Friday, May 18, 2018

My Last Friday Here

Well, after spending the last 24 years in what I have adopted as my hometown, it is my last Friday here. I feel excited and nervous and proud and stressed, and I am somewhat in disbelief. After years and years of devastation, what my husband and I have been working toward for the last three years is right around the corner.

When I first decided we were moving, I thought, okay, well let's just pack everything up and get out of here. But then as I thought about the logistics more (where are we moving to? how will we get there? where will we live? where will we get jobs?), I realized I wanted a new career. Then, by chance, I saw a video that inspired me to apply to school. You all know my story: I worked hard to meet the application requirements, I somehow made the application deadline, I waited, I got in, we moved into a rental, we fixed up and sold our house, and I went back to school. And I thought all THAT was hard. This past week alone has been extremely difficult--lots to do, think about, and coordinate.

Once I decided we were moving, I didn't understand why everyone didn't do it. "Why doesn't everyone just move?" I thought. Yeah... "Just" move. I am totally rolling my eyes at myself over that one. There is no "just" about anything related to major life changes.

Moving is HARD. I thought it would be, but there is nothing like experiencing something to know your thoughts were right. It's hard, but it will be worth it. I think... Haha.

Last Saturday I had a going away get together. I had to call it a "get together" because calling it a "party" would have made me too anxious. The get together was great. I saw people I hadn't seen in years. Since I told everyone a month ahead of time, a lot of people were able to make arrangements to come or to at least stop by. I even saw one of my best friends from high school who just had her baby a month ago. It was her first outing since the baby, and I am so happy she made the time and had the energy for it.

At one point, I sat back and looked at everyone and thought, "Where was everyone?? Where was everyone when I was feeling so lonely and depressed?" But that's not exactly fair to them. They were busy. We all are busy. There's work schedules and traffic patterns and family commitments and a gross lack of free time that when you finally get a moment to yourself you just want to watch tv for an hour and fall asleep. They were always all there. They were all a phone call or a text away. They were all within an hour's drive. There was just no reaching me at that time. I was so traumatized and profoundly sad that no amount of support could have alleviated my pain.

I am so thankful, so incredibly thankful. For the opportunity to change careers. For my friends from different parts of my life coming together to eat, drink, and be merry last Saturday. For the chance to move to a new place that will be a better fit for my husband and me and our new lives.

But I understand now why everyone doesn't "just" move. There is a lot to it. There is a lot to coordinate and, plus, it costs more than I realize. Everything about the process is stressful. But we are getting through it; we are doing it. One step at a time, one box at a time.

I miss my children. Always and every day. I carry them in my heart in all that I do.

Thank you all for your love, laughter, and support. I cannot accurately express how much you all have helped me. Now I'm off to pack some more... Apparently, my stuff isn't going to pack itself!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Surprising Bumper Sticker

In a world full of Baby On Board signs and Stick Figure Sticker Families, this bumper sticker took me by surprise and cracked me up. I made my husband follow this car until we were stopped at a red light so I could take a picture to share with you all. I tried to black out any identifying features of the car. So here you go... Enjoy!

"Thank you for not breeding."


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Pizza Day!

Today is a great day to do what you want. In fact, it's the perfect day to do what you want.

For the third year in a row, my husband and I ordered pizza. We've got the music blaring. We are dancing around the living room. We may or may not pack. Because, you know, we're going to do what we want. 😜

Whether he knows it or not (haha), my husband and I are celebrating our family of two. Effffff the problems, the problems with our reproductive systems and the problems with the world at large.

Today. Today we dance. Today we eat pizza.

Do What You Want

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Survived the Semester

Well it's official. A woman who has lost her children to infertility and (although no longer in the acute phase) is still grieving and processing her experiences CAN survive a semester about pediatrics in a terrible program with awful professors who favor students who are parents.

Really, there is no limit to what women like us can accomplish. We emerge from our caves of darkness with a profound strength and sensitivity we never asked for. What doesn't kill you... Well, what doesn't kill you, doesn't kill you. We are still alive, so here we are.
So what do we want to do?

I took my last final exam yesterday and I never have to go back to that horrible campus again.
It's over. It's done. I am finished.

And I am incredibly proud. Proud of myself. Proud of my husband and marriage for making it through everything we've been through. Proud of this community for the crucial support and understanding you all have given me. We did it!!!

I am feeling very empowered right now, and I believe all of us can create a new plan (no matter how big or small) and make it happen. You don't have to change your entire life like I'm doing. Don't feel that kind of pressure. We have all felt enough negativity already to last us a lifetime.

But I survived infertility when I didn't think I could. I survived this disappointing school program when I doubted that I could. And I survived this incredibly-challenging-for-so-many-reasons semester when I really just wanted to quit and run away.

We are survivors. And nothing can ever take that away from us. And with surviving comes an immeasurable strength and perseverance that will serve us for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Facing My Stuff, Part III

Facing my stuff, both literally and metaphorically, has been quite a process.

If you can't go on living the way you've been living but you also can't deal with anything yet, I highly recommend getting a storage unit if you are able. Just throw all of your stuff in there, lock it up, and come back to it later. Even if the unit costs $100 a month, that's $1,200 a year that you are investing in your mental health and emotional well-being. In my humble opinion, it is money well spent.

I first wrote about visiting my storage unit here. Then I wrote again about visiting it here.
Like I said, it has been a process.

This past weekend, drum roll please... I moved out of my storage unit! Of course, now that means everything is stacked up in every room in our rental house, but that is fine. We have pathways carved out so we can move from room to room. And I am slowly, but surely (but not too slowly because I only have two weeks) working my way through the remainder of my stuff, deciding what to keep and what to give away.

It's interesting how I absolutely could not deal with any of my stuff three years ago. And now I can. It is no longer an intense emotional experience. I still feel things, but I can deal with it. I've worked hard on my new plan. I am closer than ever to my new career and my new location, and now I can picture my new apartment. It makes it so much easier to go through my stuff when there aren't tears constantly streaming down my face.

Literally and metaphorically, I can see so much clearer now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

One Step Closer

Two steps forward and one step back is still moving forward and not staying stuck.

I continue to be so thankful that I decided to move forward, no matter how slowly and painfully, while I was still in the depths of depression, devastation, and despondency. When I went back to school to take the prerequisite courses that were required for my graduate school application, I cried every time I sat down to do my homework. Every. Single. Time. My husband was starting to get frustrated with me, but there was nothing I could do but feel my feelings. I was supposed to be raising my children, not going back to school with people that were almost twenty years younger than me. But I kept going. Every day, every week, every month, every year. I kept going.

And then last weekend happened. My husband and I took a trip out of state to where we are moving and looked at apartments. And we found one! It was surreal. It felt like a dream. I am still not fully healed (and I don't know if I ever will be and I'm not that concerned about it), but I am far from being in the deep, dark pit I was in just three years ago. I kept turning to my husband and saying, "Can you imagine if I had waited? If I was only now starting my prereqs? If I still had school to apply to and classes to get through? If we still planned to live where we clearly don't belong for another three years?" We both shuddered at the thought.

Yes, I am very thankful. Which is good because, apparently, I'm still fielding stinging comments from my family. I came back from an exhausting, yet successful trip and got sideswiped yesterday by two different comments.

First, I was talking to one of my sisters on the phone and telling her we found an apartment. What did she choose to tell me? Was it "That's great! I'm so happy for you." Of course not. She chooses to tell me about a friend of hers that moved to where we are going, hated it, and moved back because "that was not where she wanted to raise her children." Are you effing kidding me?? What did that story contribute to the conversation? Why did she feel the need, consciously or subconsciously, to undermine my excitement? Why can she not seem to remember I wanted kids extremely badly but couldn't have them and gathered every shred of energy I could find to crawl out of my depression? What does she not understand? She is obsessed with her own child. What does she not get? She is a hater. She loves me very, very much, but she is an absolute hater even if she doesn't realize it. I was so caught off guard that all I said was, "Well, I don't have to worry about where to raise my kids." And she still didn't get it. My comment went right by her as she kept rattling on.

Then there was my mother. (I honestly just let out a big sigh right now after typing that sentence.) Last year she got upset because I didn't call her on Mother's Day. It wasn't intentional. I was on vacation, having a good time, and didn't even know it was Mother's Day. I don't know why a woman in her late 60s with grown children needs that kind of validation, but this year I decided to give her a heads up. I told her not to count on me for anything on the 13th. There was a pause and I was hoping that was going to be it, that she wouldn't feel the need to comment. No such luck. She asked, "Is that because it's Mother's Day?" I said yes, that I was going to spend the day with just my husband. Pause. Pause. Then she says, "Well I hope one day you can get past that. I have a friend who doesn't have kids and she lost her mother and every year on Mother's Day she hosts a lunch for the important women in her life."

Uh... What. Good for her? That's great? Why the hell are you telling me this?

Wait. You hope I "can get past this"???

Again, I am thankful I am further in my recovery than I was three years ago. I am thankful that I am moving on (literally). I didn't respond. I didn't say anything. Part of me was caught off guard, part of me was annoyed, part of me was sad, and part of me was pissed.

It really is too bad that some of the people that love me the most are so hurtful. Honestly, it sucks. But there's nothing I can do about it. I seem to say that a lot these days...

So I went on about my day, thinking about our new apartment, where to put the furniture and how to decorate. I get mad that I still haven't figured out how to let comments like those go, but I'm glad I had something exciting to think about as well. My husband and I have worked our butts off these last several years and now what we have worked so hard for is just around the corner. With both my recovery from infertility and my new life plan, I am one step closer and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Curious about Your Opinion

I had yet another experience that reminded me of infertility. Sooo many things remind me of infertility. I wonder if it will always be this way. Maybe, maybe not. I am more at peace now. Less raw from devastation, less angry, less bitter. But I wonder if I will ever not compare people's regular experiences to my experience with infertility. I don't really care either way; I just wonder.

We had a major assignment due last week. Some people had the class on Monday, some on Wednesday, and some on Thursday. There was an important lecture related to the assignment that some people wouldn't have until after the assignment was due. Realizing this, the professor granted an extension for the people in Thursday's class. People in Monday's and Wednesday's class complained that it wasn't fair.

Fair? Who said life was fair? (And besides, if one is arguing "fairness," wouldn't it be unfair to require students to turn in a major assignment without having the related lecture first?)

"That's not fair" is a statement that has been forever changed for me because of infertility.

An extended deadline for a group of students seems like such an extremely small thing to get upset about. I complained to my friend sitting next to me. I said, "Life isn't fair. Why are they complaining? Earlier in the semester, the Thursday class had to take a test that covered material they hadn't yet received. Was that fair? No. And so now the Thursday class is allowed to turn in their assignment after they receive the related lecture. That actually does seem fair. But what does it matter? Who said life was fair? Besides, I'm sure they'll all be able to have children. Talk about unfair..."

This is a friend I've been able to make comments to about infertility in the past, but I think I reached this friend's limit that day. The friend just looked at me and said, "You can tie that into anything, can't you?"

I was a little surprised by the comment and I felt a little judged, like it was okay for me to be upset about the hand I was dealt--as long as I wasn't *too* upset. I paused. And then I said, "Yes. It's a pretty pervasive and primal thing. The world revolves around people who have children and to not have them when you wanted them so badly is a major loss, so, yes, I suppose I can tie infertility into almost anything." And then I made a mental note that my friend had reached their limit and to not overwhelm them with my reality anymore. I will still think my thoughts but I won't share with that person anymore. I'll just journal or blog or tell my husband later when we're both home.

So I'm curious about your opinion. Can I tie infertility into almost anything? Is it appropriate or inappropriate to do so? Am I "not getting over it" or will the fertile world just never understand?