After seeing a few interviews posted on some blogs, I decided to sign up for Neil's interview project.
I got to interview Queenie, of Baby, Borneo or Bust. I read a bunch of her archives and came up with some questions that, in my typical style, are pretty wordy. Queenie was nice not to complain about that.
Me: It is interesting to me to have gotten your blog in this experiment, as I am a fellow survivor of infertility. Our paths have been quite different, but I can relate to a lot of what you write about experiencing. I started blogging about my infertility after my older daughter was born, by which time I had talked to a lot of people in real life about what my husband and I went through. Is your blog your main outlet for talking about infertility, or are you "out" about it in your real life? If you are open about it, is it easier or harder to talk about in person compared to the blog? If you do not talk about this in the rest of your life, what made you decide to blog about it?
Queenie: I am not "out" in real life about our journey to creating a family. It just has never been something that I wanted to talk about. There were a couple of different issues. First, because my husband and I are "older" parents, most of our friends are well past the toddler years, and none of them had any problems that I know of. I just didn't think my friends could relate to what we were going through. But perhaps more importantly, if we were not able to ever get pregnant, it just wasn't something I wanted people to know about. I didn't want a crowd waiting every month to see what happened, and I didn't want input from others on what we should do if we couldn't get pregnant. I didn't want people to know how we got from A to Z. I really just wanted it to be us, making our decisions. We were so old that people just assumed that we didn't want kids, so we never go any questions about it. It just seemed natural to keep it to ourselves. By the same token, I needed an outlet, and I needed support. I needed a place to go and talk about what was going on, preferably with people who understood where I was coming from. When I found Stirrup Queens, I found the infertilty and loss community, and blogging seemed like the perfect solution. My blog has become the place that I dump how I am feeling at a particular moment, and it's been a great outlet for me.
Me: From reading your blog archives, it seems like you started blogging in large part because of your desire to have a baby and change your priorities regarding work/life balance. Do you consider yourself an infertility blogger? What will happen to your blog when your baby is born? Do you think you'll be a post-infertility blogger? A mommy-blogger? Something else?
Queenie: It's funny, but I don't consider myself to be an IF blogger, and I don't think I'll consider myself to be a mommy blogger after the baby is born. I started the blog because I needed a space to dump all of the neuroses that were in my head, and that's still what I primarily use it for. People reading my blog probably get a pretty one-sided picture of me, because it's really not all that multi-faceted. I definitely started it when I was in a very bad place personally, in terms of both the struggle to create a family and also a personal/professional life that was badly out of balance, and I'd like to think that I've created more balance over the last year. I'm not sure where it will head from here. . .stay tuned!
Me: I noticed that you are renovating your house and expecting the arrival of your baby. This kind of thing is more common than I'd think it would be; I have known people who move or enter into serious renovations after they get pregnant. What caused you to do this right before your baby shows up?
Queenie: We've actually been renovating our house for YEARS!!! We've been doing the work ourselves (my husband is very talented and in the field), and have basically done a gut rehab, which is why it has taken so long. It probably would've continued plodding along at a glacial pace, but for the imminent arrival of the baby. I actually joke that if I had known that having a baby would've sped up the renovation timetable, I would've started trying to get pregnant years ago. I have noticed, by the way, that a lot of IF-ers seem to have renovations underway. It is a good distraction at times. . .until you find yourself 9 months pregnant and needing to move out of your house so certain things can be completed, and then it's just a giant hassle!
Me: What does it feel like for you to be pregnant after such a struggle to achieve it? Do you feel scared, elated, at all conflicted? What about pregnancy is different than you thought it would be?
Queenie: This is such a good question. For the first 4 months, I was certain something was going to go wrong, and I worried constantly about miscarrying again, or something being wrong with the baby. We got worrisome stat's back after doing the NT scan, and opted to do chorionic villus sampling. We went to a major, internationally renowned facility to have it done, which had a very low complication rate, so I felt comfortable doing CVS. I knew I couldn't handle the wait until amnio would be possible. When we got the normal results back, it was like a weight had been lifted from me. We were outside the first trimester at that point, and I just decided that I shouldn't worry any more. Since then, I have had a great, easy pregnancy (knocking on wood right now). I think that is what has been most surprising for me about this pregnancy--how easy it has been. I had always imagined pregnancy would be harder and much more uncomfortable. Over the last few weeks, I have definitely become somewhat uncomfortable, but until then, I felt great. That was a thrilling discovery--to feel well physically and to be worry-free was such a huge thing for me.
Me: A year ago you said there were three things you most wanted - a particular job overseas, to start your own business, and a third thing that at the time you could not bring yourself to write about. Has anything changed? Are the first two the same, and can you now disclose what the third wish was?
Queenie: Those three things were three things that I most wanted to accomplish professionally. I can tell you that I continue to progress toward the job abroad. I have been working my way through the hiring process for about 10 months now, and just learned last week that I've passed another hurdle. As a backup option, I am still contemplating opening my own business, and I think that's something that I will be thinking a lot about in coming months, particularly after the baby is born. As for the third thing. . .I still can't bring myself to say it out loud, but it's definitely still there, swirling around my mind.
Me: Your new years resolutions last year were to work simultaneously toward to your three goals and to take steps to improve your overall health. It can be really hard to stick to "do good things for myself" goals, even when you know they are linked to other things you want (like getting pregnant). How well do you think you stuck to your health-care improvement goal?
Queenie: I have done really well with my goals for last year. I think that's probably why I've felt so good during my pregnancy. Last winter, even before getting pregnant, I really made it a priority to eat well, get enough sleep, take vitamins, and to gain some weight. I felt a lot better as a result, and I think that's also why we were finally able to achieve a sustainable pregnancy. Before that, I had always put myself last as a priority. After I became pregnant, I continued to take good care of myself, and put myself first. It's been hard at times (particularly while working on that big project during November), but I've managed to stick to it. I think that's also why I've felt so good during my pregnancy--I was treating myself so poorly last year and felt so bad as a result that all of the changes that I made really made a huge difference in how I felt, even pregnant.
Me: What are your resolutions for the coming year? (Please don't tell me it is "get more sleep" - as a mother of small children I can tell you that one will be hard to keep.)
Queenie: I haven't even thought about New Year's resolutions for this year. My life is in a tremendously different and better place than last year. I was in SUCH bad shape a year ago, in so many ways. It's amazing to think of how far I've come. This baby is just the icing on that cake. Maybe it will be to slow down even more and to enjoy each passing day with the baby, because this time will be so fleeting and irreplacable. If the job pans out that I want, it will mean a big move and lots of change, so it will be important to prioritize appropriately. It's so hard to be a modern woman, but I just can't help wanting it all (at once)!
Me: I saw this from a post you wrote this past March: "How can you prepare for something so utterly huge, and which you've never experienced? At the end of the day, it's really a total leap of faith." Reading that made me think about an article I read that talked about people's orientation to the world. The author wrote that some people are optimists, while others are defensive pessimists. Optimists prefer to think that things will work out and not focus on the possible horror scenarios, while defensive pessimists feel compelled to prepare for all the horrible things that could happen. How do you see yourself? Does your orientation to the world differ depending on the type of situation you are facing? Do you respond to the possibility of a great new job differently than you do to the possibility of a successful pregnancy?
Queenie: I haven't seen the article, but from your description, I would say that I am totally a defensive pessimist, and across the board, regardless of circumstance. When I am stressed about something, I definitely think out all of the negative scenarios that can happen, and prepare myself for how I'll handle it if the worst comes true. My husband, on the other hand, is incredibly optimistic, and I drive him crazy. I always tell him that we have different ways of handling things, and my outlook helps me manage the worst case scenarios. On the other hand, my perspective also sometimes keeps me from doing things I should really do, because I can get defeatist about it, and think I have no shot. It's good that my husband is so optimistic, because there are times when he's forced me to do things where things have turned out really well, and I would've never taken the step forward without his encouragement. I need to learn to do that more, and take more risks.