And the Soul Felt It's Worth

The lights cast a glow throughout the house that is both calming and unnerving. The scent of pine brings both joy and sadness.

The stubborn ache in my chest like a constant reminder of what could of been and the gift of what is.

December is kicking my ass this year.

I am tearful easily. I am overwhelmed with it all. And, I know I am not alone.

Most people, even my closest loved ones, have asked, "But, why are you struggling so much?"

Side note: This is not the most empathetic way to ask...

Then there are my fellow warriors and even my always trying husband Chad, who have asked with empathy and love, "Is this different or harder than last year? How come you think you're struggling so much?"

 
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I am as surprised (and annoyed honestly) as anyone else, as I would like to say this gets easier.

Every year that passes there is this naive part of you that thinks it won't hurt as bad, maybe just maybe, it will get better. But as I always say, it just gets different.

There are a myriad of reasons this Christmas season is kicking my butt. Bottom line infertility and loss changes you forever. If we choose to do the work it changes us for the better, I promise. No amount of twinkling lights, carols, jingle bells and damn glitter (literally, damn glitter, it should not be on cards in my opinion) lessens the longing in my soul that I wish my three were here with me on earth. In fact those lights, carols, bells and glitter only remind me of everything I do not get with my own children. They remind me of what I am missing out on and of what is missing of me.

Admittedly, all that missing out and grief stirs up the voice in my head and the ache in my heart that tells me I am not enough, that I will never be enough, especially because I am not a mother.

Yet, I have done the work, I know this is not my truth.

And still, shame weasels in so easily and steals my light.

I have changed that story...most days. Through the work I have done and especially in my faith I know my truth is that I am worthy, I am enough and I am a mother.

This December it seems, my shitty first draft of I am not enough is winning more days than not.

Perhaps you saw me Sunday on the live stream of my church service desperately taking notes and attempting to control my tears. As soon as we sang O Holy Night with the lyric, and the soul felt its worth, a peace settled into my soul right next to my forever longing.

Be still, my child. It is Me and it is about Me. I am here with you always.

My worth is not in children by my side, in being called mom or being seen as someone who matters by society. My worth is in Him and what better time of year than now to remember that.

And, as my amazing friend and fellow blogger Caitlin says,

In the end my identity doesn't come from hearing a child call me mom but knowing the King who calls me daughter.

Deep complicated gray breath.

I still have not fully decorated that lit tree or put up any other Christmas decorations, and I am giving myself permission that this is okay this year.

This hurts, and it always will. I am sad, and that is okay. I may feel invisible, and I am worthy.

These are my truths.

So, I look through the glow of the unadorned lit tree filling my lungs with the scent of pine in a deep knowing breath to feel the ache and the awe, the longing and the joy, my worth, His love and my three.

Our Home. Our Traditions. Our Family.

Ending IVF and accepting our lives without children, also meant realizing we didn’t have to live in our current neighbor in the great school district.  We began redefining our dreams, and realized we wanted to live in a home where our friends and family and their children could spend time with us and grow with us, which in my wildest dreams meant a home with a pool.  I wanted it because I wanted to create a lifetime of memories with my friends and their children.  But if I’m honest, I also wanted it to make sure I wasn’t left out and forgotten about.  And what better way than having a home with a pool, a place for play and adventure, and where kids would always want to come have fun which meant we could be part of their family and growing up. And so Mason House was conceived.  We bought a home previously owned by a hoarder.  After the epic adventure of cleaning out the property ourselves, with the help of our amazing friends and family, the gut rehab construction project began.  Less than 90 days later we moved into our beautiful new home and we quickly began making amazing memories with friends and family.  This week our “new” home has officially passed all inspections and will have no more contractors traipsing through with their dusty boots.  We have built our definition of a family home.  Complete with enough room for company all the time.  Complete with the toy room for kids to play.  Complete with a pool to spend hours jumping off the board and hearing the endless joyful laughter of our friends and family.  Complete with our furry family.  Complete, our ever upward home.

This will be our first holiday season in our new home.  It will also be our first holiday season almost completely off the IVF roller coaster.  The first holiday without the 2 week wait of hoping for a positive pregnancy test and the first holiday without the sadness of the never to be birth date.  It is our first holiday season, after spending the last year rebuilding ourselves, grieving our losses, accepting our story and redefining us.  Therefore, we plan to do what I’ve learned to do best, redefine.  And we’re starting with our very first real Christmas tree.  And the beginning of our traditions have been born, which if this year is accurate Thanksgiving eve includes picking out our tree, getting Mexican for dinner and having a margarita, decorating the deliciously smelling tree which I tried to actually hug and of course taking a hundred pictures of the dogs to get one good one (see below).  Tonight (Thanksgiving night) we continued making our family traditions by going to see a movie, just Chad and I.  Sure, it may seem like a small thing to some, but to us, to me, it is again our ever upward traditions.

Our home and our traditions are not complete without our family.  One of the strongest lessons of the journey of IVF is that love and support and true family and friends will always be here, trying to get it, trying to support but ultimately just being here.   The support our parents have provided us throughout this journey is more than any parent should have to give.  And we are beyond thankful for them, there simply are not enough words of thanks.  Family doesn’t necessarily, and many times, doesn’t mean we share blood.  The friends who have stuck by us, laughed with us, cried with us and just tried to get it are ones who have become true family.  Ultimately, we built Mason House for years to share with them.  Then there is our destined family.  We may have only chosen 2 rounds of IVF, but as I’ve been told they could be considered some of the most difficult, as we used a gestational surrogate.  Michelle, our surrogate,  is a woman with a heart full of endless love to give who I met online.  She quickly became my soul sister throughout our journey.  Ben, Michelle, Nathan, Lyla and Tipton are literally our destined family, our chosen family.  Blood or no relation, family is family.  Children or pets, kids are kids.  My family may not be complete with kids but complete nonetheless with family, friends, chosen family and pets.  For this, I am beyond thankful.  And make no doubt it is our ever upward family, our ever upward complete.