Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lower Your Expectations

For my last post of 2017, I'd like to share some advice from my former counselor. When I was in the middle of infertility and treatments, it was gently, yet firmly, suggested to me by both my husband and my best friend to start seeing someone. They both thought I needed additional support. And if the two people I love and trust more than anything nicely suggested the same thing to me, I thought I better listen.

After my first counselor was a TERRIBLE fit (actually I would say she was a terrible counselor, but hey, maybe her style works for someone out there), I got lucky with the second counselor I tried. Very, very lucky. She was a much older woman with children and grandchildren who had never experienced infertility herself or knew anyone who had dealt with it, but she still totally got it. I learned so much from her in the year and a half I saw her. Honestly, I might still be seeing her if she hadn't retired. She was incredible. I told her, "I came for help with infertility but I stayed for the boundary education." Seriously, where was this woman my whole life? I definitely needed her help.

So. Anyway. One of the most important things she told me was to lower my expectations.


I thought I was supposed to have high expectations for the people around me. I mean, if you have high expectations, people will rise to meet them, right? Nope, not necessarily.

While I was raw from infertility, I constantly got my feelings hurt. I was consistently disappointed and sad at what I perceived to be a lack of support from friends and family. When she advised me to lower my expectations, I was really surprised. I had never heard that before.

Then again... It was just another concept that infertility had turned on its head.

Have high expectations! Never give up! Everything happens for a reason!

What a bunch of bullshit we've been fed our whole lives.

So I want to share that ever since I have lowered my expectations, I have been much happier. People don't disappoint me as much because I don't have unrealistic expectations for them. I'm easier on others and I'm easier on myself. I'm not wasting as much time and energy getting my feelings hurt. Instead, I have been using my energy to grieve and move forward. It's true that there's been an almost 100% turnover of people in my life, but that's okay. That's how life goes and how relationships evolve, especially when you're walking a different path than the majority.

I don't know if that advice is helpful or not, but I wanted to share in case it is. If you found yourself angry, sad, and/or disappointed with people a lot during 2017, try taking a different approach. Try lowering your expectations. At the very least, it will free up a lot more of your energy.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Plot Twist: I Don't Like To Travel

I am one week post-final exams and I am just barely starting to feel human again. It's so weird how exhaustion affects me as I've gotten older. Now it can make me feel hungover when I haven't even had a beer. Dizzy, nauseous, unclear thinking, everything is harder than it should be. Weird.

So here I am, sitting in my PJs, feeling thankful for this time to recuperate.


One of the most common things people say when they learn I don't have kids is, "Oh, you get to travel!" And this statement annoys the crap out of me. First of all, are they paying? Because as far as I know traveling costs money. Even bare bones traveling, you still gotta eat and sleep somewhere. Secondly, just because I don't have kids doesn't mean I don't have a schedule I have to keep. I have two weeks of vacation just like everyone else. Well, at least I will when I get a job after I graduate. But even for now, I have classes to go to and assignments to complete. My life is not a free for all.

But here's the thing. Here's my unpopular opinion. I don't like to travel. Hahaha, joke's on them!

I know that's not the cool thing to say. Most everyone likes to travel. You go to new places, you see and experience new things. And I've been lucky enough to be able to do some traveling throughout my life. I've been to several beaches, ski resorts, music festivals, and big cities. I even went to Europe once.

But I don't really like to travel. I don't like driving long distances or being in airplanes. Packing stresses me out. My body doesn't like eating different food. However, I make myself travel or else I would never see anything or go anywhere. I can be such a homebody haha.

I think part of it is that whole not liking the spaces in between that I wrote about several posts ago. I like being home. I like being at wherever the vacation destination is. The actual traveling part? Not so much.

I don't like to travel, but I also don't want to live here where I live anymore. I mentioned it before, I forget which post, but where I currently live is a great place to raise kids. Lots of resources, lots of activities, lots of community. But I don't feel like there's a lot for ME to do here.

So. What to do, what to do...

Can't have kids.
Don't like to travel.
Don't want to live where I planned on living for the rest of my life.

And that's why I'm moving.
This way I won't have to travel to be somewhere where I want to be.
I'll already be there because I'll live there.

I mentioned my upcoming move in my last post. It will be here so soon. I'm nervous and excited. I've been working toward it for a long time. Oh god the last six years have sucked so bad. That is such an understatement. I am so tired, but I am so close to the end. Or the next beginning.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Another Semester in the Books

I did it. I finished another semester. I was crawling to the finish line, but I did it.

If you've read anything I've written about school, you know that I don't like it. But I'd like to say that I have grown to greatly appreciate it, separate from how it has given me something to do and work toward while working through the grief of losing my children. I have grown to appreciate school for what I'm learning and the madness of the program. Still don't love the professors, but I have learned a lot from them! I think that's more important. I don't have to like them as long as I am learning from them. Haha how mature of me.

This time last year I had just finished my first semester and it was the hardest thing that I had ever done in my life, school-wise. I was depleted and discouraged and looking at another year of straight school: spring, summer, and fall semesters of 2017. I knew it was gonna be tough. I knew I didn't have a lot in me. I knew that the previous four years of my life had already killed me. But there I was, still standing. So I just kept moving, one thing at a time.

And I did it. I did the spring semester. I did the summer semester. And I did the fall semester.
And I am exhausted. :)

I'll take a few days to rest and recuperate. Then I'm going to tackle the last of the storage unit, once and for all. I'm still keeping a lot, but I want to get it all as organized and compact as possible.

Because if life goes as planned...
(Yeah, I'm never going to be able to say that again with a straight face. Plans, ha!)

I will be moving next summer.


A plan, over three years in the making. Set in motion exactly one week after my last IVF didn't result in pregnancy. I got the phone call, went numb, gave myself a week to cry (or rather, not cry, as I had run out of tears by that point) and stare at the wall. Then, on the 7th day, I decided we were moving. About a month after that I decided I was going back to school for a new career.

I'm really glad I didn't know what I was getting myself into. The prerequisite courses, the application process, getting the house ready to sell, looking for a rental, moving, putting the house on the market, selling it, starting school- registering, buying books, orientation, classes, studying, quizzes, tests, and projects. Yeah, I'm really glad I didn't know what I was getting myself into hahaha.

I just did everything one step at a time and didn't think about it all at once. And here I am. I can honestly say it has been worth it. Not infertility. My hard work. All of my hard work with myself and my marriage and redirecting my life and going back to school and, the biggest of them all, grieving and feeling everything that comes with grief. The hard work has been worth it and for that I am extremely grateful.

I'm glad I finished this semester and I'm glad I get a little break.

Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for encouraging and relating with me. Thank you to the other blog writers. Our blogs are the only place where I can talk freely about my life and have people understand. There is so much I don't have to explain to you, and I just really appreciate it. Thank you.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Awkward Hello

My husband and I ran into an old friend of his today. I recognized him first, pointed him out, and said that we should go say hello. So we did. They became friends in college when they worked at the same place and always stayed in touch. He's a great guy- really fun and friendly, and I love his wife.

But we hadn't seen them in almost a year, not since they shared their pregnancy news with us. We were happy for them and congratulated them. They knew we tried for years and stopped trying. The road to pregnancy was not at all easy for them either.

I don't know if they had any expectations for us, but my husband and I just kind of stepped out of the picture. We live an hour apart. They have a million friends and lots of family, and I knew our lives were going in different directions. I was invited to the baby shower but declined. If I had kids or was going to have kids, I would've loved to have continued cultivating this friendship. But I don't and I'm not so I just did what was best for me.

Anyway, I haven't talked to my husband about it, but I thought it was a little awkward. But it was nice. I'm glad we ran into him. After we saw each other and said our hellos and we were just standing there I said, "So, do you have any pics?" My husband's friend immediately beamed and said, "Do I have any pics? Hahaha." He got out his phone and scrolled through about 20 pictures of their new baby wearing adorable holiday outfits. (I didn't want to admit that I didn't know the kid's name, but you can get away with saying "How cute" and "What a perfect baby" without the new parent catching on.)

The friend was with two of his friends that we'd met before, all three of them fathers to little ones. Like I said, it was a little awkward. But everyone kept the casual conversation going for about ten minutes. As we parted ways, I asked him to tell his wife hello for me which he assured me he would.

I don't know... It was brief. It was unexpected. It was good to see him. But it was a little awkward.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Don't Count on IVF or Adoption

That's what I would tell myself if I could go back in time. I wouldn't change anything. I would still make all the same choices and stay on the same timeline and everything. But at least I'd know. At least I'd have a heads up that IVF and adoption don't always work out. Silly me, I thought everyone who wanted kids could have them, one way or another.

Five failed fertility treatments and one bankrupt adoption agency later...

I know differently.

I always wanted kids. But I always wanted kids later. I watched both my sisters get married young and have kids. They were happy thankfully, but I remember always thinking: I want my own apartment first.

So I don't have any regrets. I don't wish things had gone differently. I am actually extremely thankful. With the support of my family I got to go to college. Once I graduated and got a job, I got my own apartment. It was everything I had hoped and more. It was in a great location and it was back when I feel like things were more affordable and my friends and I had a lot of fun.

I don't regret any parties. I don't regret any late nights. I don't regret drinking beer, living off a diet of french fries and pizza, having boyfriends, going to smoky clubs, and eating greasy food and cake at two in the morning. It was fun. And it was exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to work hard at my job, volunteer somewhere, and have fun with my friends.

I worked with kids and I wanted kids, just not yet. I hadn't begun dating my husband yet. It just wasn't time. And that was fine with me. I've been known to worry about almost anything, so yes I worried about infertility way before it ever even needed to be on my radar screen. But I always thought, ok, worst case scenario and I face my worst nightmare, there's always adoption and IVF.

I thought they were guaranteed.

I didn't know if I ever wanted to try medical assistance, but I knew I didn't need to birth a child for me to love him or her unconditionally. I know how much I cared about the kids I worked with and they didn't live with me. I didn't read to them or take them to baseball practice. I didn't hold their hand when they were sick. They weren't my kids. But I knew any child that was ever placed in my home would be my child.

Except, of course, that never happened.

These are not the kinds of things I want to talk about when people probe further after they've asked me if I have kids. "Have you thought about IVF?" "Have you thought about adoption?"

No, I haven't. What's that?

(I really want to try that answer out sometime. If you do, please let me know how it goes. I would love to hear.)

No, I wouldn't change anything about my life. Not the bad times or the hard times or the boring times or the making mistakes times or the really really tough lesson times. I'm thankful for how it has unfolded, for the choices I've made and mostly for good luck.

I just wish I knew that IVF fails 70% of the time. That a lot of women have done a lot of treatments and have never gotten pregnant. That it's not easy or affordable. And that it's not this fool proof solution that I thought it was.

And adoption. I didn't realize... So many things... Adoption has changed over the years. Overall, I think there are more people wanting to adopt than there are newborns available for adoption. Also, I've had a lot of different jobs over the years and the time I worked for a foster care agency really informed me of the complexities of foster care and adoption. Plus, the agency provided me with great training about working with trauma-informed children. That was and still is my most favorite job I've ever had, but it wasn't easy. And I got to go home to a quiet, stable home every day to recharge for the next day.

So, in one of those hypothetical "If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?" situations, I would tell myself: don't count on IVF or adoption.

I would encourage myself to live my life just the same. Work hard, be nice, have fun, volunteer. Make all of the same mistakes and choices. All is and will be well.

Just Don't Count On IVF Or Adoption.