Friday, May 13, 2016

Elephant in the Room

Before I started my blog, I found support for IF through a Baby Center forum group.  Each of the ladies that I met there has been successful in expanding their families, which I am sincerely happy for them.  Several of the ladies have even been fortunate to have more than one child.  Overtime as families started to grow, people transitioned away from the forum.  But, many have maintained a connection through Facebook.  It brings me joy to see them happy with their children.  They glow in their love for their children and families.  You can tell from their posts that they are very grateful and do not take for granted their blessings.  Life carries on and life brings challenges, but they handle it with strength and grace.

However, with being in different places in our lives, there has grown some distance.  It is natural to happen.  It is the ebb and flow of time and where we are in life.  But, it can be very lonely being the last of the group without a child.  When the last person had their baby a few years ago, I felt very sad and even jealous and angry at times.  I didn't write about it then because I did not feel like openly having a pitty party for me.  There may have been an entry that had a sentence or two that referenced it.  I edited it out because I did not want to hurt anyone's feelings or push them away.  But, the distance continued to expand either way.  I'm sure there are many reasons.  Sometimes people just have to move on to do their healing from IF.  Priorities obviously and rightfully shift.  There is more common ground with those who are also in the life stage of raising children.

As much as I don't want it to, it hurts.  Sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less.  More often than not, it is less now, but it has taken time.  Then I wonder, when will be the day when everyone is done growing their families?  Will I still be without a child?  Has that day already come to pass?  That will not really be known for quite sometime.  It will just silently happen and only to be determined by looking back to see when it was.

At least I feel like I am in a better place of acceptance now than when I first realized I was the last of the group without child.  And I have found other blogs to read, some parenting after IF, some trying to grow their families and some that are childfree.  Always new people to meet along the way.  Just not sure which way it will be for me.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Tribute, Part 2 and Part 3

Four years ago, I wrote an entry about my friend, Dianne.  She was the first person, outside of my previous spouse, that I confided in about IF.  I had been suffering in silence for about a year when she opened up and shared her story, and it allowed me to tell the beginning of mine.  She also guided me to where I could seek support from a community online, which I am forever grateful.

At the time of when I wrote the first post, my intention was to write two parts.  The first part was in thanking Diane for all of her support through some very rough spots and transitions in my life.  The second part was to be a celebration, which it still is.  However, there are many more lessons I have learned from my friend that deserves recognition.

So, before there is part two, there should really be a part one and a half because it is often the journey and not the destination that has the rich stuff in life.

When I met Diane, she and her husband had been trying to have a child for quite some time through a variety of ways.  However, they were on a break, and one that seemed to be considering if they had hit their limit.  To someone who was new to this whole IF journey, and had just felt so much comfort from our mutual disclosures, it was a bit jarring.  There were feelings of relief, sadness and hope that were suddenly tapped by meeting someone who had been there and really got it.  It was quickly followed by feelings of confusion, fear and loneliness.  How could I be learning about all of this stuff and now you all are going to stop trying?  I just learned about your journey and it could be the end, without a baby?

Fortunately, unfortunately, I had an aunt and uncle whom struggled to have a child of their own and I had learned as a young preteen that each couple makes the best decisions for themselves and it is to be respected.  While other couples may choose various, alternate paths to creating a family, it does not mean that every couple tries everything or for a defined amount of attempts.  Every couple has their limits, which only they can know.  I kept quiet.  But on the inside was cheering for them, as one may tend to do at the beginning of their IF ride.

But, Diane taught me the value of stopping, whether by choice or not.  It is important not to loose yourself.  Take time to invest in you.  Center yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Love yourself.  If you get a little lost, get off the roller coaster and rediscover yourself because you need the best you.  When you are the best you, you will have more to give.  You are special, worthy and strong.  Remember, you deserve to be happy, regardless of the outcome.  Be more than, always be more than.

Time passed, and Diane and her hubby decided to try and grow their family one more time.  Then, part two...

Diane called with fantastic news!  They were matched and were going to adopt a baby boy!  Joy upon joy!!

And that was just a few months before Mother's Day four years ago.  I was thrilled for my friend.  She seemed to be in a place in her life that was not distracted in desperation (my feelings at the time if I was in her position, not her feelings necessarily), but a tempered hope to try one more time while living her life as it was.  I believe it helped her to be more present in her joy of that moment.  It was beautiful to see Diane and her husband welcome this adorable little child into their home.

This I would have shared four years ago, but time slipped by and it felt too much time had passed.  Plus, I realized that while Diane and her husband adopted the little guy, it would take time through the legal system to make it fully official.  So, I did not want to jinx it and justified that I could wait until his official day in court.  Unfortunately, that took much longer than expected by no fault of their own.  But, that day came and I was so very happy for all of them.

So, more time had passed and I told myself, next year.  And this post sat in my head.  But honestly, it allowed me to learn a few more things from my friend, Diane.

Part three...

Diane is a wonderful example of a mother who loves her child deeply.  She is an awesome mother.  It is an honor that she shares this special person and their moments together with family and friends, and that I get to see him grow up in pictures and in person.  Diane and her husband are truly grateful in their blessing of their special little guy and it shows through in their pictures and stories and how they interact with him.  They are realistic, too.  He is a kid and kids do all kinds of stuff that we love and that drives us crazy and love some more.

Diane also seems to strike that balance of not over sharing and keeping some things just for themselves when it comes to online media.  She is also mindful of others, especially those who have lost children or who are hoping to have a child one day.  And Diane is not alone, as I have other friends that I have met through the IF community that do so, as well.

But, I think the other thing I learned from Diane and other mothers after IF is that "getting your happy ending" does not equate to making everything else better with no more worries.  Life carries onward.  And with it, there are health issues, bills, caring for the sick, disappointments, job loss, house repairs, death of a loved one, rationships to nurture, moving homes, career transitions, going back to school, loss of a pet, difficult decisions and so much more.  It can be easy to get lost in the idea of an idealized, imagined life.  It is important not to forget why you wanted to be a parent and to welcome a child into your family for the right reasons.

So, again, it is the journey that teaches.  Sometime it is the journey that follows a moment in time, too.  Thank you, Diane!  Thank you to the other ladies that I met through this online community!  You all have taught me so much.  And in your words, Diane,  ...Happy Mothering Day!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Good Intentions

Easter came early this year.  But in leading up to Lent, I was researching churches in my area to figure out which one I'd like to call my spiritual home.  Bummer that I could not find any with a Sunday evening mass, as I am a fan of sleeping in on the weekends.  It is also seems like a good way to end the day at the start of the week.  It takes a little bit of that Sunday dread away, a remnant from my life from teaching (Yes, teachers can have that same sinking feeling as students as the weekend comes to an end and early Monday morning is waiting.).  I scoured the Internet and FB to glean the vibe of the church and if I would fit into its community.  Then I saved the mass schedules and addresses of the churches on the short list.  My plan was to try them out.  T~ has been supportive in saying that he will attend with me, despite us having different faiths.

Just before Lent was kicking into gear, we got up one Sunday morning and went to church.  The building was a bit more modern for my taste and the priest seemed a little full of himself and a little showy.  However, I liked the vibe of the people who attended the church.  They seemed friendly and kind and it had a welcoming family feel.

But at a second glance, I realized just how many families were present and it felt like a really high ratio.  Granted this was a mass that offered Sunday school, but it still felt like a lot.  I started to feel uncomfortable and sad.  It made me realize how differently I had once imagined my life.  I pictured it with children, which would include taking them to church.  Surrounded by children and families made my heart ache.  Yes, maybe T~ and I may one day have a child.  But, it will likely be one...maybe, maybe two.  But it will not be the brood I had once imagined.  It will not be the same.

And I felt that twinge of one day having a large family die.

How I longed for a simple life and not one with all of these complications postponing these dreams of a family of my own.  How so many take it for granted that it all seems to fall into place.  Why has it worked for them and not for me?  How very far away it all feels to me as more and more people my age have finished building their families.  They are in the thick of it, the exhausting thick of it, and I feel like I am missing out.  I continue to be the outsider looking in and missing the dream that will never be.

I feel small for having these feelings.  I am tired of the heartache.  I am over the reminders of what I don't have.  It is especially difficult when I am trying so hard to be strong, to be grateful and to dream new dreams.

So, unfortunately, I have not returned to church.  I have avoided it.  It is hard to be in a place to renew your soul while it is being crushed.  I feel guilty.  I have to stop feeling sorry for myself, refocus on the positive.  It is hard to let go of a dream.

But, maybe it is time to try again.  Maybe I will try a different church this time.  Maybe I'll try a time that does not include the children's mass.

The other big hurdle is going to be getting our marriage validated by the church.  That is a whole other blob of judgment and possible rejection waiting for me.  Ugh.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Good Quote

"Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be.  Grieve the losses.  Then wash your face.  Trust God.  And embrace the life you have."--John Piper

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hindsight

Today, I felt happy because it was spring.

But last week, I felt guilty.  I felt guilty because I wasn't sure if I deserve to miss you both.  It was a long shot.  And honestly, your existence should not have been mentioned.  There were too many other steps to get in the propper place.  I feel embarrassed about that and somewhat angry and manipulated.  Hindsight.  Perhaps, you are not mine to miss.  But, the heart is not rational and it will feel what it will feel. You would have been seven.

It is spring, a time to turn the page and leave the sadness in the past.  It is a time to start fresh and look forward.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In-Person Parent Time

There is a guy, Tim Urban, who writes a blog called Wait But Why.  The topics of the posts can be a bit all over the place, but many are an interesting read.  Sometimes when he kind of gets more introspective, I kind of feel like he is walking around in my head.  Yes, I think and worry about those things, too!

One thing that I probably spend too much time worrying about is having the opportunity to spend time with my parents.  Some of it probably has to do with experiencing several significant deaths at an early age.  Some of it likely has to do with IF as it brings an awareness of the fragility of our being.  And with currently being childless, I don't have kids to distract me from thinking about these particular big life thoughts.  It is not to say people with children are not deep thinkers or share similar thoughts, I just have more time to dwell on them.  Finally, some of it may be because I'm a sensitive, old soul who enjoys deep meaningful relationships and favors quality over quantity.  Parents are pretty significant people in our lives.  It freaks me out to acknowledge that my time with them is limited.

Some may dismiss my worries because they say we are all getting older and it is life that we will not have our parents forever.  True.  But does it not bother you?

Tim Urban does a very nice job of quantifying this concern of mine.  In fact, he has a mathematical, pictorial representation.  He also discusses in-person parent time.  You can read his blog here.

As I was reading his blog, I vacillated between excited appreciation and increasing fear.  It was a relief to read that someone else thinks about this kind of stuff while trying not to rev up feelings of anxiety.  He gets close to the edge of the runaway train effect.  However, he closes on an important message.  Proximity, priorities and quality matter.

I am thankful to have moved back to Ohio.  I feel a bit more at ease than when I lived in other places.  It feels very good after visiting them this past weekend just because I had the time.  Big fan of unstructured time.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Twinsters

It is winter.  So, it is the perfect time of year to cozy up on the couch and peruse the Netflix cue or watch the things you have put on your list.  As soon as I saw the movie, Twinsters, I knew I wanted to watch it.  It is about two young women who find out about each other through happen stance on the internet.  They remarkably look alike and find out that they were born on the same day and had been adopted from Korea.  Their story unfolds as they get to know each other through Facebook, Skype and texting until they finally meet in person.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  It was fun to watch the excitement as they were just learning about each other and taking steps to get to know each other more and more.  It is amazing how technology allows us to connect and get to know other people so intimately, especially when they are so far away.  In some ways it reminds me of the IF community, how strangers can become friends.  I had the opportunity to meet some of the women I met through an online group for IF support.  Watching the movie reminded me of the giddiness and excitement of meeting my IF sisters.  It was life changing, as it was for the twins in the movie (but much more likely life changing for the twins).

The movie was also very interesting because it is about adoption.  Without wanting to spoil the movie, I appreciated how it told the story of how each adoption story is different.  While these women are twins and their lives have paralleled experiences, there are also distinct differences, too.  It is beautiful how the sisters are intuitive, sensitive and thoughtful of each other as they share their past, build their relationship in the present and begin to navigate how they want to share their future.

Then, how T~ and I have loosely talked about adoption, I found the movie interesting in what it brings up in terms of the thoughts, worries, frustrations, blessings and world of an adoptee.  Food for thought.  Plus, I've always had some kind of gut feeling that maybe if I were to be a mom it would be to twins.  I don't know why.  Maybe it is a wish or a hope, but I feel there is some kind of connection, but not sure what exactly.

It is a very good story.  I definitely recommend it.

Microblog Mondays

Friday, February 5, 2016

Setting the Tone

After much reflection and searching on Pintrest, I have found my new mantra or inspiration.  It is from a motivational poster.

"Feels good to get some stuff done.  Yay!" -- MaryKate McDevitt

Some good words for the procrastinator in me to remember the good feelings of accomplishment and relief when the task or job is done.  I'm trying write more consistently in real-time on my blog.  I was satisfied with the number of entries last year, but I'd like to get out of the habit of back dating them.  :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January Resolutions

It's 2016!

When thinking about a new year, I take my time.  Or sometimes, I let inspiration wash over me when it comes, which can sometimes be in late December.  I guess my point is that I have a flexible time table when thinking about self improvement or inspiration to have a better year.  Sometimes I try to set a goal and sometimes I set a theme.

For example, one year I found a quote that I really liked and kept it as a mantra to help me refocus.  It was my self declared year of peace.  It really was empowering and challenged me to let go of the little things or better prioritize my concerns while dealing with them in a more positive light.

Other times, it may have been a little more concrete, such as trying to write a certain number of posts each month.  This was helpful when it felt to me that my blog had lost its focus or when I almost felt like I had run out of things to say, or at least IF related.  It gave me permission to acknowledge (again) that my life was more than.  Instead of waiting for an IF related post, the posts began to evolve into sometimes what goes on after IF, that life carries forward with other things to celebrate or observe or take notice.  However, IF does continue to pop up from time to time, but it is different.  I am different.  I guess it kind of shows how IF may always be part of who you are, but the focus can shift.

So while in the past I have been trying to be mindful of trying to post regularly, I think I am going to try to do so more in the moment.  I will sometimes go back and write backdated posts because historically, I want to capture the general time frame of when I had those thoughts, experiences or ah-ha moments.  But, then I lose time in trying to keep up with other blogs that I enjoy more fully.  While I will read in real-time or with binge reading, I do try to keep current in my reading.  It may not show in my commenting, but I try.

So, I guess this year I should find a good quote about time.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015's Inaugural Elite Entry

Since there is not a Creme de la Creme this year, I want to recognize for myself what was my best blog entry for the year.  When deciding, I thought about something that really touched me deeply--not only while I was writing it, but that it also resonated with me after I wrote it.  There is something in the post that communicates something deep and significant while continuing to be appreciated after having reflected on that moment, idea or experience.  A lesson learned, something to remember carrying forward.

I hope to start this practice this year with the intention of doing it next year.  So, for this year, I have two posts to honor because they seem an appropriate pair.

2015's Elite Entry:

To Plan or Not To Plan

2015's Elite Entry Honorable Mention:

Healthy Hope and A Choice for a Childfull Life