This is the first Guest Post here on Waking Up Thirty.
We all go through different trials and tribulations in life – how we battle them is much more defining than the actual outcome in a lot of instances.
Cheers to “M.” for being brave and sharing their story.
In January, I wrote a list of goals for 2016. I am not a fan of resolutions but I do believe if you write things down there is a better chance of them being crossed off and accomplished. The list included items like drink more water, plan trips not purchases, breathe, compete with myself not others, Do Mud Hero, Not Since Moses run and 10km at Maritime Race weekend, Love myself, be in bed by 10pm, Go to church more regularly, more day trips as a family, more get togethers with friends, Seek Joy and At the top of the list, Get Pregnant and have another baby.
Well it is more than half way through the year and I am still not pregnant and we started trying about 6 months before I wrote that list. I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened yet. With my first, it happened quickly. There are reasons I’m sure. Physical reasons, emotional reasons, timing, purpose etc… Trying not to focus on it is an exercise in futility. Instead I try to listen to all the subtle truths being revealed. Truthfully it amazes me how we multi-task in this life. We carry on in our day to day (jobs, doctors appointments, friendships, family obligations) while just under the surface or behind closed doors we balance the emotions and struggle we experience in the waiting, in the living, in the knowing of not knowing, in the realization that we can only control so much. This is true of so many of life’s experiences not just trying to conceive. I’ve seen it in my friends and colleagues who care for their ailing parents or battle illnesses all while showing up for work , taking care of their kids and all with such strength and grace. It’s Amazing.
As a planner, someone who makes lists and crosses items off and someone who isn’t particularly fond of change, when you are ready to embrace a new life altering change and it just doesn’t happen it’s unsettling. I remember a quote from Ruth Houtby at the pulpit “Losing Control is losing the illusion that we were ever in control to begin with” This quote has had so much meaning in so many situations for me and yet I keep hearing it and learning it in different contexts. It feels particularly relevant right now.
I read this article the other day about how to support a friend through infertility. It made me realize three things. 1. We are not alone in this experience 2. I have some amazing friends. 3. The last paragraph… “At the end of the day, whether you are able to have the family you desire or not you will be made a better person by the experience.” Katie Hintz-Zambrano writes “While that is not an easy thing to tell a friend (or hear), it’s a reality of the experience. You will be a better parent, friend, sister, wife, person in general.” I would extend this to husbands and fathers as well.
I truly feel this. Even though it is hard and a struggle not knowing when and/or if it will happen for us again, it is shaping me and our family, growing us and challenging us to be more appreciative of the family we do have and more willing to explore new experiences and take more chances. We are living life more fully, more presently.
Have you ever written an “I am” list? You know the ones where you write “I am…” at the top of the page and then fill the page with positive affirmations about yourself? It’s big in the self-help world. Anyway I have. I am kind, I am generous, I am a loyal, I am happy yadda yadda… I get about two lines in and start trying to think about how I can re-frame negative self talk to be positive. (Side note: why do we carry such negative self-beliefs) But one truth I know is that I am a good friend. I care deeply about my friends and I prioritize maintaining friendships. It brings me joy to sit with friends and connect, no matter what the topic or context. It is equally joyful and challenging to connect with friends who are experiencing something in their lives you wish to be experiencing in your own. When you are trying to get pregnant you become that much more aware of all the pregnant people around you. I have experienced so many emotions as my friends experience pregnancy and the birth of their children, some for the first time and others the second time around: excitement, joy, jealousy, resentment, gratitude, sadness, guilt, longing. I have also become a more sensitive friend. I am that much more aware of the questions I ask or how I talk about my own child with others. It is so easy to complain about sleepless nights, how whiny your child is or the general struggles of parenting. I no longer take these things for granted.
In the midst of a particularly rough weekend which corresponded with sleep deprivation, PMS and the cycle that is the roller-coaster of emotions one experiences when trying to get pregnant (sorry if TMI) our family sought refuge at my mom’s. After I left she wrote to me. She said “You need to be more kind to yourself and trust your instincts. You are a good person. Sometimes I think you need to reverse the golden rule and do unto/for yourself as you would do unto/for others. Love you”
It meant the world to me to read those words from her. I felt as though she looked at me and really saw me. She saw me where I am currently and said exactly the words I needed to hear.
I know I am so lucky to have had a successful pregnancy the first time around and to have a loving husband and awesome little boy. Throughout and as a result of this experience I have also had the opportunity to cross off some of the other items on my list such as competing with myself and not others, running a few races, planning trips not purchases, taking time to breathe, practicing self-care and mindfully seeking Joy. What Katie Hintz-Zambrano writes is true. I am a better wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister and person for having this experience. I am learning and growing. I am present enough to recognize that there are so many known and unknowns becoming manifest and in the midst of it all, I have hope.
Thank you so much for the entry, “M.”
I think we can all agree that life doesn’t always give us what we want, but it has a way of giving us what we need.
Here’s to the strong ones who push through!