Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Life Well-Scripted

When I was a little girl, my friends’ parents hated me.  They would like me until they overheard me at play with their children, engaged in a "conversation" that usually consisted of only me being allowed to speak as I told the other kids, “Okay.  Now I’ll say [this] and then you will say [that] and then I’ll say [this] and you will respond [that]….Then you stand over there…No!!!  Not there…there!”  And, as if my playground dictatorship wasn’t already bad enough, I would frequently "pout" the other children into submission if they resisted my rule, sulking and crying when I didn't get my way.  No one likes that little girl…not even teachers.  I still have my nursery school “report card” from when I was three years old.  On it, my nursery school teacher described me as “a mother hen”…which I now realize was her diplomatic way of saying I was a "bossy brat."

I would love to tell you that I have grown out of my “bossy” phase, but I haven’t.  I frequently catch myself saying to my husband, “Why can’t you just tell me I’m pretty?” Or, “You should have just stopped talking after [insert nice thing he said and delete obnoxious thing that came after].”  My husband’s frequent retort is “Just pretend I said that.”  It hurts my feelings when he says that to me, but someone has to keep my “bossy tendencies” in check, and I think that is what he is trying to do.   

Even the profession I chose feeds into my bossy nature.  As an attorney, I don’t get to boss people around, but my job does require me to persuade people that I am right.  Persuasion is really just a more subtle form of being bossy.  My job is to get the judge or clients, or whomever I am writing for, to say what I want them to say or to take the position I want them to take, without me coming out and telling them what to do.  One might say I’ve upped my game since nursery school…from “mother hen” to “professional manipulator.”  

It doesn’t give me any pleasure to admit these things about myself.  And, contrary to what one might expect, I don’t behave the way I do because I think other people are stupid or because I believe I am always right.  I simply have a need to be in control.  If you script a situation or a conversation, you have complete control over how things will progress…and you can be prepared for the future because you have seen what it holds…you wrote it.  By scripting my life, I’ve managed to choke out all the “messiness” that makes me scared of what is to come.  The problem with my approach is…life is messy.  Without the mess and chaos and spontaneity, there is no joy.  Life has become just a giant chess game for me.  I find myself spending so much time planning twenty moves ahead that I never actually move at all and I certainly don’t enjoy the game.

In my battle with infertility, I can’t script how each cycle will turn out.  If I could, I would have been pregnant a long time ago.  So, since I can’t script the outcome, I script every tiny detail of each cycle…obsessing about what supplements I take and when, producing inventories of my medications and needles, going through baby books to pick out names for a child I haven’t conceived.  I figure out when my due date will be if the cycle works, then modify it when the cycle changes, then modify it AGAIN when the cycle changes again.  Based on when the due date is, I decide what major holiday or event I will use as my big “I’m Pregnant” coming out party.  Two years ago I scripted how I will tell my husband that I am pregnant (I bought a maternity shirt that says “$$ Tax Deduction $$” on the belly, and I keep it hidden in my closet until the big day arrives).  I script and re-script how I will announce a pregnancy to our parents, our friends, and our employers.  And, when I have nothing left to script, I make a back-up plan for the cycle after the next cycle…so it won’t seem so devastating if the cycle I’m in doesn’t work out. 

Even this blog is a sort of script.  I write, as an author, the story of my fertility journey…pretending that I have total control over the ending of the story when, in fact, I don’t.  Maybe it is okay to have this crutch…this one place where I can pretend that I am scripting one of the most important situations in my life.  But the reality is, I don’t have control…and that is absolutely terrifying to a “mother hen” like me.


Lindsey said...

You crack me up, I swear we're twins. I do the exact same thing with the scripting. I have a rediculous excell spreadsheet (because I'm an engineer and thats what we do) and have it scheduled out by cycle for the whole year. I also built a beta doubling time calculator in my spreadsheet the other day, nevermind that i've never had a beta and you can easily just type your numbers in online. I trust my own calculations more... I have given up on thinking about when i'll tell people though, its started making me too sad.

Emily said...

I totally hear you in that I like to have control of things. Isn't it crazy how little control we actually have when it comes to infertility? So. Frustrating.

China Doll said...

"I find myself spending so much time planning twenty moves ahead that I never actually move at all and I certainly don’t enjoy the game."

Absolutely! I am also a control freak (but secretly think I AM right all the time!) and this lack of control is driving me crazy. Totally get where you're coming from xx

Christina said...

Ditto! It is so hard because while you can control what goes into your body, you can't control what it actually does!

If you're a mother hen, then I must be a momma ducky b/c I like to have all my ducks in a row!

New Year Mum said...

I'm with you on organising every last detail of the upcoming pregnancy that hasn't even happened yet !! I try to control everything and it drives me crazy that I can't "control" IF or what my body is doing :( I've wondered from time-to-time whether this is the lesson that I'm meant to be learning out of this nightmare... but then I just go back to controlling every last little detail that I can :)) Thinking of you xoxo

~ Alli said...

I can complete relate - I hate not having control over this aspect of my life. My entire life if I've wanted things to happen, I've just made them happen. And now that things have not, I don't know what to do with myself anymore. I just keep trying to find ways to distract myself. I hope you can find enough ways to 'let go' so they say.