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.


  1. Congratulations about the new apartment! It must feel great to know you're almost there.

    I think that family members want the best for us, but often they don't have much clue about what hurts, why it hurts, and how much their comments hurt. And I think they don't want to think about it, or don't have the capacity to do so, and so rattle on regardless.

    And I think too, that maybe they feel a bit defensive - perhaps recognising that in accepting your new life, you're having to reject the life you couldn't have, and in doing that, they feel as if you're rejecting their lives as well. It's that whole thing that they don't realise it's not about them, it's about your new life.

    And my last comment (sorry this is so long) would be that spending the 13th with your husband is your way of "getting past this." Your way is a perfectly legitimate way to spend the day. What your mother wants is for you to assimilate, blend in, pretend you're just the same as everyone else. But the great freedom of our No Kidding lives is that we don't have to do that if we don't want to!

    Sending love and hugs.

    1. Thank you Mali!!! I love your comment. And I don't mind long comments.

      Yes, my family doesn't get it at all. And I think you're on to something: they want me to live my life like theirs and that's just not possible. I can't pretend I'm just the same as everyone else because I'm not.

      As for my sister, she has been unhappy for a long time and I think she's jealous (whether she realizes it or not) that I have changed my life. She thinks I've never had a problem in the world and that my whole life has been easy for me. So yes, she definitely has her own set of problems going on.

      With Mother's Day, I just prefer to stay home. I don't run errands because I don't want anyone to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. And I don't go out to eat either. I don't want to see other people's families on that day; I want to enjoy my own family that is my husband and me. Last year we ordered a pizza and that was perfect. This year we will probably get pizza again and spend the day packing. :)

  2. I know you love your sister and your mother, and because of that their silly comments get to you.


    I am very happy for the appartment! Do tell us more about it.

    1. Thank you Klara, that helps me understand. I do love my mom and sister and that's why their insensitivity and lack of empathy is hurtful.

      Having an apartment is such a relief. It is so nice to picture where I am going. It is a small one bedroom with a balcony. The kitchen has nicer appliances than I've ever had and there is a washer and dryer in the apartment too. It will be the smallest space my husband and I have lived in. The house we bought for our children had four bedrooms. The house we rent now has two bedrooms. And now we are continuing to downsize to one bedroom and we love it. I will admit I have a storage unit though. Over the next couple of years I will either find a place and use my stuff (I think half of it is books haha) or I will give it all away. There has been a lot to adjust to in the last couple of years so I have been moving at my own pace with regard to my "stuff." But I am very excited about the next step and our new place!

    2. dear Phoenix, how many miles away are you moving? And will you move already in May/June?

    3. I am moving 1,000 miles from where I am now at the end of the month. I want to spend the first half of June getting somewhat settled before school starts again and I finish up my degree. The good thing is that I will be finished with coursework though! So I don't have to go to classes on campus, which is why I can move before I graduate. :)

    4. I find this so amazing, the distances in your country. The longest distance in my country (from east to west): 166 miles :)

      Wishing you all the best!

  3. Congratulations on finding your new home! Yay :-D! That's something worth celebrating. I am raising my glass to you across the ocean :-).

    I am so sorry about the reactions of your mother and sister. When I read Mali's comment I very much agreed. I also think that what they said had so much more to do with them and their problems or incapacities than with YOU and your needs. I don't think our families and friends ever *want* to hurt us, they just can't think outside their own box. Which is very sad because they love us but actually are sometimes not "good company" for us!

    Also, like Mali I have learned is that people often feel sort of "attacked" by our choices because they challenge their own way of life and their values/opinions, even when we don't actually SAY anything about them. We ARE different. My husband sometimes laughs at me: I've always wanted to please everyone which has become impossible. I am learning not to try to do that anymore (I have made progress, too), but I AM different without my wanting to be so! Slowly, as I get to know new people and follow my own interests, my surroundings and friends change, so I feel less "different". I'm very grateful about that.

    On the 13th my entire family will be at my sister's, making brunch together as a surprise for my mom. I'm not going since, by chance, I will have my parents over at my house on the 12th and need to concentrate on my final project at school, too. I'll certainly be thinking of you and our international "sisterhood"!

    1. I will be thinking of you while you finish up your final project at school! That is so cool that you are finishing school things up as well. :)

      Yes, I very much agree with Mali's comments and have been thinking about them ever since I read them. And I agree with you that what my mother and sister said was about them, not about me. I wish they were less hurtful though. I have friends with and without kids that get it; I don't understand why my family doesn't get it. Or why they don't seem to try more to understand.

      Also, same with me--it is impossible to please everyone and, after dealing with infertility and needing to create healthy boundaries for myself, I understand this now more than ever. I think it's dumb that other people can feel attacked by the way I live my life, especially when it wasn't my choice and I'm not all sanctimonious about it. But it is true that some people do feel defensive because I have had some strange conversations with friends that I used to be really close with. It's so weird how life and friendships can go sometimes.

      Thank you for the toast across the ocean! As I said at the beginning, I will be thinking of you. I know your final project will be great! I know this because you are an insightful, hard working person so any project you take on will be done with thought and care. <3

  4. Your new apartment sounds wonderful! (I can relate to the nice new appliances. ;) ) I am sorry that your family can't seem to be happy for you... I agree, it's just defensiveness on their part. You're not doing what they're doing, or what they expected you to do, and that feels like a judgement on their own lives. It says more about them and their insecurities than it does about you. Hang in there!

    1. Thank you Loribeth. I think my family doesn't understand some things with me because they forget that I'm 38. I am the baby of the family and so I understand that they will always see me as young. But not having kids doesn't help. I think they think of me as perpetually 25 with free time and lots of energy. They forget how they were and what their lives were like when they were 38 because their lives at 38 were so much different than what mine is as they were raising children. You can always opt out of a family event as a parent because you can say your kid is sick or has an activity or whatever. That is perfectly acceptable. But when I say I can't do something because I am tired or just need a night to myself, they take it personally. At least I understand this. I wish they did too.

  5. First, congrats on the new apartment! That's awesome. And a bit fat NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to your sister especially, and to your mom. Even if they "meant well," your sister was so out of touch with your situation to say any of what she did, and moms can be so tricky with the mourning of the children. I think maybe she said "Well I hope one day you'll get past that" because she wants you to have peace, but it's a shitty way to say it, and everyone deals differently with loss. Good on that other woman for putting on a lunch for people, but EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT and for every saint who does that sort of thing there is someone who needs to just take care of themselves so they don't dip into the pit. And how does she know that this motherless, childless lady doesn't put on the lunch so she's busy and swallowing her own pain on that day? So many assumptions there. I hate everything about the statement "someday you'll get past that." It's part of your fabric. For me, I may be able to deal with things differently over time but I can't see a time where it won't ever be a part of my existence, this loss of the life I envisioned for so long. I can be grateful for all I have while also mourning what I don't, and it has nothing to do with "getting past it..." That's a statement that comes from people being uncomfortable with people sitting in grief. Grrr.

    I'm grateful for all you've survived, for all you are (grief and all), and for all you've yet to be! Congrats on a step closer to the Now Life.

    1. Thank you Jess. It is always so refreshing to read comments because people here just Get It. My sister is extremely out of touch and my mom's phrasing is often "off." She told me this week that people mean well, they just don't always say the right thing and I said that I don't have unlimited resources for good intentions and that the things people say still hurt.

      She did say she was reading a memoir about a woman who went through infertility and did not end up with kids, so I'm glad she has taken a step in the direction of trying to understand.