Becoming Buddhist

Attempting to Live a More Mindful Life

1 Comment


I tend to write these blog posts in my head while I’m doing dishes, walking around, and of course, meditating (though I try try try try not to). These past ten days I’ve been tossing around ideas, little bits and pieces, but nothing sticks. I just sort of drift on. I’m able to focus when I’m working–I’m amazed at how much I have gotten done in the past month, writing-wise–but sometimes in life I feel not present. I’m meditating when I can, though it seems every rare morning when I have the energy to pop up at seven and get on the zafu that’s the morning Lex wakes up at seven, too. Then the mornings when I cannot get out of bed, he also sleeps in, and then I regret not having taken advantage of the extra half hour. (An aside: since he was born we have had this very slight symbiotic/sympathetic thing going on. It’s like he knows it’s a morning he should sleep in, since I’m clearly planning to.)

Today when I got up I decided I just had to acknowledge the reason for the sleepiness, and the drifting.

DriftingJelliesI feel really, really weird lately. And I believe fertility drugs are to blame.

Now, I am a pretty notoriously natural Mama. I cook almost everything from scratch, I take a slew of high-quality supplements every day. I don’t drink Coke or eat crap. This commitment is very much a part of me. In fact, it was a pretty big surprise to everyone when, during my brutally long labor with Lex, I huffed nitrous oxide from a mask and accepted the epidural. And trying to make numero dos has also made me decide to embrace the dubious powers of Western medicine. To wit: Clomid. HCG shot. Now, progesterone supplements.

The Clomid was pretty much fine, though I do think my slightly irrational behavior last week might be attributed to it. The HCG shot made me feel pregnant, which is bittersweet. But this progesterone, oof. I slept ten hours on Sunday night. Monday afternoon, I took an hour-long nap. And today I woke up with vertigo and nausea and couldn’t do my sun salutations. Over the weekend I tried to have a couple glasses of wine and the hangover was outrageous.

I don’t feel unhappy, I have to say, though the mood swings have been a little much. Last week I was crying one minute, and the next, I danced into the kitchen singing “Wishing Well” by Terrence Trent D’Arby, prompting Marc to ask me if I thought I was bipolar. (Not bipolar, just a true child of the eighties.) He and I are fighting all the time, but that’s probably his fault (kidding!). I don’t doubt my great love for him, or for Lex. I just feel kind of foggy, strange.

More strange, though, is that I have no desire to go off the progesterone. I take the pill, and wait. I think maybe my body feels like it wants it. Maybe it’s addictive. Who knows.

Ah, the mindful approach to fertility drugs. What does that even look like? This?


November 7, 2012

Three days in.

I realized something about myself last night. I realized two things, actually. One: I think in terms of getting through things, like, “if only Obama gets elected, everything will be okay,” (done!) or, “if I get pregnant, all my problems will be solved.” The revealing thing last night was that in the elated moments after my guy won, I had a call from a doctor friend to discuss my disappointing fertility and there I was, five minutes later: down in the dumps, thinking about my next hurdle to cross. Like: check the election off the list; now move on (drudgingly, cheerlessly) to the next problem.


Do I think once I achieve the things I want, I will be “fixed?” “Enlightened?” That I will have achieved happiness, perfection, success, maybe even Buddhahood, that ultimate goal? I am reading, in Basics of Buddhism, about the ten states of being, e.g., Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity, Rapture, Learning, Realization, Bodhisattvahood, and Buddhahood.

The beach at Tennessee Valley Road

I am not entirely clear, yet, what all these states mean, or whether we move through them willy-nilly or progress through and find ourselves, at a certain point in our lives, arrested at one of the stops, waiting to move on. Or whether we move through these states in different lives. I am still learning. (But let’s just say that numero diez, Buddhahood, is a long ways off for yours truly. I will be amazed if I hit Bodhisattvahood.)


The other thing I realized last night was much more pedestrian, but also more important in some ways. The conversation with my friend was to get a second opinion about a very expensive test that my doctor, Dr. A.,  says I should get. Expensive, like, three-grand-out-of-pocket expensive. When my friend asked me why the doctor wanted to give me this test, all I could say was, “I don’t really know.” Steph suggested I take a very different and more simple route, an ultrasound. It should cost, she said, a couple hundred dollars.

On the way home, with Marc, and Lex sleeping peacefully in his carseat in the back, we turned off the radio for a minute and just talked it through.

“I just get these one-line emails back from the doctor,” I said. “I don’t understand her logic, whether I really need this test or whether it’s just the next thing in the line, the next step in the usual infertility process. It seems to me that there is a better test out there for me—Steph seems to think there is—but I don’t know because Dr. A. hasn’t told me.”

Marc: “Have you asked?”

No, I had not asked. What I had done was email and tell Dr. A. that given the expense of the test, I might hold off for a while. What I secretly hoped was that she would write back and say, “Well, given the financial constraints, maybe we should consider a different approach. Let’s schedule a phone call to discuss.” Instead, I got back an email that said: “The order will stand when you’re ready. — Dr. A.”

Then Marc dropped a bomb.

“Are you worried she won’t like you if you ask for what you need?”

He really should reconsider this law gig and become a therapist, methinks.

The question made me feel very sad. Sad because the answer was yes. I think in my struggle to be more laid back—that Sisyphean task—I mug something like calmness, a defense mechanism, maybe, and people who don’t know me very well respond as though I am indeed calm and laid back. They think I am treating things lightly. When in reality:

I have realized in the past month how badly I want to be pregnant again.

I have realized that I have this kind of fog around my own fertility, many questions about whether my very harrowing birth with Lex a few years back caused some sort of uterine trauma that has made me infertile.

And that I am terrified to find out.

But that not knowing is killing me.

And that I am not asking very well for what I need: information, and a plan.

And that I do not feel laid back or calm about any of it.

In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin says something to the effect of, “I wanted to take myself more seriously, and also less seriously.” I so know what she means. I want to be laid back, calm, Zen. And yet it may be that the only way I get there is to take myself more seriously.

On today’s to-do list: write another email to doctor, asking for more information and a better plan.