I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of these blues. There didn’t seem to be any logical catalyst for them. After all, I have a Perfect Husband, a Dream Job, a Beloved Dog and an Inexplicably Loved Cat. I am about to move into a new house, which I get to redecorate thanks to the Generous Father Grant (Perfect Husband talked him down to half of the original offered amount, so we have pride AND money!) and I live in a city which is overflowing with beautiful views. I can’t wait to have a baby and my husband has promised that we can start trying as soon as I cheer up a bit.
So why do I find making it through the day so very nearly unbearable?
I think I’ve got it figured out.
Allow me to post a small timeline.
Fall 2008 – I am generally happy, and plan to have a baby some time in the next year. I reason that I should be going up a level in my apprenticeship in February, leading to increased pay, benefits (which all full time employees at my work are entitled to, except lowly level one apprentices who apparently don’t count), and general rainbows and sunshine. I picture myself showing up in Nova Scotia for my friend’s wedding with a belly just starting to swell with something other than poutine and garlic bread.
Christmas 2008 – when my boss is annoyed with my coworker, he decides to drastically change the requirements to move upwards in our apprenticeship, now making a promotion even within the next year uncertain, let alone in February. The Big Big Boss disapproves of this step, and countermands the order. My boss chooses to ignore the countermand, and neither I nor my coworker have any chance of moving upwards in our apprenticeship.
January 2009 – Since the Powers That Be cannot agree on whether or not the new requirements are above and beyond the call of ridiculousness, any potential for moving upwards in my apprenticeship is permanently stalled. Despite being told that the new requirements definitely do not apply, neither do the old ones seem to, either. I begin to accept the fact that I may be an apprentice until I am old and grey.
Promotion? NO CAN HAS.
At the end of the month, I turn 27, and my coworker gives birth to her second son. I hold the baby in my arms on my birthday and something in my heart squeezes so hard that I walk around in sorrowful despair for the rest of the day.
April 2009 - I decide that since there’s no point waiting around for a promotion that will never come. I have now passed the point where I could be adorably expecting in time for my visit home, and my stress over the last few months has led me to eat like a heifer. I am the heaviest weight I have ever been. I decide to seriously cut all carbs out of my diet, planning to be thin in time for my friend’s wedding. I reason that since I’m going to gain 20 pounds during pregnancy anyway, I might as well lose it first, so i don’t end up 20 pounds heavier than THIS. My reward for eschewing all carbohydrates? A baby.
May 2009 – 12 pounds lighter, I am pleased with my progress. My work situation still depresses me, but I look forward to buying a house, and having a baby. Perfect Husband and I even pick up a copy of What To Expect from Value Village (hey, it was three dollars) and I read it cover to cover. It moves into the bathroom, from which Perfect Husband emerges periodically saying things like “Oh my gawd, I feel so sorry for you”. I spend a lot of time looking for in-the-womb photos of fetuses in development, and researching things like pre-natal stimulation and watching YouTube videos of nine month old babies who can recognise short words. I study baby sign and teach myself how to fold a cloth diaper (thank you, YouTube).
Then my coworker moves, and feeds me pizza and un-diet coke. Given a new rush of sugar of which it had been deprived for over a month, my addictions return in full rage. I spend the next couple of weeks trying to avoid carbs, but then succumbing and stuffing my face anyway. I begin to gain the weight back. I am frustrated with myself, and my body. I loathe it, and I loathe myself for being unable to resist the desire to eat. I am no closer to having my baby, and I begin to accept the fact that it might be baby… or body. But if I wait for body, I might never have a baby.
Thin body? NO CAN HAS.
June 2009 - My husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary, and begin to neglect condoms. This is followed very shortly after by The Great House Breakdown. Perfect Husband realizes how much the hopelessness of work and unsuccessful dieting is weighing on me. He is used to my having bouts of depression, usually in winter, but this is worse than usual. Unfortunately, he’s read that damn What To Expect and has seen what effects depression can have on the fetus. He requires me to get fixed up with a doctor before we start trying for a baby.
Baby? NO CAN HAS.
Okay, I think. After all, his reasoning is sound. I know he’s right, because he’s always right, damn his hide, which is all part of his perfection. I’ll get help. I’ll be happy and THEN have a baby. It sounds good. Until I promised my husband to get help, I didn’t fully realize how much my misery had been weighing me down. It was like a birth defect or something – something which hinders me occasionally, but which I’ve always managed to work around and which I’ve stopped really thinking about. But soon I’ll be free – getting help! Maybe taking a pill which might restore my lost energy, lost libido, lost ability to sleep soundly, and which may remove my intense carbohydrate cravings, thus also reducing my weight. I could be thin, and sexy, and pregnant, all at once! Sure, I’d still be underpaid and unappreciated in my job, but what of that?
July 2009 - I go home to Nova Scotia, spend far too little time with my family and friends, whom I realize I have missed terribly. My friends out West are still getting to know me, and faced with the new, gloomy, quiet and hermit-like Carol, they have backed off. When I lose control and cry at work, they don’t know how to help. They argue against me, instead of commiserating. They try and cheer me up by telling me that it’s not so bad, that I’m overreacting, when really what I need is support and validation. My loved ones are too far away to be there when I need them. I live more and more on the internet, because it is my fastest portal to the people who have known me for over a decade. The trip flies by far too quickly. My hopes rise and fall with the Late Period Panic. And then… the infamous doctor re-visiting.
Help for your depression? NO CAN HAS.
Now, I understand that one can’t just plunge into a spoiled funk when things don’t go one’s way. The depression isn’t because of these things, but simply fed by them, like a monster under the bed who eats your singleton socks. I feel powerless. I feel invalidated. I feel denied. And the more I mourn the baby that never was, the further I take myself from finally holding the baby that someday will be. The more I withdraw from the life that seems too much, the further I push my tentative new friends. It seems like the most useless, hopeless cycle.