love is stronger than blood

I cannot watch Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercials, nor can I walk through PetSmart during pet adoption days. Everyone has a kryptonite, and animals are mine. I am the girl who falls in love with a dog after the first nanosecond of introduction, who would, given the chance, adopt every single animal I came across. It’s not a compulsion… I just really have a heart for animals. I’ve said on numerous occasions that my pets are my fur babies, and it’s true. They are more than just animals to me. They are my family.

When it comes to children, my reaction is really no different. I cannot hold a baby without them taking a little piece of my heart. Four years as a preschool teacher taught me that even the most seemingly unlovable child will grab onto my heart with grubby little hands and I am just completely head-over-heels.

In high school, I had the opportunity to go with a group in our church to Central America. The whole trip was an experience I will never forget, but one particular scene has dug itself deep into my memories. Just a quick, tiny little thing, but one day we were performing at a school, and there were so many young children around us. A good friend of mine had picked up a little girl, no more than four, and placed her on his hip. Her tiny little arms wrapped around his neck and her big eyes looked up at him while she said something in Spanish. I was taking Spanish for my high school language course, so he looked to me and asked, “What did she say?”

I blinked back tears and replied, “She asked, ‘Would you be my daddy?'”

Only a teenager at that time, yet I wanted to take that little girl home with me. So, naturally, I do not look on the idea of adoption with disdain or trepidation. Would I like to have my own child, my own blood, who looks a bit like my husband and me? Lord knows how much. But does that mean I would be resentful if I had to go the adoption route?

Not a bit.

Families come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Love is stronger than the blood that binds us. I would love an adopted child no less that one created inside of me. I know that some people don’t feel that way, and that’s fine. We are all created with different things that speak to our hearts. But I do want to try everything in my power to have at least one child through traditional means. I want to have that experience.

I feel I have the right to that.

Maybe I shouldn’t feel that way. God knows better than we do what we need. As much as I want it, maybe I am just not meant to. And I’ll be at peace with that revelation in time.

Just not right now. I can’t give up on that dream just yet.

glutton for punishment

pinterestPinterest is like crack to me. It may be due to my propensity to plan, or due to my slightly obsessive-compulsive tendencies (DH would argue that they are much more than “slight.” I really don’t know what he’s talking about. I would never — oh, look, that curtain is off by 1/16th of an inch. I must go fix it!).

Regardless of the reason, those little “pins” of ideas call to me. I have become a bit of a pin hoarder, if you will. Okay, maybe not that bad. But, still.

When I first joined Pinterest, I was still in the early stages of trying to conceive. I made myself a baby board because, well, that’s what people do. Happily, I posted anything and everything I could get my hands on: funny, geeky infant clothing (I did mention I am a geek, right?), baby furniture, nursery ideas (lots and lots of Classic Winnie the Pooh, because that is my dream nursery), etc. and so on.

Even after the excitement of becoming a new parent wore off and infertility treatments began, I kept pinning. Why? I haven’t a clue. It did much more harm than good. Those dreaded 2-week waits, and I would swear that I was experiencing pregnancy symptoms and, excited beyond belief, would start more “planning.”

Then my period would come, and that would be the end of that.

Well, until the next month…

It really is a vicious cycle. But, when Pinterest started allowing secret boards, you can bet I jumped all over that (no more people asking, “OMG, are you pregnant?!” every time a baby pin showed up on their feed). I’ve also gotten a lot better about the pins. I only post into it on rare occasions (I can’t help myself. There are some things that are just too gosh-darn cute not to save). And, instead of a public baby board, I have created a public infertility board. Similar to this blog, it gives me an outlet.

Has anyone else had this problem? I’m sure I can’t be the only one. And did you end up removing the boards, or did you just hide them, like me? Part of me thinks that it’s good to still pin occasionally, just to keep the belief alive that one day I’ll get to use all these awesome ideas… Just as long as I don’t get too obsessive about it. 😉

Oh, and for anyone who is interested, my infertility (Pinterest) board is below:

pinallthethings

Because reasons.

Image

be kind

bekind

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

A friend posted this on Facebook in regards to the death of Robin Williams. It is a beautiful sentiment and kind of ironic that I touched on this very thing in my last post.

We cannot see the inner struggles behind the masks people wear in their daily lives. Whether it be depression, anxiety, infertility, alcoholism, drug addiction… the list goes on. So the quote above says it all.

Be kind.

For Robin Williams, I sincerely hope that he has found peace.

letting go

“It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go.” – J.C. Watts

The concept of letting things go is not a new one. But, letting go of what? Once something is in my grasp, I hold it tight and God help the poor sap who tries to take it from me. I have been known to feel intense amounts of uncontrollable anger when someone messes with my plans – even Mother Nature. Especially Mother Nature. She certainly has it out for me, sometimes, and when I cannot blame another human being for when things fall apart, I shake my fist at her and curse. My husband laughs every time he thinks of the weekend we visited the place where we would be getting married. The plan was for both sets of parents to fly down to meet us, and I was thrilled because they would finally be meeting each other. Well, a tropical storm came through and cancelled my in-laws’ flight, so they could not come. I just remember sitting in the rental car, on our way to the hotel, furious tears streaming down my face because “the whole weekend [was] ruined!!!!”.

I do realize this kind of reaction may not be the most healthy thing in the world…

But, I’ve always been that way. When things happened during my childhood that I could not fix, I blamed myself, even though most of the time those things were completely out of my control. Maybe that’s why I have such issues with it. I’m making up for all the times I couldn’t control my life and my circumstances then.

So, what does this have to do with my infertility journey? Everything. Because even in this, I am a control freak. And I’m beginning to realize that holding tight to my circumstance has become detrimental. By gripping my problems in tight fists, how can I ever fully give them over to God?

And so, I have decided to let go.

Yes, I can see the irony in a blog post titled “letting go” on a blog called “Holding onto Dreams.” But this post isn’t about letting go of dreams. This post is about letting go of all the things that, as infertility sufferers, may in fact be holding us back from those dreams. And like the quote above, I don’t want to be weak anymore. I want to be strong. Don’t you? And to do that, we need to let go.

1. Let go of blame
Infertility is not an excuse to play the blame game. No one is at fault. Not your husband. Not your doctor. Not God. And, especially not me or you! We need to stop beating ourselves up over something that we have no control over (see, there’s that C word again). Infertility can happen at any moment and to anyone. There is no rhyme or reason (mostly). Instead of blame, seek comfort and love. Don’t push people away. Hold on tighter. We need all the support we can get through this tough time.

2. Let go of worry and uncertainty
Worry, especially continuous and unrelenting worry, is flat out unhealthy. And, in cases of infertility, downright damaging. I have spent countless hours worrying over what-ifs. What if we never get pregnant? What if I miscarry? What if we spend all this money and go into debt all for nothing? What if we don’t spend all this money and we regret it? What if, what if, what if? It’s enough to drive anyone insane. I for one am done worrying.

3. Let go of the past

Dwelling on what has already happened or wallowing in self-pity because of the cards we have been dealt in life will not change a. single. thing. Focusing on the future and all its infinite possibilities? Now that’s something to hold onto.

4. Let go of anger

This kind of goes with blame. Anger is a release, but it is a destructive one. Find a better channel for release, something that makes you happy and something that helps you to focus on all the wonderful things you already have. Don’t ever forget all the ways you are blessed, because as soon as you do, that’s when the anger and the resentment starts to creep in.

5. Let go of jealousy

Jealousy, like anger, is destructive. It ruins friendships, it breaks apart families – and in a time like this, we NEED those friends and our family to help us through. Don’t feel envy when someone tells you they are pregnant (trust me, I deal with this all the time, so I get it). Instead, be happy for them and try to remember that each person may be hiding a struggle similar to ours. And don’t envy those people because although they may be getting the one thing you want more than anything in the world, they may be struggling in some other (or many other) area(s) in their lives. We don’t know, and we should never assume.

Obviously, that is just the tip of the iceberg, and these things may not be issues you deal with. That said, what other things do you think that would be better off being let go? Feel free to add them in the comments. Or, make a list of your own. Either way, remember that many times we have to lose before we can gain.