How I spent my summer vacation

There is a reason that I am an English teacher and not a math teacher – I can’t count. I glanced at the calendar this week and casually thought how nice it was that there were still a bit over three weeks left until the start of the school year. One more week of being a lazebag before I need to shake the dust out of my brain, I thought as I stretched out on the couch. Later that night a friend and colleague mentioned that next week she was taking her grandchildren on vacation and then the week after that, we were back to work.

“What the heck are you talking about? We have another week after that!,” I said.

“Whose calendar have you been looking at?,” she asked. “Or what have you been smoking? And do you have any more? – because I could use another week of summer.”

I checked the calendar again and yes, I must have been smoking something because the first day of work is, in fact, on the Friday after next. August first. The date I always knew but it felt a lot further away than two weeks from today. 13 days from now. Two more weekends between here and there. Shit. Summer is over.

I felt a little off-balance because for a moment, I couldn’t remember anything past May. I even stopped and asked myself, what the fuck happened to June? Ohhh, yes. There was that thing with the betas and the unpregnancy. Mmhmm. How quickly my mind tucked the covers over that bedtime story with its unhappy ending.

How quickly were those covers snatched off the day before yesterday, when in a ten-minute period three different people at my school stopped to ask, “So are you pregnant yet?” I fielded the question a fourth time yesterday afternoon as I was shoving desks into position in my classroom. “So you’re pregnant, right?”

Each time, I paused and wondered which version of the truth I should tell.

Yesterday morning I did some blog reading as I tried to motivate myself to get out of bed, dressed, and into my classroom. Tash had just posted a new entry at Glow in the Woods titled “the one you can tell.” She began with a quote from Amy Bloom’s book Away:

Everyone has two memories. The one you can tell and the one that is
stuck to the underside of that, the dark, tarry smear of what happened.

I found this quote and Tash’s entire post to be eerily relevant. The simple answer is, “No, I’m not pregnant.” The complicated answer is, “I was pregnant, but before we even got the chance to see its heart beating I miscarried. So no, I’m not pregnant.” The school is mostly empty now, occupied by only by the administrative staff and other early-bird teachers. I suspect that in two weeks when everyone is there, I will be asked variations of that same question enough times to make me tire of answering it. My answer will be the one I can tell. It is short and evokes sympathy of only the oh, shucks, you’ll get ’em next time, tiger proportions. It’s the answer that lets people off the hook. The underside of that truth makes most people uncomfortable. I’m sure that most who will ask if I am pregnant won’t expect to hear “I miscarried” as an answer. Such a response would make people feel obligated to do or say something else, neither of which I want or expect.

I did tell the four who asked already about the miscarriage. They were deeply invested into my surrogacy journey from the start and honestly wanted to know all of the intricate details as they happened. For some inexplicable reason I felt as if they almost deserved to know the whole truth of what happened.

I think the easiest thing to do would be to send out a mass email:

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I hope your summer was swell. I’m not pregnant, so don’t ask. Have a kick ass school year!

          The Unpregnant One,

I slay myself.


8 thoughts on “How I spent my summer vacation”

  1. Really, that about sums it up, no?
    I’m sorry. I hate that anyone has to carry such awful secrets, mainly because there are so many who can’t fathom hearing them.
    And yeesh, August 1??!! I hope you have a trip to the spa and some frozen drinks planned in the next few weeks.

  2. I know what you mean about the comments that are like “oh shucks you’ll get em next time,” that you mentioned. It’s like the answer people give when they feel obligated to say something, but don’t really want to have to dive in too deep. They always leave me feeling a bit empty or weirded out. I can’t believe you have to go back already – you’re right, where the heck has summer gone? Craziness I tell you. I hope you don’t have to give too many answers when you return to school. There doesn’t seem to be easy way to deal with a huge number of people on a delicate subject.
    I smiled at your comment – yes I am tall (and my sister is on the shorter side). I’m 5’10ish and she’s 5’0ish. So yeah we look freaky next to each other in family photos, LOL! I think I might have actually picked out some bedding I liked – it is scary that I’m actually finally making some plans. I’ll have to post what it looks like. But thanks for asking about it – you’re the first person to see how stuff with that or anything baby stuff planning related is going. It was nice to respond to 🙂

  3. The summer just FLEW! I still have three weeks and this week contact with the school began again. The principal called to talk, I got a letter from the principal, and one of the other teachers on my team called to let me know that my new classroom is ready for me to unpack and move into. I’ll be doing that next week, since my IVF cycle starts next Tuesday and I don’t want August to be more of a marathon than it already will be.
    So my HEAD is in school already. Sigh…
    And yes, I’ll likely get lots of questions about how the IVF thing went, since those on my hall were privy to that information. I probably won’t know anything until the week the kids come back. Watch my beta happen on the 1st day of school or something. Yeeeshhh!

  4. It’s so hard to have to explain ourselves when the unwanted outcome has happened. After every failed cycle I always wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear for a year. That way I wouldn’t have to answer any painful questions.
    Sending you tons of love with starting a new year and fending of unwanted questions.

  5. August 1st is just hideous.
    I think “I miscarried” SHOULD be an acceptable answer to that question. It is so common and so gut-wrenching and yet we are expected to just walk around with it. It just isn’t right.

  6. I so agree with the two memories but I have this awful habit of being overly forthcoming with those things. When someone asks me how I am, even someone not real close I often am very honest which makes for many uncomfortable moments. But saying the easy thing makes me feel I am being dishonest in this strange way that gives me the willies.
    p.s. in case it isn’t terribly apparent I am finally getting caught up with your blog

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