Wearing the wool slippers my ex therapist sent as a birth gift. Of course, I’ve now ripped them off snort in case of allergies. This makes him sad.
Wearing the wool slippers my ex therapist sent as a birth gift. Of course, I’ve now ripped them off snort in case of allergies. This makes him sad.
So, the other day I was talking with a friend about sexual abuse. We won’t go into details, because I know some readers have faced this and I don’t want to trigger anything for anyone. (If I write about this more in future, will put a ‘sensitive’ warning at start of post.)
That night, I had a dream that was like remembering things. Not very dreamlike at all, if you get me, more like my brain opening up doors and me saying, ‘Oh, yes, that’s how it was.’ I tried to tell myself it was because of this conversation with a friend – and it probably was – but kept thinking about it.
Then a certain post went up on Violence Unsilenced (a great, great site!) and I found myself having difficulty breathing. Literally felt like all the air was out of my lungs, I felt nervy and panic ridden. It didn’t help that I’m quite friendly with the author of the post, and was completely blindsided by how a ‘normal’ person (like me, of course, like me) can have this whole malignant past and be brave enough to tell people about it.
All of that aside, we went out today and when we got back in I was so sore I needed to go have a rest. I ended up falling into a very deep sleep, and who was there? Kleinette (my old therapist, for those of you who are newish to the blog). Kleinette was there with me in the area where I grew up, driving a car while I was in the backseat. (And had quadruplets in this dream, that TMD handily left for me and Kleinette to drive around- despite having no car seats. Way to be unsafe, TMD’s dreamself!)
We sort of went around different places, had some good, challenging talks, etc.
I woke up feeling like I’d just had a very intense therapy session. It was good, but also bizarre. And can I say, I haven’t had a dream about Kleinette in, what? Years?
The dream had come to a natural conclusion, and then I was properly woken up by two manically screaming babies. I decided to take pity on TMD and hobbled out of the bedroom to help feed. So I’ve lost some of the clarity of our dream discussion, but a few salient points remain. And the emotional feeling of having probed wounds, but knowing I am strong enough to deal with that now, certainly has stuck with me.
Just wanted to get this stuff down in case it was important. And there I go, downplaying it. It is important. And it was nice to see Kleinette! Yes, I know she was a figment of my mind, but she has connotations of safety for me – and it is always nice to see the face of someone you care about, in reality or dreams. Perhaps she has ‘come back’ to help me think deal with things, sort of like Dumbo and his magic feather.
The one thought I had upon waking was, ‘Of course I’ve got a fucking pelvic problem.’ This was the result of thinking about finally writing Kleinette back (ah, you don’t know about her baby gift drama – I sent her a birth announcement, she sent me a fab card and awesome baby slippers, I didn’t write back because I didn’t want her to think I was stalkery, she ended up texting at New Year’s to see if I got the stuff, I felt like a heel for not thanking her, etc) and mentioning the SPD. Then I remembered that it was mentioned on more than one occasion about my – holy shit, I forgot the acronym.
PMDD. Yes, PMDD.
And then I thought (because apparently you can take me out of a paying job as a counsellor and put me on maternity leave, but you cannot take the counsellor out of me), isn’t it innnnnteresting that all my major problems are in that one region of my body. I also thought about how the last time I lost shedloads of weight, I was in therapy – not to talk about weight at all, but the weight seemed to fly off during therapy/training as a counsellor, and I don’t think that was an accident.
If this is a bunch of wobbling, rambling mess, forgive me. It’s late at night, and I’ve already been asleep for like four hours. Just feel like I needed to write something real, and also, well, you know. Comfort blogging. It’s better than your favourite comfort movie, or at least it is to me.
Night, all. Hope you’ve had a good Saturday and will have an even better Sunday.
Oh, god. Just reread yesterday’s venting and now I am crying again! How is it possible to feel this down and depressed when I am growing two lusciously gorgeous babies? I am beyond lucky to be pregnant with twins – on the first try, no less – and yet I just mope and mope.
I know this is part hormones, part feeling sick today, part being at home for seven long weeks. And still having so long left to wait – 12.5 weeks. I guess that isn’t actually that long, but it sure does feel long. And every time I wish it was already August, that the babies were already here, I feel guilty because I WANT Torre and Mano to stay put until 38 weeks are up.
I just feel easily overwhelmed. Joy wrote me with some simple requests for me to do – all things I already knew about and planned to do, but it feels like a ton of concrete has been dumped onto me.
And the root of all this? I AM TERRIFIED.
I am worried something will go wrong with one of the babies, both of the babies. I am so fucking scared of having these little people in me, that I am somehow going to screw it up because my body is having such a hard time coping. Reading about twin mommies who work till 36 weeks makes me feel like a fucking loser because I don’t even feel physically okay when I am lying down. Reading about people who lose their babies at 38 weeks makes me SO FUCKING FEARFUL because I’m only at 25 weeks.
What if something goes wrong? Where has my positive mental attitude gone?
During IVF I was so happy and confident. Now I’m just a fucking crazy, upset mess. Part of me is looking at me and wondering if I ought to be accessed for antenatal depression (despite clinically knowing one bad day does not depression make). Then I hear Kleinette’s old words in my ears – how quick I am to jump at the worst for myself, when in reality everything I’m feeling is totally normal and appropriate. What pregnant woman doesn’t worry?
I also worry that all my stressy nerves will hurt the babies. I don’t feel like this all the time. Not even most of the time. But for these minutes during the day when I wonder if I can bear to let myself love these babies in case something horrible happens, I feel like if I let myself really start crying I might never be able to stop.
I’m not really sure what to write about today. Part of the reason I switched blogs was so that I could write more openly about being a counsellor and what that was like. Of course, there are still strict limits about what I would actually say – and sometimes talking in general terms doesn’t quite give me the emotional outletting I could use.
Let’s just say that certain types of people can be very difficult to work with. Let’s also say that making sure children are safe is a very important thing to do, and it can be difficult when you learn that they might be at risk.
When you combine those two things together, there is a potential for a great explosion. I had the first bout of that rough ride with a client yesterday, and part two today. This was enduring 45 minutes of being screamed at down the phone. Being threatened, accused of horrible things, etc.
And sometimes when people are stressed, lots of other things creep out – paranoia, uncontrollable anger, attacking behaviour.
I don’t judge this person for those feelings. But I can say that had a huge impact on me as a counsellor, and as a person. At one point I heard my voice wobble and knew I was about ten seconds away from crying. I managed to keep calm – splitting my focus between caring for this person and wanting to support them, as well as caring for myself and being aware when enough was simply enough.
I hung up the phone and burst into tears. I restrained myself a bit, but what I wanted to do was little kid great big hiccupy sobs. I felt a mixture of fear, exasperation, anger, distress, sadness. I know lots of therapists have a difficulty with a client group of a particular diagnosis, but I wonder if I’m not more sensitive to it because of the upbringing I had.
I just could not stop crying. Green came over and just sat on the floor near me, telling me that she and Joy were in awe of how calm I stayed, how good the conversation was. Joy ran over when her phone call ended, got me a cup of water, and said the things I most wanted to hear – one, she would take over with the practical side of this….two, I would not have to work with this person again.
I met Aussie and another Day Job friend for lunch, a lovely guy I am trying to convince to move to our town. I cried the whole way walking there, and I cried through the first part of the meal.
I thought about how it was a shame I wasn’t in therapy myself anymore, because this person had really triggered something in me. As a responsible counsellor, I need to think about this more carefully. I get great clinical supervision at Operation Fingerpaint, but it can’t really replace the work of therapy.
The day recovered somewhat. We received notification that we’d won a very prestigious award. You might be seeing us on the news sometime soon if you live in my country. Lunch was tasty, it was good to escape and be with friends.
I had a nice meeting with nice people about a nice group work programme we’re going to be starting. Another professional had just dealt with a similar sit….
Okay. Joy just came back and asked if I wanted to talk. I gratefully accept, and thus this entry ends.
Soooooooo…..my driving test was cancelled. I called them three times beforehand to keep getting the message that while snow was everywhere and the roads were shitty, I should just come in case everything melted. So I had an hour’s lesson, rocked up to the test centre, and – no surprise – no test.
Joy and I have been talking a lot about magical thinking. ‘Magical thinking’ is a term derived from psychotherapeutic training. It means, simply, that people think they hold sway over the universe. Like, for instance, me saying something like, ‘I know my next counselling client will definitely arrive’ will somehow twist things around and they will not show up.
Three year olds call this ‘jinxing.’ Counsellors call it ‘magical thinking.’
I think virtually every person on the planet has this to an extent – it helps us feel important, in control, influential. People always are the star in their own made-for-tv movie, with everyone else playing extra roles. So why wouldn’t the star assume that a well-placed thought or comment could sway the script?
My ex-therapist once said to me, ‘Existere, that’s magical thinking. Do you really think you have enough power to control the universe?’
I seriously considered the question, then laughed and said, ‘Yes, I do.’
So when the snow was pelting down last night (three inches in under an hour? To this country, that’s like a national emergency) and TMD pointed it it could interfere with my driving test, of course I became mildly obsessed with it. I kept saying that I hoped it would be cancelled. TMD just wanted my test to be over and done with. I hopped out of bed this morning at the crack of dawn and was delighted to see our road covered in snow. I checked every five minutes or so.
When the snow/ice started melting just before ten, I felt disappointed.
So when the test was cancelled, of course I assumed it was because I wished it to be so. Magical thinking, my friends. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed – I think I might have passed today. Driving on snowy roads makes me feel surpremely confident and right at home. So, if you connect a to b to c, that means I am really disappointed in myself for wishing the test would not happen.
I am comfortable in my own craziness, though. I like it.
The driving test people apparently will send me an automatic new test date/time. It’s bound not to work because of the Great Baby-Making Escapade of 2008, so I’ll reschedule for sometime in January. Seeing as snow is much more likely in January than October, I might actually be approaching giving birth by the time I take a test and pass it.
Master of the Universe
When I was a child, I was quite mystical. I was drawn to rose quartz, fully believed in ghosts, and even had a ‘magic’ ring I believed I could control the weather with. I wanted to be a magician when I grew up. I walked alone for hours in the woods, along the beach, in the fields. Any weather, any time. I created stories and invisible others to people my life.
I had no trouble talking to my idea of God, no questions, no qualms.
I’m not that open to spirituality anymore, particularly anything that smacks of ‘crazy shit.’ I’m not sure why that is, although in sessions with Kleinette my distaste for my family’s extreme Catholic superstition came up again and again. I am simultaneously drawn to things…and repelled by them as well.
I feel embarassed to admit that I would like a little help from outside, a little magic to bolster me up a bit. I want to be able to believe in something, but the realist in me has squashed that. Now I think I look for things that just help me to believe in myself rather than an outside being. But I still like little charms, things that can be held and looked at.
With that in mind, I really want this:
I love the necklace, and also have a little shine for the bracelet. Do I believe this is a magic thing that will make me get pregnant sooner rather than later? Not really. But do I feel a constant low level of stress – good and bad – about this whole trying to conceive thing? Yes. And would I like something tangible to make me feel a little bit better, something I can touch and be reminded of how worthwhile this all is? Yes. Do I want to have a secret delight in making ‘public’ what we are trying to do, all the while shielding the real meaning of the charms to protect us? Double yes.
All our money is going to go to the actual process of making a baby – and me getting my fricking license. I found that fertility website a few days ago, during a google moment, and was led to it again today by another blog.
Yesterday the rose quartz heart necklace my mother bought me when I was 15/16 broke, and I miss it. I think I just need to feel like I am doing something to help a little baby into being, and if I’m so hungry for it that wearing a necklace or bracelet helps, so be it. I am declaring myself open to receiving the above things, in the hope that they somehow float into my life.
Receiving gifts from clients is an interesting thing. There are some therapists who just wouldn’t do it, some who probably unconsciously encourage it – and then there’s the rest of us. As a counsellor, I do not ever expect to receive any gift aside from that of the other person’s presence. Sitting beside someone as they confront themselves and their life is a deep honour. I know that sounds corny, but sometimes after sessions I’ve sat quietly in my chair, just feeling. I think there is a quality of awe that comes with witnessing – really seeing – other people.
This morning I received a little blue envelope covered in hand drawn hearts. On the inside was what my manager described as ‘a work of art,’ and she was right. Careful joined up writing from a child, more hearts, glued on buttons, rice, sequins. A thank you letter.
This child thanked me for my help – and I thought, But I haven’t even started yet! This is really a reminder that my idea of help is probably very different from other people’s. With this child, I’ve just been a friendly presence, a warm grown-up who isn’t threatening, judging, or telling them what to do. This makes me feel powerful in the sense that I can believe in myself.
Operation Fingerpaint, as I said yesterday, is quite a directive service. We tend to go into sessions with definite plans of how the sessions will go. This just isn’t me – and when I’m on my own with children, it’s easier to just trust them and myself and believe that whatever is supposed to happen, will. I also think that the quality of the relationship between two people, whatever their ages, is what makes the difference. I know from my own experience in therapy that it’s not the great insights Kleinette offered that I remember now, it’s the little acts of human kindness.
My heart feels full from this little letter, this little painting. And particularly when I think of the child who painstakingly made it – what a fantastic job. If more people occasionally received treats like this, job/personal satisfaction would be a lot higher, I tell you!
It’s nice to know that when I am just being me, with someone else who is just being them, that all kinds of good things can happen.
I am reminded of the person who painted me the picture of ‘us’ – it feels like ages since we worked together. I’ve thought about that client a lot this week, for one reason and another, and it’s interesting that these thoughts have been floating around as art is used more heavily in my sessions with this child. I have never conceived of myself as a good drawer, painter, sculptor – and therefore have sometimes felt wary of using art with clients. With the adult who painted me a picture, it felt natural. With this child, it feels natural.
So much of counselling is me learning to be okay with being myself, and more okay I am with me, the more okay the people/children I work with seem to be okay with being who they are.
I love this quote from e. e. cummings – ‘It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are.’ I’d take that a step further and say it takes courage to wake up every morning and be who you are, even when you don’t get it quite right. Life is bumpy and textured and sometimes we get lost.
But sometimes…sometimes we find ourselves, and that’s everything.
Well, I want to write about my conversation with Kleinette and what a fucked up backward coincidence it all was, but it feels like a private thing because I don’t want to spread her shit on the net. I know none of you even know her real name (and most don’t know mine!), but still.
It was (almost) enough that I called TMD to tell her about it. Funny how life works sometimes. Have not managed to sort a session, will ring her in a few weeks. I am feeling like the crisis has already resolved – for the minute, anyway.
Have spent time on some messageboards dealing with IVF. I found a thread that was a ten question thing for women who had conceived. There are almost 300 replies. I’ve read the first 35 pages, and the vast majority of women conceived in the first or second cycle. This has me feeling hopeful again.
I’ve booked an evening info session with another clinic in a few weeks time, just to compare and contrast. Our couples counselling session at OUR clinic is next week, my doctor’s appointment for blood test referrals is this week, hopefully I’ll get the bloods done on Friday morning. Things still seem to be ticking along very nicely.
I would really REALLY like to try in November. All the time off needed will be gross, but I am already taking a lot of time off when my mother is here, and I wonder if that will coincide with when I would need egg retrival and stuff. That would be too, too perfect.
I’m cheering up slightly. Don’t feel as heavy or as gloomy. And still want to write about my birthday!!
Feeling all mixed up – am I upset about donating eggs? IVF? Uncertainty? Postponing things?
My head feels very full and heavy, and my body is slow like molasses. I woke up this morning and the thoughts were immediately whizzing through my head – should I do this? Is this REALLY want I want? Am I the only one upset here?
This was after a night of IVF dreams. Busy, busy head.
I am making plans to go forward with IVF, one step at a time. Booked an appointment to see one of my normal doctors – the pregnancy friendly one. Hopefully I will be able to get her to refer me to blood testing – I need more comprehensive tests if I am to donate eggs to another woman. These are expensive tests, and if my doctor sorts it out they will be free. Cross your fingers for free and timely!!
I’m all over the place emotionally – just imagine how crazy I will be with IVF hormones. If you choose to read my diary during that time, you’d probably better invest in a sturdy seatbelt. I am also going to call Kleinette today. Just typing this I’m getting a little teary, so going to allow myself some time to settle into work before I scurry into another room and tell my ex-therapist I need to talk/cry/puzzle/laugh. Just one session, even.
TMD suggested it this morning, and I think it would be valuable. We have a couples session scheduled at the clinic in a couple of weeks time, but it is hard to think we will be able to relax and use the space productively. Particularly as part of this woman’s job is evaluating whether or not I am in a good head space to donate eggs and undergo IVF. I think of counselling as a non-judgmental safe space, and it’s hard to think of it as having some sort of evaluation attached to it.
Still, I know the way I am feeling and the conversations I’m having with TMD (which usually happen as we are on a walk and I am crying! Joy!) are perfectly normal and appropriate ways to be reacting to the stress of this situation. Finances are such a huge worry. I don’t want to feel that I donated eggs just to get the kickback of very cheap IVF!
How much am I willing to give up or put us through in order to have a child? I don’t know what my limits are, but I am scared I might find them.
Despite having a mild case of the crazies (and during the normally cheerful part of my cycle!), I feel really positive about the outcome of IVF. I’m young, healthy, fertile. Why SHOULDN’T I be one of the women who have successful implantation and pregnancy?
Hard to focus on work. Will no doubt be back here again throughout the day. I also still want to put down in words about the wonderful effort TMD made for my birthday.
Yesterday: untold stress, overwhelm, tears, then….a surprise birthday party! Had such a good time, relaxed, will write more about it tomorrow. Have relaxed today as well, but then back to thinking/reading about the things that stressed me yesterday, and am left feeling so tired and emotional. I keep thinking of ringing Kleinette and booking a one-off session, because I just need to have a good weep.
Our appointment at the fertility clinic was yesterday. We never expected IVF to be offered as a first treatment – they briefly explained all the options, and because we’ve never discussed IVF we went ahead with a more in-depth look at stimulated cycle IUI. I will write technical explanations when I don’t feel so fucked up.
At any rate, I think we are seriously considering IVF. If I am willing to donate half my eggs, I get the treatment at a hugely reduced cost – and the success rates are five times that of a natural cycle IUI. This makes IVF both more affordable and much more attractive as far as outcomes go.
I’m just overwhelmed by the idea of daily injections, suppositories, little egg-babies in a petri dish who don’t survive, little egg-babies in my womb who don’t burrow right into my uterine lining. I am in excellent health. I am not an infertile woman. All of my scans have been excellent, my hormone levels are kickin’, and there is always a chance I could conceive without going through IVF. But we only have enough money for three attempts.
IVF success rate at this clinic is 50-55%, and the consultant said because I’m so young it would be nearer to the 55% mark. I also have no reason to believe that I couldn’t support a pregnancy, as I am fertile – unlike many women who go through IVF.
Egg sharing means more tests to make sure I’m not carrying a freaky disease, which pushes the timeline back. I don’t think I mind.
Yesterday I felt so overwhelmed that when we left the clinic I started crying on the street and told TMD I don’t want to do this anymore – I just want to adopt.
I don’t know what the point of this entry is….venting, I suppose. Offloading. The sorts of things I would be saying to Kleinette if I was sitting on her couch. I don’t want to have to be logical. Logic tells me that we should definitely do IVF - and I am happy with that choice. Despite that, I still feel scared, upset, and confused.
All I/we wanted was a baby. I never thought when I was growing up that it would be this fucking involved. Babymaking is, inherantly, supposed to be an intimate act that brings pleasure. I suppose I am mourning the fact that TMD and I have to do it differently.
I just wish I could know it would work.
OH. I’ll tell you one more thing, though. Nichiren Buddhism talks about something called sancho shima. I won’t pretend to be incredibly philosophical, but merely say that this means that when you are about to make a very strong step in life, life invariably throws up obstacles. Getting to the clinic yesterday was unbelieveable. We almost missed the fucking appointment, perhaps more details later.
Anyway, I was chanting in my head – the first chanting I’ve done in ages – to arrive by 12. When we finally made it into the city and got on public transport, guess who sat down across from us? A woman reading a book about Nichiren Buddhism – which has NEVER happened before.
Perhaps this is me striving to make coincidence meaningful, but it felt pretty fucking profound, I can tell you. We also made it to the clinic exactly at 12.