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Not stealing

Yesterday for Christmas my new sister-in-law gave my mother one of those make-it-yourself type calendars that you can order online, with your own photos. My mom is a sucker for sentimentality, so the minute she opened it and started flipping through it to look at all the family photos, I turned and said “Now she’s going to cry.”

She did, but it was because she landed on August, where the calendar was penciled in with a date and a sonogram.


My little brother and sister-in-law got married only a few months ago. They are both under thirty—so, young—but honestly they’re in a great place to have a kid. They both have great jobs, make a good income for their area, have good insurance, the whole nine yards.

I’m happy for them, I really am.

Yesterday after Christmas, driving home in the dark with my husband, I said that I felt like I had right before graduating from grad school a few years ago. At that time I was working constantly; I was exhausted. I was frustrated that the people in charge of such huge parts of my life, my advisors and the dean, didn’t seem to care about what I was doing. I hated that they seemingly held all the cards and all I could do was struggle harder.


“You feel out of control,” my husband said. I do.

Even now I’m fighting the urge to write the problem. Even releasing it into the world anonymously on the internet feels like letting go of the little bit of control I have. I don’t even know what I want anymore. Am I trying hard enough? Is this like a wish where if I tell it, it loses its potency? I know it isn’t, but it feels like it is.


I know that every time I take a pregnancy test—sometimes only days apart, which is certifiably stupid—I’m disappointed. I know that I have names picked out, written in a file... The girl’s name option is 100% for sure, and in hierarchical order in case of twins requiring we need two, but the boy’s name is more of a toss up between three options. I discuss these with my husband on road trips, at the grocery store, at a concert, on vacation.

I know that when my mom started crying, when I saw what had happened (my mom has openly lobbied for grandchildren for years now, knowing nothing) my eyes started welling up. But I played it cool. I smiled and said “Congratulations!” and pretended like I was crying tears of happiness.


I know when my sister asked what names they’re considering and they mentioned one of the names on my list, I felt all the blood leave my face.

I know it’s not stealing, but it feels like something is being taken from me.

Sorry if this was a weird read, I just needed to get it out and I have no one to tell.

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