Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'll take some guilt with my pancakes.

This post is going to be full of stereotypes. If you aren't cool with that, read no further.

I come from a Jewish family. Anyone who is a Jew (or Catholic, or a woman, as far as I can tell) is intimately acquainted with guilt. Guilt permeates the basis of the culture, really. Jews are supposed to always do the right thing. Not because there is a threat of heaven or hell, but because it is intrinsically correct thing to do. That's a lot of pressure.

So, at least in my experience, we operate with a fair amount of guilt on a huge variety of topics, ranging from minor to major. For myself, I'm talking anything from taking a few extra minutes in the shower (I'm wasting too much water! What if hubby needs to pee?), to the fact that I keep meaning to spend Thanksgiving morning doing community service, but I never do (you terrible, selfish, person HRF!).

More specifically, here are some of the criminal acts I have been self-flagellating about lately:

Food: I have had food guilt my whole life. It is the fat kid still living inside of me. TTC has intensified these feelings. Not only is there a possibility that a bit more weight loss could help my PCOS (along with the elimination of sugar, dairy, wheat, and anything else delicious), but it might also help me stop feeling like such a lazy piece of shit (see more below). The worst part is that I keep thinking I could have avoided some or all of my infertility treatment, if I could just get to a size 6. Likelihood that there is truth in that statement? Little to none. Apparently the guilt was not enough to keep me from consuming 10,000 calories a day over Thanksgiving weekend, but still.

Exercise: I'll keep this brief. I used to work out all the time. In fact, at this time on Saturday mornings, I used to be huffing and puffing on a spin bike. Instead, I am currently hanging my head in shame, while I sit on the couch and write my blog. I rarely make it to the gym these days because I just can't seem to muster the energy.

Money: Some folks have a lot of money. Either they earned it themselves, they have wealthy families, or they got insanely lucky on a scratch ticket. Hubby and I fit in none of these categories. We both work hard at only moderately paid jobs and we have a fair amount of credit card debt left over from our 20s. Although our families wish they could, neither side can provide much of any financial assistance. So, we have worked hard to pay down our debt, but the tradeoff has been putting off the purchase of a house. This won't happen any time in the foreseeable future, because saving for a down-payment seems totally impossible while dealing with the credit card crap. Am I a terrible person to try and have a baby, despite still being renters? Can I be a good mom and not own a house? Is this some kind of sick obsession with The American Dream?

Aruba: We leave in about two weeks. We have been together for over 10 years and have never been on this kind of a trip together. In fact, we rarely travel anywhere outside of New England, except for visiting my family in California. Even our honeymoon was in Maine. When we lost hubby's mom this summer, we decided that life is too short, and we needed to get away and spend some reconnecting after our loss and spending so much time dealing with infertility. However, despite the good deal on the trip (thank you CostCo Travel), I feel REALLY GUILTY about the money we spent. It was not a smart financial decision, and I'm afraid it will take away some of the fun of the trip. The only solution will be continuous consumption of margaritas.

My stupid, defective ovaries: Eggs? Got a ton of them. Uterus? Pink and healthy. Tubes? Open and ready. Ovaries? Stubborn, sarcastic, and unresponsive to anything except strong ovulation drugs. Feelings of extreme guilt and failure regarding being able to conceive? Check.

Now, I am aware that carrying around this much guilt is a fairly useless habit. I mean really, it is kind of ridiculous. I am generally a good person who tries to be kind and make good choices, even perform a mitvah or two. But, I can't seem to shake the feeling that I am not doing enough, even that I am not enough. It could just be my nature. It could be that I am genetically destined to beat myself up. Even so, I have to figure out an alternate method of operation here.


  1. Okay I so know how you feel. I'm in my early 40's now and my ovaries are running dry and are just not wanting to be stimulated any more after a year of drug therapy.

    Do you have room in your suitcase for me to Aruba? I promise I won't drink all your margaritas. I might eat off your plate though.

    Seriously though, you need this break. You need this quality time with your husband.

    You need to let go of the guilt for the trip and enjoy that time together. Yes, I realize that is nearly impossible as I like to guilt trip myself on a lot of things too.

    Good luck! Have a great vacation and take lots of pictures.

  2. I was raised Catholic, and I absolutely hear you on the guilt thing. There's only one thing we can do: try and lose the frikking guilt!
    Oh, and about the "trying to have a baby and still rent" thing: that's definitely a culture thing - here in Germany, most people rent (which is kind of funny, because in my experience Germans are a lot less mobile than Americans). So in short: don't worry.
    And absolutely enjoy your vacation!
    While relaxing doesn't help us infertiles get pregnant, it definitely helps us stay sane and healthy.

  3. Interesting about Germans-sometimes I watch House Hunters on TV and I think I remember hearing something like that about renting.

  4. I was raised Catholic and I get it. I want you to have a fabulous time in Aruba, though, and not think about the money!

  5. "The worst part is that I keep thinking I could have avoided some or all of my infertility treatment, if I could just get to a size 6."

    I was having fertility issues 30 pounds ago (pre-preg). Right before the last IVF, my asshole PCP said, "Well, I think you'd have greater success if you just lost 10 pounds." I said, "I WAS 10 POUNDS LIGHTER BEFORE THE LAST IVF, AND IT FAILED. AND THE IVF DRUGS MADE ME GAIN 10 POUNDS. SO SUCK IT." And that IVF cycle worked, when I was 30 pounds overweight. So, suck it twice.

    Guilt is a fairly useless emotion, unless it motivates you to get off the couch and take a walk or punch your asshole PCP in the face. Use what guilt is useful, and then toss the rest aside. Because fuck that. Fuck it hard.


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