So, I’ve had two posts floating around in my head for the past couple of days, and rather than choose between them, I’m going to combine them, kind of like on Wheel of Fortune, when they have a Before & After category, except these two ideas aren’t really related.
Part 1: Steel Magnolias: 30 minutes of wonderful, or a lifetime of nothing special.
For those of you who have seen Steel Magnolias as many times as I have, you know the scene I’m talking about already. For those who don’t, here’s a recap: Shelby (played by Julia Roberts with absolutely gorgeous hair), who has severe Type 1 diabetes, has been advised by physicians not to have children as the pregnancy would stress her circulatory system. Because of her chronic illness, she’s not able to adopt because “no judge is gonna give a baby to someone with [her] medical history.” I don’t know that either of these options are in any way realistic, but let’s move on. So. Shelby, who is young and newly married, in a relationship with a man who is quite different from her family, gets pregnant anyway since having children will make her happy and potentially help her troubled marriage (we don’t know why it’s troubled, except that Mr. Shelby is “outdoorsy,” and his family is rich and weird). Her mother, played by the wonderful Sally Field, is upset, knowing that this baby could cost her daughter’s life. Shelby tells her mom that for her, the risk is worth it, because she’d rather have “30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
What’s interesting is that the older characters seem to present the idea that having children might not be all that special. Ousier (pronounced Weezer and played by Shirley Maclaine) says she’s had the “three most ungrateful children” in the world. Truvy (played by Dolly Parton) says her boy is no-good, and scoffs when M’Lynn tells her that he “turned out fine, just a bit scary is all.” We think that Clairee has kids, but they don’t seem to be around much.
What’s my point? Well, I watched this movie again recently (I love it, especially the scene where Clairee tells M’Lynn to “take a whack at Ouisier”), and that scene with Shelby and her mom played so differently to me this time. Instead of just watching and accepting her rationale, I wanted to step into the tell Shelby that she didn’t have to make that choice, that it’s not an all or nothing deal, that there are so many ways to have something special without choosing to only have 30 minutes of it.
Part 2: Die Trying
I read an article on NPR a few days ago about Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher, who is a character in a series of books by Lee Child. Now, you all probably think that I read this because it was about a book. I’m a book-y type of person. But, the real truth is that I read it because of Tom Cruise. I love Tom Cruise. I know he’s crazy in real life, but I just don’t care since I’m never going to meet him or interact with him. As far as I know, believing in ridiculous stuff like aliens isn’t the worst thing in the world (I like aliens, too, Tom, in case you’re reading), and having bad relationships with others, well, again, I’m not going to meet him. He’s fun to watch, and, therefore, I like to watch him. Plus, I care not that he’s 5’7″. I’m 5’6″ so he’s still tall enough for me.
So, I started reading the books. I’ve seen them on Ama.zon and Aud.ible and thought about trying them out before. I’ve read two so far, including the second one Die Trying. In that book, Jack Reacher’s former boss says that Jack will do the right thing or he’ll die trying to do the right thing.
This made me think about us and all of the money and time and emotional energy and physical devotion we put into trying to get pregnant or to adopt children. We really are willing to give it everything, and it’s hard not to feel like we’re dying as we’re trying. My friend IRL told me the other day about New Hope Fertility in NYC. Apparently, they do Mini-IVF, which is more affordable and less physically stressful than real IVF. They also work with older women. She’s 41 and had her first baby after trying for 4+ years. She’s doing a series of 3 mini-ivf cycles right now, and she really thinks that I should try it out. (Cheap flights, take the subway and the bus, etc…)
I listened and discussed with DH. But, I just can’t do it. The financial piece is a setback, but I know if I was really dying to try, I could find the money somehow (begging, perhaps? Serious e-baying? 4 jobs? Someway…). The real issue is that I’m emotionally bankrupt on the idea of me getting pregnant. I can’t even imagine it anymore. I don’t even consider it to be a possibility. I think I’m not like Jack Reacher, I’m not willing to die trying. Or, maybe it’s that the IVF stuff isn’t the right thing for me.
Either way, I do think that what’s she’s doing is interesting, and for anyone up closer to that way, you might want to check it out.