Sunday, June 17, 2018

Beginning Again

Infertility stole so many things from me. Joy, energy, friendships, the desire to engage in activities I once liked. Recovering from infertility involves not only recovering from the trauma of losing your lifelong dream of children, but it also involves recovering from all of the other losses that infertility caused.

I used to like to cook. I was never a gourmet chef or anything. I just cooked simple things that I liked to eat. Infertility killed that. I was so depressed and I had no energy or motivation. I barely even wanted to eat. I skipped breakfast. I skipped lunch. Then for dinner it would a sandwich or a bowl of cereal or going out to eat. Cooking didn't happen for many, many years.

Then we moved to our rental house. Its kitchen was... less than ideal. The pipes were old, the water was gross, and the stove heated up the whole house (and it was already hot outside). Plus, I went back to school, which took every little bit of energy I had. So I continued to not cook. We continued to eat sandwiches, cereal, and take out.

It wasn't very healthy, nourishing, or cheap. But we were doing the best we could.

But... Drum roll please... I cooked something last week!

I bought ingredients, I mixed them up, I put them in the oven, and I made something tasty to eat. It was the first time I'd used an oven in at least four years. That sounds crazy to me, but it's true.

And I'm going to cook again today. :)

I start the next phase of my school tomorrow. I'm done with classes and now I get to actually do the hands-on learning in a real-world setting. I'm excited and nervous and my biggest concern is my lack of endurance. It's been a long time since I have been on my feet and interacted with people all day long. Classes were one thing, but they weren't all day and I could always come home and take a nap. (I'm telling you, infertility seriously knocked me down and out of life for several years.)

But I am committed to living again. I am committed to eating regularly, so I have the energy to learn as much as I can and to take good care of my patients. I know this next phase will be difficult, but I also know I will build endurance and be so much stronger when it is over.

So on Friday I meal planned. On Saturday I grocery shopped. And today I am going to cook. I'm making a breakfast casserole so I can heat up a serving each morning. I'm meal prepping my lunches (and snacks!) that I'm going to bring every day. And I thought of easy, healthy dinners I can make when I get home exhausted from a long day.

Part of me feels pretty lame. Cooking/feeding oneself every day is something that everyone does. If I had kids, I would have to feed them every day. It reminds me of when my sister told me, "You wouldn't be able to handle having kids." But dammit, very few people in this world understand what I have been through and how it killed my spirit. I need to honor myself and, instead of beating myself up, be proud of how far I've come. So that's what I'm trying to do.

I'm beginning again. In the kitchen. Which is pretty metaphorical in itself. Wish me luck! :)


  1. Oh, I love this post. It's you finding your way back to yourself, to your spirit. Yes, most people haven't got a clue how infertility crushes us.

    Also, I can't believe your sister said that. I'm so sorry. It feeds all the worst feelings we have about ourselves at the time.

    Good luck! And Bon Appetit!

    1. And I did it! I followed through! It took me all day yesterday, but I cooked the breakfast casserole and the taco meat for my lunches, and then I prepacked all of my lunches so I didn't have to think about it every night. And yes! Today's lunch was delicious!! :)

      And about my sister... That's the least of what she said to me. My experience with infertility and how she responded to it all changed our relationship forever, but I'm not even sure she realizes it. At least I have boundaries now. I love her, but she is mean.

      But back to tasty food... I was very tired from cooking yesterday, but I am going to be thanking myself all week long. :)

  2. THANK YOU. Phoenix, you have no idea what this post does to me.
    Please don't feel lame. I need to tell you something:
    A few weeks ago we had visitors. They looked at the cook books in our shelf and were delighted because they have the same ones. Except that ours were never put to use. I have tried one single recipe in one book and zero in the other. Cooking, especially trying out new things, just hadn't been a priority. I felt pretty stupid admitting that. I hadn't realized that until now.
    We didn't starve. There were easy salads in the summer and simple soups in winter. And bread and cheese and pasta. And cereal :-). You've made me feel better. Again, thank you!

    1. You are very welcome. You mean it's not just me? :) Seriously who wants to cook when it's tiring just to stand up, much less grocery shop and chop vegetables...

      During the peak of my devastating experience with infertility, one of my friends from college who was a college professor with a husband and two little girls managed to cook actual gourmet meals several times a week. I felt like such a loser... Here she was balancing work and parenting and she still had time and energy to cook. And I could barely feed myself the basics...

      I have actually been collecting recipes for almost a decade now. They are all in a binder and I haven't made a single one. So don't worry, you are not alone. But when we feel like it, when we are at the place where we are cooking again, we will have lots of tasty recipes ready for us to try. <3

    2. I sent the link to this post to my husband and asked him whether this sounded familiar to him. It did. I cried for a bit, too. Now I am writing my own blog post on the subject, referring to you... :-)

  3. Oh man, that comment from your sister is a dagger and a half. WTF?

    Okay, and now all positivity -- CONGRATULATIONS on getting back into cooking, and creating this new existence! I totally get the sucking down of infertility and creating unhealthy habits from the pain and loss and depression that follows. It is so freeing to be like, "I'm nourishing my body and soul for ME, and starting my new life in a healthy way." Good for you!

    A cookbook recommendation: "One Pan, Two Plates" by Carla Snyder. They are incredibly delicious recipes, relatively good for you, and cleanup is a breeze. So much of what we cook comes from this gem! AND it doesn't assume you have kids and doesn't waste food... :) WIN!

    1. Oh yeah, my sister... Maybe one day I'll write a post about all the stuff she said to me over the years. I wrote it all down as it happened but haven't looked at that list in a couple of years. Still too painful.

      And thank you! I have now meal planned and meal prepped two Sundays in a row. It takes me all afternoon and evening to do it, but hopefully I will get faster. I do not regret it during the week though. It's so nice to not have to think about food and prepare it every day after work.

      That book looks great!! Thanks for the recommendation! <3