Wednesday, February 02, 2005

In and out of the closet

It occurred to me this morning- as I stood in front of my closet in the usual frantic lather trying to decide what to wear to work- that infertility has wrought many changes in my life. Some are big and glaringly obvious. For example, sex on schedule, doctor's appointments, blogging, and weeping in the bathroom on a regular basis. Others are small and much more subtle. So subtle as to be barely noticeable until the odd revelatory moment, like today.

I am extremely fond of nice, simple, elegant, well-made clothes. I'm not a label slave, though I appreciate the work of some designers. I'm not into following trends as such. Though I will confess to liking that tweed thing that was going on a few months ago. This is a good country for tweed. But generally I try to adhere to clean lines and classic cuts in neutral colours, with the odd sploosh of red or pehaps forest green for good measure, on days when I feel like being a bit sassy. I know what I like and I know what looks good on me.

This is not to say I can afford to buy these things on a regular basis. I cannot. But I will wander the high end shops, stroke the pretty items, before recoiling in horror at the price and running screaming to Gap or H&M where I will pay a fraction of the price, albeit for something that usually falls apart in six months time if not sooner.

But sometimes, especially during the sales, I simply cannot resist. Out comes the credit card and into my bag go delicious, covetable items. A Joseph shift dress. A MaxMara coat. A pair of sleek Prada boots. Quivering, I rush home and unpack my treasures, doing a little dancce of guilty happiness around the bedroom before hiding the receipts from E. Although I don't know why I bother with that last part- it's my goddamn money, I earned it.

Now for the weirdness. The beautiful things hang in my closet unworn. Oh, every now and then I will go to a party or a special work do, and my finery will get a once annual airing. But for the most part, I hold back. My rationale is that once I wear the nice things, the specialness will be gone, or worse, the outfit will get ruined. And then what will I do? How would I ever replace my Marc Jacobs high heeled camel boots that I sought out so feverishly, that took me six months to find on eBay and shipped from the States? Where will I ever find another pair of black trousers so perfectly cut, so flattering? Can't risk it, oh no.

But a funny thing happened about a year and a half ago, when we started trying. You see, I convinced myself that I would, of course, get pregnant any second now. And then I would be too baby-bellied to fit into the beautiful things. Worse, I worried like a loon that I might somehow not be able to ever fit into those things again, as if pregnancy was actually a permanent figure-altering fixture.

So one day I simply started wearing the nice stuff. It was hard some days to break the habit of a lifetime. It was strange to go into work wearing something nice and expensive without any particular justification. And of course I still worried that any minute now I would upend a cup of coffee all over my cream cashmere sweater- but I forced myself to do it, because after all- about to get pregnant! Any minute! Maternity clothing impending! Trousers with expandable waistband soon to be required! Of course, there would always be nice hand bags on the horizon, but still- Nursing bras! Large, unflattering knickers!

Well, we all know how that has been working out. And here I am a year later, feeling as though not only have I endured a suckass time in not getting pregnant, but shit! I've worn out all my good clothes while I was at it. What a dumbass. Worse, now that I am reverting to my old fashion routine, people have asked what happened to that really nice skirt I wore a few months back? Do I still have those lovely kitten heels?

Yes, I want to say, yes I do. I still have all these things. I'll probably wear these clothes once more someday, even though some of the specialness has worn off, along with any of the hope or joy or naivete I ever had about getting pregnant in the first place. Even though all those things are now at the back of the closet. Even though the fit may never feel as right, ever again.


At 8:55 PM, Blogger E. said...

Beautiful post, and so true. Those little ways that life changes forever, that fertiles will never, ever understand.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Soper said...

I stopped by clothes when we started trying because, well, I was going to need new clothes soon! Needed to save money so I could look great while pregnant!

And as the years went by and I got shabbier and shabbier, I had to come to the realization that I was going to need new clothes, but they wouldn't be maternity.

The saddest day I've had in a really long time came the day I went shopping again, because it was the day I gave up the idea of a pregnant Soper.

And now I plan on looking fabulous as an adoptive mom, so it's good I DID save all that money, isn't it?

At 9:11 PM, Blogger DeadBug said...

So true. One of the worst aspects of infertility for me is how it affects all of these small areas of my life, all of the minor assumptions I made--like clearing closet space for the imaginary baby over a year ago. I recently filled it back up again with my own out-of-season clothes, chastising myself for thinking a baby would ever need that space, for pre-accommodating something that didn't happen. Or the way I stopped buying jeans and trousers for months and months, sure they wouldn't fit soon. Gave that up last spring.


At 1:28 AM, Blogger Suz said...

I say "sniff" on posts, but I have never cried. This has made me sob until hearing an angry knock on the wall of the hotel room. Because like you, I buy pretty special things. Because I think that a perfectly tailored coat or Tahari suit has a beauty that's hard to match. Because I feel the same loss of innocence that was mine a year ago when I browsed the Pea in the Pod Web site, just for a look, because I would soon be pregnant.

I stopped buying the pretty things too, but recently, I started up again. It makes me feel better and oddly enough, gives me hope. It will be just my luck that as soon as I lay down a huge sum on the perfect pair of pants, I will get pregnant and never wear them once. But that will okay.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful post Mare. I understand...truly.


At 3:20 AM, Blogger amyesq said...

Wow. This post spoke to me. Not because I don't usually wear my "nice" stuff, but because I just stopped buying it altogether about six months ago (OK, except for one Burberry purse. But that will still fit when I am PG.) just in case I get! pregnant! Damn. Just another way we are getting screwed. I hope I am not naked soon.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger la gringa said...

I used to LOVE clothes. And shopping. But I haven't bought anything nice in over a year. I barely fit into my old clothes because of all the weight I've gained since this infertility stuff took hold. I'm terrified to buy new stuff because I worry that I'll either get pregnant and it will be too small. Or I'll lose weight and it'll be too big. Am squeezing myself into my exsiting wardrobe until I can (hopefully) buy some maternity clothes. It's a sad, sad catch 22.

So, thanks for the post. I know exactly how you feel.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Karen said...

I hope you start wearing your beautiful things again this pleasure. You deserve it.

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Ana said...

I know what you mean. I bought a ton of maternity clothes when I got pregnant a year ago. It didn't even cross my mind that I could miscarry. But I did, and I have all this unworn beautiful maternity clothes that I may never get to wear. I'm so sorry.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Oh Mare...I identify with this post way to easily. I don't often stop to thnk about all the small changes secondary infertility has brought to our lives but when I do it is overwhelming. I hope the beauty coems back into your life soon.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger stephanie said...

Nice clothes, like everything, are made to be worn. I use mine for days I need the special pick- me -up...days i'm feeling fat, or sad, or particularly unattractive. They make me feel better? Why hoard them? Enjoy.


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