Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I've been thinking a lot lately about purpose and drive versus drifting through life.

I think I drift.

That's weird thing to say, since to an outsider my life probably looks very purposeful. I'm moderately professionally successful, I've had interesting and intriguing jobs that have offered many intangible benefits (not a drone in a huge corporation working at a desk every day), I'm married to what appears to be a nice guy (to the vast majority of people who don't know our real story), I have a beautiful daughter (that took quite a lot to happen), we live in a historic house we're constantly renovating (which leads to many hilarious stories of home renovation), I have a long and varied list of friends, most of whom are far more interesting and successful than I am.

I suppose you could say my social mask is firmly in place, for the most part. I've always been able to be vulnerable, to admit in talking with friends and colleagues that maybe there's more? Or should be more?

I think what I lack is contentment. I've not fully found my place in life. And, frankly, some shitty things have happened in my life in the past few years. I had a hard time at a job I loved, and left for a job I hated and lost a few years toiling in a crappy job, my confidence shot. Reproduction has turned out to not be easy for me - an amazingly perfect daughter, plus a miscarriage, plus a traumatic pregnancy loss. And a husband that can't, or won't, be an equal, supportive partner emotionally, and who instead has an affair.

I posted a comment on Tash's blog yesterday about before and after. Before it all comes crashing down, and then life after. I remember so clearly going to the "routine" nuchal translucency test in January of last year. We brought our 15 month old daughter, for god's sake. I remember lying on the sonogram table, absurdly happy at all being there together, with a slight whiff of irritation that my daughter was in the midst of a mommy phase and struggling to get to me from my husband's arms. I thought, in those moments, that I had it all. While having our daughter had taken longer than I had wanted, it had all worked out. And now we were going to have a second, perfectly timed, exactly what I had always wanted. And I remember the technician going silent, and the doctor being called in, and her common-sense, slightly brusque manner as she pointed out what might indicate problems, though it was just barely outside the norm, just a hint of trouble, a shadow.

They suggested I go to the bathroom to clean off the gel, and sent my husband went to the genetic counselor's office as I numbly got off the table, whispering to myself it's probably nothing it's probably nothing. But once the bathroom door closed behind me, I burst into frantic tears before scrubbing my face and pasting on a smile for the genetic counselor who was too young, and too untouched by tragedy, so she could assure us, it's probably nothing.

So that's my before. And after? Loss of the much wanted baby - a boy, of course, I haven't typed that before, but of course it was a boy, a boy who would have perfectly filled out our family. Then struggles in our relationship, but counseling, and slow recovery. And then bam, my husband in love with his junior staffer, moving out, moving on with his life that he deserved, making him happy.

His affair sort of started (as far as I can tell) around the due date. I've been wondering, had it worked out, what might have happened. Would the pressures of a second child, the burden and the responsibility, have still led him in that direction? Or no? It's unanswerable, I think.

This wasn't supposed to be how this post went. Funny how you sort of outline a post in your head and then start typing and your fingers turn in a different direction. It was supposed to be how the next thing has always just seemed to come. About how I don't feel like I've chosen my life. About my questioning that - how do you choose a life? If you wake up and say, this isn't what I planned, can you consciously plan something else? But what if you don't know what that something else should be? How do you figure that out?


CLC said...

Hi- I found your blog via Tash's. I just want to say I am so sorry for the loss of your son. And I am also sorry that you are having such a tough time in your marriage. No one should have to deal with that much heartbreak.

I also believe that there's is no choosing in this life. I mean yes, you can choose a career, a spouse, etc. but life still happens and there are many things beyond anyone's control. And I wonder all the time if anyone is truly content, and if so, I would like to meet that person.

niobe said...

If you figure out the answers to that last set of questions, please, please, let me know.