The friendships I have found and nourished over the last year and a half of blogging have literally changed my life and also been a huge part of my recovery. I have reached out to several friends in hopes they would be willing to write guest posts for me these next three months while I build momentum up for the bookstore release of Ever Upward on April 7th. Here is the first from my dear friend over at My Perfect Breakdown. Our stories nothing alike and yet very much the same. I feel lucky and so grateful to have her in my life as she challenges me, helps me grow and learn and frankly just loves and supports me. As I hope I do for her also. The universe was on our side back in October when we both happened to be in NYC at the same time and I was able to meet her and Mr. MPB for a drink. Thirty minutes of my life that I will forever cherish. Please enjoy and make sure to check out her incredible journey that she shares on her blog.
One thing I’ve learned from the infertility blogging community is that regardless of your specific infertility journey, it is all consuming and willcompletely and utterly suck!
Once part of this exclusive and horrible club, our lives completely change and everything we do is impacted. And, I assume always will be. Our lives become consumed by:
our scheduled procreation sex,
our two weeks waits,
our new language spoken almost entirely in acronyms (TWW, FRER, AF, CD, PIO, etc.),
our soul crushing losses,
our medical appointments and procedures that take over our calendars.
Very quickly our lives shift from that of our relatively carefree lives we had innocently grown accustomed to, and become that a of stranger walking around in our bodies while we are held captive and forced to watch and experience the trauma of never seeing two pink lines, or waiting for miscarriages to occur, or watching our babies slowly die.
Slowly we start to become estranged to our friends, our family and most importantly ourselves. Usually we still resemble ourselves from the outside (even when the infertility treatments cause us to gain very much unwanted weight). Yet, if you peel back the layers, we and some of our closest friends, know that we are no longer the same person. We walk around faking it. We spend countless hours hiding our hurt. We avoid potential triggers to the very best of our ability. We cringe at the sight of a pregnancy announcement. We find ourselves crying in the bathroom at family events or while driving to a meeting. Simply, we hurt. We make decisions which will forever alter our lives and those of our children. The hurt runs deep and it touches into the deepest part of our soul.
We all dream of the elusive take-home baby. We all know the happy ending stories, where after years of struggles, losses, and financial hardships, the stars align and it finally works. We dream and we hope that one day our stars will align.
But, not all of us will get that miracle rainbow baby. For some of us, one day, we realize that we are reaching our tipping point. Suddenly we want to stand up and scream:
ENOUGH! Emotionally, physically and/or financially, a person can only take so much. And I have reached my enough! I have reached the end of my rope. I either step off the crazy train and start focusing on my physical and mental health recovery, or I risk losing myself completely on a ride that has spun completely out of control.
So, what happens when we step off the train? What do we do when we reach our enough? How do we move from the assumed family to something completely different and unknown and often scary? How do we start to reclaim our lives and begin to live again? How do we hold onto our lost dreams and our lost children? How do we let go of the hurt that is seared into our souls? How do we move on to lead a meaningful life when our little ones are forever missing?
Some of us decide that our family will be childfree, yet childfull (i.e. Justine and Chad). Some of us decide to pursue our family through adoption (i.e. Mr. MPB and I). Yet, as strange as it may sound, I don’t believe the actual route we choose to create our chosen family is the important part of moving on and learning to live again after the hurt of infertility and the scars of lost babies.
The important pieces of moving on in a healthy way comes from our work to recover and reclaim our lives. This means, we choose to focus on our recovery and to put in the effort required to learn to live in a very different way than our preconceived ideas ever imagined. We have to choose to work daily to survive and even triumph with what life has offered us.
So, how do I do it?
I work to heal the gaping holes left seared into my soul from saying good bye to our babies. I grieve, I cry, I mourn, I remember, and sometimes I even laugh.
I nurture my marriage through open communication, love, honesty, and even simple things like dating and laughing together.
I am putting effort back into my physical health, as soon as I was medically able. I am running and cycling again after being forced to the sidelines for over 2 years.
I started socializing again. Once we began openly sharing our experience and losses, we were no longer afraid to see our friends who have been supportive.
I live freely now – I no longer worry about what cycle day I am on, or what potential damage I could do to myself or my potential children by having a sip of alcohol or drinking non-FDA approved tea or having medium rare steak because I like it.
I remove negativity from my life whenever I need to. I try to recognize negativity early and eradicate it from my life. This has meant the end of “friendships” that were more toxic to us then good. This has also resulted in me resigning from my full time professional employment.
I work very hard to focus my energy on the things I can change, and to let go of the things I cannot. (And this one takes a lot of effort for my classic type-a personality).
I work to recognize, accept and move beyond the extreme emotions that I have experienced in the last few years. Anger that I never knew existed within me. Deep and intense frustrations. Sorrow that touched me deeper than I ever thought possible.
I search for happiness. Every single day I am determined to acknowledge at least one happy moment, regardless of how bad my day is.
I hope that tomorrow will be a good day. There have been times where I wanted to break up with hope, but instead, I keep returning to it. I need hope to guide my way.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Rather, quite the opposite, at times it is very hard! I have bad days. Sometimes I take 1 step forward and follow it up with 2 steps backwards. But by continually making an effort to live happily, I am confident that I will survive and I will thrive.
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