit tough here:

(1) My mother lost her disability pension under a new governnment policy. I was dismayed by how badly it affected her. Basically, she has been an exceptionally hard working medical professional all her life. Then a work-related injury ruined her career. After ten years of continual attempts to retrain and/or rehabilitate, she finally retired on a pension and moved to life next to us.

It hurt me to watch her deflate so pitifully as she read the letters from the government cancelling her pension. She has always been a positive and resilient person, and she suddenly seemed... smaller. She literally shrank before my eyes, as the tears ran down her face and she told me about the endless series of humiliations she experienced at work, knowing she had just become a liability to her workplace. Somehow she couldn't seem to take in the details of how to appeal, how to respond. She didn't have any energy to fight it. Since the Little Dude was born, we have all called her "grandma" and teased her about her age, but she suddenly really looked old.

It's taken hours of my time, but I finally managed to get her a decent lawyer for her appeal process and a lower level of pension has been re-granted to her. But the whole process has been exhausting - physically, mentally, emotionally. Most of all, her lack of resilience and general air of giving up really worry me.

(2) I work in an area that relates to foreign policy and overseas aid. One of our overseas staff was accused of corruption and we had to investigate it. This created a diplomatic incident that it has taken months to half-resolve. I think this one is finally almost over, but really, it has taken quite a lot of the shine off my new job. I was, frankly, pissed by the general lack of support from other countries for resolving the issue, their frequent criticisms of my country's "insensitivity" in pursuing the investigation, and the general air of entitlement they had about Australia's continuing support for them via taxpayers' money and aid. I think some of these people are about to get a big shock as support for overseas aid dries up as the economy declines here.

(3) The Big Dude is in a big health slump. It started in September and just never seems to end. No sex since August and no prospect of any, either.

(4) My friend Pat is doing fertility treatment to have another baby. In my honest opinion, a woman still suffering so badly from post-natal depression and trauma, and living alone with a baby who is only one year old, who she can't support financially and who she can only look after with help, should not be even considering another baby. As her friend, I feel I should basically try to listen and support her and not give her advice, support her in the decisions she takes, but, truly, I am worried about her and about the welfare of the daughter she already has. I just don't know what I should say to her.

(5)I still don't know if my dad is even alive. I worry about him, but I'm afraid of re-establishing contact with him. Generally with him, no news is good news. Maybe one parent to take care of is enough?

(6) This is my last month of freedom before starting IVF again. Almost every woman in my fertility support group is actually pregnant now, except me. That's very, very irritating. I'm NOT looking forward to the next cycle.

But wierdly, none of this seems to be getting me down too much. In the last few months, I have improved my fitness and eating habits and I'm surprised by how much difference this has made to my state of mind and general wellbeing. I feel stronger. I can feel the extra reserve of energy. I feel younger and healthier and more optimistic.

So, I'm basically okay. And how about you?