On giving up

Henry would have been a work-week old today (that’s five days if you’re unemployed like me).

I still very much want a baby – one that lives. And I’m to-the-universe-and-back frustrated that I don’t have Henry to hold in my arms. If I sit and think about it too long, I may just start scratching the walls.

And, to be indiscreet, we’re not ‘as lucky’ as we were the first time. We’ve even gone for fertility tests. And I’m trying not to panic. It feels like parenting my own live child is a far-fetched fantasy that is painstakingly easy for others to achieve.

And I’d like to whine and complain for a few seconds about my misfortune in job-hunting. It seems that for the first time in my life, the well is dry. I’ve never had this much difficulty finding work.


Maybe there’s a gnome following my applications and story pitches through the interwebs, whispering in prospective employer’s ears about my shortcomings, eclipsing my virtues and sending me to the poorhouse, or just flat out telling them not to open my email because I smell like cat farts and wet my pants every day at 2:15, scaring off other employees. Or the gnome is telling prospective editors and publishers that I write like an elementary school child, and don’t know how to use proper punctuation or compose a decent nut-graf (one of the first sentences that tells you “oh, that’s what this article is about!”).




It’s not rock-bottom – it’s the asteroid belt. I’m swirling around and around and I’ve lost sight of my home planet. It’s enough to make me feel like giving up. The grass on your side of the fence is much greener than mine, you see. Mostly because mine is buried under three feet of ice and snow. Literally and symbolically.

Woe is me. I’m chugging along miserably on my one-lady pity train – the Bellybutton Express. I know there’s stops coming up where I can get off , stretch my legs, and prance far away from the noise of the pity party. There is a light at the end of this farcical tunnel. I just wish I could get there faster.

So that one day…

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Self-pity, my old friend

The walls that have comforted me these last months have now become too snug, and I find myself wallowing in self-pity today. I will have to fight and claw to get out of it.

The walls surrounding my pit are full of reminders of two big things I don’t have, with plenty of outside light poking in on them that reinforce these gaps in my life. Naturally, this inspires me to feel jealous of my friends, and like a failure.

I was supposed to be pregnant at Christmas. And, the Virgo that I am, had marvellous fantasies and visions of what this year’s holiday season would be like. I was supposed to have a big, round belly. Christmas chatter was supposed to be about the exciting impending birth of my son, with treats and surprises waiting for him under the tree. Dinner would have consisted of a sly sip of wine, followed by a giggle that I was getting my baby drunk.

The beautiful falling snow outside my window is a painful reminder that I can drink as much wine as I want this year, that my regular winter coat will fit me just fine, and that there will be no presents under the tree for Henry, who was supposed to be born a month after Christmas.

My attempt at motherhood is a failure. Something I have wanted for a very, very long time.

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Add to this my unemployed status. I’m a writer and editor, and I really enjoy working in communications. But all the jobs I see available in my town right now are for administrative positions. Which is fine. But I’ve become a snob. I selfishly want to be employed in the field that I worked hard to be in.

I’m in professional limbo. I feel somewhat ready to re-join the workforce, but I’m worried that I’ll be sloppy and have a wandering mind. I’m very capable of being professional and to not mix emotions and home life with work. But I’ve never had to incorporate the death of a child into my psyche before and put it in a safe place to look at once I’m back home for the day. What if I can’t do it? What if I’m not ready, and forging headlong into it will be professional suicide? Where can I fit in?

I see my friends working every day. Happy, or at least content. Innocent from the tragedy that I’ve experienced, and all I feel able to do is stare at my own belly button and let the world close in around me, welcoming the laughing, pointing finger that highlights two big holes in my life.

Self-pity isn’t a stranger to me. He announced himself this morning, laughing while hurling me in to my wallowing pit. He mocks me in a loud, confidant, booming, all-too-familiar voice that the two things that have always meant a lot to me aren’t a part of my life, even though they’re just out of reach. He points out that that’s exactly it – I’m not a mother to a living child, and the degrees hanging on my wall are just pieces of paper. All this work – nurturing a child who didn’t live, and earning an education that has not landed me a stable job. It has been for nothing. You can have this day, self-pity, but you can’t stay.