treading water

A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. -Eda J. Le Shan

I think we have all, at one point or another, wanted something so much that it consumes us. The hope becomes a dream, the dream becomes an obsession, and the obsession becomes an all-encompassing addiction.

Addictions hurt.

We start to neglect the ones we love. We start to neglect ourselves. Daily, I have to force myself to remember that I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.  The title of mother does not make up my entire identity, and I should never shove aside those other roles because they are here, and they are now, and there are people who love me and need me to give them my time and my love. I owe them that much, and I cannot free myself to be the best wife (daughter/sister, etc.) possible if all my energy is focused on the one thing I am not.

It isn’t easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The desire is so strong inside me that it constantly threatens to burst forth. And, my body has become my worst enemy. When you struggle through infertility, and you want it so bad, you start to see things that aren’t there. Phantom symptoms. Wishful thinking. “I’ve got all the signs, I must be pregnant!”

Infertility treatment makes it no easier. Many of the drugs we take literally enhance PMS symptoms (which, coincidentally, are very similar to pregnancy symptoms. As if things aren’t complicated enough, let’s make those identical!). I can remember taking Clomid before an IUI and then, during the two-week-wait, thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never experienced [enter symptom here] before, this must be it!” Only to be severely disappointed; often after being an entire week late (which I never am).

Yeah, infertility sucks.

Unless you have been through it, infertility is also not an easy thing to describe. I cannot put into words the immense sense of loss and longing. Or, the feeling of being irrevocably broken. The inadequacy, like you have failed your significant other. It’s like treading water in the middle of the ocean. You keep moving your limbs and pray that you see land, but all around you is water. The only thing you can do is try to keep from being pulled under.

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ten ways i am blessed

things-you-want

During a random Google search, I found this image and I have to say that the words really hit home. I cannot even begin to think of the number of times I have been so focused on what I don’t have that all the wonderful blessings in my life seemed to fade away, like they didn’t even exist.

So, I want to spend a few moments thinking of all the top 10 wonderful ways God has blessed me. (The list could go on forever, but for time’s sake…)

1. My husband.

Okay, I know y’all are thinking – ugh. How cliche. But it’s true! He is my best friend and my rock, and I love him a little more every day. He has pulled me through so many dark moments, and throughout all of this infertility drama, he has been the one person who understands most what I am going through, because he is going through it, too. I tend to forget that. For as much as I long to be a mother, he longs to be a father. We are in this together.

2. My family.

Another cliche. But, I love my family (and my in-laws!), and I am much luckier than most. My parents are still married, I have wonderful siblings, a gaggle of nieces and nephews to lavish my love on (I love being an aunt!)

3. My pets.

Bet you thought I was going to put my friends next. I thought about it! But, I think my pets deserve a slightly higher ranking because, let’s face it, those of us going through infertility, well… our pets are our furry little children. They know when I am upset and need cuddles, and they know when I need to laugh. They are wonderful stress-relievers, and I honestly don’t know how I would get through all of this without them.

4. My friends.

That’s not to say that my friends aren’t equally as important! They also are supremely supportive. They pray for me and they are sensitive to my needs, especially since most of them are already mothers. A small few have gone through infertility and/or loss of a child (which thankfully I have not experienced), so they really do understand. And I love them all. 🙂

5. My job.

Yep, I’m one of those rare folks who actually loves what they do for a living. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and God has really helped me to land a wonderful career and I couldn’t be happier with who I work for and with.

6. My hobbies.

I am a huge fan of art and writing, so of course I have to put on here how blessed I am to get to do something I enjoy. Writing and drawing/painting help me to escape (oh, and books – huge bookworm right here!) and they give me a sense of purpose. They help me to get my feelings out so that I can work through them, rather than let them sit and fester (hence why I started this blog!).

7. My health.

Well, mostly. I’m certainly not without my issues (thyroid dysfunction being the top), but overall, I can’t complain. I could be dealing with a whole host of scary, life-threatening illnesses, but nothing I have had to deal with up to this point in my life have been anything near that scary. So, I consider myself very blessed.

8. My dreams.

We all have them. And, although some of the dreams are unfulfilled, I consider it a blessing to have goals to work toward. Without goals, without dreams, what purpose do we have? I always need something to strive toward so that I don’t become complacent. More than anything, I want to learn and grow, to be a better person inside and out.

9. My home.

Honestly, how many people can say that they consider their home a sanctuary? So many people try to escape their homes, not escape TO them. But, I never feel quite as comfortable and as at-peace than I do when I step through my door and greet my little fur babies waiting for me. I love to sit on our back porch and listen to the wind rustle through the trees or watch the sun set. In those moments, I truly feel like nothing can get to me.

10. Today.

It sounds silly, but I am truly blessed to have today. I am trying to keep that in the forefront of my mind so that I don’t forget and start worrying about tomorrow or dwelling on yesterday. After all, all we really have is today. Tomorrow is never a certainty. Yesterday is in the past. So as long as I stay in the present, I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed. I take things one day at a time, and one step at a time, and that keeps me sane.

So, there you have it. There are so many more things I am grateful to have, but I think you get the idea. Now, I recommend you take a moment and write down what YOU are grateful to have. In fact, we should think of things we are grateful for every day, instead of focusing on what we may not. It really makes life a whole lot more enjoyable.