Hi Katie. It's me, Jessica. I'm the woman whose article about infertility you responded to in a letter entitled, "A strong faith is all you need to live a full life." Thank you for your letter. I'm grateful to have an open dialogue about such an important issue. I was also so sorry to have read about your miscarriages — a heartbreak no one can begin to understand until you live through it. Thank you for bravely sharing that part of your story.
Last week I froze my eggs. The ones in my body, not the ones in my kitchen. I always considered freezing your eggs something women did so they wouldn't feel pressured by their biological clock while they were advancing their careers or vacationing in Mazatlan. It seemed breezy and smart and modern. But "breezy" isn't exactly how I'd describe it. There were pills, blood draws, ultrasounds and hormones. (Oh, were there hormones.)
Last week my life changed. By "life" I mean "career" and by "changed" I mean "went from trudging slowly along" to "breaking the sound barrier." I became a writer on a TV show. It happened so fast I didn't really have time to prepare. Although technically I've been "preparing" for this for years simply by really, really wanting it. When I found out, I wish I could say I played it cool. That I'd assumed a "that makes sense because I'm very talented and will be an asset to your team" look. But no. That's just not who I am.
Apparently, I have weak ovaries. My husband, Jason, and I have been seeing a fertility specialist for a few months to try and figure out why we're unable to get pregnant and this was the latest discovery. Sitting in my doctor's all-white office surrounded by her medical degrees, I imagined my ovaries with wimpy arms — the kind of ovaries that always getting picked last in gym. Over the last few months, I've been poked, prodded, and had my blood drawn so many times I leave the clinic looking like a drug addict.
Last week I was in North Carolina, crawling on my hands and knees, covered in briar scratches, trying to find my grandma. I don't mean actually find her. I know where she is. She's buried in North Dakota in a shady cemetery next to my grandfather. But I was looking for the woman who had lived. Grandma Lottie Mae was born and raised in rural North Carolina. She met my grandfather during the war, and he swept her away to North Dakota where she traded collard greens for Jell-O salad. She died young, just a year before I was born.
My husband is divorced. Not from me — that would be much bigger news — but from his first wife. I never thought I'd marry a divorcé. Then again, I never thought I'd marry a Buddhist, but life is funny. When we were first dating, I thought about Jason's first marriage a lot. Had he taken his first wife to this restaurant? Had he said those things to her? Had she made him laugh like I did?
I'm a good eater. That's what my grandfather used to say when I was a kid and he watched me finish an entire steak and baked potato and then ask for seconds. On one of our early dates with my husband Jason, I ordered a three-stack of pancakes, a hard salami sandwich and a chocolate malt. As I finished off the last bite, Jason told me he appreciated a woman who could "really eat." I like to think it's why he married me.
Lately, I've had a hard time sleeping. I've also been coming home every night after work, planting myself in front of the computer and reading every news story on Facebook. But I'm sure those two aren't related. Democrat or Republican, alt-left or alt-right, I think we can agree that the recent news cycle has been like riding an old, rickety roller coaster you're sure is going to come apart at any moment. All you can do is close your eyes and pray the wheels don't come off.
Last weekend I marched with 750,000 of my closest friends in the Los Angeles Women's March. By "marched," I mean shuffled excruciatingly slow. It took about an hour before the crowd started moving, and during that time, it felt like I was just standing in the world's longest taco truck line. The entire route was smashed with people, and eventually they had to open up other streets to allow us to do what we came to do. The activist in me swelled with pride. The introvert in me wanted to curl up in a ball and scream, "Stop touching me!"
Every year I make New Year's resolutions. In 1999, I wrote in my journal that I was going to, "Be more confident and not care what other people thought." Yeah, still waiting on that one. Six years ago, after a few too many cocktails, I announced to my friend Noah that 2012 was going to be about, "Mental health and wearing more earrings!" I'll let you guess how that went. This year, I tried to make sure my resolutions were things on which I could follow through. I didn't promise to go the gym (yeah right) or cut back on caffeine (hahahaha).