This weekend, I spent a lot of time alone, which allowed for a lot of time to think. It all started with an article on positive thinking that was passed around the office on Thursday by my boss. This weekend will end with a lesson I am teaching to the young women at church on Sunday about overcoming opposition. I also had a long talk with my mom and a couple of friends. I think someone is trying to tell me something.
This has led me to feel some things that are quite surprising...
I am 28 years old and I have been trying to be a mom since age 23. If you had told me at 23 that I would be 28 and still be waiting, I would have been shocked. I was one of those "have all your kids by age 30" women. I thought I'd have 4 kids: at age 24, 26, 28, and 30. I even had names for them all: Katelyn, Jack, Lexie and Wyatt. :)
Well, over time, that idea has slipped away. It was replaced with confusion, heartache and sometimes even anger. Rather than having all my kids by 30, I began wondering if I'd have even one child at all.
So, back to my weekend of contemplation. I am 28 1/2 years old at this point. Ignoring all the sadness that goes along with being childless in a child-filled world, I began to wonder what would be the big difference between becoming a mother at 29 versus 30 or 31. Suppose I could survive the wait, would it really make a difference?
The infertility world, along with the LDS culture in general, puts a lot of emphasis on time. When you are going through infertility, you feel like doctors stamp a big hourglass on your forehead. You are known by numbers: age, weight, and FSH (this is the hormone level that dictates how good of an egg reserve you have). You are constantly urged not to waste time or it "might not happen for you". When you are LDS, the important numbers are slightly different: age and length of time married. Married 8 years? Yeah, you should have kids by now.
I have been going through 5 years of this now: Hurry, don't waste time! You don't have the money? Then wait. Why are you waiting? You don't have time! That treatment's too expensive? Have you tried this? Get a loan for treatments. You have THAT much debt? Why are you waiting? Multiply and replenish the earth. I thought you'd do anything to be a mom! You're young, you have time. Your healthy. You should have done this treatment right away! Don't think about it. All you've done is clomid? It will happen in the Lord's time. Why don't you adopt? You're lucky, do you want my kids? Your treatment's not that expensive. Hey, just RELAX!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I'd like to meet the person who is not confused after 5 years of dealing with that!
I recently got my CFP(R) designation and have begun taking on clients. This weekend, I have been thinking about continuing with herbs and vitamins but, in the meantime, shifting my focus to building my business. If I throw my whole self into it, I could have my client base built by the time I'm 30. I would then be bringing in enough money to pay off all our debt and build a small cash reserve in less than 6 months. At that point, my discretionary income would be more than adequate to do a fertility treatment each month, if I chose. I would be 30 1/2 at that point, seven years of infertility.
The thought of bringing a baby (or babies) into this family at that time, with financial security and a solid part-time, work-mostly-from-home environment is lovely. It would give Ryan and I a chance to truly get on our feet, to live the way we know we should, debt-free and within our means. All this feels really good.
However, the idea of dealing with the heartbreak for another two years feels traumatic. It is really scary.
What if waiting those two years makes my chances of either conceiving or being chosen by a birth mom even slimmer? What if waiting means I will be forced to have less children? Will I make it through these next two years without becoming bitter towards all children and their unappreciative parents?
On the other hand, I am not preventing...I am completely open to a miraculous pregnancy, if God chooses to grant me one. A surprise pregnancy would be greeted with tears of gratitude and relief. I would just not try so hard in the meantime.
It is a horribly confusing place to be. More prayer, fasting, temple visiting, is needed I guess. No decisions have been made, I am just thinking about things. Trying to see this burden in a different light, trying to find a little happiness somehow, somewhere.
While I wait for answers, I will share that article passed around work. It is what started this weekend of reanalysis, trying to think outside the box. It is a really good article:
Change your thoughts, change your life
If what you see is what you get, what will you get?
That all depends on what you see.
A man pulled into a small restaurant on the outskirts of town. He remarked to his server: "I was just transferred to your town, and I've never been to this part of the country. What are people like here?"
"What are people like where you come from?" asked the server.
"Not so nice," the man replied. "In fact, they can be quite rude."
The server shook her head and said, "Well, I'm afraid you'll find the people in this town to be the same way."
A second gentleman came in and sat at a nearby table. He called out to the server. "I'm just moving to your area. Is it nice here?"
"Was it nice where you came from?" inquired the server.
"Oh, yes! I came from a great place. The people were friendly, and I hated to leave."
"Well, you'll find the same to be true of this town."
At hearing this, the first customer was irritated and asked his server, "So tell me, what is this town really like?"
She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "It's all a matter of perception. You'll find things to be just the way you think they are."
Is your glass half full or half empty?
What do you see? Do you love your job even though there are a few things that bug you? Or do you let the little annoyances drive you crazy and complain to your co-workers non-stop?
As radio commentator Paul Harvey once said: "I have never seen a monument erected to a pessimist."
A pessimist is one who makes difficulties out of opportunities. I've rarely seen a successful pessimist. You need to be able to look on the bright side of tough situations in order to take risks, and survive both successes and failures. The sooner you accept the fact that you will have both successes and failures, the easier it will be to get your business and personal life headed in the right direction.
An optimist, on the other hand, understands that life can be a bumpy road, but at least it is leading somewhere. They learn from mistakes and failures, and are not afraid to fail again. Optimists know that as long as you get up after you're knocked down, you are not defeated.
The annals of business are full of successful people who have gone bankrupt, lost companies, faced public humiliation and still came out on top. The only difference was their attitude: They believed in themselves and the others around them. Hard work, discipline and, occasionally, a little bit of luck kept them going. There's no reason it can't work for all of us, too.
In his book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, which I highly recommend, Dale Carnegie tells the story of a young man who worried himself into a nervous breakdown. He worried about everything: his weight, his hair, money, being a father, losing the girl he wanted to marry and what others thought about him. He worried that he had ulcers.
Eventually, his worry made it impossible for him to work. Something had to give, and that was when he had his breakdown.
The young man avoided everyone and cried a lot. He decided to go to Florida to see whether a change in scenery would help him. When he got on the train, his father handed him a letter and told him not to open it until he reached his destination. He was even more miserable in Florida than he had been at home.
Finally, he opened the letter from his father, which read: "Son, you are 1,500 miles from home, and you don't feel any different, do you? I knew you wouldn't because you took with you the one thing that is the cause of all your trouble: that is, yourself. There is nothing wrong with either your body or your mind. It is not the situations you have met that have thrown you; it is what you think of these situations. 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.' When you realize that son, come home, for you will be cured."
After some reflection, he realized his father was right. It was not the world that needed to change; it was merely the lens of his mind that needed adjustment.
Mackay's Moral: If seeing is believing, start seeing the bright side.