Friday, May 27, 2011

A Need to Move Forward & Weekend Trip

I just went through a mini-two week wait of trying on our own. I knew slim chances of it working so it's no surprise my period is coming today but it's making me realize that I need A PLAN!

I need to move forward. And that needs to include my plan.

We had talked about trying on our own for the next few months while we wait to go on our trip to Spain (yay!) at the end of June, and in the meantime, take all the tests we need to take in order to be ready for next steps on IVF.

On IVF, I'm leaning toward trying this nat.ural cy.cle IVF even though my husband feels more comfortable with the doc we've been seeing and would rather us to the traditional route. So, we still need to figure that piece out. And I guess depending on our timing, we may look to do a cycle this summer. Yikes!

IVF really scares me. I know many, many have done it and I shouldn't be whiny about it but it all just scares me. BUT staying stagnant on this whole thing also isn't good for us.

And, I think as much as I've been contemplating being childless, I'm not sure I'm ready to plunge into that just yet. Having my nephew in church with us on Easter really re-ignited my desire to keep trying.

So, that's my plan. And I need to start working on it!

And this weekend: a fun trip to FL to visit my cousin - girl time! Yay!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

5 Steps Back

I put up a good front sometimes on trying to be happy... my last post was all about The Happi.ness Pro.ject and how I'm going to do things for me that make me happy.

And then, I talk to my mom. And it all goes downhill.

Why can my family not figure out a way to best support me? Why does she continually bring me down rather than lift me up?

I feel like every effort of me trying each day takes 5 steps back when I talk with her. And yet, every time that happens, I resolve myself to distancing myself one more pace away from her.

What a way to live! If she only knew, she'd be crushed. I'm just so disappointed in the way our relationship is turning out right now, at the time when I would need her most.

Just there saying "would need her most" is a HUGE acceptance on my part. Normally, I would have said "when I need her most". But I KNOW that she just can't be there for me with this the way I would have wanted her to be. And that's been a HUGE loss on top of our already infertility-related loss.

How do you learn to expect so little out of people? How is life worth it when that's all you demand out of it?

My mom is such a downer. She doesn't mean to be, but she is. Just so full of negativity. Ugh. I have to just walk away and shake it off. It's almost too bad that she's family because I would have long stopped being her friend by now.

But what do you do when it's family? It takes so much energy and effort to do any one thing when I feel this low sometimes and it's all I can do to focus on positivity each and every hour of the day. Sure, when it's family, you can minimize it, but you can't make it go away altogether. I have to shield myself from it but then it just feels like I'm going through the motions with someone who I'd rather not be spending time with. even on a phone call.

So, I'll end this post with some positivity (some of which is repeat from yesterday):
  • I signed up for a summer pottery class - something I've been wanting to do for 10 years! There's a studio in my neighborhood and I'm finally doing it. Yay!
  • I bought a 3 month bik.ram yoga pass for the summer too! Yay for exercise and taking care of my body!
  • I scheduled a massage for tomorrow. I needed to treat myself after that weekend with my in-laws and am finally getting around to doing it and so looking forward to it!
  • I may be spontaneous and see a play this weekend, by myself while my husband is occupied. Yay to enjoying alone time and taking advantage of what my city has to offer!
But, seriously, if you have any advice on how to best deal with family that isn't offering the best support, please send it my way! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Over a Hurdle and Onto Happiness :)

Last week I was just emotionally spent after having anxiety confronting my in-laws on a visit that entailed my BIL and SIL's baby shower as well as Mother's Day.

By the end of last week, I think I was finally able to sigh with relief and feel like a HUGE weight had been taken off of me.

So, now what?

I really want to take a long-term view on what's next. If I look back at the last 3 1/2 years, I just see how my happiness was either severly diminished or completely extinguished during that period of time. I refuse to allow that to continue to happen. At least I want to work really hard on refusing that to happen. This could take another 3+ years, we don't know.

Which leads me to being ready to start trying again. I say this with a lot of trepidation. I DO NOT want to be all consumed with a 2 week wait every month so I'm trying to take this in stride.

I know I had been talking a lot about living without children but having our 3 year old nephew with us in church on Easter stirred something in me that I had buried.

So, we'll see where this leads us. I'm not going to make plans around anything anymore. We have a trip to Spain planned at the end of June, I just signed up for a pottery class for the summer and also bought a bik.ram yoga summer pass as well. I will not let life be put on hold anymore but my heart is also open for what may be next.

In the meantime, I just finished The Happi.ness Pro.ject and just loved it! I thought it may be too trite and stuff I would already know but it's inspired me to 1) make small changes to make my life better (going to bed earlier, exercise more, etc) and 2) to be an active participant in life and do things (sign up for a class, stretch yourself, make new friends, etc).

I highly recommend this book! All I've wanted is to feel happiness again and this is a great guide and positive reinforcer for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emotionally Drained

For better or worse, I went to see my in-laws this weekend. I think that I'm glad I went but honestly, I don't know. It was emotionally draining, that's for sure.

We arrived Friday, full of anxiety for me. My in-laws did well by addressing my needs immediately. As soon as we sat down, they said they wanted to talk about me and how I've been doing. I really appreciated that and we spent some time talking about how difficult it's all been for me especially recently.

I told them how my counselor has had me focus on our 3 miscarriage losses and how that grief has been hard. I told them how isolating infertility can be. I told them how I've had a hard time not being acknowledged. I shared with them that it can be hard for me to feel others' joys particularly when my pain isn't also being recognized.

I may have been more forceful than I needed to be, but I got most of it out. They explained how they have been praying for me but just haven't been sure what else to do. They also said how much they love me and support me. They gave me hugs and then prayed for me, which really helped. Their prayer included giving me strength for the weekend.

We then went to my sister-in-law's graduation from grad school. Surprisingly, her mother was extremely sensitive to me. I think K had talked with her mom about our struggles and my difficulties with my MIL, so this woman seemed to empathize with me and I so much appreciated that.

Baby Shower Day for SIL and BIL. I was actually pretty fine that day and was looking forward to sharing the joy of that day. I made sure to make myself busy and took my SIL's camera to take pictures all day including during present opening. That helped a lot.

The only hard part was feeling like once again, my pain wasn't really acknowledged. My father-in-law prayed before lunch and said "this day couldn't be any more perfect" and I thought 'yes, it can...'

I just think that B's family just tends to 'see the bright side of things' and doesn't realize that by 'ignoring' the not so bright side, it can make things worse for some...

The dreaded M's Day. I did not do well this day. This was a day I wanted to ignore altogether but knew that I couldn't with my in-laws... I had decided that I would skip church to go for a run but saw my in-laws before and managed to say "Happy Mother's Day" to my MIL and she, not thinking, replied back "you too, I mean, Happy Mother's Day to your mother..." It was very awkward and made me even more sad.

About 1/2 mile into my run, I broke down crying. I made myself keep running though which was good.

When I got back, I had a voicemail from my brother saying he was thinking of me today because he knew today would be hard. Wow. That meant so much.

But that made me break down again.

When I went to join B with everyone for lunch, I couldn't stop crying so he recommended that maybe I didn't go... which was good advice. I couldn't handle Mother's Day. I just really couldn't. And I didn't want to go. I just couldn't be social.

I went into a cute nearby town instead and the first shop I went into, the owner says "what brings you browsing today?" and I couldn't think of anything better to say other than the truth "honestly, I'm trying to ignore Mother's Day". Ha.

I had to join B's family after lunch before we actually left and that was hard because I just couldn't chit-chat and we had to sit there for 20-30 mins talking before we left. At least my MIL understood that the day was hard for me and said it was probably a good idea that I didn't go to church. She also said that she had hoped that the weekend hadn't been too bad for me.

So, take-aways from the trip:
  • I'm glad we had our chance on Friday to let me share how I've really been feeling. B says he probably did his family a disservice by not really talking about it with them.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by my sister-in-law's mother and her sensitivity.
  • I'm glad my sister-in-law and I had a good conversation before I came and appreciate her.
  • I wonder if I'll ever have a meaningful conversation with my BIL; he's just so private.
  • I'm still not sure I'd do it all over again. It was extremely emotionally draining and I think in the future, if I'm really not feeling like I can be around others, especially family, I may need to just bow out of events. I've considered that for Thanksgivings and Christmases, etc. but thinking that I need to just be there and show up, but you know, I don't think I do.
  • I really wish my family (his and mine) were somehow better able to support me. Maybe it's taking this long to finally be able to. Having my brother call on Sunday and my mom understand that I couldn't all her on Sunday really helped. And who knows, maybe this weekend will help with B's family's understanding...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Email I Want to Send to My In-Laws

Here's the email I want to send to my in-laws regarding our upcoming weekend plans which includes my SIL's graduation from a Master's program, their baby shower and, of course, Mother's Day!

My FIL sent an email earlier this week on how joyful everything will be this weekend and it honestly made me a bit sick. Here they go again not acknowledging that we are also in the midst of pain. That while one side of the family is experiencing joy, the other is sad right now and we can't ignore it - and everyone should be sharing in all these feelings.

My husband really would rather I speak to them about all of this rather than send an email and suggested instead that I have a ready blog post! So, I'm sharing this here instead and hoping this leads to some good talking points for me this weekend:

Hello everyone,

B and I are looking forward to our visit and I appreciate all the thought that has gone into how to best support me/us during some of the weekend's festivities. I wanted to take a moment to try to express some things that we may hopefully get a chance to talk about but just in case we don't, you have an idea on where I'm coming from.

I know it can be really hard to understand what we're going through and I'm always open to talking about it and how to best support us, but just like any other experience in life, if we haven't been through it, it's hard to know what it's like. The easiest way to describe it is that pain is pain. We've all (unfortunately) had painful moments in our lives, so that is something we can all relate to, and probably easiest.

And while there's been a lot of sadness, it's not all doom and gloom in our household... B and I have felt closer than ever before and are so thankful for our strong marriage bond, we've been able to enjoy our nephews (and will enjoy another one in our midst as well!), I've had an amazing trip to India, we're both enjoying our jobs, etc, etc.

I think what helps the most is feeling like our pain is acknowledged. We talked about this at Thanksgiving and I wanted to revisit this. I've read recently that it's human nature to want to be heard. A parenting trick seems to often be to repeat what the child is saying so that they feel you are hearing them. As silly as it sounds, the same goes for me. It truly helps when people empathize and say 'that must be hard' or 'I'm sorry you're going through that'. By acknowledging my hurt, I feel heard and loved, and then feel I can go onto being able to more actively participate in 'normal' life activities. When I can't talk about my pain, when I'm not asked or when it's not acknowledged is when I start to feel like there's something wrong with me.

B may have shared with you this link for family and friend support from the Nat'l Infer.tility Association. It's extremely helpful in explaining a lot of what we go through and feel. It talks about family dynamics as well, particularly if another sibling is experiencing a pregnancy. 

I am also sharing with you part of our pastor's weekly church email below where her words make me feel completely acknowledged and supported.

So in the midst of many, many joys this weekend including simply being together as a family, I hope there will be time to also acknowledge that there is pain going on in our midst as well. I love you all and can't wait to give you hugs. And all the best to K to wrap up her projects this week! I do know what that's like :)


Our Pastor's email:

We have many prayer concerns in our congregation, and I invite you to please join me in praying for the following people and needs: 
  • K still in the hospital with hopes of going home tomorrow.
  • B will have surgery tomorrow morning at 8:30.
  • R is waiting for additional news regarding her recent cancer diagnosis.
  • M, B and ML are also facing health challenges.
  • You are also invited to keep the women in our church who are struggling with infertility in your prayers. Mother's Day can add additional pain to what is already a painful place of emptiness.
  • Finally, you are invited to please pray for the people of Alabama and others across the South who know too well the pain of violent storms. We'll be taking a special collection for the Uni.ted Meth.odist Com.mittee on Re.,ief, and you are invited to give. I'm also wondering if it is time that we respond with our bodies - that we go and help rebuild. Is this something you might be interested in doing? Please let me know.
So, maybe this is an email template you can use?
I still can't help but feel that we are in enough pain already. Family (and friends) often say they love us and want to be supportive. So, then why does it seem so hard for some of them to do???
If I was getting what I needed from them, then I think this whole experience would feel completely differently for me. It just adds to my sadness that they are not there for me in the ways in which I need them to be.
Maybe talking it through this weekend will help? I'm not hopeful but willing to trust my husband and give it a try...


Monday, May 2, 2011

Oh the Drama!

My sister-in-law's baby shower is this weekend. I've been mulling it over for weeks and weeks including this post from several weeks ago entitled Preparing for SIL Baby Shower in May.

Well, it's finally here - this coming weekend. I was 99.9% sure I wouldn't go and called my sister-in-law to let her know. As we were talking, I felt her understanding and compassion, and suddenly I realized that I wanted to be there for her - it was just not knowing how to best deal with my mother-in-law who is the difficulty for me right now.

My SIL offered the suggestion that we stay somewhere else - the baby shower is supposed to be at my MIL's house so being at her house around the decorations might be too hard for me. Plus, I just need my physical and emotional space this time around.

So, I was all geared up with that plan and called my MIL to tell her and you know what she does? She cries that she's upset we wouldn't be staying with her. I really sometimes can't get over this.  This is my pain we're dealing with so why can't she have a little more compassion?

I get the sense that because she's talked to other women who have miscarried that I should just be able to get over this. B tried explaining to her how painful this experience has been.

She's a pastor on top of it all. So, I just don't get how someone can be a pastor and claim to love a family member yet just not know how to be understanding or compassionate toward us.

I get the sense that all she's concerned with is being able to express her joy over this new baby.

My husband really thinks that he's explained the emotional aspects of what we're going through enough with her that we should be able to have a good weekend. I'm not convinced.

How is it that I can have an amazingly meaningful conversation with my SIL yet my MIL causes me so much angst on top of an already pained heart that I have?

Why is this so hard for her to understand? Why can't it be enough to say I'm in pain? Why can't she just have compassion for us?