I am the youngest of four kids with a pretty good span in the ages. My oldest brother Michael was born in 1970 and I was born in 1981. This meant I grew up adoring my oldest brother because he was a “real adult” just like my parents. It also meant I annoyed the hell out of him because apparently not every teenage boy likes a little sister, covered in grime from her day’s adventures, wrapped around their leg while they’re trying to be ‘cool’ and talk to their friends.
I really don’t have many memories of Michael and I growing up together. But the ones I do are awesome. Michael was your typical first child, and by that I mean perfect and could walk on water. He had my parents so convinced of this that to this day they don’t believe that he frequently would hold me and my older sister upside down by our feet and dangle us over the toilet threatening to dunk us. Which was AWESOME ! My sister and I used to beg him to do this to us, the adrenalin rush was great and we were dumb little kids. He also got me hooked on Star Trek which was great because it turns out my husband is a Trekkie too.
One day the big buzz in our house was one of my older siblings (not sure who, when you’re the youngest details escape you) was starting foreign language study at school. And with that came the very cool concept of what your name in another language would be. And we started going through what our names would be in either french or spanish. Michael=Miguel/Michele, Timothy=Timoteo, Cherie already had a foreign name, it was french. Then we get to me, ‘Chandra’. “What would my name be, what would my name be!” I cry out.
Nothing. My name in another language was ‘Chandra’ because there was no translation or equivalent name. At this age I didn’t appreciate how unique my name was and that it was from the Sanskrit language, a dead language, from India. The only thing I ‘appreciated’ was that my name got mispronounced every day of my life in school. Joy.
But instead of lamenting my lack of a spanish or french name, I latched on to the fact that Michael’s name in spanish was ‘Miguel’. And LITERALLY from that day on I have seldom refered to him any other way. He is ‘Miguel’ in my cell phone even. Writing this post and referring to him as ‘Michael’ has been hard to type, I just automatically want to write ‘Miguel’. I’m not sure if Miguel was ever bothered by this, I don’t recall him ever telling me to stop calling him that. But again, being the youngest, details are hazy.
And now you are thinking ‘dude where the hell is this post going?”
It’s going here:
I have written before how since this whole infertility thing I have felt like withdrawing from life and become more introverted. Well Miguel recently had a birthday and while I “facebooked” him a happy birthday I forgot to call him. And I have felt terrible about it. It’s not that I don’t want to call friends and family, it’s just hard. After having more doctors and nurses exam and question you about private details of you life, I just pull back from everyday normal things, like calling my brother on his birthday. Yes, I know, I am a terrible person. And I did call him, actually he called me, but I had told him I was going to call him and he beat me to it.
I do this withdrawing thing for two reasons. 1) I am often worried about people asking me how things are going fertility wise and 2) I often OVER share when I am asked this. I really don’t mind talking about it but once I get started talking about it I tend to go a wee bit too far in describing it. I also don’t want people to feel like they have to ask. But I’d rather they did if they wanted to know, otherwise it’s just the big elephant in the room that no one wants to point out.
And so this is my big giant apology to my brother and to any of you who know me in real life and have felt like I have been MIA lately. I am sorry, I do try, but I’m not promising that I’ll get any better at being ‘more present’.
And here is a pic of me and Miguel at our other brother’s wedding. And just a FYI I asked Miguel if I could post a pic of him and us together. I didn’t quite mention that I was going to write a post about him. But inspiration struck and he is 1200 miles away, so I chanced it! That’s what little sisters are for, annoyance.
We took this pic “college-style” meaning we just held the camera at arm’s length away, which means I end up with a slight double chin. I consider my posting this and pointing it out penance for not calling my brother.
If you have experienced infertility and have felt like this, like withdrawing from life, how have you handled it? I’d appreciate any advice or stories.