Sunday, July 23, 2017

Acceptance and Avoidance

With all of the progress I'm making in my recovery from infertility, I'm still avoiding babies. And toddlers. And my friends and family that are parents to babies and toddlers. And pregnancies. And newborns. It's just too awkward for me. And sad still. Maybe it won't hurt as much with the passing of time.

I'm curious how I'll feel in my 40s. As I grow into the idea that I will not be parenting in this lifetime. As I grow older and know that the children I would've had would also be growing older. As people ask me less and less when I'm having children.  As it becomes less expected by society that I will even have children.

In ten years, will being around 14 year olds bother me? Maybe, maybe not. Will babies and toddlers still tug at my yearning? I don't know.

If I had to guess, I think a part of me will always be a little sad for what's been lost, all the memories and moments and opportunities. I really do like all ages of the human lifespan. And I was looking forward to all of the parts of parenting: the good, the bad, and the expensive.

But as I've met and talked to a couple of women older than me without children, I know that feelings can change with each passing decade. What used to seem impossible to me (living life without children), now holds some exciting possibilities. That doesn't mean I don't miss my children; it just means that I'm making the best of my situation.

But I don't have to explain that to you... :)

So where I am right now, toward the end of July 2017, is simultaneously a place of acceptance and a place of avoidance. I don't know if that makes sense but it doesn't have to make sense, because it's infertility and nothing makes sense. I am currently a little worker bee, doing my best to get through this school program. I don't have much time to be social (although I take at least a night or two off a week to go out to dinner or hang out with my husband), and I'm just not making plans with anyone who has little ones right now...

I accept my reality, but I still avoid any reminders of what I'm missing.
And I accept that that is where I am right now.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Phases of Resilience

I had to read an article about resilience and adversity the other day. Of course, there was no mention of infertility at all even though nearly everything in the article could relate to it. The author talked about trauma and coping strategies and implications for practice in the medical field. I was dreading doing the assignment, and then the article actually ended up being interesting haha. It's so nice when that happens.

The article covered so many themes:

  • extreme life events are threatening
  • loss of one's identity
  • psychological stress due to culture's definitions of what is valuable
  • being in limbo (those with chronic illness)
  • the power of social support.

But one of the most relevant parts was when the author discussed the phases of resilience. I'm paraphrasing but here's the idea real quick. First, there is an acute phase, when all of one's energy is going to the situation. Then there is the reorganization phase, when one begins to accept the new reality. And then there is the rest of one's life. That's it. That's how trauma and crisis goes in a nutshell.

I suppose my experience wasn't totally acute. Acute means short-term and I dealt with infertility over a more long-term period of time. But still. It was a million little acute responses to a chronic condition until I reached my personal point of exhaustion.

It's so interesting to me how much recovery and rehabilitation from all sorts of physical and mental health conditions have so many similarities. It is shocking-not-shocking at the lack of infertility being any part of the conversation in the articles and textbooks I read as a future medical professional.

But I really like it when I read something that describes what I just went through. I think that's why the phases of resilience resonated with me so much.

  1. acute response
  2. reorganization
  3. live the rest of my life 

๐Ÿ˜Ž

Friday, July 7, 2017

Gratitude

In contrast to my constant frustration with waiting for my new planned-for future to arrive (and, yes, the idea of planning anything ever will always be incredibly eye rolling for me) is my ever-present gratitude for what so many refer to as The Present Moment.

I mean, it IS all we ever have.

When did Oprah start telling us to keep gratitude journals? Hold on, I'm gonna search that...
Oh, 1996. Even earlier than I thought. Well, I didn't try the idea until late 2008. At the time I was very unsure of what was going on in my life- where I was, what I was doing. Hmmm, sounds familiar. I wanted to refocus my mind on the positive things I had so I started a gratitude journal. I wrote often at first, always thankful for my health and loved ones. Then I just wrote every couple of weeks or so. Then every couple of months. But I always wrote. Even if I forgot for awhile. I would remember and come back and jot down a few things I was thankful for. And, well, basically, what I want to share is I just now finished that journal. 2008-2017. Nine years of gratitude.

It's pretty cool. The practice helped me shift my thinking over time. I'm not a fan of "positive thinking all the time." Like, I don't think we manifest everything we envision and sometimes life just sucks and it's important to be real and feel that too. But, I do value gratitude. There's usually always something to be thankful for. I have no intentions of finding a silver lining in every situation, but I do like to pause and be thankful for different things.

My health. Well, the parts of my health that are healthy.
My resilience.
My husband.
My dog.
My lack of food insecurity.
My house that I rent.
My school that I attend.
My dreams for the future.
My means to work toward those dreams.

Gratitude helps lighten the load.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

I know that ultimately everything in life is temporary. We are all born and we all die. The days are long but the years are short. I know all this. But I still have to/get to experience the daily realities of my life. And my life, for over the last five years, has been full of waiting.

The waiting throughout infertility is almost unbearable. Well, because at first, I didn't know I was infertile. So I temped and charted and tried to get pregnant for two years. By then, I figured there was a problem. Actually, I knew there was a problem only 7 months in when I got my AMH results back. But I figured I was subfertile, not sterile, that I would get pregnant and have a baby if I just stayed patient. Then I spent almost a year working with my doctor, whom I loved. But I still didn't get pregnant. Then I spent another year hoping I would be one of those stories who, after all the years and all the treatments didn't work, miraculously got pregnant. Oh gawd, that was a lot of waiting. Like I've said before, it almost killed me.

So my lifelong dream of having children didn't happen. I had to figure something else out.
I hated where I lived and I hated what I was doing. I wanted to change almost my entire life.

And that's awesome! Well... Sorta.  I mean, it's an awesome response to trauma and devastation. I felt like I was dying, and I chose to live. I just had to figure out where and how. 'Cause it sure as hell wasn't happening out in the 'burbs as an infertile housewife.

And you already know: I moved, sold my house, and went back to school blah blah blah.

The thing is though, it's just more WAITING. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

And hard work.

ZzzZzzZzz

hahaha


I don't want to wish my life away, but...
I am so ready to be living the next phase of my life already.
I am eager to graduate, move, start my new career, put down some roots, and explore new hobbies and volunteering activities. I am ready to live my life. I am so tired of waiting.


Oh well. I'll do it anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Damn Good Weekend

Heck yeah, I just had a damn good weekend!

I saw one of my best friends on Friday and we got to hang out for a long time. A yoga class turned into lunch turned into good conversation for hours on the deck in her backyard.

Then I came home and somehow talked my husband into going to get dessert with me! He doesn't have a sweet tooth like I do so I was surprised he was up for my little adventure.

On Saturday one of his friends came over for awhile. Nice weather, great conversation.

And today. Nothing significant. But very peaceful and satisfying. Slept in but not too late. Went for a long 4-mile walk outside. Completed an assignment at a leisurely pace. Ate awesome leftovers.

I hate that there's not as much social time in adult life compared to when we were kids.
But weekends like this one sustain me.

I love spending quality time with the people I love. And I love enjoying the little things. ๐Ÿฐ

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lack of Understanding is a Worldwide Problem

We all gave presentations in one of our classes this week on different cultures' perceptions of disabilities. Each group presented on a different country, which included Japan, Cambodia, India, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Nigeria, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, The Netherlands, the U.K., and Canada. And guess what every single country had in common? According to the study, people consistently ranked infertility as the "least disabling" condition.

The lack of understanding is a worldwide problem.

But we already knew that, didn't we?

Among my small group of readers alone we cover the United States, Canada, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Germany at least. And we all share common experiences of being constantly misunderstood.

About two-thirds of the way through the presentations, I leaned over to my school friend and said, "It's crazy to me that every country has ranked infertility as the least disabling condition when infertility completely destroyed my life as I knew it." He agreed and said, "That's exactly what I was just thinking."

The study is old, about twenty years old, but I will make the not-so-bold statement that not much has changed in terms of people's perceptions of infertility.

People in all countries & across all cultures just don't get it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Double Standards

I promise not to make every post about school, but, real quick, here's another one. ;)

I've shared that school is intense, that it's a lot of work, that I'm exhausted, and that I have very little time to myself. Thank you for listening. I feel supported by you all and I greatly appreciate it.

Why can't I get this support in real life?

I have a friend I've been playing phone tag with. She calls and I'm busy, I call and she's busy. It's aggravating because a couple of things have happened in her life and we really want to catch up. But the current pace of modern life is just too damn busy. I'm pretty sure she's not impressed with me not being available like I used to be. Everyone is.

My complaint is that I get no understanding from anyone. Not from that friend. Not from other friends. Not from family.

The other day my mom got upset with me because I didn't come over when I said I was going to because I was tired and working on assignments. I was venting to my husband and he said, "I don't mean to add fuel to the fire but this probably wouldn't be happening if we had kids. If we had kids, we'd be doing all the kid things and no one would question our use of time."

He is so right!!!

So why do parents get all the benefits of doubt but other adults don't?

I know. Because people remember what it was like when they didn't have kids. When they were, I don't know, 22 and going to work and partying on the weekends and doing whatever they wanted. I want to scream from the mountaintops, "Not having children when you're 37 is ENTIRELY different than when you're 22!" People remember when they went to college. Sure, it was hard, but it was also fun. Again, I want to scream, "This program I'm in is not like college!!"

Last winter my family expected me to drive five hours for a day trip to celebrate the holidays. Yes, that's ten hours in the car for about 3 hours of family time. I said I was too tired. My mom said I could sleep in the car. I told her I wasn't 12 anymore and that sleeping in the car wasn't going to cut it. My dad said I can't expect my cousins to travel because it's too hard traveling with little kids. I said I wasn't coming. Instead, I basically slept for three days.

Maybe if my life looked like everyone else's I would get more credit.