Few thoughts

I think it’s most likely a case of one’s brain blocking out the bad memories of what the early days of having a baby are like. I know that it was tough and I have no desire to do it again (because we don’t want more children) but the furthest thing from my mind was doing it without Chris. He would most likely disagree and has even told me that he would have more children just not with me… so I certainly am not here to give advice. I’ve just been thinking about why my experience of it all is so different to that of so many others.

I honestly think that becoming pregnant and having children had a very positive effect on our relationship. Chris in particular found the whole infertility process horrible. Probably mostly because of the effect it had on me. I don’t do stressful situations well and the miscarriages, IVF, bleeding in pregnancy,etc. really weren’t good for me at all. He had to be the strong, positive one while I was the extremely negative insomniac that was always expecting the worst.

Maybe it’s also because parenthood has made me realise that I could definitely not do it on my own, it’s just too hard and so that has forced me to TRY and learn to be a better, nicer person where Chris is concerned. I have a tendency to over react, get cross about unnecessary stuff and worry about unnecessary things. I’m a perfectionist and so in my ideal world everyone and everything around me should be perfect. Most of you know that having children isn’t like that – one needs to learn to go with the flow, one needs to stay calm when things get tough, one can’t worry about the little stuff.

I have had to learn to apologise, a lot. I think I’ve learnt to go with the flow a bit more and not over react too much. I definitely don’t worry as much as I used to. Living with someone who is always calm and relaxed, who never shouts or gets angry, NO MATTER WHAT has taught me that. It’s really tough because there aren’t really many people like that out there. He strongly believes that no situation ever warrants not speaking respectfully to each other. The other day I was chatting with a friend while running and he was telling me about some work colleague (in Joburg) that needed to get X-Rays of her foot because she’d been kicking and throwing things… the mind boggles. How can any work related issue (it’s an advertising agency) ever warrant throwing stuff? How can anyone ever throw or kick stuff because they’re angry? I’ve never understood that. I worked in numerous hospitals, in private Physiotherapy practices and then at schools. I don’t think that in those 9 years I ever heard anyone really shouting at anyone else (well, other than at  naughty children at school) certainly no one kicked or threw things (except the children at school again).

Getting back to Chris’s personality. I know that people at work have shouted at him and he has not reacted AT ALL. If he had, I think things would be very different. One such person that shouted completely unnecessarily is now extremely friendly and helpful to him. If, on that day that he’d shouted at Chris, Chris had shouted back, I don’t think they’d be where they are today. That’s just one incident that I know of, I’m sure there are others. Do you know how hard it is to fight with someone who doesn’t fight back or shout at someone who doesn’t shout back? Impossible. I still try and pick fights with Chris when I’m irritated and fed up for whatever reason but they never amount to much because he always fails to respond. It drives me nuts. That doesn’t mean that we don’t fight or argue but it never lasts very long and while I’m the type to bear grudges, he forgives and forgets immmediatly.

The work he does now is not often life-threatening although he does do a lot of cancer surgery and I think it was last week they had to remove a tumour from someone’s neck that was millimetres away from the person’s carotid artery. One slip of the scalpel or shake of the hand and the person would’ve been dead within a minute. I guess when that’s your work, it puts life into perspective and reminds you on a daily basis just what is important. Whether your baby cries, vomits, has a fever, won’t sleep when they’re supposed to, won’t eat, etc. that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. If you reverse into a friend’s car, lose an expensive rail ticket, don’t concentrate when your wife tells you stuff, etc. again that stuff isn’t worth getting upset over. I’m afraid I usually do though.

Another factor which has helped enormously (I THINK) is the fact that I don’t work. Firstly, I should probably say that having children (when you’re infertile) is actually cheaper than treatment, so financially having children has not put any strain on us whatsoever. I should also say that although I stay at home, I do still have full-time help and my parents live around the corner and my mom has retired but has lots of energy and is always happy to have the girls to play. I am at home with the girls but do still have the time (and opportunity) to exercise, do things for myself and we get to do things as a couple without the children a few times a week. At the moment most of that time is spent running but we’re still doing it together, without worrying about the girls.

Because I don’t work, Chris doesn’t really ever have to deal with household stuff – like shopping, admin stuff, fetching or carrying children and I get those things done during the week so that our weekends are free. He still helps a lot with the children – getting them up every morning while I’m still running, making Zoe’s lunch for school, bathing them and helping to put them to bed at night and looking after them anytime over the weekend when I need to do stuff or just have a break. He is always home in time for us to eat supper together and is usually home in time to play with the girls a bit before supper as well.

I do get tired of looking after the children sometimes. Children can be very demanding and draining and they’re not the kind of job one can ever really get away from. Unfortunately at the moment I am both of their “favourite” parent (I’m under no illusions that it will stay that way). Ava more so than Zoe and I still can’t explain why. If I’m anywhere around, they want to be with me. Bizarre. Running has “saved” me. I wasn’t in a very good frame of mind after Ava arrived but starting to exercise and doing so well at running has given me a new focus and I think that I am a different person. An added bonus is being in such great shape because everyone knows that if one looks good then one feels good. What I’m trying to say is that there isn’t a lot of pressure on either of us when it comes to home stuff. Chris’s job is hugely stressful and he is extremely busy while he is at work but he is 100% able to leave his work at work and not bring all that stress home. It is another remarkable quality that he has. The other important factor is that he loves his job. He doesn’t love all the admin side of things but he loves doing the work part. I have been told by many people (his professors and colleagues, not just the patients or from looking at all the before and after photos) that he is very good at what he does. To find something that you love to do, that allows you help people by making a real difference in their lives, that allows you to be creative, be accurate, problem-solve, etc. and be paid well to do it is a rare thing indeed. He is also pretty much his own boss. Having a husband that is happy in his job is a huge bonus.

I also do the type of work which I can go back to at any stage and can work as much or as little as I want to. You hear people say that they need to work to use their brain. There are many ways of keeping one’s brain working even when one isn’t actually working and I am fortunate that most of my friends don’t work or work part-time and so I get to spend my mornings and afternoons with my beautiful girls, my friends and my mom.

I know that I am extremely fortunate – we live in a city which I love, it’s a relaxed lifestyle, I get to take my children to the beach whenever the weather is obliging, I get to run along the beachfront everyday, we have lots of wonderful friends here. While everyone always wants more money, we really have more than enough and although I don’t earn any money Chris never questions anything that I buy or what I do with the money. I am in control of our finances and while that does come with some responsibility the fact that he earns what he earns means that I don’t have a difficult job at all. It’s easy to be happy when things are going so well. I’m scared to post this I guess I’m just asking for trouble.

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