I went to a speech last night by an academic who studies organisational energy. We were discussing whether it was easier for an organisation to regain energy it had lost, or to build energy from scratch. Ah, she said. It's about belief in success. If you've never been successful, it's hard to believe that you ever will be. Sound familiar?
But I think it's worse than that for us. We are mostly women who are used to being successful, and to being able to influence that success. Here we are, powerless to make ourselves successful in this miserable endeavour at which we all keep failing, and we also don't have the coping tools to deal with the fact that we keep failing. Low energy from the fact we've never been successful, and negative energy from the frustration at not being able to control our fate. A bad combination.
In other news, it's been a hard week to not be pregnant in my little corner of planet earth. First, and I readily admit I did this to myself, was the documentary on the Discovery channel about Jackie Clune. I'm not going to post a link to the discovery home and health site as all it gets you is a large picture of a naked pregnant woman, nothing to do with the documentary, that I imagine at least some of you aren't really in the mood for.
Anyway, Jackie Clune, for you ignorant non-brits, is a comedian. A reasonably famous one in the UK. One reason she's famous is that she spent 12 years being an out and proud lesbian. Then, as she puts it, she decided to give men another go, fell violently in love with a very handsome man, got accidentally pregnant at the age of 37, and had a daughter. Then, just 8 months after her daughter was born, she got accidentally pregnant again. At the 12 week scan they found out it was triplets.
Triplets. Accidentally. At 39. Now I'm not hoping for triplets but couldn't I have just a little tiny bit of her fertility? A smidge? She does seem like a nice woman - unassuming and terrified - but it was still hard to watch due to the usual blast of overwhelming jealousy at someone else's good fortune that I now seem to be unable to quench.
Second event was my high school reunion. Which I avoided, but I did get to read the newsletter. Let me offer you a sample of what my erstwhile schoolmates have been up to.
Juliette Fertile (nee Party Animal): Well, after getting my MA in Chinese at Oxford, and my PhD in international relations at Yale, I've spent 10 years travelling around the world to various trouble spots, working first with the Red Cross and now with the UN, helping set up crisis centres and saving people from certain death in areas like Biafra, the Sudan, Croatia, and Afghanistan. My latest posting in Iraq has forced me to finally become fluent in Arabic and in my spare time I'm helping a small women's cooperative develop their business in making and selling teapots. I'm also incredibly lucky to be married to the most gorgeous man in the world, Ollie (yes, Fiona, it's true, I promised you I'd marry him and I did!) and we have two lovely children: Joe and Amelia who are 7 and 4 respectively. Looking forward to hearing all your news!
Selena Really-Really-Fertile (nee Artypants): Having won an Oscar for my documentary: Up the Amazon in 2001, I've spent the last three years focusing on writing while being a mother to my adorable twins, Sophie and Madeleine. I hope at least some of you saw my first novel, I still can't believe - which made it onto the Waterstones top 10 list last October - it was very well received. Meanwhile my husband, Jurgen, has continued to wow the Art world with his creative video installations. Thank goodness Charles Saatchi is such a fan! I'm now expecting a little brother for the twins, who will be born around the time my second novel, Having it all, is published in the Spring. So excited to see you all!
Francesca I'm-so-bloody-fertile-I-get-pregnant-just-walking-down-the-street (nee Maths-Wizz): My First in maths at Cambridge soon turned into a PhD on option theory from MIT, at which point I went into banking. After becoming a senior vice president at Goldman Sachs five years ago, I left to set up my own company, which manufactures and markets the product I invented - the QuTiClean - that (we hope!) will change housework forever. Turnover finally hit the millions last year so now I can relax a little and enjoy life with my husband, Jamie, and our children Hamish (10), Freddy (7), Barty and Eloise (5) and little Jessamy (2). It's been an amazing few years and I can't wait to share more news with all of you!
Bitter? Moi? And honestly, I'm not exaggerating. These are truly superwomen.
Another old friend called in conjunction with the reunion. She and I have been out of touch for a while but she wanted to call and say thank you for the sympathy letter I sent her when her father died earlier this year. She's also been very successful - she's married to an actor, has two children and is a child psychologist with a weekly column in a national newspaper and two regular television programmes on mainstream channels. In the course of her work she met Sir RW, the uber-doc of UK fertility. She mentioned this after I told her about where we are on the fertility front. And good news, she passed on the maestro's advice! Now we'll all be pregnant soon! Are you ready for this advice? Because given the source, it's clearly going to be fab, right?
Are you sure?
Ok because you know I'm going to tell you.
So, Sir RW says that what we need to do is...
JUST RELAX! Can you believe it? How can no one have told us this before! Seriously, he told my friend that you need to do two things. 1. Go on holiday, relax and have lots of sex. 2. Have an orgasm after the deposit has been made.
I can hardly speak I feel so enlightened.*edited to add that I am well aware that SirRW's comments were being relayed to me by an unreliable witness - I'm sure anything he had to say was more nuanced than this.
To add insult to injury, last night over dinner a colleague was discussing having found, on the JP Morgan women's initiative page, a policy saying that they supported adoption with various benefits. She was joking that of course JP Morgan had to offer those benefits since all the women who worked there would "have to adopt" since they'd be too old to have children by the time they got round to it. I thought about a suitable retort, and then just stayed silent. Coward.
And another colleague just started showing. Her third. Oh well.
Onward and upward.