Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Day After

Well, that was a weird holiday.

I'm happy I spent time, money, and energy preparing for it over the last couple of months. I enjoyed my decorations this year, got my grocery shopping done, and cooked at a leisurely pace for three days to make snacks, desserts, and the holiday meal. I wrapped a couple of presents and stuffed stockings for us. We listened to Xmas soul music all day and I felt warm, loved, safe, and content all day long. And full! Very, very full. :)

But the weirdness of the day is worth noting.


I woke up sad. Very sad. I wasn't anticipating it, but I immediately recognized it. And I allowed it. I didn't know what else to do. So, I felt it. It was Xmas morning and my kids weren't here. I didn't wrap presents or stuff stockings for them. I wouldn't make them breakfast. It's not that they weren't little kids anymore; they simply were never here. I don't have any memories of any Xmas mornings with them. And that's sad. So I honored that (while also honestly hoping the feeling didn't linger all day).

I lied in bed and thought about everyone around the world spending the end of the year differently than how they are used to doing. I thought about families separated for the holidays, with people staying home to be safe. I thought about parents spending their first Xmas morning without their children. I thought about how they are alone like me on Xmas day. But they're not really. They have their kids. They're just separated this year. But I still feel bad for everyone in the world for how this pandemic and our atrocious reaction to it worldwide has altered everyone's way of life in less than a year.

And I thought about all the people that have died. (No, it was not the most cheerful Xmas morning I've had.) So many people have died. Why are our flags not flying at half-mast? Our nation should be in mourning. So many people are spending their first holiday season without their loved ones. 

These were all the thoughts I woke up with on Xmas morning.

I thought them, I felt them, and I sat with them a bit.
Then I acknowledged them and tucked them away into a pocket of my mind.
I redirected my thoughts to be about what I wanted to cook for the day and when and how... 


The other weird part of my day involved talking to my mom. It was just weird. It's normal to call your parents and visit on Xmas morning, right? To forget your current worries and stresses and just visit about the holidays? 

I called my parents to wish them a Merry Xmas. They had a nice morning, just the two of them. They liked their presents from my sisters and me, and I shared with them what all I had made and was preparing to make for our meal. It was nice holiday chatter.

Then my mom got really adamant about me watching her church's children service online. She was telling me how she coordinated it all, how different kids did different parts and then the video editor put it all together. I told her that it sounded wonderful and that I know she did a great job. But she kind of would not let it go. She kept telling me I had to watch it. I know my awesome counselor from years ago would have told me to just vaguely ignore it or something like that, but in the moment I responded. I said, "Thanks mom, but I'm not going to watch it. I don't enjoy things like that." And she took that as me not wanting to watch something church-related. I was just annoyed and tired and said it had nothing to do with church. I stopped there. My mom really does not get my childlessness at all. The last thing I want to do is watch a cute video of other people's children that I don't even know. Weird. 

Don't worry. She changed the subject. She started talking about how sad it was that she and dad were alone on Xmas but how a lot of her friends were in the same situation. Then she starts listing her friends who are home without any of their children. Please allow me to repeat: my mother really does not get my childlessness at all.

My sister and niece are going to visit later this week. My other sister visited earlier in the fall. I haven't visited in the last 9 months because of the pandemic. I offered to drive five hours for a porch visit back in June before I moved further away, but they didn't want a visit unless it was going to be a "normal" visit. I didn't see them last year for Xmas because I was working two jobs, seven days a week. So I now haven't seen my parents in a year and a half. It's sad. After wrapping up our Xmas morning conversation my mom ended it by saying, "Well, see you someday!" And I replied, "Yes, looking forward to it! I love you. Merry Xmas!"

It was just weird.


But back to my food and decorations... 

I did what I could to prepare for Xmas 2020. I managed what arose in the moments. Weirdness and pandemic aside (yes, that last one's a biggie), it was an enjoyable holiday. I really liked making all of the food and having the tree, lights, and ornaments up for the past month. I'll plan to do the same next year.

I'm glad I've reclaimed the parts of Xmas that I enjoy. ๐ŸŽ„


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Less Demands

Not raising children when that's what you felt like you were meant to do in life is a devastating loss that never goes away. As I was reminded this morning.

I woke up and immediately remembered part of a dream from my sleep where someone important to me looked directly at me and stated, "You don't know what it's like to be a mother."


It hurt hearing it in my dream and it hurts thinking about it now.

It's true.
And not true.
But that's not what's important here.

Obviously, I am depleted. I've been giving more than I've been replenished. I need to take a break. I want to make a conscious effort to do less, think less, expect less. When I do find myself thinking, I want it to be reflections on all the ways that I kicked ass this year, showing up and not shying away from life.

But overall, I want to wrap myself up in all of the quilts I've made, drink some hot chocolate, and watch some mindless tv or movies that I enjoy. I need less demands, preferably no demands, and so that is what I am going to try and give myself for the rest of this year. What's left of it and me anyway...

I hope you had a nice winter solstice yesterday.
I'll share a few pictures of some little things that I'm enjoying right now. 
Feel free to join me in giving yourself the gift of less demands for the rest of 2020.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Knowing When To Quit

Please excuse me, but a huge congratulations for myself is in order, thank you very much.

Drumroll please...

(Image above found on


Yes, I am celebrating, but, no, I am not doing so flippantly. 
I didn't WANT to quit my job. In the middle of a pandemic. Without a backup waiting in the wings. 

But I needed to quit my job. And so I did. And now it is done. And I can finally write about it.


At this point in my life, I've made many super huge and major decisions. They are never easy, but I've distilled a process for myself that I'd like to share. Using this method, I don't rely solely on my feelings to make a decision. It's a very practical method, but it still allows for my value system to be at the heart of every decision.
          First, I go back to my values. (Make a list. You can do an internet search to get ideas.) 
          Next, I make t-charts of my concerns. (List the pros and cons of potential decisions.) 
          Then I look at my data and see what conclusion makes the most sense. 


Quitting my job was a super huge and major decision. 
It also wasn't. It was just what I had to do.

I took off from work the week before Thanksgiving. For the first week, I went easy on myself. I knew I was stressed to the max, emotional, exhausted, and depleted. Then during the week of Thanksgiving I just enjoyed myself, the holiday, and the time at home. But as the weekend drew to a close, I knew I needed to figure out what I explicitly needed. So I determined three things I needed to feel safe at work. 

I returned to work. Things inevitably came to a head. I stated my three things. They conceded to one. And I knew I had to resign. 

I did the same thing with my divorce, which was probably the hardest decision I've ever made. But again, with my process, it wasn't really a decision I had to make. It was just something I had to do and get through. Once I looked at what I valued versus what my reality was... Well, facts are facts. Even when they're sad or hard or traumatic or devastating.

Like IVF. I went through that whole process twice. I'm sure many people can relate when I say I haaate needles and injections and blood draws. Just the smell of rubbing alcohol makes me anxious. But I did it. And then it didn't work either time, and I had a decision to make. Except I was done. There was not a whole lot left of me, of my personality, of my spirit. There is no other way I know to describe it: I was an empty shell. Facts are facts. I quit fertility treatments.

So, while it was not as difficult as knowing I had to get divorced or knowing I had to quit fertility treatments, it was still really hard to realize I had to quit my job. It was only a handful of months, but I put a lot into that job. I thought it was going to be my new career. I was growing very passionate about it. I envisioned retiring from the position. I invested a lot of time and money into training and materials. I quickly grew attached to my students and co-workers. Not to mention, I liked the paycheck and health insurance.

But it wasn't safe. And my concerns were not handled well. At all. 

And I had to walk away.

I cried a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. In a way that maybe only fellow IF survivors will understand, it was a tremendous heartbreak for me. I know I'm not going to raise children. I know I'm not going to be a mother. But I was really, really excited (in the most healthy and healing way possible) to be able to build long-term relationships with students and to watch and help them grow throughout their 
K - 12 school experience. 

So quitting this job hurt in ways that I expect nobody but you all to understand.
It was sad and devastating. I have let myself feel all of my feelings so I could move through them.

Which brings me to where I am now. And right now I want to recognize that quitting my job also opens up a whole hell of a lot of time and space in my life. Perhaps there will be better ways for me to serve others. I will keep my heart and mind open to the possibility.


So THAT is what has been affecting everything. I was very stressed about the lack of precautions being taken at work. In addition, I wasn't being treated well by my boss or HR. I was bringing a lot of fear and stress home. My boyfriend was an important support as he listened to me process everything out loud. It was extremely frustrating for him too. He and I are tired from the whole experience. For the past month especially, I really needed a whole team of people to help keep me grounded in reality (my boyfriend, his sister, a couple of friends that texted me validation, and three different doctors who all shared my concerns). But realizations had and decisions made, I submitted my resignation, waited out my two weeks, and quit my job.

And now it is done.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Not a Good Time

I am not having a good time. I want to write something, but I don't know what to say. My thoughts and feelings are all jumbled and I'm probably just going to sit with them for awhile. Let them figure themselves out on their own; I'm tired of doing all the work.

My job situation is horrible. I asked for three things. They conceded to one. (Trust me, I wasn't asking for much. You would be appalled if I told you the details. Everyone else in real life is shocked when I tell them. But I don't want my anonymous blog to go viral for the wrong reasons.) My employer's treatment of my safety concerns during a pandemic doesn't make them look good. I probably even have grounds for a lawsuit in there, but that's not my style. I just want the whole thing to be over.

My boyfriend is depressed. Understandably. This pandemic sucks. But it's hard. It's really hard for me. I have already been through so much, fought for so much, faced all of those existential and even morbid questions. Please believe me when I say I empathize with those fighting depression. I've been fighting depression since I was 8. Now it's more of a management situation than a battle, but the war within still rages every now and then. But overall, I have found my mental resting spot. I am okay. To put it tritely, I know everything sucks but I still choose life anyway. 

So I'm not saying it's easy. And I'm definitely not saying you have to fight it every day, that's too tall of an order. But you do have to fight depression overall. 

Or don't. It's your hole to choose.

Yesterday I was trying to engage him in conversation so I could feel connected to him or something, but he was so exasperated with my efforts he just snapped, "I have nothing to give!"



I get that. I really do. I sooooo get that. 


It just didn't sit well with me. I haven't had a lot to give either, but I've given anyway. Yes, that's a choice I made. I don't just give, give, give all over the place like I used to (Thanks again for the boundaries, infertility!), but I save what goodness I can for my home. 

Anyway, that's just my approach. To each their own I suppose.

I've been giving A LOT lately. In several different areas. And I haven't gotten much back. I think it's important for me to be reflective about that. Why? Why am I making the choices I make? What do I need? What am I receiving? What do I want? I don't expect to have answers now or even soon. I'm taking the rest of 2020 off.

I'm not having a good time. However, unlike my younger years, I have a great relationship with myself. That's how I know I'm okay overall. It just sucks really bad right now.

I thought my life at 41 would look much different. I thought I'd own a house. I thought there'd be a family. I thought there'd be stability. Ha! Hahahahahahaaa. At least I can still laugh.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Sitting With Anger

I'm tired and I'm angry and I'm tired of being angry.

But here we are...

I'm angry. 

I'm angry that I haven't eaten in a restaurant since mid-March, I haven't seen my parents in over a year (by FAR the longest time we've ever gone), and I don't even feel safe going into work. Yet, co-workers are having potlucks and going to parades while friends and family are traveling for the holidays and weddings. (A wedding? Really?? WTF?)

I don't do anything. I don't go anywhere. I read, write, sew, shop, cook, clean, and watch tv. All at home. I go to the grocery store at 5:30 in the morning every 2 - 3 weeks and that's because we don't have any pick-up or curbside delivery service here. I go to the post office but only when there isn't a line. 

That's... It. 

I hate this pandemic and I hate people's selfish reactions to it.

I am angry. I am tired. And I have nothing original to say.

So, I'm sitting here with it. Feeling my feelings. Knowing they are more than valid and justified, even though feelings don't have to be "valid" or "justified" to be felt. Knowing there's nothing I can do about the pandemic or my job or other people's choices. There's nothing I can do at all.

I've been here before.
All of us in this community have been here before.

Angry. Sad. Unable to do anything about any of it.
I remind myself what I've already been through, what I've already survived.
I choose to keep going.

But I'm still mad.


I'll share with you a couple of quotes I've come across recently.
Remember to enjoy the little things. ๐Ÿ’Ÿ

A good find on social media (sorry it's a little blurry):

A pleasantly surprising text from one of my sisters, saying "Just like you!" with this pic:

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Comforting Fertile Friends

I am somehow, miraculously, at a point of my recovering from infertility process where I can provide genuine comfort for my stressed out and/or sad friends that are parents. It's fine that I wasn't at this point before, and it's nice that I am at this point now. Just to state the simple and obvious, I like being able to be a good friend to my friends.

Remember this guy, my young friend from graduate school? One of the many reasons we became friends was because we both planned on moving our families to the same state after graduation. (At the time, his family of three and my family of two) 

So we got through school together and we both moved and we are still in touch and, although we live many hours apart, we are still friends. But things change as life goes on. I got divorced while he and his wife had a second child. We text occasionally about work or just check in with how are you and your loved ones doing, that sort of thing. 

I appreciate the friendship so I was glad when he reached out the other day when he needed a friend. It turns out that he and his wife are going through a rough spot. They both know it, but they don't know what to do about it. Bless my young, male friend as I reminded him... Your wife just had a baby!!! (Exclamation marks for emphasis among us. I did not text him exclamation marks.) 

But seriously... They both work full-time. His wife is a teacher and just had a baby. We are going through a pandemic. They just bought a house. We are going through a pandemic. They have a toddler and a newborn. We are going through a pandemic. I texted him, "You do realize how many major stressors you both have in your life right now, right? Please allow me to validate HOW HARD this time period is. As my friends, my hope for you both is that you go easier on yourselves and on each other. Life is not normal right now."

I empathize with parents. It's a 24/7, no-instruction-manual job. Yes, it's a job I wanted and a job I didn't get to have and a job that would have been so freaking awesome for me for so many reasons, but I will still acknowledge that parenting is a hard job too. And it's also hard to see things when you're in the thick of it all, at least it is for me. This time period in my friend's life? It will be gone in a couple of years and it will feel like a blink of his eyes. But that's not what he's experiencing right now. Right now it is freaking hard and he is doing the best he can and that's what I can validate for my friend. (I also asked him what he and his wife are doing for fun these days, no matter how small, because it's crucial to enjoy the little things especially right now.)

Then I had an awesome, awesome phone conversation with a girlfriend yesterday. I don't do it often like we all used to back in the day, and it felt so good to talk to a friend on the phone. She's a co-worker from my job last year and she's just a really cool, really wonderful person. 

We had a lot to catch up on. She had several pieces of good news to share, which felt So Good to hear good news from someone. Her job was going well. She was working hard toward a certification that she finished and earned. She's going through some medical stuff, but she found new doctors that she likes and trusts so that's awesome. It was all just so nice to hear. 

I shared with her how happy I was in my new place, how I liked the actual geographic location. It's so pretty and I finally got away from traffic in my life. I told her I was still totally in love with my boyfriend, that we made the whole Thanksgiving meal, and that we laugh a lot. She said you know you're with the right person when you can be at home all the time with them during this pandemic and you still like them. 

That prompted me to share how relieved I have felt throughout the whole pandemic for getting divorced when I did. I told her that I knew I'd be so lonely and wouldn't have the warmth that I have in my life now if I hadn't gone through with all of that. Unfortunately, that's when she shared that things were not good with her marriage. I listened and noticed how much of what she said sounded like my marriage during the last couple of years. I told her that I felt like I could understand because so much of what she was saying sounded so familiar.

Then she said, "At least you didn't have kids with him." And I wasn't even mad. It's interesting to me who can say what to me and how it makes me feel. I didn't feel slighted by my friend. She has listened to me talk about how badly I wanted kids. She knows I wanted to be a mother more than anything and that I've recreated my life in the last several years. But she's right, at least in my opinion. And I said, "I agree. I think by not having kids I just sped up the divorce by 18 years. I knew what I was signing up for. I knew I'd be with the kids all the time and he would join us once a week because I told him to. I just wanted it anyway. I wanted kids so bad." She listened and I felt understood. And then we went back to talking about her current situation and I listened and I hope she felt understood/accepted/supported.


I didn't sleep very well last night. And that says something. I'm proud of my sleeping ability haha. I woke up in the middle of the night so angry with my employer and I was like, Whoa, I am awake in the middle of the night because of this... So I was lying there, listening to my boyfriend's breathing, keeping my eyes closed even though it was pitch black, and trying to redirect my thoughts to other topics since I was awake.

And I thought about talking to my girlfriend yesterday. And my other friend a week or two ago. And I love these people. And I'm glad I could be there to listen to them, even though they were both talking about their children/stresses of parenting. I am glad I am moving toward being able to be the kind of friend that I want to be.

Oh! In addition, I just remembered right now that I texted my two best friends from high school to ask how their Thanksgiving went. They both texted back pictures of their kids. And it was cool. I was happy to see those pictures. And I can't believe it's already been 2.5 years since I have seen them.

So yeah, something that was important to me—being able to be a friend by being able to genuinely listen to and support my friends when they're not having the easiest time parenting—is happening. I celebrate that.