19 November, 2015

The Fraud Syndrome

Every so often, after I’ve been posting about how I have managed to get through grief and loss, and especially after I get kind and generous comments, I start feeling like a fraud. (I’ve talked about this here and in other places, I know.) 

Here on No Kidding, I’ve tried to live up to the name of my blog. I have been brutally honest about my feelings about living without children, and the issues around it. But I do worry a little that, in my efforts to show that we have a good life after infertility, it might give the impression that my life is perfect, and that I’ve solved all the problems of living a No Kidding life. 

Of course, life is not that easy. So, because I don't want to be exposed as a fraud, I have to confess, all is not well in Mali-land. (Though of course, when is it ever?) So I thought I should be honest about that too. (To an extent, anyway. Perhaps my blog should be called “No Kidding Within Reason?”)

These are some (most?) of the issues bothering me:
  • I need to be more proactive in certain parts of my life (though that’s nothing new).
  • I’ve neglected friendships – or one in particular perhaps – that has been damaged for some years.
  • I’ve allowed my more natural shyness to influence parts of my life, though oddly, I am able to completely ignore it in other parts of my life.
  • I complain a lot (too much?) about my in-laws.
  • The house isn’t as clean as I would like.
  • My office is messy – really messy (though better than it was a week or so ago).
  • And I have several projects on the go, when I really need to finish one! (Though I am finally getting very close to finishing one of these, so I’m thrilled about that! More will be revealed in due course.)
These aren’t major issues, any of them, but I can say I’ve observed a gradual deterioration in my approach. I think there’s a reason though. Stress levels are reasonably high, for several other reasons.
  • This year I’ve been looking for a job. I’ve been applying for positions, attended several interviews, and have got really close to getting jobs, but just not close enough. Inevitably, I have been thinking about what I would really like to do. (Yes, I’m still trying to decide what I’d like to be when I grow up!) My husband was without work last year too, so I’ve been fretting about retirement savings, worrying about what sort of a lifestyle we’ll be able to live when we’re old. (And of course, that becomes a little more pointed when there are no children to take up any slack, in the way that I could for my mother.) I feel as if I’m running out of time. It’s a bit of a flashback to trying to conceive, when I knew I was running out of time there too.
  • My mother’s conditions are deteriorating, and decisions will need to be made sooner rather than later. But they're not solely up to us. Anyway, I’m leaving in a few days to help her post-op, and at this stage, can’t book a return ticket.
  • We have a major maintenance issue with our driveway, and we have just received the quotes for the work to repair it. We knew it would cost us a fortune, but the quotes have come in about twice what we expected. We have no choice but to deal with it.
  • My weight is an issue, and it can suffer when I’m under stress, so I’m a bit worried about that. I might talk about this some more in the future, if I can pluck up courage.
The one thing that isn’t really a huge issue in my life at the moment (even with the retirement savings issue) is the fact we couldn't have children. I'm not kidding about that.


  1. I think the little daily stresses can be just as damaging as the big stresses. Sometimes more so? Mostly because we think we should be able to handle the little stresses (even though sometimes we actually can't) whereas we give ourselves space to deal emotionally with the bigger stressors. I would kick myself for eating candy because I'm stressed about a chapter. But I would never kick myself for eating candy because I'm stressed about someone's illness.

    I always assume that what I see on the screen is a small sliver of someone's life, but it IS good to hear about someone's stresses because it reminds us that everyone deals with crap.

  2. I so hear you! Everyone assumes that because dh & I don't have kids and are now essentially retired, we must really be "living the life." One of his cousins demanded to know why weren't in Paris or something (this was pre-Friday Nov. 13th). We're hoping some travel is in our future -- but in the past month or so alone, we've had to buy a new refrigerator (25-year-old one on the verge of conking out), buy plane tickets for a visit to my parents at Christmastime, pay stepBIL to paint the house, including supplies (which ate up 3 weeks during the time when the fall colours were the nicest). And then I ripped the sleeve on my light spring/fall coat, so I'm looking for a new one. And then dh took the car in for an oil change last week, & was presented with a list of stuff that needed to be done, to the tune of $1,200 for parts alone. It's a 13-year-old car. So we wound up going car shopping. I think I just waved my February vacation in Florida goodbye. :p And that's just the monetary-related woes. Yes, this kind of stuff happens to people with kids too -- but the point being, life happens, whether you have kids or not, and it's not all sunshine & roses just because you don't have children to deal with.

  3. I don't think that any of this makes you a fraud. I think it makes you a human. Placing yourself in a position of vulnerability and talking about what is hard is far more difficult than talking about what is easy. I appreciate you being real with us. Holding you in my thoughts and sending hugs your way!

  4. Those little things really add up, and some of them (the stuff on the second list) aren't all that little. Some of those are really big issues, and just because you aren't at a crisis point with any of them doesn't mean they aren't stressful.
    I hope you find some peace soon.

  5. dear Mali,
    wishing you and all the people you love and care for all the best for the future!

  6. Oh, sometimes they all pile up, don't they? I'm sorry to hear about your mom. Hope everybody who's deciding can be of one heart and mind...and hope you can get some good news on the financial area.