Sunday, September 8, 2019

He Said It

I knew going back to work, especially in a school, would provide plenty of blog material...

Take one of my lunch periods this past week, for example.

I enjoy eating lunch with four other teachers in the teacher's lounge. Unlike other schools where I have worked, this campus has yet to have any of the clique-y behavior that I've experienced in the past. It is really refreshing. So I look forward to lunch, where I can see four friendly faces, touch base about students, and enjoy some conversation with fellow adults.

Last week one of the teachers was apologizing that she had to leave early or arrive late (I forget which) because she was taking one of her kids to take his driving test to get his driver's license. She was saying how she hates to miss work, that she wished it wasn't so hard trying to fit in necessary errands around the work schedule.

No one was complaining. Not her and not any of the other teachers. It was just a simple conversation about trying to fit everything one needs to get done into the day.

But... And this is what cracked me up... And there was no negativity in the room or in anyone's tone or anything...

But one of the other teachers is a first year teacher, a young guy who recently graduated from college and is single with no kids. And he said something I've never heard said out loud before.

He said, "Well, at least you have an excuse to take a little break out of your regular day. What am I supposed to do? Call in and say I have to stay home to water my plants today??"

And everyone laughed. Hahaha. Like I said, it's a good lunch group. But the infertile part of me especially enjoyed that comment. It was said so honestly and freely and it was received so well.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Sometimes Sad Happens

Sometimes I get sad. Like today. When an innocent comment was made to me by a co-worker.

I didn't realize it in the moment. I mean, I heard the comment and brushed it off. I've grown used to people taking their fertility for granted. But then the rest of my day very slowly spiraled down.

I've cried twice. I've been so sad. It's not just what I lost; it's what I never had. It's the lack of memories and the lack of experiences. Simple things that other people take for granted. Like buying new shoes for their kids.

I've spent the latter half of the day in a funk. I've been touchy and snappy. I tried analyzing the funk. I tried just observing it. Then I went back to analyzing it. Then I took a break.

And then it rose to the surface--when the day changed for me. I stayed late to get some help from a co-worker who didn't end up being able to help me. So it was a bit of wasted time after an already long day and, on top of it, I now realize that she is a Mommy, a woman who prattles on about her kids and all of the privileged problems that come with having children.

Realized and noted.
This kind, wants-to-be-helpful woman is not who I need to spend any extra time with.

Good to know. I'm low on emotional resources, and it's okay that I got so sad today.
Sometimes it happens.

Monday, August 26, 2019

My New Approach

Infertility taught me the importance of self care. I have to take care of myself. No one else can.

Last week I returned to my previous career of teaching. I have been out of the classroom for... awhile. I am definitely out of teacher shape and I need to build up my stamina. I spent the past weekend resting and taking care of myself. I went to the grocery store, did the dishes, did my laundry, cooked food for this week's meals, and went to bed early. It wasn't very exciting, but it was necessary.

When I was teaching before infertility, I used my weekends to grade papers and write lesson plans. Not this year. Not anymore. My weekends are mine. As long as I am maximizing instructional time, facilitating learning, building relationships, and hopefully ensuring that each student feels successful at something, then I can go home every evening knowing I have done my best.

Then I go home and rest. And eat. And read and relax. I want to get in the habit of going to a weekly yoga class. On Sunday I sewed for the first time in a couple of weeks when I sewed together the binding for my first quilt. (I'll post pics when I finish!)

So I'm doing all right. I'm very tired and still processing a lot while starting a new job, but I am taking care of myself. I am showing up at my job and in life overall. I am doing the best I can every damn day.

But, thanks to what I learned from infertility, I am most definitely doing it all on my own terms.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Back To Work/School

I've gone back to work, which means I'm around people again, which means I'm surrounded by fertile conversations again. And, full disclosure, I've returned to my first career: teaching. So that means I am working with fertile co-workers, kids, and their parents again.

To put it lightly, there is NO WAY I could have returned to teaching any earlier than August 2019. And I would not return if it was in any way detrimental to my mental health with regard to my recovery from infertility.

But here I am. By choice. Feeling thankful and enthusiastic.

I don't want a baby anymore. I *wanted* kids, but they didn't come. I am not raising children in my home. Not in this lifetime.

But as I have spent years grieving and crying and sitting in depression, thinking about allllllll of the things I was missing by not getting to raise children, I thought about all of the reasons why I wanted to be a mother. And it was the gritty stuff I wanted. The late nights, the sick times, helping with homework, supporting after school activities... And, well, I can do half of those things as a teacher.

Like I said, I spent yearsss grieving. I let my feelings come, I let them stay, I let them go. I sat in nothingness for endless days, weeks, months. I didn't know what to do so I did nothing. And that was fine. That was part of my process.

And now, at least today anyway, I am here. No, I don't have kids. No, I am not a mom. But I love teaching. And I love kids. And it finally doesn't hurt to be around them. In fact, now I can enjoy working with kids and then also enjoy going home to do whatever I want.

Just chalk it up to another thing post-infertility that I didn't see coming... :)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Stages of My Survival

Some thoughts on...

Pressing Forward
I had another blogger email me a month or two ago. I always greatly appreciate connecting with other women like myself, those who are living life without children after infertility. And it was really cool to hear from her in particular because it's her blog that was the first one I read start to finish. Through her writing, she helped me so, so much when she didn't even know I was reading. So, back to her email, there was a phrase she used that has stuck with me: pressing forward. She commended me for doing such. And, as she usually does, she gave me words for my experience. That's all you can do once you start moving/living/doing something again. Initially, it is one slow, heavy step at a time. It can take years to build momentum, but there is no timeline. There is only pressing forward.

Changes of Scenery
Until things become lighter. It's so gradual that it is imperceptible. But one day, one-one thousandth of an ounce is lifted from your shoulders, your legs, your chest, your heart. And you notice it. For me, what made the biggest difference was a major change of scenery. Selling the house I had bought for my children was necessary for me. After that, I moved into a rental house while I went back to school, but I was still in the same city. Moving out of that city (and out of the state entirely) to a different city helped immensely, as I never would have done that had my children been conceived, born, and raised where I was. Moving out of state to finish school changed my life forever because my husband did not follow and now we are divorced. But it is moving to where I am now, out of that city and into a small town, that has been the most transformative. It's only been a couple of months so I can't quite put it into words yet, but I know major changes are happening within. So, at least in my case, a change of scenery helps!

Back To Work
And this past week I went back to work. I actually returned to my previous career, one that I never thought I'd do again. That said, I always maintained my licensure and certifications because you just never know... I am incredibly thankful for my new job. It just feels right. There will be good days and there will be bad, but I'm glad that those days will be happening in a place where I want to live.

Living My Life
Which brings me to living my life... I am almost overwhelmed with how much I like my life. It's weird because it doesn't look ANYTHING like my lifelong dream or even my Plan B, but I just kept pressing forward and this is where I am. I'm quite proud of myself. None of it was easy. But now I'm here. I have housing, I have employment, and I have a hobby that I enjoy. Speaking of, I am almost finished with my very first quilt.

I suppose my final thoughts are along the lines of life is a winding path and I expect to continue to revisit the same issues and difficult topics throughout it. It's not just infertility. It's divorce. And dating. And falling in love again. It's my unhealthy mother. And my sisters whom I love with all of my heart. And whom also accidentally hurt my feelings a lot. It's fertile people stating rude assumptions. It's experiencing the holiday that is hardest for me every year. It's trying to make friends as a grown-ass woman without kids and also trying to make time to see said friends.

It's life. But it's mine. It's stressful. But there's tons of good stuff too. I created a life I want to live.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

We Can

Our country went to bed last night after a day of horror and we all woke up to learn of more horror. This blog post will fade into the past only to possibly be read again in the future sometime, somewhere, by someone and I will not name here what the two, er three, horrifying events were of this particular week.

It's awful. It's horrible. And I have no words to describe my rage, sadness, and frustration. I start to feel helpless, like I can't do anything to change it, and that I can't live in a society like this.

But if there's one thing I learned from infertility it's that I Can.

When I am faced with the unfathomable, I know I can survive.
When nothing makes sense and everything hurts, I know I can keep going.
When the world overwhelms me and things seem meaningless, I know I can make a positive difference in my little spot.

A joke with a stressed cashier here, holding a door open for someone with their hands full there, I can keep showing up in life. I can find joy in the little things. I can be there for others.

I can. You can. We can.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

For Those Suffering

Recovering from infertility without getting to raise children is a long, hard undertaking. It can be lonely, traumatic, and feel almost impossible to survive. But life CAN get worth living again. It might take a long time and life definitely won't look like what you thought it would, but it is miraculously possible to want to live again.

That's why I appreciate Life Without Baby's post called Who Are You? so much. You slowly but surely go through phases as you recover from life-altering loss and this post does a nice job of summarizing some of those phases.

There was a time, a very long time period, where I definitely did not think it was possible to ever want to live again. I spent years alternating between feeling like walking death and feeling like all of my emotions and nerve endings were on the outside of my skin and everything was extremely painful.

Who was I? A tortured soul. Grieving the loss of my children. A woman who was involuntarily alive.

Who am I now? A changed person. Healing from the loss of motherhood. A strong fucking woman who is happily surprised to be content, at peace, and even excited to be here.