Good morning, Day 27!
In general, I’m an extremely open person. If I have a complicated personal situation or TMI storyline going on that is troubling me or exciting me or puzzling me, chances are good that all you have to say is, “How are you?” and I will launch in. It’s how I connect. People usually respond by softening and opening up themselves, given that I so easily lay my heart on the table, and then we’re mutually sharing, and we have things in common, and suddenly we don’t feel like such alien freaks.
Of course, there is such a thing called “boundaries,” as I have learned in many years of therapy. There is an element of the process above that includes an aversion to withholding whatever is going on with me, as if I have judged this person unfit to handle the real back story, which can send me into an internal spiral that this person now realizes I’m lying to him/her by saying, “Fine, how are you?” It’s also tempting to want approval in everything I do, from everyone around me, all the time. But I’m pretty sure that’s everyone.
So, all of the above present an interesting dilemma in the process of trying to conceive as a single mom, which is notoriously cloaked in our culture, often kept secret until the end of the first trimester. I’ve always known that, partnered or not, this clandestine approach would be hard for me to the point of being impossible. I understand being cautious and the heartbreak of having to send a sad press release to the masses. However, in my case, especially un-partnered, it is those same masses that will pull me through. (I acknowledge that I may feel wildly different about this later on and do a 180 and that’s fine too.)
From the beginning, when I was in the thinking/planning/researching phase, I checked in with myself every time a friend said, “So, what have you been up to?” Just checked with my heart and it usually said, “Go for it.” I’ve been building up my support system the way a mama bird builds a nest. http://livestre.am/1kdZa
Of course, this opens me up for comments, opinions, recommendations, and zingers. I’ve already gotten tips on what to definitely do or definitely not do when it comes to giving birth and parenting (“You’re not going to do cry it out, are you?”) and questions that sound more like an indictment (“You do a lot of activities. You know you’ll have to give them all up, right?”) Overall, though, if that’s the worst my people can dish up, concern turned up a little too high and pushed through their own filter of experience, then bring it on. I’m getting better (god willing) at letting things roll off my back. If it really gets to me, I come home and listen to Pema Chodron recordings.
A few times, I have hit an edge. After I chose my donor (a great story for another day), I had friends ask if I would email his photos. That felt instantly wrong. I decided that I will show them only in person, and only if I feel like it. Later, when a TV production company approached the founder of Single Mothers by Choice about doing a documentary, I expressed my interest in participating as a way of raising awareness. After talking to the producer, I was turned off–it sounded more like reality TV. This journey is uncharted–none of us know where we’re headed. Broadcasting on national TV seemed like way too far over the line. I pulled out.
Which brings me to the blog. This feels so good to write, and I’m so gratified that so many friends are checking in. My number of views is much bigger than expected and: we’ve gone international! I did take the step of keeping it anonymous, although the majority of followers are people I know very well. I may over-share sooner or later and end up with a vulnerability hangover… But, so far so good.
I hope you share it with friends who are considering single motherhood or maybe would just enjoy reading this, but I do ask that you not forward it to anyone I work with. That is the last frontier! Speaking of which, I’m off to a meeting.