Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Everyone's Asking Again

I haven't written lately because I've been fortunate to pick up some holiday hours. I've been working hard, and I love it. I love my job. I'm so glad I didn't drop out of the graduate school program that I hated. (Instead I started this blog. October 2016.) That program was a means to an end, and now I get to work in this new profession. I liked teaching, but I knew I needed to do something different after infertility.

I work with adults now. I am learning a lot about older adults and the aging process. It's interesting and relevant because we are all aging. Every single one of us.

Interestingly, after going a couple of years without being asked if I had kids, I am now asked again somewhat regularly. Also interestingly, it doesn't even bother me. 

I am usually asked by older adult patients. I think it's just a common question to ask in conversation. I also think the question is sparked by my caregiving in the moment. I love providing patient care. I follow the rules and make sure I do what I need to do for ethical reasons and for the purposes of health insurance reimbursement. But I always take at least a moment to really see the person. Look them in the eyes, ask how they are doing, and listen to whatever they need to share. So, I think I probably give off a pretty maternal vibe, which is why people ask. I've always said I was born to be a mom.

But I'm not a mom. Obviously.
And I'm learning to be okay with that. 

It's easier for me now that I know I'm not going to have children. For 32 years I assumed I would. For four more years, I tried doing so. And then I sort of realized it wasn't happening...

That feeling of being in limbo really, really sucked.

But I digress.

Ten years ago when I was asked if I had kids I would feel so sad because the answer was no.
Now when I am asked I just simply say no because I don't have kids. 

Now I know I'm not having kids. I've grown into that idea, and I've created a life I want to live. 

And it's funny to me that I'm usually asked if I have kids at least once a day at work by a patient.

 And it's amazing to me that I'm okay saying no.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Going Home

I got to celebrate the holidays with my family this past weekend. It was good, and I am grateful. There weren't any surprise pregnancy announcements, although it wouldn't have bothered me if there were. I am not in that space anymore. If a family member announced a pregnancy, I would be happy for them and not sad for myself. I used to be. But not anymore. Both are fine. Both spaces are understandable places to be.

So I am where I am now. I enjoyed seeing my cousin's kids (who are the same age my kids would've been). They are growing up, and they are genuinely nice kids. One kid looks just like my cousin and the other kid looks just like my cousin's wife. Genetics are cool like that. I find it fascinating. Now that it doesn't completely depress me.

I got to see my niece for the first time in four years. It's crazy that it was that long! Stupid pandemic. Stupid work schedules before that. She's happy and working and doing her thing. It was so great to see her and spend time with her.

I got to see my nephew too. But thankfully, I got to see him last year. He is also happy and working and doing his thing. 

The three of us live spread out across the country, so I will never take our time together for granted. They're both in their late twenties now. My sisters are older and each had their kid younger, so I got to be an aunt when I was a teenager. I love my niece and nephew so much. And we're all getting old! Hahaha.

Traveling isn't my favorite. I make exceptions of course, or I would never see my family. I also hope to see my best friend from college sometime this year, visit my old city next year, and travel to Europe and New Zealand in the future. 

So I packed my things, left my house, and traveled to a big city where one of my sisters lives. I masked in the airport, on the plane, and in indoor public spaces even if not many other people did. But I got to see my family last weekend, and I am so, so glad I did. At one point, my dad was watching sports and my mom and I were reading books in our recliners, and I felt like a kid again.

Seeing family, wherever they are, can be like going home.

But I'm a country mouse now, haha. 

So I had a great visit... 

And then I went back home.

๐Ÿ’œ



Thursday, December 8, 2022

Get Your Mammogram

Yesterday I went in for my annual mammogram. It's my third year to do this. It's not too bad,  especially compared to other medical appointments I've had in the past. This appointment involves you and another woman who gently positions you so you can get your pictures taken. (Ok, x-rays, not pictures lol.)

I know women put this appointment off. Please don't. Please make time for it. Get it on your schedule. Get it taken care of. Early detection can have a big impact on prognosis.

At the beginning of my appointment, the woman apologized for the computer being down and needing to ask me some questions. So of course, she had to ask about my family medical history and then my own medical history. When I shared that I had five failed fertility treatments, she immediately said, "I'm sorry." And you know what? I believed her. I didn't feel pitied, and I didn't feel dismissed; I just felt that she was truly sorry that my treatments failed. We didn't talk about it in further detail, but I appreciated her comment. I said, "Thank you for saying that."

She continued, "I don't have children, but I never wanted any." And, honestly, it's always a breath of fresh air when I meet another woman without kids. Having no shame I immediately said, "You don't have kids? Do you want to hang out?" Hahaha. She didn't take me up on my offer, but we both agreed that everyone we knew was busy raising children.

And that was it. A couple of questions. A couple of pictures. And hopefully I'm good to go for another year! If any problems are detected, then I will move forward with that new information.

So there's your friendly reminder: get your annual mammogram please!

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Know Your Limits

The second semester of my doctoral program is coming to an end. I don't know why, but I am still always surprised at how tired I am at the end. Yesterday I wrote a simple discussion post for one of my classes and promptly passed out for two hours.

Sometimes I wonder how I'd have the energy to raise children.

But NOPE!

When I have that thought, I quickly redirect my thinking. If I was raising children, I would do it. I would find the necessary energy. I mean, I've worked with thousands of kids. I've been in countless classrooms of 20 - 30 of them at a time. And none of them were even mine! 

So I would've been fine. I would've been tired, but I would've been fine. Hell, I'm tired now. I think all adults are tired. This society doesn't value rest and it can be hard to find the time ourselves. (Side rant: Why does *everything* fall on the individual to solve??)

But I digress.

So, school. Finishing up the semester.

I'm lucky to be in a really good cohort. My classmates are smart, hard working, and experienced in a variety of settings. I am learning so much from everyone. We also help each other a lot. People will send each other articles they come across if they know it's on someone else's topic. We will zoom or group text to talk about our questions and confusion. It's really positive.

All of our research topics are varied. I mean, the topics are really all over the board. Everyone knows I'm studying women who are involuntarily childless after infertility, and everyone has been very supportive. Interestingly, one of my classmates is studying the opposite of my topic. She's researching post-partum health and wellness for women. We have had several conversations with each other about our topics and have shared articles with each other as we've found them.

It's truly been awesome collaborating with her.
We both agree that there is a severe lack of support for all women.

However...

We must always know our limits.

She asked me for help with one of her assignments. I looked at the topic of her articles for the assignment. Lactation.

Friends.
I couldn't do it.
I couldn't read two articles about new mothers and lactation.

And that's okay. It's okay that I don't want to read about that topic. I don't have to. It's fine. My aversion to the topic is not a judgment against me. It's just me protecting myself. Conserving my energy by shielding my heart.

I let her know I couldn't help because the topic was too difficult for me. She completely got it, even apologizing for asking (which wasn't necessary). I wasn't mad at her or sad for me. I just knew I couldn't put any time or energy into reading her articles.

We must know our limits and respect them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Happy and Sad at the Same Time

Infertility robbed me of my own little family. I didn't get to have kids. And my marriage didn't last. After realizing we weren't going to be raising children, my (now ex-) husband and I didn't want the same things out of life and went our separate ways. Yes, I have a boyfriend. Yes, we live together, and I love him and his family. But... Things are still up in the air. Changes that need to be made haven't happened yet. He is not my husband, and I treat the relationship differently than I did my marriage. Just being honest.

So, it's just me.

I have a lot in life. My home, my health, my jobs, my hobbies. Food to eat. Books to read. Shows to watch. Friends to text. My parents are alive. And I can always call one sister in particular knowing she'll be there for me.

But I don't have my own little family.

I'm not the first person anyone is going to call with news, be it good or bad.

When I get together with my parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins, I am the odd man out. I don't have a spouse. I don't have a child. Everyone else is part of a little unit, and I am by myself.

It's far from being the worst thing in the world. I like myself. I couldn't always say that. In high school and college I didn't understand all of my feelings and often got on my own nerves. But now I give myself grace and enjoy my own company.

But still... I'm not even on social media and Thanksgiving provided some stinging reminders. I got a couple of promotional emails from companies I like, but they included big family photos of everyone's spouses, children, and grandchildren. As resolved as I am about my CNBC situation and as happy as I am in the awesome life I've created for myself, it still hurt to see proclamations of gratitude for what I will never have: a family of my own.

Infertility sucks.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

More IVF Failure in the News

I think momentum is building. I think more people are talking about the high failure rate of IVF.

Women have been blogging for over a decade. (Thank you to them!!!) There is more than one book published that talks about living childless not by choice. And now the news...

Last year MSNBC published this article. And we all read the Allure interview with Jennifer Aniston a couple of weeks ago. Then yesterday CNN published this article.

Not to mention, I've been digging into the research as I write my project proposal... Ten years ago? There were a couple of articles across the globe and disciplines addressing involuntary childlessness. Within the last two years? I found over twenty articles across the globe and disciplines during a four-hour deep dive on Friday night. (Yes, I am wild. I've gone from partying to researching on my weekends, both equally fun for me hahaha.)

It's happening. Information and perspectives about living CNBC are getting out there. Momentum is building. People are learning. Very, very slowly... But surely nonetheless.



(Image found at 
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/14-ideas-to-grow-brand-awareness-at-lightning-speed)


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Still Thinking About Jennifer

It's been a week, but I'm still thinking about Jennifer Aniston sharing that she experienced IVF failure. It's so punk rock of her. We are not the norm. Well, unfortunately, maybe we are... But our stories are not the normative narrative. 

What a relief it was to read a celebrity's story of a happy ending without a baby. Not only did Jennifer validate our community, but you know she gave a lot of comfort to women across the world who are experiencing involuntary childlessness without a supportive community.

It was this quote that resonated with me most:

“I would say my late 30s, 40s, I’d gone through really hard shit, and if it wasn’t for going through that, I would’ve never become who I was meant to be,” she says. “That’s why I have such gratitude for all those shitty things. Otherwise, I would’ve been stuck being this person that was so fearful, so nervous, so unsure of who they were.” She finishes her smoothie and reaches out to Chesterfield. “And now, I don’t fucking care.”

I am not the same after IVF, and I am not the same after IVF failure. Things that used to terrify me don't scare me like they used to. Oh, I need a shot? Well, I used to give myself shots for days. My marriage sucks and my husband has been ignoring me for years? Welp... So I said goodbye to my financially secure lifestyle and lived by myself 1,000 miles away from anyone I knew. 

I'm still anxious. I still have fears. Just not as much. After losing my lifelong dream of motherhood, there's not much else major left for me to lose. Of course, I am extremely thankful for the good health that I do have, and I also know that can change in the blink of an eye. But I also know I can get through anything.

I had a surprising conversation with someone about Jennifer Aniston this past weekend. For some reason I asked one of my boyfriend's sisters, "Did you hear that Jennifer Aniston had failed IVF?" Her immediate comment should not have surprised me. She immediately said, "Well, if she really wanted kids she could've just adopted."

My reaction surprised me. I was so... Nice. Lol. I validated her and said, "You would think so, right? I mean, that's what most people think. You want kids? Just adopt. But unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. First of all, IVF is awful. It really wipes you out, not just financially, but emotionally. I had failed IVF and there was no way I could've ended treatments and just jumped into the adoption process. It wouldn't have been the right thing to do for anybody involved in the situation, not for me or any child. Also, people don't realize how many years it can take to adopt and that it's not even guaranteed. So you can go through the process for years and still not become a mother."

Then her comment surprised me.

"Oh, I never thought about it like that."

Let that sink in for a moment...

I. Never. Thought. About. It. Like. That.

Bless her. Bless my boyfriend's sister. Not only did she listen and receive my message, she allowed her own thinking to change because of it. Most people are so invested in their own opinions and aren't open to change. But one little paragraph of my thoughts and my boyfriend's sister gave me the gift of understanding.

"I never thought about it like that."

And maybe that's what this interview with Jennifer Aniston is doing around the world--making people think differently. One thought at a time.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

One of Us: Phoenix Rising

I read the news yesterday and IMMEDIATELY texted my boyfriend.

"IVF failed for Jennifer Aniston. 1st time she's ever said it."

The news resonated across our CNBC community.
Pamela wrote about it here. Loribeth wrote about it here.

Jennifer Aniston, this woman that I've watched on tv and in movies for decades, owes us NOTHING. She didn't have to share her painful truth. She didn't have to tell us that IVF didn't work for her. She never had to address the topic ever in any way at all. But she did.

Thank you, Jenn. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

You added our story to the mainstream narrative of infertility:
our story that DOESN'T end with a baby.

My sisters read People magazine religiously. They may not feel my pain, but they will feel Jennifer Aniston's. This celebrity that I do not know gave me the gift of humanity. She validated our story.

"Phoenix Rising" indeed!!!


Monday, November 7, 2022

When People Are Noise

Some people will never change. Some people will never get it.

Thankfully, I have changed. What used to make me angry now makes me annoyed. What used to hurt me now shows me what's in other people's hearts and minds. Others' rudeness, meanness, and inconsideration have nothing to do with me. It's not my fault, and it's not my problem.

What prompted this latest round of thoughts? 

I talked to my sister yesterday. The insensitive one. Although nobody in my family has shown me they're willing to go the extra mile to even consider what living childless not by choice is like, this sister takes it to another level. Quite honestly, calling her insensitive is euphemistic for cruel.

So yesterday... My sister doesn't return most of my texts so when she called yesterday, even though I was just sitting down for a big work session for school assignments, I answered the phone. What resulted was a 45-minute conversation where she did not ask me a single question. She did, however, go on about cleaning out her closets for the past three weekends. She told me, "You have no idea how much stuff you can gather. It takes so long to go through everything." Of course, I just moved my stuff out of storage after seven years and spent two weeks unpacking and sorting (keep, donate, throw away), but she doesn't know any of that. I just agreed and let her prattle on. There's no getting in a single word with her and her one-sided "conversations."

But guess what her good news was. 

Her daughter's boyfriend has started calling her "Mamma Smith." Isn't that the greatest?? Isn't that just so cute?? Like she told me, "He calls me Mom! That feels so good!"

Um... ๐Ÿ˜‘

"I can only imagine," is what I think I mustered to say.

She went on for a bit while I sat there with my mouth hanging open listening to her talk about how great it is to be called Mom. How thoughtless. How totally and completely thoughtless of her. 

I was mad. I was sad. But mostly... I was over it.

*****

I am reaching a new point of acceptance. I accept that my family, especially this sister, will never get it. I am learning to accept that they'll never provide the understanding or comfort that I seek. 

2022 has been quite the year of rest and growth for me. And it's not over yet!

My conversation with my sister may have sucked, but I am thankful for my sense of self and everything else I've worked so hard to cultivate in my life.

*****

Ignore the haters, my friends!


(Image found at https://www.myasbn.com/small-business/entrepreneurship/how-to-ignore-the-haters-and-the-naysayers/)



Friday, November 4, 2022

Unpacking My Life

It's been a bit overwhelming to unpack everything. Unpacking is so... Literal. 

I started packing in December 2015. I've written about it several times. Got a storage unit in 2016 and sold the house I bought for my children. Moved 1,000 miles in 2018 and moved everything from storage in one state to storage in another. Finally moved out of storage this past August. Grateful and relieved.

I unpacked about 50 boxes of books alone, about half of which were children's books. I used to teach, and I always planned on having children so every book I bought was an investment. Or so I thought. 

I had accepted the fact that I wasn't having kids. And I had accepted the fact that I left the profession of teaching. Next, I had to accept the fact that I was not going to buy a van or camper and turn it into a mobile library. With peace in my heart, I donated the majority of my books.

My keepsakes weren't so hard to go through. It was kind of fun, and I kept some stuff. I have a little bit of storage space here at my house. Now I know where I am going to be. Now I know what I have room to keep, and now I know what I can give or throw away.

I still have 5 - 8 onesies though. I keep moving them from one spot to another. I guess I'm holding on to them in case someone close to me gets pregnant, but I'm not sure how much longer I will hang on to them. Either way is fine.

The whole thing has been a process. Packing. Moving into storage. Moving storage units across state lines. Moving out of storage. Unpacking. It was worth it though. It was a lot easier to let go of certain things in 2022 than it would have been in 2015.

When you planned on having kids your whole life, recovering from not having kids takes time. It takes work too. We don't heal without feeling our feelings. We don't recover without doing things differently. 

Do what you can. One step at a time. Make things easier on yourself if you can. If you can dump all of your stuff in storage and deal with it later, just do that. You can take care of your stuff later. 

Just take care of you for now.

*****

And now for some pictures that are not exactly thrilling but signify accomplishment for me...


Ok, I am pretty much retired from teaching and working in pediatrics. However, it is what I know and what I'm good at. So, I kept some of my teaching stuff. If I ever tutor again, I've got the basics to teach reading, writing, math, and social-emotional regulation. For all of my teacher friends out there, can you believe I got 20+ years of stuff down to two tubs??


This is another dorky picture, but I am just so happy to have my three Xmas tubs out of storage. They hold my ornaments, stockings, and holiday movies, and I have missed them over the years!


Ok, this picture doesn't have anything to do with unpacking, but it does show how much I've changed/how much things have changed for me. After years of avoiding Halloween, this year I dressed up and passed out candy! (Also, it turns out that if you wait until Oct. 31st to buy your candy, you might have to buy red and green packaged candy because the store already switched to the next holiday.)


This picture also has nothing to do with unpacking haha,
but I'm pretty excited about this fabric panel I bought for myself for my birthday.


Another good drawing from Self-Love Rainbow
This picture definitely relates to unpacking!
It took us every version of ourselves to learn what we did and get where we are. ๐Ÿ’œ




Monday, October 31, 2022

Halloween & My Blogoversary

I can barely believe six years have passed since I started writing this blog. There's some really honest stuff in here, some of it embarrassing even, but damn did I need this space. 

So much has changed.

Halloween used to be the hardest day of the year for me. I wrote about it six years ago. Then, just one year after that, I wrote about how it wasn't as hard. It had changed a lot. In just a year.

And now it's been six years since I started writing. 

So much more has changed.

It's been seven and a half years since I stopped fertility treatments. Seven and a half years of knowing IVF doesn't work for me. Seven and a half years of getting used to the idea that I wouldn't be raising children after thirty-five years of thinking otherwise. Seven and a half years of working hard to create a new life for myself.

And I'm calling it.

I did it. 

I created a life I want to live.

Like I wrote in my last post: I like my home, I like what I do for work, and I like what I do for fun. If I won the lottery (which is unlikely since I don't play, haha), I wouldn't change a thing. 

As I reflect on six years of writing my innermost thoughts and feelings on the internet, I can't believe I did it. Both things. I can't believe I wrote all of it down publicly, and I can't believe I created a new life that I can enjoy.

I've come a long way.

I don't really identify as infertile anymore. 

I just identify as childless not by choice. 

I'm not going to change my blog name, and I'm not going to stop writing. I still have things to write about. I'm still living a childless life and I'm still trying to understand how it affects everything. I still want to connect with other women like me. 

Thank you.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for being a part of my healing process.


(I found this image online by searching for "purple quilted heart."
Turns out, it's a quilt kit! You can purchase it here.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Liking Your Life is Possible

I love this post about liking her childless life by Sue on her Childless by Marriage blog.

I like my childless life too. And I never, ever thought that would be possible.

Yes, life has been stressful lately. But I still like it. I like the life I created for myself. Where I live, what I do for work, what I do for fun. 

I recently wrote that I was lonely, but that's not true. I am alone a lot... But I am not lonely. I realize there's a big difference. I had a birthday recently and heard from a couple of longtime friends. That felt good. I reflected on how I've grown over the last year and thought about what I'm looking forward to in the future. Big things. Small things. Lots of little things.

I'm pretty happy. Despite the stress, despite the depressive tendencies.
I'm content too. I am at peace.

I know I can get through anything. I always have.

But even more than that... I am actually living. Like, getting up and going to work/school, running errands, and maintaining a home. I've been doing it for awhile now. 

And I ENJOY it. I LIKE my life. 

It's a big deal, it's a hard-earned feat, and I am thankful.



My latest quilt top. 
I bought the fabric over three years ago when I started quilting but didn't use it until this past weekend. I had an idea and this wasn't it at all (hahaha), but I like how it turned out! 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Learning to Live With It

I get that covid is not going away. We had the chance years ago to eradicate it, but, as a society, we did not. And now here we are. Stressed, broke, and muddling through...

It's very similar to, you know, infertility.

There's nothing I can do about being infertile. 

I tried. God knows I tried. Dietary changes, supplements, exercise, no exercise, meditation, medication, trying, not trying, being patient, not being patient, fertility treatments... Nothing worked. I'm infertile. I never got pregnant. 

I've had to learn to live with it.

Infertility. The pandemic. Both so devastating. Both completely life altering. 

Both SUCK.

And I'm learning how to live my life in this post-pandemic, life-without-children-after-infertility world. I'm lonely. I don't have any close friends in my current, face-to-face life. Of course, I chose to move 1500 miles away from everyone I knew. But it's not like I saw my friends often anyway. They were all busy with their kids. Add in work schedules and traffic patterns and hanging out was just no longer logistically possible. It wasn't personal.

I went to a quilt meeting last night. I didn't feel like going, but I made myself. I'm glad I did. I won't make friends if I don't invest any time and energy in others. I've been going monthly for over a year now and it feels good to see familiar faces. It's energizing to see what projects others are working on. It's just nice to smile at people and say Hello. I'm younger than everyone by twenty years, but they are all very welcoming and inclusive. If you love quilting, you belong. I appreciate that so very deeply. 

I'm stressed. Who isn't? I want to be scheduled more at work, but I also know I'm scheduled just the right amount for me right now. I'm in school and also fighting some depression, so, really, I just try to be thankful for so much every day. The bills don't stop coming though, and that stresses me out. Like I said, who isn't stressed right now?

I've been feeling like my relationship has been going through a growth phase for several months. I'm very happy with him. I'm also unhappy. It's complicated. And I'm having a hard time making sense of what I should do or not do during this weird time period. Break up? I don't want to. Move on? Maybe I need to. Leave him in a time of need? I definitely don't want to do that. But I also don't want to drown myself. It's hard to know what to do. It's hard to know what is best for him and best for me.

Learning to live with it. Infertility. Covid. Uncertainty. Stress. 

That's life, isn't it?

Monday, October 17, 2022

Permission To Quit

In today's go-go-go, never-give-up world, I love it when I hear a message that it's ok to quit.

I started a new, ambitious project. I started a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. I want to hand sew the entire quilt top, and then I want to hand quilt it when I am done. This might take me twenty years to finish, lolol. That's okay with me. I've got the time. I'll just work on it off and on, in between all of the other things I want to make.

Last week the fabric shop near me was having a sale, so I went to pick out some fabric for my flowers. I don't really know anyone here, so it was extremely nice to run into two familiar faces from my monthly quilt group at the shop. I had brought a couple of flowers I made to match the colors, so I showed them. They are both experienced quilters and complimented me on what I'd done well and gave me tips as I make progress on this project.

Then one of the women said the best thing. She said, "And you know, if one day you are just done with sewing these flowers and you don't want to make even one more, they are great for applique. You don't have to finish the quilt."

I loved that woman in that moment. She recognized my enthusiasm, encouraged it, and also spoke from experience when she shared that I'm allowed to change my mind about the project.

It's a message we all rarely hear, and it was music to my ears. Of course, I still want to make all of these flowers and sew them together and make a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. 

But, I don't have to.

She gave me permission to quit. :)





Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Mental Health Flare-Up

I smiled today. I got out of bed, took a shower, and ate a bowl of grits. Lately, getting out of bed hasn't been so easy. I've been putting off showers until the afternoon. And, my stomach is in knots so eating has been difficult. 

But today I got up. I went to the post office, the pharmacy, and the gas station. As I put air in my tires, I smiled. There was a time twenty years ago when I was very depressed after a bicycle accident caused traumatic injury. It was a long recovery period and, like I said, I got depressed. I remember when leaving my apartment just to put gas in my car was a real accomplishment. I would come home and nap because the errand took everything I had.

But back to now. My doctor suggested weaning off of my antidepressant this summer. I was fine with that. Things were stable and it was worth a shot. Well, eight weeks without medication combined with finishing my first semester of school, getting and learning two jobs, moving out of storage, hosting my family, and dealing with a major home repair was a little too much for me.

My anxiety shot up and never came down. My appetite disappeared and I was crying every day.

I. Could. Not. Deal.

So I started taking my medication again and called my doctor for a refill, which she called in. Hence, my errand to the pharmacy today.

It doesn't bother me to take a pill every day. It didn't bother me to try not taking a pill every day. (Well, until it did. Ha! I really wasn't managing well...)

I've been taking my medicine for a week now and, although I don't feel great, I no longer feel AWFUL. I am no longer on my own nerves. I am no longer crying over the slightest little things.

I accept my brain. I know this is how it works. I've had a lifetime of experience being me.

I just write this to be transparent and share. 

It's okay if you're falling apart. It's okay if you feel awful. It's okay if you are freaking losing it.

Remind yourself it's temporary.
Ask yourself what you need.
Do what you can and forget the rest.
You didn't cause the problems of this world, and it's not your responsibility to fix them.

But you do deserve to feel okay. You deserve to enjoy the little things.

When you're having a rough day/week/month/period of years, hold on for better times. 

I will abide with you.

๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ’œ

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Feeling Criticized and I'm Just Living My Life

Where I am today with living CNBC after infertility:

I am struggling with the fact that my life is structured so fundamentally differently than everyone else I know, that I feel judged for my choices, and that I have no words to describe how impacted my life is by infertility. Not only that, but I am SICK of feeling like I have to explain myself.

Thank you, Loribeth, for sharing this article by Yael Wolfe called Single & Childless Women Are Tired of Justifying Their Existence. Yes!!!

I admit it. I let my mom get in my head again recently. Or, maybe she never left. 

My mom loves me. I really believe she does. But I also believe what she told me on my 18th birthday which was, "I will always love you but I do not like you." That hurt. Almost 25 years later, it still hurts. Because it still feels true.

If I'm not doing what she wants or thinking what she thinks, then I am wrong. It is embarrassing and annoying that I still feel affected by her words. But yet, our last conversation from a couple of weeks ago is still lingering in my mind. She was questioning my relationship and making judgments, and it really pissed me off because she does not try to understand my life, my losses, or what I need. 

I was also trying to picture my grandmother--my mom's mother--criticizing my mom's life choices when she was 42 and married with a 12 year old, a 20 year old, and a 24 year old. I doubt that ever happened.

One thing that bothers me is that I'm always thinking about how I would mother myself. I wouldn't criticize a 42-year-old daughter for moving or getting divorced or quitting extremely bad jobs. I wouldn't say things similar to "that's always at the top of your list" if she talked about how infertility continues to affect her life. I would encourage her, comfort her, and praise her. So I try to give myself what my mother doesn't. But I will be honest, I long to hear those sentiments from my mom. But she can't say any of them, not even if I give her a script.

It sucks. I've done so much, overcome so much, and I am still criticized. What I do is never the right thing. However I live, it is not good enough for her. I know it's not me. I know it's her.
But it still hurts.

And it's not just my mom. My sisters don't get it either. I always feel criticized. My niece and nephew, both of whom are in their late 20s, are treated with more respect and allowed for more autonomy than me. It's always been this way. It is freaking WEIRD.

But back to Yael's article... I deeply appreciate when I read something and I feel understood. It's even better when it helps me understand my own experience more. Like these quotes:

  • "I’d really prefer to focus my energy on dealing with my own stuff. It’s a lot. I really don’t need to be dealing with societal expectations, invasive questions, insults, criticisms, and irrelevant opinions."

  • "I never asked for this--to be the poster child for women's "alternative lifestyles." To have to push back against pronatalism and sexism even within my own family."

  • "It takes a lot out of you to have to constantly justify your life circumstances to others."


I think, as a woman who wanted children and planned her entire life around raising them, infertility and being childless not by choice continues to affect my life in ways that even I don't yet understand. So when I am criticized for even the smallest thing, I feel attacked for something that was entirely out of my control.

I'm just playing the hand I was dealt.

And getting criticized for it.

*****

My parting question is this: How did you stop explaining yourself? 

I think that's what I need to do. I kept thinking that if I just explained my reasoning, then others would understand (and support) my choices. But, this is not proving to be true. I just need to stop.



Sunday, October 2, 2022

Old Trophies

Another day, another adventure in life after infertility. (Ok, the use of the word "adventure" is a stretch. I didn't go anywhere, nor did anything exciting happen.) 

I continue to unpack. One box at a time. If I think about it all at once, I get overwhelmed. I'm gonna need some more furniture or shelves or organizers or something, but it will all get figured out and purchased over time. For now, I am unpacking every box and sorting everything into keep, sell, give away, or throw away. My goal is "Box Free in 2023".

Today I encountered my trophies. Now why in the world did I keep all of these, I wondered to myself. Oh yeah... I went to throw them away once and decided to keep them to show my kids. Then, when I packed up the house 6.5 years ago that I bought for my children, I couldn't deal with old trophies. So into storage they went.

Until now...

Now what.

Old trophies.

It felt weird to keep them. It felt weird to throw them away.

I almost decided to give up and deal with it another day. Then I made myself just deal with it in the moment. This is how I will get unpacked. One box at a time.

So... I unpacked my old trophies, lined them up, and looked at them. They brought back a lot of happy memories. Baseball, gymnastics, speech and drama competitions. I'm so thankful my parents and sisters gave me a good childhood, always driving me around and cheering me on.

Then I made my decision. There was no reason to keep a bunch of old trophies. I admit, I kept a couple that were particularly special. But then... Well, uh, I threw most of them away.

Like I said, it felt weird to keep them. It felt weird to throw them away.

I didn't plan on keeping my old trophies forever. I was going to show my kids one day and then throw them away after that I guess. I didn't expect my children to care a whole lot either, but I like to think they'd entertain me for half an hour while I reminisced and shared some memories.

But... Yeah... That didn't happen.

And now I'm going through everything I've kept in my life.

I'm still keeping some keepsakes. I kept A LOT growing up lol, but I'm culling what I've kept and only keeping a small fraction of it all. I'm keeping some stuff because I enjoy the memories.

But old trophies? They're awkward-shaped and somewhat fragile, and they take up a lot of room. They're not sentimental in the same way to me as birthday cards from my grandmothers.

So things like old trophies get a last look from me and get thrown in the trash.

I hate that infertility took so much from me. I don't have a next generation to share anything with.

I'm not sad about throwing away some old trophies. I'm sad that they remind me of what I never had: children to share my memories and interests with, children to create memories and explore their interests with.

๐Ÿ’œ

*****

In other news, the world lost a bright light five years ago today. 

Rest in Rock, Tom Petty


American Dream Plan B by Tom Petty

I'm gonna make my way through this world someday
I don't care what nobody say
American dream, political scheme
I'm gonna find out for myself someday
But I'm half-lit, I can't dance for shit
But I see what I want, I go after it
And my girl's alright, treats me nice
Sayin' nothin' but a woman puts out that light

I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it
I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it right
'Til I get it right

Oh well, my baby no doubt dreams further out
Makin' moves to get us someway someday
Well my honey don't trip, shoots from the hip
Tell me everything gonna be OK

I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it
I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it right
'Til I get it right

Well, my mama so sad
Daddy's just mad
'Cause I ain't gonna have the chance he had
My success is anybody's guess
But like a fool, I'm bettin' on happiness

I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it
I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it right

I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it
I got a dream I'm gonna fight 'til I get it right
'Til I get it right

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Does trauma change our personality?

I've been wondering about this for awhile. Growing up I always enjoyed the personality quizzes in teen magazines. Even now, I still like to read the pop culture articles online and take personality inventories. They're just for fun. I know they're not scientifically based. But still...

When I was 23 and in my first year of teaching, we all did the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as part of a professional development session. I was young, new, and enthusiastic. I dove head first into the questions and looked forward to learning my personality type. I was not surprised to learn I was an ESTP.

Fast forward fifteen years and we did the MBTI in graduate school...
Where I scored the exact opposite personality, INFJ. I found this so interesting!! 

I'd always identified as an extrovert (the "E" of ESTP), but the more I thought about it, the more I thought I was just a really, really extroverted introvert (the "I" of INFJ). I am not afraid of speaking in crowds. There have been so many times in my life when I presented in front of hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of people. Plus, I really like hanging out with people, something I've missed greatly over the last decade. (Thanks, infertility! Thanks, pandemic!)

But I need my downtime. People exhaust me. After a long day at work, I like to come home and sew (not go out with friends, assuming I didn't have a friend apocalypse due to infertility or assuming I would have been invited out with co-workers if there hadn't been a pandemic).

Everything I've read says your personality doesn't change. And again, it's not a scientifically-based assessment, but everything I've read about the MBTI says your type doesn't change. 

And yet mine did. Completely.

What do you think?

Does trauma change our personality?

Thursday, September 22, 2022

It's Okay to Quit

Well, here's a shocker: "quitting" being promoted in the news. 

news article published yesterday starts out describing a guy training for a marathon. He feels a pain in his foot but keeps training. Ultimately, he has to give up training due to a fracture in his foot. He does not run the marathon. He had to "quit." 

The article states, "From the moment most of us are born, we're told to never give up--and to try again (and again) if we fail."

Sound familiar?
We've all heard that before...

But wait, there's more!

The article actually uses infertility as an example. As the article goes into more detail about potential consequences of not quitting, it describes a couple enduring infertility and going through treatments. The article describes the couple's mental health as suffering and their life savings as affected. The article actually PROMOTES QUITTING and says, "It's brave to say, 'I am willing to abandon my goal to create space in my heart and mind for something else meaningful.'"

Wow.
I am shocked. 

Three cheers for mainstream news telling us it's okay to quit!


This image is from one of my favorite websites.
Although not as serious as quitting fertility treatments or a job,
here is another article telling you it's okay to quit. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

My Week through My Infertile Lens

First of all, did you check out World Childless Week?
I found the letters to my younger self to be particularly powerful. 

*****

Ok, now for my first thought from this past week...

Back in July, I signed up to do something in September. At the time, I did not know what my work or school schedule was going to look like, but I made a commitment to do this activity anyway.

As the date approached, I was still looking forward to it. (No commitment remorse, haha!)  And then the day came. I gathered my nerves and went. I tried something new, and I had fun.

It was a quilt workshop. I went to one last year, so the experience wasn't entirely new. But I didn't know who was going or what it was going to be like. I read the flyer about the teacher, the techniques, and the custom pattern she was going to teach us and wanted to go. So I signed up and went. Even better, the other women in the class were not only nice, but warm and friendly. I had a great time.

I was curious if anyone else didn't have kids like me. 

Well, I knew the teacher had kids. She mentioned them once during her presentation at the quilt group meeting earlier in the week. And I knew another woman had a son because I had visited with her before. I did not know about the others.

I just waited. I figured I'd figure it out.

Pretty quickly, two other women mentioned grandchildren. I mean, we were at a quilt workshop. It's a group of women talking about quilts they've made and for whom. Kids and grandkids are inevitable topics. It's completely appropriate. I'm not complaining. 

I was just curious. So, I continued to listen and notice...

A fifth woman mentioned grandchildren in passing. She was talking about using cowboy fabric to make a quilt for her grandson.

And then there was one. There was one other woman who had not mentioned children or grandchildren throughout our day-long workshop. But then, toward the end of class, she got a phone call from a grandkid inviting her over later that day.

Ah, well. Maybe next time! ;)

*****

My second thought is personal. It's relieving news. My plumbing is fixed!
It took all week. The whole thing is almost done. Fingers crossed they finish tomorrow.

I found the whole ordeal to be extremely stressful. I was anxious all day every day last week. I'm still trying to settle my nerves. My anxiety just shoots so high, so quick. And I truly think it has to do with years of infertility followed by failed treatments. It's like something was triggered in me back then, and now it doesn't take much to make me anxious. 

It's honestly difficult. I don't understand it, so I don't expect others to understand it. My boyfriend was a great support, as was his family. I texted his mom and one of his sisters and they validated my stress. My family was glad for me that the problem was getting fixed but didn't seem to get how stressful the whole thing was for me.

It's got me thinking about the long-term effects of infertility and failed treatments. For me, the experiences were traumatic. I think it made my anxiety much worse.

*****

Then, for my third reflection, my boyfriend and I went to a family-friendly outdoor event today. There were adults, kids, babies, teens, old people, and basically everyone. 

I remember attending last year. It was one of the first things we did during the pandemic. We felt safe because it was outside and we were both vaccinated. But still, it was the first time we had been out and about in a very long time. 

I remember being fascinated with all of the families with their various numbers and ages of kids. I just liked casually observing all the kids and people watching. It was just so nice to be out of the house and doing something fun.

So I was excited to go again this year. And it was cool! I loved it. We're gonna get there earlier next year so we can see more stuff.

But I noticed a shift in what caught my attention this time. I paid more attention to the different styles of walkers and wheelchairs than I did any of the families. I noticed the kids but nobody was particularly interesting. I was more into the outdoor show and enjoying time with my boyfriend than anything else.

I did not feel deep in childless grief last year. But I can tell a huge difference anyway from then to now. It's incredible how this CNBC experience continues to evolve. 

I had no idea what all was possible.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Applying a Lesson Learned from Infertility

It's no secret that I've been stressed out and struggling for the past several weeks (a month? two months?). That's life. Stress happens. I don't say that dismissively to myself. My stress is real. It's also not unique. Everyone has stress. I'll go out on a limb and say most everyone currently has stress in their lives. Times aren't easy.

But I was getting sick and tired of feeling how I was feeling. I couldn't change any of it, so what could I do? Some options I thought of were to practice acceptance (suggesting this almost always annoys me but I still believe it's a beneficial coping strategy) and to change my perspective. I've been trying both strategies. 

I decided to rely on what I did toward the end of my experience with infertility. Instead of constantly thinking about what I didn't have, I decided to think about what I did have. I even wrote a list. It was long. I was pleasantly surprised. That was helpful.

Our poor primitive brains have not evolved from hanging on tightly to negative information. Yes, this was helpful when we needed to avoid getting eaten by a wooly mammoth. (Just kidding. Wooly mammoths were herbivores, but you get my point.) But, hanging on to negative information is not such a great thing when we live in a 24/7 news cycle of bad news. 

The brain can only handle so much.
The heart can only handle so much.

We have to be kind to ourselves, especially when society isn't.

No matter what we're missing and no matter how sad/lonely/bored/broke/frustrated we are, we have so much. That's not to take away from our very real negative feelings. It's to remind us of what we do have.

We have ourselves. We have each other. We have today.
And when today sucks, we have tomorrow. Every day is different.

Just a reminder. Because it's easy to forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Unpacking is Emotional

I am still very excited about finally moving out of my storage unit, but I definitely underestimated the emotional toll it would take to unpack. Imagine having everything from your life suddenly sitting in your living room. It's overwhelming.

Feeling overwhelmed is why I got a storage unit in the first place. I was sitting in the beautiful house that I bought for my children wondering what I was going to do with my childless life. Well, I figured, I wasn't staying here. So I started to pack. 

I started with the nursery. We hadn't bought a crib or anything, but I did have a wall lined with bookshelves where I had unpacked a lot of my kids books and stuffed animals. I didn't need any of it, but I also couldn't let it go. It all went into boxes.

The boxes piled up around the house for the rest of 2015. Everything was being packed. 

In 2016 it all went into storage. What was I going to do with a bunch of onesies? I didn't know, but I couldn't deal with it at the time. So everything went into a box.

In 2018 I moved everything from storage in one state to storage in another state. I still wanted my stuff, but everything from a four-bedroom house was not going to fit in a one-bedroom apartment. Then I kept moving each year, trying to find my landing spot for the rest of my life.

Last year I bought my house. Then it still took a whole additional year to deal with/coordinate my move out of storage. It hasn't even been a month, but I still feel like I haven't really felt the accomplishment that moving out of storage is after failed IVF and throwing everything in boxes.

I'm glad my stuff is here. I'm glad I get to go through it and decide what I want to keep.

It's also overwhelming.

What do I do with all of the onesies I bought from my undergraduate university?
What do I do with my textbooks about teaching kids how to read? 
What in the world do I do with my 20 boxes of kids books?

It's a lot to be confronted with the entirety of one's life.

Oh, you had plans to have kids? Too bad.
Oh, you were a teacher (and a good one at that) but can no longer afford to be one? I'm sorry.
Oh, you were going to decorate a big house but now need to downsize? First world problems.

And it's true. Having too much stuff is a first world problem. I acknowledge my privilege and am thankful for my life. But I still get to grieve my failed plans. And I still have to figure out what to do with all this stuff.

Why wasn't I expecting an emotional reaction? I mean, this is *me* we are talking about... I have an emotional response to most everything. But, I admit, I was not prepared. This adventure in unpacking has taken me by surprise.

So I'm doing it in small chunks. I'm reminding myself that I'm on my own timeline. Yes, I want to get rid of all these boxes. And I will. In my own time.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Full Heart, Empty Arms

A couple of weeks ago, I held a baby. It was on accident. But it still happened.

It began with me playing with a baby. After our last trip moving out of the storage unit, my boyfriend and I stopped by his parents' house to visit while they were babysitting his sister's youngest. I thought, oh hell, why not... Then I jumped in and started playing. 

I love to play. I never forgot how. I can play with all ages, levels, and abilities. Well, until they start playing video games... That's my exit point. I hate video games.

But back to playing with this 15 month old... He was fun. He was cute. He was easy. We played with Hot Wheels and some Legos and a jack-in-the-box toy with Curious George. 

My boyfriend's dad walked by and, not knowing that I do NOT hold babies, picked the kid up and placed him in my lap.

And that's how I ended up holding a baby for the first time in over 8 years.

It was okay. I don't necessarily recommend it. I probably won't do it again. Not voluntarily anyway.

It's not that I don't like to hold babies. It's just that my arms feel so empty afterward.

I know my own kids would be grown by now and I wouldn't be holding them. But I would have all those memories and lots of pictures to comfort me. Plus, I'd be their mom. They would still come crying to me with their problems and I could hold them then, no matter their age. (Well, they probably would... We all know that nothing is guaranteed.)

I held a baby. I didn't hate it. I didn't cry afterward. It would have been fine if I had, but I didn't.

Just another small miracle in this CNBC life that I'm living...

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Stress, Celebrations, & Choice

I'm in a tough spot. I've got a lot of thoughts in my head, but I haven't quite sorted them out yet. I don't know what to do and I can't write about what I don't understand. Needless to say, I am stressed and the weight of the stress and the unknown is weighing on me. 

This too shall pass.

I took a sabbatical this past winter to heal. My nerves were frayed, my confidence was shot, and I knew I needed to take some time for some serious mental rest. I used savings to pay my bills.

So wouldn't you know it... Now I'm having a home repair emergency. I need some major plumbing work done and I'm waiting on the estimate to see if what's left of my savings will cover the cost.

Logically, I can tell myself that everything will be okay. The repair is not a choice. It has to happen. So that leaves me spending my savings or shopping for loans. Both are doable. The other upsides to the situation are the problem was found, the problem is fixable, and the repair people have availability in their schedule to get it done next month. Lots to be thankful for. I just have to live with this constant level of stress until it's over.

It got me thinking... Is life ever NOT stressful? It's just felt so nonstop for the last decade.

And money and plumbing issues aren't even the whole picture. My relationship is a big part of the unknown as well. Changes need to be made, but those changes aren't in my control. 

And just like with infertility, I don't like my options. Stay with how things are? Nope. Break up? Not interested. A third option I've thought of is to change my perspective, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Probably because the changes that need to happen just really need to happen. Even if I change my perspective, I am still in an unsustainable situation. I guess we will see what this week brings. Or not.

Oh, hello again limbo! 

Because that's what it is. Limbo.
Waiting. Wondering what to do. Feeling uncomfortable and hating my options.

*****

So with all that vaguely said... Let's celebrate the positive.

I moved out of my storage unit!!! I repeat, I moved out of my storage unit!!! In other words, for the first time in over six years, I do NOT have a storage unit. Mission freaking accomplished.

(The rainbow picture above was taken after we loaded up our last load and drove out of the city.)

Instead, I am surrounded by boxes. Again. 
Life can be so repetitive, lol.

So I'm out! It took three days, a rental truck, and two additional car loads, with each roundtrip costing at least eight hours in gas and time. But, I'm out!! That will save money every month, and now I can finally go through my stuff I've saved. I saved it all because I didn't know where I'd end up. Well, it's here apparently. I will get the plumbing fixed and then live the rest of my life here. So what doesn't fit in my home can be passed along to others. Or thrown away.

But I'm really thankful I get the choice about which stuff I keep, donate, and throw away.

Choice. What a powerful thing...


That's it! That's my empty unit.
Yes, it was so momentous of an occasion that I had to take a picture.

*****

So, my break from school has been just that: a break from school. But it hasn't been a break. I've been moving, hosting family, and dealing with major plumbing issues. But hey, at least I had a break from assignments.

School starts again tomorrow. 

So despite my current stressors, sadness, and confusion, I'm relieved to be out of my storage unit. Also, I've been determined to relax this weekend. Can one be determined to relax? That seems contradictory... But, it's where I am at this point. Stressed but determined to relax.

My insides have been racing with anxiety, so I'm doing what helps me feel better. I'm sewing. I don't remember what I did before I started sewing in April 2019. I think I just lived with anxiety.

I picked out fabric on Friday and started a new quilt top. This quilt is for me. It will be all flannel for the top and the backing, and the batting in the middle will be wool. I made a similar quilt for my boyfriend last year, and it's the warmest quilt we have. So I'm making one for myself before winter comes. It's a simple pattern just made up of squares, but I'm already halfway done with the top.


It's not the greatest picture, but you can see the fabric that I'm using: scribble stars, polar bears, skiers, and textured solid blenders (brown, purple, green, and blue). 

Thankfully, when I choose to sew, it does make me feel better. It must be the repetitive motions, the purr of the sewing machine, and the soft feeling of fabric. It is all very comforting for me. I turn on the tv, watch 20th century movies and tv shows, and feel at ease. 

So, it's only appropriate that my mom brought me this sign when she came to visit:


How do people with kids afford life? It's just me and I am pretty stressed to the max right now. 

But I know how they do it. They just do it. They have to. Their kids depend on them. Just like I'll get my plumbing fixed. I have to. Functioning in my life depends on indoor plumbing at my home. 

We just do it. Stress, celebrations, and all. 


Monday, August 22, 2022

Renewed Appreciation

The biggest reason why I have kept this blog anonymous (hopefully!) is because I have written very honestly about my family. What they have said to me and how I have felt about different things throughout the years... This blog has been a safe place for me to vent, and I'd hate for them to find it, read it, and get their feelings hurt.

I love my family.

I love my mom, my dad, and my sisters. They gave me the greatest childhood, and I know I can count on them if I need anything. 

No, they don't understand infertility. Kind of, like, not at all... But they do know how sad I was and how much I suffered. They know I left my marriage (obviously), moved to a new state (also obviously), and created a whole new life for myself. They haven't always understood it, but they are so happy for me that I am happy.

My parents and oldest sister just visited for the weekend. I cried when they left. (By now, you know that I am a crier lol.) They were tears of happiness because I love them so much and tears of sadness because I miss them already.

Families are weird. We are just born into our family and that's who our family is. They remember all the embarrassing stuff we did growing up and they kinda get fixed ideas about us. 

For example, I'm the stressed out, anxious planner in my family. Yes, I need to chill out a little, but I also accept myself. Our strengths are our weaknesses and our weaknesses are our strengths. Channeling my anxiety productively has led to my new home, my new profession, and my newfound happiness. (Also, when my family needs to know something they call me! Lol. They know I have everything written down.)

Oh man, I needed to see my family. It reconnected me to them and to myself in ways I can't describe and didn't anticipate.

I didn't get to have my kids and raise them. But I do get to have my parents and sisters in my life.

I'm done taking that for granted.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

A Newborn Picture that Didn't Hurt

I'm so glad it gets better. I really had no idea how I was going to live the rest of my life with the amount of pain and the weight of devastation that I was carrying. 

In my last post I wrote about my best friends from high school (and their kids). I had to take some space from these friendships for several years. It really, really hurt. All of it. Infertility, feeling stuck in limbo, watching my friends' lives go on, missing my friends. All of it hurt. Badly. Deeply.

I couldn't even handle pictures.
And I don't fault myself for that. 

But a couple of weeks ago, I texted a very friendly woman from the quilt guild because I didn't see her at the last meeting and wanted to check in with her. 

She immediately texted me back a picture.
Of a newborn.
And it didn't even annoy me. 

The newborn was wrapped in the cutest quilt, and I know that's why my friend sent me the picture. She had made the quilt for her new family member, a nephew's kid or a cousin or something. I don't know. I don't know these people. But I loved the quilt. Haha. 

The moment really stood out to me.

I have CRIED over pictures of newborns. Many, many tears shed over many different pictures.

But now... It's just different. 

It's okay that it was painful before.
It's okay that it is not painful now.

Time makes a difference. As does gaining experience. And perspective.

Learning others' stories helps too. Like, my quilting friend. We are still new friends and don't know each other well, but I do know she lost a high school-aged daughter in a tragic car wreck.

We have all been through so much.

And now I can find joy in a picture of a lovingly made quilt wrapped around a newborn.

Miraculous.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

High School Best Friends (& their kids)

I am thankful for texting. Because of texting, it is easy to stay in touch with important people even if it's only a couple of times a year or so. If you would have told me 25 years ago, that I'd still be in touch with my best friends, well... One, I'd be happy to hear it. Two, I wouldn't be surprised because that's what I expected before I realized what a whirlwind life can be and how things can completely change over the years. So, I'm surprised to still be in touch with my best friends from high school, even if it's what my younger self expected. Lol.

I had one best friend in high school that went to the same school as me. She introduced me to two friends of hers that went to a different school than us. We all became really good friends, I love these girls (lol, women!) more than anything. We've stayed in touch throughout the years, through the four different colleges we attended, four marriages, seven kids, and two divorces. 

These are the kind of friends where you could show up on their doorstep in the middle of the night without warning and they'd take you in and make you dinner, or at least pour you a glass of wine. Except I don't drink wine. And one of us quit drinking altogether. But you get what I mean. They are the real MVPs. The kind of chicks that will always have your back.

I'm so glad it doesn't hurt anymore to be friends with these women I love so much.

I'm the only one without kids.

Last night one of them texted the rest of us just asking how everyone was doing. We all gave updates, and I got to share about my new jobs! They all know I went through failed IVF. They all came to my going away party when I moved out of state. They are very supportive of me.

But of course last night's update texts led to pictures of everyone's kids...

Oh my gosh, they are all getting so big!!! And all of the kids look just like their mothers!! <3

The oldest set of kids are two boys, about 16 and 14 now. I remember when they were born. I remember thinking how crazy it was that one of my best friends was already married and having kids on purpose. Haha. I was nowhere near ready to be a mother. I wanted to be a mother badly... Just not yet. 

The next set of kids are about 9 and 7. This is how old my kids would be if kids had worked out for me. This friend and I were actively trying to get pregnant at the same time. Obviously, it worked out for her. I have to say though, even though the timing of her children's pregnancies and births were painful for me, this friend was the most compassionate toward me out of everyone in my life. She was the first (and one of only a few) that flat out said to me. "This sucks," when we were talking about my problems with getting pregnant.

The final set of kids are about 4 and 1.5. There's an older kid and a younger set of twins. All three babies are the result of successful IVF. 

All seven kids were... Gorgeous. Is that weird to say? I hate to focus on kids' appearances. I am much more interested in their academics, sports, creative arts, and, most importantly, their manners and how they treat themselves and others. But my friends' kids are gorgeous. It's inside and out. I can tell from the pictures that they are all happy kids. And they all look like my friends! It's crazy!! 

Yeah, I was a little sad. What would my kids look like?

But overall, I wasn't. I don't have kids. I've had some time to get used to this idea. 

And I wouldn't live here if I did have kids. I doubt I'd be divorced, although you never know... But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be living here. And I love it here. My home, the geographical area.

I like my life, and I'm happy that my friends and their kids are happy. I'm grateful and amazed that pictures don't bother me like they used to. And I'm hopeful they will all plan a vacation out here sometime over the next couple of years! :)