Friday, January 27, 2017

Letting Go

It's hard to let go of a lifelong dream, especially one that is so biologically and culturally ingrained. A dream that is so primal. A dream that others cannot let go of for you either. A dream where there feels like there is no room for the alternative in society. Not have kids? What?

I remember being a little girl and my mother telling me that people who don't have kids are weird. I doubt she even remembers saying this, but I remember it stung even though I was only 8 or 9 years old. I immediately thought, but what about all the people who can't have children? Or whose children have passed away? I was born an old soul and my little elementary school heart ached for the people who would be hurt by my mother's thoughtless comment.

But here I am, alive and kicking, without my children. I still think about them every day. Even though they never existed in the physical form on this planet.

I've noticed recently that one of the hardest things for me is pictures of mothers looking into the eyes of their babies. I can't stand to see the newborn pics, with the mom gazing lovingly at their new baby in their arms. I am happy for others, but those pictures cause me a lot of pain.

My school offers 12 free counseling sessions a year to students. I decided I needed a little bit more support. My husband is awesome, the few friends I confide in about infertility are awesome, the blogging community is awesome, but I think I need another place to speak freely. So I went in yesterday for my first appointment. Thankfully, I liked her. She was compassionate and didn't say anything stupid or insensitive.

I am proud of myself for how far I've come. A year ago today I was still living in my children's house. Since then, I've moved, sold the house, and started graduate school. I am happy and content more days than I am sad and questioning. But I still have work to do. And that's okay too.

Letting go of a lifelong dream is hard. πŸ’œ

Monday, January 23, 2017

It's Coming...

It has been awhile since anyone has said anything rude or insensitive to me about not having children, but I have a feeling some comments are headed my way...

First of all, I am in a new lab section this semester, and my new section has three people in it that have babies at home. Considering I am one of the oldest people in the program and I don't have kids, I am anticipating some sort of question soon.

Second of all, one of my new professors' first impression on me was not good. I believe she may be what I call "an insufferable fertile." During our first class meeting, she was discussing all of the different clinical settings she has worked in, but she was very adamant about having never worked in pediatrics. She said, with a touch of disgust in her voice, "I have my OWN kids. I don't NEED to work in pediatrics." Ouch. To his credit, my new school friend (the 24 year old dude with the baby) immediately turned to me and rolled his eyes. Today I heard from some other classmates that this same professor spent the first hour of lab this morning telling them all about her children.  I have her lab tomorrow.

It's coming... I don't know what, but I know something is coming...

The difference between now and a year or even six months ago is I am feeling less defensive. I also don't feel the need to explain myself. So when the inevitable comments are finally uttered, who knows if I will even respond. Maybe I'll just let the comments/questions hang in the air... I refuse to go into my trauma just to satisfy other people's curiosity or make them feel more comfortable.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why I'm Blogging

Hello! I feel like it's been so long since I've written. I'm feeling a bit rusty... I got knocked down with a nasty cold and was out of commission in life for awhile. Not exactly how I wanted to start the semester but that's the way it goes sometimes... I've been catching up with reading everyone else's posts and I continue to be so grateful for this community.

*****

Why I'm Blogging


1. It helps me with my recovery.

Recovery from infertility is a very real thing and a very long, if not lifelong, process. After waiting around for a couple of years for a loved one, or anyone, to reach out to me and help me, I finally realized no one was coming. Furthermore, no one could do it for me. I had to figure out for myself what I was going to do. Thankfully, I had the support of my husband. But as someone who always relied heavily on girlfriends, I was still very lonely. Writing here helps me figure out what I'm thinking and feeling. It gives me a place to vent, whine, cry, or celebrate. And, most importantly to me, it gives me the opportunity to connect with others who understand from experience.


2. It helps me help others.

I honestly don't know where I'd be if it weren't for what I call the Blogging Pioneers. I spent a couple of years reading so many posts from women who were living life after infertility. It gave me hope and encouragement that life would be worth living again. It gave me comfort to know that I wasn't crazy and that what I was thinking and feeling was actually quite normal for someone in my situation. It also helped me stop fertility treatments. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to try treatment, but, as I shared in previous posts, they were not healthy for me. Despite my love for my doctor, nurses, phlebotomists, and the clinic overall, fertility treatments were killing my spirit and I needed to stop. I don't know if I would have been able to quit as easily as I did without reading everyone else's stories and learning how incredibly common it is for fertility treatments to not result in pregnancy. Now that I am moving on and working to take my life in a completely different direction, I hope I can help someone out there who may be where I used to be. It really does get good again! Even if that seems impossible to believe.


3. I want to preserve an extremely important friendship.

I have one amazing friend that I can say anything to. We had different paths in life, but she is also childless/childfree, and she also wanted children and would have been a freaking amazing mother. She has been there for me every step of the way. She has listened to me for years. But she is so important to me and I don't want to drag her down. My emotional stability and recovery from infertility is not her responsibility; it is mine. And even though she would welcome anything I felt I needed to tell her, I don't want to unload too much and burden her. That's not the kind of friend I want to be. So, while I am immensely thankful for her friendship and support, I realized I needed another outlet in which to express myself so I didn't overload our friendship.

*****

My second semester has started and, especially starting out so sick, I am already feeling overwhelmed. However, this blog and my health and recovery are important to me, so I will continue reading and writing here. If I can be helpful in any way, please let me know in the comments. You can also email me at infertilephoenix at gmail dot com.

I hope everyone's 2017 is off to a good start! I'm thinking now is a good time to start my new year's resolutions haha. :) They're always the same: eat well, exercise, and save money, and every year I get just a little bit better.

Onward! :)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Getting Excited

My textbooks for next semester came in the mail! They are technical and profession-specific and I am really excited! I wonder how long the excitement will last once I have tests and due dates hahaha.

I texted several different friends from school. They are all at least ten years younger than me. None of them are excited. They are all just fine with being on break.

But I don't need any more break. I need to get on with my life! :)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Days Like This

Days like this remind me of why I went back to school.

I'm still on winter break in between the fall and spring semesters. The first week I basically just slept. The second week I got to see some family that came in town. The third week I had lunches with friends I hadn't seen in several months. And now... I am bored. And it's not a good kind of boredom either. It's the questioning-my-life-decisions kind of boredom until I remember, oh yeah, I'm going back to school soon... Good!!

I'm sleeping too much and eating too little. My husband and my friends have gone back to work. I'm home all day and it reminds me of all my long and lonely days in 2012 - 2015. I've organized my study area so I'm prepared for the onslaught of my new classes when they begin, but I'm having a hard time finding any motivation or energy to get anything else done. I could very easily slip back into a depressive state, but I am fighting it. Plus, I know that I only have a week and a half left of this.

It's too bad I can't enjoy this break more. I will not have many more periods like this in my life. Here I have what everyone wants: a break from life, time to catch up, time to myself. But it is just too close in time to my experience with infertility and being on break right now is not the healthiest thing for me.

But I have awareness and gratitude, people who love me, a future to work toward, and this blog where I can write my true thoughts and feelings where I don't have to explain myself for you to understand.

Thank you. πŸ’œ

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It's complicated.

Leave it to a satire site to hit the nail on the head... I was scrolling through my newsfeed the other day and one of my friends liked a satirical article that had the perfect sentence: "It's almost as if this very complicated part of my life causes me to have more than one feeling." Well, that's incredibly accurate. Hahaha. I don't remember what the article was about; it wasn't infertility, but that sentence stood out to me so much that I wrote it down to write about later.

***

For years all I felt was sadness and devastation. What do you mean I wasn't going to have kids?? The future I had envisioned and planned for my entire life wasn't happening. Now what?

I was so so sad, so depressed, so traumatized, and so depleted but cognizant enough to realize that I was missing out on the life I DID have. I didn't want to live like that, but I didn't know how to change it. Well... I realized I didn't even like my neighborhood. We only moved there to be closer to my husband's job so we could have more family time together when we had kids. That's when I started thinking bigger.

We can do anything. We can go anywhere. We can do whatever the hell we want.
Well, except have kids.

Think for a second... If you could go anywhere, do anything, what would you do? Of course, there's logistics and financial considerations, but suspend those for a moment and just envision some of your dreams. What do you really need in life? What's important to you?

Something shifted. Although I was still deep down in a hole, a little bit of weight came off of my shoulders. Like, maybe about two pounds out of a ton. I thought of that Lao Tzu quote, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and both rolled my eyes at myself and saw truth in its sentiment. I decided we were selling our house and moving.

***

It's only five days into the new year and my husband and I are already over it. Hahaha! But I'm giving us a ton of credit for everything we've been through over the last five years. I told him it's no wonder that we're over it. For four years we did everything we could to try and get pregnant. For the fifth year, we completely changed our lives by selling our house, getting rid of half of our stuff, moving, and me going back to school. Then school started. It was all so much work.

And that's what we're looking at for 2017: so much work. Me at school and him at his job. Don't get me wrong, we are very thankful for my school program and his job! We just know it's temporary and we are really looking forward to what we have planned for 2018/2019.

***

So I'm starting to get really excited. I just ordered my textbooks for next semester and the nerd in me is totally geeking out. I am really excited for all of the professional skills I am going to learn this semester.

I am also really excited to move in a year or two, whenever it works out. I actually love where we live now, but I've been in this city a long time and I am looking forward to a new adventure that will offer opportunities we don't have here. If it doesn't work out, we can always come back.

None of these things would be happening if I was parenting. I would not have gone back to school had I gotten pregnant and had a baby. We would not have sold our house. I would not be looking forward to moving in a couple of years.

And I am VERY excited about our new dreams and plans.

***

And then I spent all last night dreaming (nightmaring?) about infertility. In it, I was crying and searching for my baby. I would find one, hold it in my arms and against my chest, and it would feel so right and good and then the baby would disappear and I would continue on my search. Real freaking depressing stuff.

***

"It's almost as if this very complicated part of my life causes me to have more than one feeling."

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Feeling Reflective

I've had a weird feeling all day. Two years ago today was my first embryo transfer. I remember being very excited about the new year and hopeful that I would be a mom. I would go on to do a second IVF before realizing I had come to my personal end and had to change my life. So I got the ball rolling in 2015, but 2016 is where I really put in the hard work.

Now that it's officially over, I can look back at what all I did in the past year.

  1. Packed up or gave away everything we owned in an effort to downsize.
  2. Moved into a rental place half the square footage of our old house.
  3. Coordinated all the repainting, recarpeting, and repairs on the old house.
  4. Took one more prerequisite course for my school program.
  5. Put the old house on the market.
  6. Sold the old house (thankfully).
  7. Unpacked at the rental property (finally).
  8. Dog was diagnosed with cancer in August. Given 3 - 4 months to live.
  9. Registered for classes, bought books, etc. to get ready for school.
  10. Started school.
  11. Hated school.
  12. Started a blog.
  13. Didn't quit school.
  14. Finished the semester.
  15. Survived, and even enjoyed, the holidays.
  16. Dog is still alive and well. 
Basically, if I can say so myself, I kicked ass this year. It was freaking hard. And there was definitely a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. But I knew it had to be done. I knew I could not continue to live in my children's house if my children were never going to come. I needed a new career and I needed a new life. And no one could do it for me.

Dear God I'm glad all that is over...

2017 will be hard too. Full of schoolwork and projects and due dates and an impossible amount of reading assignments. But I can handle that. That's just school. No matter how much it sucks, it is not a traumatic experience.

So I'm feeling good. I'm feeling capable. I feel excited, and I feel thankful. I feel sad too. I often feel all of these things at once. It's okay. :)

Here's to a Happy New Year!