On A Scale

When I started my infertility treatments last week my doctor asked me how badly I wanted a baby.

“On a scale from one to ten, one being that you do NOT want a baby, and ten being that if you don’t have a baby soon you WILL TAKE UP PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT THE STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL, how desirous are you to have a baby?”

I looked out the window at a gorgeous view of Timpanogos Mountain. It was two years ago that I could’ve easily said “ten.” But Time took me by the hand and showed me that it was having children that made one move into the State Mental.

Recent conversations played back in my mind’s movie theater:

“My friends came to visit and he took off his poopy diaper, stuck his hands in it and rubbed it all over the carpet.”

“. . . then she got into my 2 gallon shampoo bottle and spilled it all over the bathroom. There isn’t one drop left in the bottle.”

“He came home with a note from his teacher explaining that he failed to follow instructions at school the entire day.”

“When we had dinner last night, my daughter wouldn’t come because she says she’s too fat to eat.”

“He built is own fireworks for our family Fourth of July party. Now the police are pressing charges.”

“She tells me that she plans on moving in with her boyfriend next year when she is finally 18.”

“He married her. He married the alcoholic! What are the chances that my son’s fourth marriage will possible last through the end of the year?”

“I am so tired.”

“I am always tired.”

“This is hard.”

I looked at my doctor and sighed.

“Eight.”

I replied.

Eight is good, right?

24 thoughts on “On A Scale

  1. Complaining is so easy. I do it all the time. The words easily slip out of my mouth and down the hall or into the family room, words of frustration and failed expectation for my children. But complimenting, reminiscing, laughing, and gratitude-ing are easy too. Just overlooked (mostly by me).

    Can I tell you how great my kids are? I could spends pages.

    So, eight is a good number. It’s probably where most moms are. Love and desire and warm mushy feelings, with a healthy dose of fear, gross-out, anxiety and uncertainty.

    Stand confidently next to that number, and give it a big hug. You’re in a good place (and in good company).

  2. I’ve been there, Courtney. Hang in there! Whatever you feel at the moment is just fine. There were moments I was a ten, and moments I was a one or two.
    And sometimes I felt guilty for feeling the way I felt. Such a waste of time.

    Now that I’m a Mom (through the wonderful gift of adoption), there are still moments I’m a ten and moments I’m a one. Usually I’m in the middle somewhere. Like eight. Eight is a good place to be.

  3. Justine, how did you get so wise. You know how much I look up to you?
    Sally, thanks for the encouragement. One of my favorite parenting posts is the one you posted awhile back about the lady at church. Something for me to look forward to, right?

  4. I love that you have watched from the sidelines and get the reality of it. While no one is ever fully prepared for what Parenthood does, you will be better equipped than many.

  5. This morning I was at a 2 and ready to surrender custody to you. I am so grateful that in our house, as it will someday be in yours, there is another person who shares the load and is nice to your child those times when you just can’t be.

    This afternoon I’m in 7 territory.

  6. My wife and I just had our second child–a little girl–after three tries at the fertility clinic.

    Our first child came so quickly, we assumed that the second wouldn’t be a problem. Not so!

    My wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with our son, and then a confirmed diabetec after the birth. Diabetes was just one factor that made conceiving the second child so difficult.

    I think my wife was at a 6 or 7 when we started the treatments. After two heart-breaking tries, she was up to an 8 or 9, telling the doctor to do whatever it took to get her a baby.

    Babies and children in general are a lot of work, no doubt about it! I don’t know how my wife manages. Of course, it helps to have good carpet cleaner for the poopy diaper disasters! :-)

    I think my wife is probably at a 2 or 3 right now. Since she is the one who has to do all of the work in pregnancy, I’m letting her decide if baby number three is a possibility.

  7. Motherhood is alot like marriage. Looking at the examples around you can seem discouraging sometimes. And you really can’t appreciate everything you’re getting into when you say, “I do.” But that doesn’t make it any less worth it.

  8. For the majority of the time before we found Jooj I was at a 20. A sobbing, pathetic 20. Two or three months before her birth I was fine being at a 3, because I finally felt like I was at a place in my life where I could accept what needed to be and what maybe would never be. Then we got the call and I went to a 1 instantly. I was terrified and felt like I needed a month or two more. Then I held her and heard her birthmother sobbing in the other room and went to a -20. I would have given her back and had my heart broken for a thousand years if I could have stopped that pain for her. I guess that was my first glimpse into motherhood–that desire to take the pain away. (Because I am pretty selfish without that motherhood.) Then we took her to the Eckton’s and she peed right on my hand and I was at a 10. Then she was all quiet and slept all the time and I stayed at the 10 spot. Then she turned 18 months and I went back to 2. Then she looked right at me today and launched herself off of the couch and I was at a 3. Then she sang that “A says AAAAUGH!” and I was back to an 8. But to have another one? Man, I need an angel to bring me a 6, engraven on a golden plate, at least.

  9. Eight is a perfectly suitable place to be. Hitting a ten and holding to that ten is not practical in this life. Your ability to be so open about this subject is amazing As most other commentors have stated, parenting is a roller-coaster.

  10. So, one day not long ago my 7-year-old daughter drops the bomb.

    “Mom, do you ever wish you weren’t a mom?”

    gag! What am I supposed to say to that????

    I said no. Because there’s a difference between wishing my kids would disappear, and being happy if it actually happened.

    There’s a whole realm of emotions that belong only to the thought-sphere. Like wishing your obnoxious husband would perish in a fiery car crash so you could start over with someone else. In the moment when you feel that, the feeling is genuine, fresh, vivid. But were you to speak it, it would instantly rot. Because it’s not what you really want “out there.” It’s just what you want, temporarily, “in here.”

    If all my “in here” desires were to become reality, o what a circus that would be.

    And I’ll tell my daughter all about the circus once she’s a mom.

  11. OK, did you all love Pres Hinkley’s talk in Women’s Conference about the lady who asked Heavenly Father if she could just “go home” for one night, promising to return the next day to face the chaos she called home? I LOVED THAT.

    “I’ll come to you, instead.”

    That makes it easier to keep parenthood and mothering up above a 5.

    And Courtney, I love you too, girl.

  12. Courtney, I know you don’t know me personally, and I came into your life in a way that many people may think is “strange.” I am sorry if I lurk around and read your posts and pretend that I know you, even though I have never REALLY spoken to you. But there is something I have to tell you. When I found your page because I saw Chris in that movie and was so inspired by him, I honestly thought I knew why he stood out to me so much. I thought it had to do with a certain co-worker of mine. That may have been the reason then, but since I “met” you I have come to a different conclusion.
    You are an amazing woman. You are so inspiring. Your love for life and your testimony help me to make better decisions in mine. Your post about fulfulling the measure of our creation brought me to tears and changed my life. You are such an example to me of how life should truly be lived.
    I believe Chris stood out to me so I could find you. I am at that awkward 21-year-old stage when I am not seriously dating or starting a family like all of my friends are, and I am sure a mission is not for me – and it was starting to take it’s toll. Then I found you and your wonderful blog, and I realized that not being married at 21 isn’t the end of the world. There are so many things I can love and enjoy while living a single life!
    So I guess this is a long thank you note. Thanks for being you, and being in this world and sharing your beautiful life with the rest of us.

  13. To Katie,
    I got married at 27. Lived a single life for a lot longer than I ever imagined I would. Went on a mission even though it didn’t feel right for me for all the months before I finally made a 180-degree turn (not saying you “should” serve one — it’s really OK if you don’t — just saying I know what it’s like to be where you are). Went to graduate school. Moved across the country. Started a career. Got really good in my career. (All things that weren’t on my radar screen of things I wanted to do or even thought would be options.) Stressed and stressed and stressed about making the right decisions to be in the right place to meet the right person, and stressed and stressed and stressed about the relationships with good guys that just didn’t feel right and painfully ended. I started to doubt myself and my life and my path.

    You know what? If I could go back, I would simply. not. worry. Or at least try not to worry so much. Stay close to God, and live your life to the fullest!!! He’s the best life manager ever. He knows where He needs you, and where you need to be. You are in an amazing, unique and wonderful time of life, really. As much as you possibly can, enjoy it. I called that time “Michelle’s excellent adventure.” I just wish I would have trusted God more that my plan, my path was different and that was OK. Because of that path, my life now as wife and mother is so rich. I lived a dream I never knew I had, even though it was not one that I pursued, not one I initially had for myself. It was one God had for me and He led me to it.

    Indeed, there are soooo many things you can do and love and live during this wonderful time in your life. Go girl!

  14. p.s. to threadjack (sorry!)
    I never counsel young women to take any one specific path (except to get all the education they can, as the prophet has counseled). Some get married right away, and if God leads them to do that, then I say, Go girl! Whatever God leads one to do, that is the right thing to do. And it is simply different for each one of us.
    OK, I’m really done now. :)

  15. Sometimes I think we feel like we have to be totally passionately devoted to someone or something all the time to really commit to it. But really, does anyone operate on such a constant high? We need those moments sometimes, but I think it would be exhausting to dwell on such an intense level all the time. So I speculate that true charachter and success is built upon steady commitment to moving forward even in those less than desired moments.

  16. I’ll start off on a positive note and regress from there. Reasons why I am at a ten: My daughter (3) told me that for Halloween I should dress up as the best mom in the world because I already am that. My son (11 months) has learned to give high-fives and fold his arms when we pray. But, last week I dropped into the negatives for sure. With my husband out of town, my son and I both developed pink eye and the flu. My perfectly healthy daughter was bored and going crazy and driving ME crazy. I feel like when the numbers are up there on the scale it’s like a sugar high; it doesn’t last long but it sure is satisfying. And when they are low, you think it’s never going to end. The roller coaster emotions of infertility will do nothing but prepare you for the roller coaster emotions of parenthood.

  17. Katie, you are so sweet. I am glad to know that we are enjoying this adventurous life together. I will be excited to see where life takes the both of us! Until then, we’ll live it up.
    8s all the way!

  18. I’m sure you get this a lot, but cjane, my friend, you are INSPIRED… I’ve decided that a healthy dose of you each day cures what ails me! I can’t count the times that i read your blog and what you’ve answered, solved, and resolved the problem i couldn’t identify myself. I think part of the reason you’re struggling is so that you can help chicks like me stay sane… we’ll try to get our acts together so you can move on with life! but for now, thanks for the therapy- you really should charge more!

  19. cjane, 8 is the new 10. 8 turned on its side (like that ever happens, right?) is an infinity sign. 8 is very very good.

    I doubt I could accurately pinpoint my own number, though it feels a lot like 8 on its side.

    8 is accountable. 8 is great. 8 is a snowman. 8 is shooting pool. 8 is round like a woman.

    I had an epiphany a couple mornings ago. Some epiphany–where have I been?–but here it is: Raising children means raising people. People are mortally messy and the experience is not going to be all smiles. Why did that have to come to me as a ding-ding-ding epiphany? I already knew that. It felt something like a “Let’s just make sure we’re on the same page” moment, not unlike having a doctor say, “So, just how much do you feel you want this, on a scale of 1 to 10?”

  20. you’re great court! my friend read the post i wrote the other day and when she called me to talk about it she said, your blog made me realize that i am so lucky to be in a place where i am the one making the decisions about what to do with my time. i don’t have people pulling me a million different directions. she’s single; she’s thirty-something; she’s in new york going after her dreams, hey, what’s not to like?

    but being pulled, pooped on, and potentially heart broken because of your children is a good place to be as well. enjoy it, like you say!

  21. Here’s the thing. No matter how often it’s a two or a five or even when it dips down into the negative numbers there is usually (I have had enough friends and family with wayward teens to be fully aware it’s not always ALWAYS) that moment at the end of the day when you bend down to kiss their sleepy heads and it doesn’t matter if it’s the soft fresh scent of baby shampoo and clean pajamas or the earthy aroma of grass and sweat that greets your nose or if they made you sob or scream or laugh hysterically that day, you still would say a perfect 10.

    Prayers for you wherever you are on a scale…

  22. sorry to be chiming in so late in the conversation…

    I can honestly say that consistently I’m about a 5 in the parenting game.

    And you know what? I think I’m Ok with that. I think it’s more damaging to myself to be wishing or hoping for something else…something more. I love my kids. I feel an overwhelming sense of devotion to their todays and tomorrows. But, I still am about a 5.

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