When is hope not enough?

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Today I am consumed with thoughts of the future family I am not likely to have. I am reminded constantly that I do not have what absolutely feels a part of my identity even though it isn’t real. There are beautiful pregnant tummies everywhere, gorgeous newborns, prams, families, sweet little clothes, events for families, family gatherings, oo’ing and ahh’ing over friends and family’s children, … you get the picture. I feel as though I have lost this, possibly even lost a child. If it wasn’t enough my sister is pregnant again.

Yesterday my sister said “when I finish having children I’m going to have a breast reduction”. I had to wonder what she meant by when she finishes – “hasn’t she already finished?” Hang on…

In that moment I looked at her and asked what do you mean “when”? She just looked at me while I looked at her and realised she is pregnant!! We both had to laugh at the ridiculousness of this in the unhappy circumstance she is in.** I couldn’t have thought of a better way to make the situation worse for her if I tried!

I just cant help but be envious. I try so hard to be supportive but simply can not stop thinking and wishing it was me, surely it is my turn?! Why is it that she can get pregnant so easily and I can not? Why is she pregnant and in crappy circumstances when I could be pregnant and in less crappy circumstances? I want the oo’ing and ah’ing over my children. I want to buy clothes for my children. I want to watch my children learn to draw, dance, talk, walk, kiss, hug, pull funny faces, fall off beds, have conversations with cats, … you get the picture.

It’s so hard to be happy for her or to be supportive of whatever she will decide to do when I want that for myself sooo badly. I did suggest we could go away for a year and create a story about me being pregnant and returning with a child, i.e.. that I could have this child. Clearly this isn’t actually going to happen though. She will work it out.

Then tonight I was watching a sad tale of a couple who have been trying for ten years to have children. Mary is an Australian actress, being famous for her hilarious role in an 80s satire ‘Acropolis Now’. She and her husband were interviewed on 60 Minutes about their heartache and experience of multiple failed IVF rounds, but particularly about the still birth of their daughter. I cried with them and for them. In a strange way their experience emanated my own sense of grief. I’ve never lost a child but I do experience the same grief of not having a child I have been in love with for a lifetime.

Towards the end of the interview Mary talks about hope. In their hope they did more IVF and are pregnant again and this time it seems more positive. But she is sad, I can see that in her eyes and body despite her presenting as confident and happy. Her eyes say that she is already grieving for what may be another lost child. Perhaps I am projecting my own sense of lost hope? Perhaps I am projecting a need to know whether it is over yet, a need to know for sure when enough is enough. When do I give up? Will I ever give up?

**For many this would be a happy occasion but for my sister this is an unknown, potentially fraught with angst. Almost exactly two years ago she was announcing the same news. It was slightly happier but still fraught with angst. Like many relationships hers has come to an end…it hasn’t and continues to not be a clean break up. He cheated (not just once, but long term, after she knew and then discovered she was pregnant), addicted to dope, drinks heavily, is addicted to porn, is manipulative of others emotions… he is basically extremely immature and selfish in that same way. He now plays on my sisters guilt of wanting her daughter to have a loving and involved father but not being able to provide that. He also has started putting his own insecurities and guilt on to their little girl… I want to smack him sometimes!

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Online Dating – How to find Mr or Ms Right

Online Dating – How to find Mr. Right.

Last night was my occasional attempt at a trivia night with work colleagues and friends. We all admit we only go to trivia to catch up with each other and have lots of laughs – for a bunch of academics we are terrible at trivia. Without fail our conversation ends up on the topic of sex, online dating and a bit of vulgar banter. Often this conversation focuses on me and a male colleague as we are having such difficulty finding someone. Our gender makes our experiences quite different to the other, and we know that if he was gay he would have much better luck. Anyone who has been dating online for a while knows this but for him it is new territory. He seems so nervous and doesn’t know what to say to a girl online…because of course there must be some magical thing to say that ‘works’. He is also so lovely and I am amazed he has any difficulty. His biggest issue is which site to go on. Having used most of them I have an idea of the general type of person or purpose for each site and now adjust accordingly. So it was good to come across this article today ‘How to find Mr Right’. The post gives such easy pointers about where to start with online dating. Although it refers to “Mr” I feel the ideas apply to anyone so will pass it along to him.

My break-down of sites often used in Australia:

RSVP – good general site for anyone, there are enough questions that have to be answered to at least do some of the weeding out of the really gross people for you. The small fee for tokens to be able to email someone can also act to indicate genuineness and interest. There does seem to be a bit of debate about who actually does the token buying – mostly men are expected to do this it seems.

Blendr – can be confusing as many believe the site/app is about hooking up (aka the gay equivalent of Grindr), so be up front and get to the point about what you want. Attracts ANYONE. Beware of scammers.

POF (Plenty of Fish) – it’s free, it has an option to say upfront what you are looking for although it isn’t necessarily clear enough sometimes…as people have a variety of wants and needs. If someone has actually completed their profile it gives a reasonably good indication of who they are.

Oasis – completely about hooking up, one night stands, a bit of home video action, and exchanging dirty talk.

Craigslist – if you have a specific request (ie. for the weird, dirty, fetish, kink etc), or even just to advertise yourself and what you want, and want to remain totally anonymous until a point where you are comfortable this is the one for you. This site is used very differently in Aus than it is often is in the US etc. Beware the scammers and trols.

OkCupid – not bad, but I didn’t find there were enough people on this to provide ongoing use…especially outside of metropolitan areas (eg. Melbourne,Sydney).

eHarmony – I think this is the best with regards to the quality of people, although it is expensive. Once you are signed up though it is all included – no buying tokens. There are A LOT of sign-up questions but they are worth answering. The process is also good as you don’t have to communicate directly with the person first, instead requesting to see some of their core values etc.