Thoughtful Thursday: Out on a Limb

August 8, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the July/August Intelligentsia.

#44: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#38: A from Are You Kidding Me?
#36: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#26: St. Elsewhere
#24: Lori from Write Mind Open Heart
#19: Sara from Aryanhwy

Thoughtful Thursday

I don’t pry into people’s business, almost to a fault. Perhaps because my mother was so bothered by answering even simple questions about herself, even when asked by her daughter, I don’t tend to ask people about themselves. Unfortunately, it makes many conversations rather one-sided. At the end of meeting a new person, they probably know all about me — because they’ve asked — but I know almost nothing about them — because I haven’t asked. My non-nosiness doesn’t usually do me any favors socially, as most people actually like to talk about themselves.

And so of course I never ask other people about their family building paths, even when I can speculate that their road hasn’t been easy. Tamale’s best pal is a girl named Eve. They’ve been classmates for a year and a half, so almost half their lives (and the only half that they remember). Eve has two mommies, and so it’s reasonable to assume that at least some level of special effort went into bringing her into the world. But, I’ve never asked. We’ve spent a lot of time together at playdates and school functions and school pickup/dropoff, but we’ve never gone there.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago while I was dropping Burrito and Tamale off at school, out of nowhere Eve said to me, “My mommy is trying to give me a baby.” Hmm.

And so, I went out on a limb. I was emailing her moms about something else, and knowing that they have no relatives in the city who could babysit Eve at the last minute, I added an offer. I told them what Eve had said, and just in case giving her a baby involved an RE, they’d be free to call me and drop Eve off if they ever had a last-minute appointment. That I’d spent many years “trying to give myself a baby” and that I knew how the process can involve unpredictability.

The next morning at school I saw one of the moms, the one who had given birth to Eve. She thanked me for my offer and then, on the sidewalk, we got into a long talk about IVF and inconvenient scheduling and working really hard to have a baby.

I haven’t seen them since then, and I don’t know if they’ll ever call, but I still feel good about having made the offer, about having put myself out on a limb. Infertility treatments are such a lonely process; I hope that I made them feel a little less alone.

When was the last time you put yourself out on a limb?

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5 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Out on a Limb”

  1. St. Elsewhere Says:

    I would beat you in any nosy business competition. I am fairly open about my first loss, and I spill it easily that the journey to Figlia was not easy.

    There are two recent episodes that had me out with prying questions: One was a stranger/ neighbour in a different block, who on watching F play asked me if she was an only child. What then followed through and came out of it was that her daughter is also a second child, that both her pregnancies were super difficult, and the girl I saw was going to be an only child, because they are not building their family.

    Another Curious Tom club hit was some mail conversation I had with an ex-blogger. I knew her story only till the blog was updated. However, there had been huge changes in her landscape since then. I asked her to fill me in on the gaps, and she did.

    The last time I went out in a limb was when I offered my SIL my house and hospitality for the duration leading up to her delivery, and post-baby. I offered to get my niece admitted to a school in my city, and that she could be with us with the new baby, since things were tough for them for different reasons. I did this when I was still dumbstruck by her need to keep her pregnancy private from the family (and hence me by default).

  2. strongblonde Says:

    Last night at book club!!! (First of all, I consider it going out on a limb that I even *attend* book club!! I remotely know these ladies and only see them every 6 weeks for this function. I MIGHT not even recognize them on the street!!) I generally don’t get into my medical history with people. They generally don’t know how to respond and it just makes everyone feel awkward. I can’t remember how it started, but somehow it came out about my cancer and treatments and whatnot. I ended up answering a lot of questions for people about how to respond to a friend’s cancer diagnosis, how to offer help, etc. I think it was helpful for them and it helped me feel a little more open with the group. 🙂

    Maybe it’s too simplistic, but I also think of myself as going out on a limb every time I go to preschool drop off or pick up. I have to force myself to say something to the other parents. Maybe it’s because I’m dreadfully shy, maybe it’s because they are too clique-y with the other parents/kids who are there every day?? who knows, but I make an effort (and feel slightly uncomfortable and exposed) every single time!!!

  3. Elana Kahn Says:

    I offered to be a fellow doula’s backup even though I’m extremely busy. And I then gave her extensive email support through both births (which she got to attend – she didn’t need me after all!) It made me feel really needed, and she was super appreciative. So much so that she’s going to be my backup doula for my own birth (in case my friends can’t make it) as well as the backup for my next client (who’s due in a few days). 🙂

  4. Sara Says:

    I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit since first reading the post and the question and…

    Maybe I’m not thinking back in the right direction, but I am honestly not coming up with something that would count as “out on a limb” in this sort of way, the out-of-the-ordinary revealing or offering of something personal in the hopes it will help someone else out. And to be honest, this makes me a bit ashamed. Maybe there are opportunities that I’ve missed. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to spot such opportunities better, and make use of them.


  5. I can’t remember the last time, which probably means it’s time I stop hugging the trunk.

    When the kids were younger, I did have my antenna out for other adoptive families. But one time I had the sense I was too far out on that limb, and I felt the woman back away. I have not been so brave since.

    I think you are a good conversationalist. I worry that *I* ask *you* too much!


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