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03/30/2004

I don't like unpleasant things

First, an administrative note. Tomorrow I'm going out of town for about a week. It is unlikely that I'll update during that time, for two reasons:

  1. I won't have time or privacy to write.
  2. I doubt I'll have much to say beyond, "Holy mother of God, do these people ever stop being so motherfucking pleasant?"
I will explain.

I'm going to visit my grandparents along with my mother and my aunt. I love spending time with each of them separately; I love even more spending time with them together. But it presents certain difficulties. In my family, we don't discuss anything negative.

Ever.

My grandmother is famous for once saying fretfully, "I don't like unpleasant things." You tell 'em, Grandma.

We don't talk about the sad and acrimonious divorces both of my uncles went through last year. We don't talk about my cousins, who are all more or less adrift in various ways. We don't even discuss the cancer that's taken up residence south of my grandfather's equator. And when I say "we don't discuss," I mean we do not ask about, refer to, or in any other way acknowledge that which will kill him in the not-too-distant future.

Ever.

So if we don't talk about those things, those matters of moment that affect the entire family, we certainly don't talk about infertility or pregnancy loss.

On the one hand, I don't feel any great need to discuss it with them. I consider our situation to be mostly a private one. (By that I mean I'll happily expound at great length before people I don't really know, yet never breathe a word to my nearest and dearest.) Besides, I grew up in this family, so the strong tendency to accentuate the positive and flatly deny the very existence of the negative is comfortable, at least when I'm around them. Wackaloon, yes, but familiar.

On the other hand, it's unsettling to be among them knowing I have this other life, this separate sadness that goes entirely unacknowledged. My mother may have told my grandparents about my two losses, but I don't know; even if they were aware, they'd never say a word.

The stress of facing another cycle is taking a great toll on me; the stakes this time seem higher than before. The stress of hiding that stress in front of people who know me well is enough to make my head explode.

But the only alternative is openness — and believe me when I tell you that that's the most stressful prospect of all.

So I will spend a week in a silent freakout, dutifully taking my birth control pills, counting down the days, imagining the best and worst of what the next two months could bring — all the while smiling, making conversation, trying to seem interested in the world beyond my ovaries. Pleasant on the outside, roiling on the inside.

And trying not to talk about my uterus in mixed company.

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