November 23, 2012

In All Things, Give Thanks

2012 has been a very challenging year for me. I would like to say it has been the most challenging of my life, but I don't think that's necessarily true. Infertility, financial worries, and M's 9 month long job hunt stole a lot of happiness from me, but at the end of the day, I always had M to hold me while I cried. That alone makes my life now 100 times better than my life before he and I got together.

My bible study class is having a very positive impact on the way I think about and contextualize my infertility. I have always thought of it as a *battle*. I am a *warrior* and this is a fight with a definite position of winning or losing. I was willing to fight tooth and nail for the future I thought I wanted, thought I had to have or else what would become of me?

Its hard to describe how my position has changed. Of course I want a family, of course I want to know what it feels like to be pregnant, to give birth, to breast feed my child. But you know, I also want to tour Europe, start a garden, fix up my house. And very much like wanting to travel and better myself with productive hobbies, my life can still be perfectly fulfilling if I want, but don't have, children. I was focused on the doors that were shutting in my face before and now I can see the doors that stand open now or even the ones that have the potential to open later.

Everyone talks about how having a family requires certain sacrifices and obviously most people are only to happy to make those sacrifices. But through no fault of my own, I may not be required to make such sacrifices. Which may leave me in a unique position to be able to do any number of things that would be too complicated if I had kids to consider. I might be called upon to help out friends or family in a way that only someone without children could - and won't those people be so grateful that I could be there for them? We could spend more money on charitable pursuits and have enough savings to be of help to my nephews or my brother if need be. I could have enough time to start a little suburban homestead with my new, huge backyard full of garden beds.

I refuse to let my infertility be a defining feature of my life and self-image. There is plenty of lemonade to be made from these lemons (oh how cliche...). I was even thinking the other day that by the end of 2013, I will know if bio children are out of the question and I could go back to grad school. I always wanted to be a marriage and family counselor (fun fact: I have completed one year of two different grad programs) and my journey has led me to focusing on marriage counseling for couples dealing with infertility. I never would have considered that before going through all of this, but it makes perfect sense now. I've always felt that people who have gone through a particular trauma are uniquely qualified to counsel for that problem. For example, I could never counsel for addiction because I have never dealt with that personally, so who the hell am I to tell someone "you are stronger than this, you need to take responsibility for this" etc.? If I were in therapy, I would respect the words of my therapist more if I knew they had been where I am. Does that make sense?

Anyway, this was my very long winded way of saying that, despite the darkness of this year, I came to Thanksgiving truly thankful for *everything*, including my struggle with infertility. I think that is some serious progress.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and weren't too harassed by family drama or any conversational landmines care of your infertility experiences. I know the holidays can be a particularly complicated time of year for our community. I am praying for each and every one of you - for strength, for patience, for healing, for rainbows at the end of the rain clouds. It may sound hopelessly optimistic, but I know whatever the end of your journey looks like, there *will* be goodness to find in it.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I started reading a new book after I happened to pick it up while browsing at the book store: What Alice Forgot. I was already in love with the story before I figured out there was an infertility sub-plot. It is *very* well written and I would describe the plot so far as a cross between The Vow and 13 going on 30. If you are looking for a good book to distract from your current cycle or the craziness of the holiday season, I *highly* recommend it.

November 14, 2012

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Well hello there!

So....what's new?

Actually I *know* what's new with all of you because I have been reading your blogs which are regularly updated because you guys don't suck. I suck because I've been out of it for almost a month Cross my heart, I have been reading, thinking, and praying about all of you! Sometimes I want to leave a comment, but no sufficient words come to me. That is an awful feeling for me, I am *never* at a loss for words.

I won't lie though, having big things other than infertility to occupy my time and mental energy has been just a huge HUGE relief. I didn't even make a face OR inwardly scream when I found out the pregnant girl in my bible study group is carrying multiples. I actually felt bad for her that she is having a high risk pregnancy and committed to praying extra for her.

The house is big and wonderful and ever so slowly coming together and becoming ours. There are dozens of projects I would love to do over the course of our ownership, and hey - if we don't have children I would probably have the time to actually get most of them done. My baby nephew is my new favorite human being. I took a week off work to spend with my sister and my nephews and it was *awesome*. Hours and hours of holding my baby Bradley bear and marveling at how smart and creative Alex is (Alex being the older brother who is 8, almost 9). I am seriously the luckiest aunt in the world.

Taking a break has so far been great for me. I have enough self-esteem problems without throwing my inability to bear children into the mix *every* *single* *day*. I've been dealing with some kind of allergic reaction on my skin all year and I FINALLY think we figured out the culprit: I am allergic to normal laundry detergents and softeners. So I bought all new "Free and Gentle" or whatever detergents and such, spent a whole weekend washing every scrap of clothing I own, and am experiencing exponentially less discomfort. I would really like it if by Christmas I didn't look like a leper anymore. I would also love to shave my legs finally.

Okay, so there's my update. I promise I am keeping up with all of you and I will try to find more things to talk about while I chill from TTC!