Saturday, October 25, 2008

Always By Your Side

I have written recently about my struggling relationship with God. I am having a hard time coming to terms with my infertility, and that has lead to anger and hopelessness. It has sometimes seemed God was very far away.

I have always felt that I was put on this earth to be a mother. When that didn't happen, I felt empty, like half a person. All around me, women were becoming mothers, realizing the glory of their creation. Meanwhile, I was there watching on the sidelines. I felt forgotten, tarnished, passed over, not good enough.

Tonight, I attended our church youth musical. As I listened to the words of one of the songs, my heart began to pound deep in my chest. I felt my eyes sting with tears. I could have broken down and sobbed right there.

I felt closer to God at that moment than I have in a long time. Suddenly, no one else was in the room. I felt a warm glow, like the song was written for me.

I truly feel like tonight was the first step in healing my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I still have a ways to go, but He reached out and touched me. He let me know He is there with me always, even when I choose not to see Him.

I hope this feeling stays for a while.


Press ► to play music

You look around you
And you wonder if
you’ll ever measure up
In this world it seems
you may never be enough
Don’t let anyone convince you that it’s true
So much beauty lives inside of you
And you are enough
Just look up

Remember you are greatest
When you walk with God
When His light is in your eyes
You are truly strong
You don’t have to prove your beauty
In the eyes of men
You are divine within
You were sent here to become like Him

When you’re uncertain
Of the place you hold
and who you are inside
He will share with you
your part in His design
Seek for His meekness
Seek to emulate His life
And you will feel Him
always by your side
You have His love
Just look up

Remember you are greatest
When you walk with God
When His light is in your eyes
You are truly strong
You don’t have to prove your beauty
In the eyes of men
You are divine within
You were sent here to become like Him

Holiness and love, good works, mercy
To be like Him
Charity, hope, truth, and wisdom
To be like Him

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life's Little Gifts

I had an amazing time with my husband the last two nights. We didn't do anything particularly unusual, just spent time alone together, him and me. What we shared would not have been possible with children running around the house. This is one of those times I am choosing to be grateful for the place I am right now.

On My Own

Here is a tip that I have learned over the past five years. When someone is going through a difficult time, never tell them how they should be handling their trial. Believe me, they know, and they are already handling it the best way they can.

They know that they should be grateful for all the wonderful things in their life, but occasionally there are moments that this is clouded with pain. They know that this too will pass, but sometimes this realization is covered by fear. They know that there are worse things in this world that they could experience, but every now and then this thought is crowded out by the magnitude of what they are going through right now.

I don’t think there has ever been a case that someone’s life turned around because they were told to ‘get over it’. There comes a point where you have to let people work through issues on their own. You can be supportive or lend a listening ear, but you don’t have to solve it for them.

I know it may make you feel better to give them guidance and advice. And those things are fine, as long as you have been ‘in the trenches’ with them. But if you are an outside observer, or are not close to them, think hard before you make a judgment. Your good intentions could backfire.

I have been on the receiving end of such casual comments or ‘suggestions’, by people who hardly know me. Just for the record, I realize that there are others out there with problems so massive that mine seem insignificant. When I feel sorry for myself in spite of this, I am fully aware that this is the wrong decision, and I heap enough guilt on myself because of it. I look at someone who has lost a loved one, or is battling a life-threatening illness, and I recognize the magnitude of their burden compared to mine. I know these things, and hearing them again from you only splits open a wound I am trying desperately to close.

Infertility is a loss. It is the loss of a dream, the loss of your identity, the loss of the life you always pictured. With that loss come true stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Some days, it is a mix of many stages, and I have cycled through the first four many times trying to achieve number five.

So, let me work this out. Perhaps I feel angry? Let me feel that way. It’s good for me to try and work through that.

I could compare this to a chick hatching from its egg. Supposedly, if you help the chick break through, she will die. It is in the struggle of emerging from the egg that the chick finds the strength for survival. I am looking for that strength, and I need people outside cheering me on, or at least watching quietly, not someone yanking my shell away before I am ready to hatch.

I will get there; just be patient. If you can’t handle the wait then move along. I will meet you on the other side.


I know you said
Can't you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it

Forgive? Sounds good.
Forget? I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting…

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I heart your blog

The sweet, talented, and supportive, Emily, author of the amazing blog, What to Expect When You're NOT Expecting has honored me with the I Heart Your Blog Award. Thanks Emily!

Now, the way this works, is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers:

1. Where is your cell phone? Here
2. Where is your significant other? Kitchen
3. Your hair color? Blondish
4. Your mother? Supportive
5. Your father? Strong
6. Your favorite thing? Vacation
7. Your dream last night? None
8. Your dream/goal? Parenthood
9. The room you're in? Living
10. Your hobby? Writing
11. Your fear? Loneliness
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Happy
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Mommy
15. One of your wish list items? Obvious!
16. Where you grew up? Clovis
17. The last thing you did? Talked
18. What are you wearing? Jeans
19. Your T.V.? PBS
20. Your pet? Cosmo
21. Your computer? Laptop
22. Your mood? Stressed
23. Missing someone? Yep
24. Your car? Yaris
25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
26. Favorite store? None
27. Your Summer? Over
28. Love someone? Many
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Now, I'd like to pass this award to 7 bloggers who share my same struggle, and excite me when they publish a new entry (8, if you count the fact that I'm unofficially giving this award back to Emily!!).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Beautiful Parallel

I belong to an email support group centered around infertility. Recently, someone made the comparison between having a child and getting married. The more I thought about it, the more I identified with it. I thought it was remarkable, and I hope I can explain it in a way that is not offensive.

Planning your wedding day is a big deal for a woman. As little girls, we grow up wanting to have a beautiful wedding someday. Once we are engaged (and sometimes even before then), we spend hours over every detail: the dresses, the cake, the colors, the music. We want that day to be everything we have ever dreamed of.

Fairly quickly though, the wedding day passes and we settle into the marriage. It is in the marriage (hopefully) that we discover what the 'wedding' was truly all about. Although we look back fondly on our wedding day, it is the actual journey through life with our best friend that fulfills us, uplifts us, challenges us, and molds us. Our life is not defined by that one day frozen in time, but by the days, weeks, months, and years that follow.

You can make a similar comparison to pregnancy and parenting.

I remember as a little girl stuffing a pillow under my shirt and pretending I was a soon-to-be-mommy. I believed that carrying a child was the gateway to the job I want most in the world, Mom; much like the wedding day is a gateway to a marriage.

I have never been pregnant, or had a child. Even so, I imagine that, despite the beautiful (and not-so-beautiful) moments in pregnancy, the true guts and glory of being a mother is achieved in the rearing of the child.

Thus, pregnancy might be compared to a wedding day. Wonderful, amazing, stressful, emotional, and even majestic... but what really matters is the result: a beautiful new life and the start of a family.

So, what would it mean if I adopted a child? Maybe I would miss the 'wedding day', but I would gain the 'marriage'. Isn't that the important part anyway?

And I wouldn't really be missing the 'wedding day'. It would just be different than I had planned; like some exotic destination wedding. Different stresses and different joys... same beautiful result.

I don't need to fear that the train to motherhood will leave me behind at the station. I just may be getting on at a different stop. The trial is in waiting for my turn to board...


Recently, I wrote a blog about an experience with screaming children during a recent grocery store outing. I feel I need to clarify something, as I have spoken with a few people about the subject and feel I was misunderstood.

I have often seen weary parents trying to wrangle their exhausted, screaming children in public places before. I have looked on their situation with compassion and adoration at their seemingly endless supply of patience. I have doubted my own future ability to handle such a dilemma. I have not envied their position one bit and have hoped that there was peaceful resolution for them soon.

The difference in this situation was the parent's encouragement of the behavior and the apparent disregard for the comfort of anyone else in earshot. Combine that with an especially difficult day and you have a recipe for a good batch of venting.

I hope that makes sense! :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Life in 2009

One strong characteristic of mine is punctuality. I am usually on-time for everything: a party, a meeting, you name it. When I am late (or when I think I might be) I stress a bit. It makes me uncomfortable.

My cycles have always been the same way. Regardless of the spotting issue over the last 5 years, I have always been regular, on-time.

This month was different. Although I got major cramps on 'Day 1', my cycle had not started. The next day, I was so nauseous I could barely move. I tried Sprite, canned pears, hard candy, saltine crackers, all the usual stuff, and nothing helped. I was sick all morning. This was the first time in years I dared think I might be pregnant. The nausea faded that evening. I must have had a touch of the stomach flu. Even so, the next day (should be 'Day 3'), still no period. I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. That night, I finally started.

During this confusing chain of events, there was a day or so when I actually thought I might be pregnant. While I was 99% excited (albeit afraid to hope), about 1% felt unprepared. Now I know the mantra: 'You are never fully ready to become a parent'. I have heard that a million times and I believe it, I promise. But the tiny, minuscule, not-viewable-with-the-naked-eye silver lining on the dark cloud of infertility is that we get more time than most to prepare for the job of parenthood. I mean, infertility is all about waiting: waiting for the next cycle, waiting for the next treatment, waiting to save money for the next treatment, waiting to be chosen by a birth-mom, waiting for paperwork to be processed, waiting for test results, waiting for answers, waiting for blessings, just waiting.

While you wait, you might as well become the best parent-to-be you can, right?

Over the past several weeks, I have been reviewing my life and what it will take to achieve that goal of parenthood. I am in no financial position to seek adoption or fertility treatments right now. At this point, it seems those options will not be available until at least 2010. Therefore, my life in 2009 will consist of more waiting. So, how do I pass the time while I wait? There are several areas I need to work on:

Financial: Seeing that my finances are the reason for the delay, there is a lot to do in this department.

In the first four years of our marriage, Ryan and I racked up some consumer debt. Some of it is from unexpected and necessary expenses, some is a result of irresponsible purchases. Once I started working in financial planning, our habits changed. Unfortunately, rectifying the situation has been slow going. I am hoping in 2009, as I get my career going, our progress will speed up. I want to be consumer debt-free (or at least have my debt tamed) by the end of 2009. Then I can pursue adoption or fertility treatments with a clear conscience because I am bringing a child into a financially secure and responsible household.

Spiritual: I need to work out my relationship with God. I wrote a bit about it in Un-stuff that anger. It is the most important thing I need to work on.

Mental: I want to grow my career and become the best financial planner I can be. Although I enjoy what I do, I am often distracted at work by my feelings toward my infertility. Over the last few months especially, I have been struggling to keep the two separate and my work has begun to be affected by my sadness. I'd like that to stop, if possible.

I also am learning new and useful things, all those things that will help me be a great mom. How to grocery shop on a budget, cleaning tricks, and perfecting the art of chocolate chip cookie baking.

Emotional: I plan to continue with therapy as long as I find it helpful. I have recognized that I am dealing with some depression, and I am trying to work through that. I want to 'take care of myself' more by giving myself a break. If I would rather be alone on a Saturday night than go out with friends, that's okay. I'm not going to force myself to go to 'child events' if I am struggling that day. And I will not be attending church on Mother's Day (unless I go with my mom). After five years of torturous experiences dealing with that day, I refuse to do that to myself anymore.

Physical: I could be healthier. I could be stronger. In a couple years, I may be asking my body to do extrordinary things. I could prepare now to make that time in the future easier on myself, should I become pregnant with a child (or children).

So, this would be my life in 2009. It isn't what I planned or wanted, but I hope I can learn to be happy in this life. I hope I end the year a better person than when it began. It will be a long, tough year but, as long as I am working towards my goal, I should be able to make it.

Over the next year or so, I would love for one day to go by that I don't think, dream, or cry over my childless life. I'm not optimistic that will happen. Even so, I will get through it anyway. And at least now I have a plan, which is comforting for someone who loves to plan.

It should be an interesting year!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The screams only a mother can love... Seriously.

I think kids are cute. Really. I can find something cute about nearly every kid I see, no matter how bratty or homely they may appear. But I draw the line at this.

I went grocery shopping today and this mom and dad had two shopping carts, with one child sitting in the basket of each. These kids were probably ages 3 and 5, or so. I was already a little annoyed because their parents would park both carts side-by-side in the isle. I would have to suck in and squeeze my way through to get to something, grab it, and suck in/squeeze my way back. This happened several times. One time the mother looked at me and gave me a half-hearted 'sorry' but made no attempt to move her cart (one of her carts!) so I could get through.

Anywho, a little later into my shopping experience, they started playing a game with their kids. I'm not sure what game exactly, but it caused the kids to scream at the top of their lungs. Not one or two screams, but continually. Many, many screams. For ten minutes. A long time. The parents thought this was hilarious.

Maybe I'm a tad bitter, but I feel I deserve the right to shop without picking up a migraine along with my groceries. Maybe you think your kids' ear-piercing, blood-curdling screams are amusing, but I don't. I love the sounds of happy children: giggling, laughing, and even a cute squeal or two, but at some point, shouldn't you respect the peace of others and keep it noise-appropriate in public? Or am I just sour grapes?

Friday, October 10, 2008


Today I had a tantrum. A real-life, yell-down-the-hall-at-a-coworker, shut-my-office-door-and-bawl-my-eyes-out tantrum.

The old Michelle would have been mortified at my behavior. This new girl apologized with a bit of embarrassment, then seemed to shrug it off.

I don't even recognize myself anymore!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Un-stuff that anger!

Therapy is going well so far. By that I mean that I feel crappier than ever, but I think that’s a good thing.

My situation is a tricky one. If I was told that I could never have children, I could grieve that loss. It would suck, but at least I’d have answers.

The mystery of my infertility is why I can’t move on. Until I have an answer, I am stuck thinking ‘what if’. The five years of trying without success has taken away my hope, but I feel like I don’t have enough information to justify letting go. It’s quite a conundrum.

Yesterday, ‘N’ (my therapist) suggested to me that I acknowledge the frustration and anger I feel about my situation. I normally just stuff it down and replace it with numbness or sadness. I mentioned that many times I feel like just throwing a tantrum. ‘N’ said, “Well, why don’t you?” I replied, “Because at the end of it, I will still be in the same situation I am in now, only with fewer friends.” Even so, some kind of cathartic release might be beneficial. I am going to give that some thought.

During our conversation, I admitted that much of my anger is directed toward God. I hate even seeing that in writing, but it’s true. I feel so spoiled and ungrateful when I look at all the many blessings in my life and then think about my current attitude. How horrible!

Still, ‘N’ suggested that I explore that. She told a story about her friend who had the opposite problem I have; she was dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. She had a rocky childhood and had no desire to parent. She couldn’t believe this would happen to her and she was angry at God.

‘N’s friend finally ‘had it out with God’. She expressed all those ugly feelings inside. At the end of it all, she was able to accept the pregnancy and her relationship with God became better than ever.

It has been a good two years or more since I have prayed and asked God for a child. Pretty rotten when you think that there are people out there praying for me, and I’m not even doing that for myself. I don’t deserve their prayers. It’s just after years of asking for the same thing, trying to figure out what lessons I am supposed to be learning, trying to have faith with no reward, I just gave up.

So my prayers turned bitter, then angry, and finally stagnant. This is why ‘N’ suggested getting those feelings out. She said God knows me better than I know myself. She said He understands and He can take some anger. Then she said something that struck me, “He probably just misses you”.

And to tell you the truth, I miss Him too. I miss that part of my life. I still have a strong faith in the things I believe; that is unwavering. But I miss the connection, and I am sure the anger I am feeling is the main contributor to that.

It is time to un-stuff that anger. I have a feeling that I won’t come out of it looking very pretty, but hopefully I will feel better. And, (obviously) as I work through this, I won’t write those ugly feelings on here. I have tried to just put everything out there, but this part should probably remain personal.

I can already feel that when this fertility game is all over, I’m going to wish I handled it with more dignity, humility, and grace. Sigh.

What is a Family?

Tonight, I was making cookies for a youth activity. I was watching/listening to the TV show 'The Biggest Loser' while I was baking.

Apparently, for this season, the contestants signed up in teams of two: either a parent and child or a husband and wife.

What I love is that they call the teams 'families'. They are referred to in that manner throughout the show. I think even the title is 'Biggest Loser - Families'. It was so nice hearing this.

Sometimes, I forget that Ryan and I are a 'family', just the two of us. I had always imagined that my family would consist of children. I am sure someday it will. But in the meantime, I need to remember that our family begins with us. Children, when they do come, will be a welcome addition.