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Wednesday, February 16, 2011
7:11 PM | Posted by Marnee Bailey | | Edit Post
It’s no secret I have two kids. My eldest is four and my youngest is 8 months. But, what you might not know is how much effort went into having my two kiddos. I’ll spare you the gory medical details and just tell you that I’ve spent so much time at my fertility specialist’s office over the last five years that I know all the nurses by first name, my son was given a Lightning McQueen toy by one of them for his birthday, and I spent almost a half hour last week gabbing with the receptionist when I ran into her at Walmart, complete with, “How’s your son enjoying his last year at college?”
I sent them a Christmas card last year.
I always wanted a huge family. I’m one of three and loved having siblings. My hubby is one of four and felt the same. When we talked of marriage and family, we’d settled on at least three but probably four. Four babies. A house full of noise and chaos and mess and clutter and love.
After almost a year of working with doctors, we got pregnant and had our first, one of the best days of my life. And a year later, we stepped back through the doors of our fertility specialist. But, as the months dragged on, full of poking and prodding and drugs and diets and procedures, we began to worry our first would be our only. I cried, I lost sleep, I followed every medical recommendation they gave me, I researched like a manic, all the while raging against the powers that be. This wasn’t fair, I’d think. We were doing everything they asked us to do. We wanted four, not an only child.
I knew I was being selfish and I’m not proud of these feelings. There are lots of women who have and have had worse experiences than me. I know this. There are women who aren’t able to have even one child. I had one and I adored him to pieces. With the problems I had, a hundred years ago I wouldn’t even have had that baby. I knew I was very lucky. But I couldn’t help thinking that this wasn’t how I planned it. When I dreamed of motherhood, this wasn’t how I pictured my future.
At my worst, I felt like a failure. It was, after all, my stupid body giving us these problems. I’d feel resentful of those who had babies so easily. Of those who would say, “I just walked by my husband in the hall and got pregnant.” Resentful and horribly, miserably jealous. I wanted to be like them. I’d smile, try so hard to be happy while my friends got pregnant and had gorgeous little angels. And I was happy but a small, sad little part of me would still be thinking, why not me? I’d see the news and I would wonder why God would send kids to abusive, horrible families that didn’t really want them and not to our family.
But, as I cried to my doctor after a very low time, asking why there wasn't more they could do--they made babies down the hall in test tubes!--she tried, very gently, to explain that science only goes so far. After that, it’s out of their hands. In her words, “There are just some things we can’t control, no matter how hard we try.”
Apparently, this is not an easy lesson for me. My control freak OCD tendencies encompass lots of things, including my writing. I spent the last year and a half trying to plot and plan my story, thinking that if I can just figure it all out, it’ll be perfect. But, after planning it all the way through multiple times, I’d start to write only to find that it was missing the luster.
I realized a few weeks ago that this was definitely a case of “science only goes so far.” I can plot and plan all I want, but really, the craft of writing can only take me so far. After that, the rest of it comes from that intangible “something” that I can’t really control. It’s just there, inside me. It’s my voice, it’s my way of seeing the world, it’s the way I string words together and the things that make me, “me.”
“Science,” my reliance on craft, can get me a large chunk of the way, but in the end, great writing requires a leap of faith.
Because there are just some things we can’t control. And that, just as in baby-making, is where the magical stuff really happens.
I feel like the craft part comes easier for me and the magic part is where I have difficulty letting go. Are you like me, a bit of a control freak? Or do you fling yourself into the magic (Chance?)? I suspect it takes both to really excel in this industry—craft and the magic. If you feel stronger on one side, how do you get yourself to incorporate what doesn’t come as naturally? I know we can take classes to improve craft but what things can we do to help beef up the “magic” in each of our voices?
Labels: Gunner's Grumblings (Marnee)