Friday, February 22, 2013

the picture of perfection

On Monday, MBL and I became the very gleeful owners of a new (to us) minivan.  I've been wanting one for years now and we are finally at a place where it makes sense to purchase one.  The one we got is glorious.  After much debate and research we ended up with this one:

Only ours is black.  It's an IIHS top safety pick and if we were to ever get in a crash it basically explodes in cushions around you.  Buying this van felt weird.  For the last few months I have felt very uncomfortable about how people perceive our family.  You see, I get asked about my pregnancy a lot.  Which is so sweet and people really are just trying to be nice/polite/make conversation, but it almost always turns into talking about how perfect it is that I have a girl and now I'm having a boy and the fact that they'll be the "perfect" 2 years apart.  And now I have the perfect family car--a minivan--all I'm missing is the white picket fence!  Or rather the nice, new, larger house that I have been eyeing for months now.

I walk around with this perfect belly that measures just perfectly on and I feel like people look at me and just assume that everything is just "perfect".  While it is incredibly flattering to look like I have it all together, I want to explode in confessions every time someone makes a comment about how having a boy and a girl is perfect or about how it looks like everything is going well for us.  When people ask about what our plans for the future are, I always have to preface them by saying that we weren't planning on getting pregnant this year, which is completely true and yet sounds completely crazy as we were timing things and seeing doctors and contemplating IVF #4 at THE fertility clinic.  One of the teachers that works here had a late miscarriage (she was due a month after me) and every time I have to pass her in the hallway, I want to pull her aside and just confess everything.  I want to apologize for having to be pregnant right in her face.  I feel awful walking around with my belly.  Heck, one of the first events I had to attend for my current position involved going to a picnic where they made a big deal over the pregnant ladies getting to eat first.  I had just been to Colorado where my decreasing fertility was confirmed and we were looking at having to rob a bank in order to finance pursuing IVF again (not really, but there was no way we could afford to do things on my timeline).  I doubt the DJ at the event could have possibly understood how much that stung.

I don't know why the idea of perfection is bothering me so much, I *know* I'm not perfect, but I still feel uncomfortable having people look at me as anything other than a completely flawed human being.  Maybe it's because I work as a counselor and I want my students to see that the world can fall down around you and you can still be okay.  Or maybe it's because I think we are able to grow the most in our relationships with other people when we are completely honest with where we've been and the mistakes we've made.  Maybe it's because I've felt a lot of pressure from other people who seem to be perfect to me.  I remember my first year of marriage being just one level up from unbearable.  MBL had been single for so long that living with another person and sharing everything with them was super difficult.  We got in a lot of fights, we yelled at each other a lot, and there was definitely a time or two that I wondered if we had made the right choice.  All along there was my "perfect" cousin who chirped about how the first year of marriage was so easy and so wonderful and I just couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  And now MBL and I very happily married.  We went through total crap last year and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but we are on our way up and out and I know life can only get better and sweeter from here.  I saw this quote yesterday and couldn't help but think about how perfectly it fit our situation:

And maybe that is why I struggle with even looking anywhere close to having it together.  I want to share with people that I just don't.  I have crap fertility.  MBL and I sometimes yell at each other.  I sometimes get very frustrated with Piper.  I don't floss.  I don't always get up in time to work out.  I have graduate school loans and a car payment.  I sometimes feed my child Peeps.  My point is, that when people tell me how lucky I am I want them to know how much I've been through, how much I've struggled, just in case they've struggled too.  Just in case they're struggling right then and need to know they're not the only one.  I would love to have amazing fertility and stay home and be the "perfect" parent/wife/domestic diva, but those things aren't a reality for me and I think that just makes me appreciate what I have all the more.  It's because of what I have gone through that I appreciate what I have now even more!  It's because MBL and I went to h.e.ll and back last year that I can look him in the eyes and know that he is my one and only.  It's because of my infertility that I can look at Piper with incredible wonder and awe--this little girl is MINE, she's here after all of that!  I just wish there was a more succinct way to let people know that my life isn't so perfect, but it is pretty darn wonderful.  For now I'll just continue to smile and nod and search for the white picket fence to really seal the deal ;).

Have you ever felt the pressure from other people to be "perfect"? 
Do you ever find yourself looking at what other people have and feeling like they must have it all together?  Do you feel like you've learned the most from the hard times you've gone through? 
And, did anyone else out there have a tough first year of marriage?


  1. This is fantastic.

    I've struggled with the idea of perfection for a long time. In fact, everyone was blind-sided by my divorce because I was so committed to being viewed as "perfect". In the years since then, I've learned to be more transparent and my relationships have really grown because of it.

  2. I can really identify with this post. When things seem to be going so well for us, I sort of wish I had a sign that says, "It wasn't easy for us to get here! Don't envy us! We've worked really hard for this and spent a lot of money to get this child!" When you've been through a battle like infertility, sometimes you want your scars to show so that the others who are in the thick of it don't feel worse when they compare themselves to you.