Posts Tagged ‘The Emotions’

On Target…and other self-torture.

On TargetTarget and I have a somewhat friendly competition we’re in.

So, I love Target.  I don’t know what it is about that place, but when I see those red shopping carts, and that welcoming bullseye, I think the cares of the world fall off my shoulders and I start to envision a better apartment to place new housewares I don’t really need, and a smaller figure to fit their cute new apparel, and more photos to go in more frames, and whatever else is on the sales paper they have for that day.  It’s calmer than Wally World, and less expensive that Kohls, and it’s big enough to distract me from real life for at least an hour and a half on a good day.

But there’s a darker side to Target.  And it’s name is the baby aisle.

Now, I’m not often one who hates visiting baby departments.  I don’t often willingly wander into them, but I’m also not one who avoids them like the plague.  We’re basically on an “if you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you” basis.  That said, Target’s baby aisles and I, we have what you might call “a history”.

When my husband and I first started talking about expanding our family, but my sister got pregnant instead, LOL, Target is where I took her to buy her first baby item.

When we were hoping to adopt, and had Little Girl with us, Target is where I finally found her first Easter dress.  They were the only store with a dress small enough. It’s hanging in my hall closet. 

It was also Target where I first went shopping alone with 4 month old Little Girl, and she promptly cursed me out in wails that made other shoppers give me “what is she doing to that infant” glares, and accusatory snarls.

Target is my go-to place for baby shower gift-cards, cute baby gifts, and even if I’m in the store for something completely different, Target is also the store that will have you accidentally wander into maternity clothes or diapers.

So for me, Target has the potential to also be a pretty sensitive shopping spot.  But I love the place!  So I work hard at challenging myself to not allow those sad bits to creep in. Every visit, I encourage myself to not look away from the cute onesies that are just hanging around the housewares for some reason, or to not ignore the Leapfrog Puppy that I know I purchased for Little Girl when I see it prominently displayed in the Toy department’s outward facing aisle.  

But I think Target is on to me.  Because now, when I’m fully clothed in my big girl panties, Target has taken to the habit of saying “I see you, and I raise you”.  

Take yesterday for instance:

I’m in good spirits, and I don’t at all shy away from the uber-adorable Valentine’s Day onesie display.  In fact, I walk right up to the display and take a look!  The “Daddy’s Little Princess” one with the ruffled bottom leggings makes me smile, and I wander away unscathed.  Then, Target goes, “I see you.  And I raise you.” and blam, right there in the center aisle is a FULL NURSERY DISPLAY.  Not a little crib headboard with a price, like they usually have, but a full nursery, on a platform, decked to the nines, with a “Wouldn’t you like to be here” feel like a Jamaica tourist ad.  

I’m not fazed by Target’s crafty wit, however.  I comment to the hubby on how cool I think the color layout of the nursery is.  I’m awful fond of the slate and yellow combo these days.  We chuckle and keep it moving.

I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself when I hit the registers.  I mean, really Target, you’ve done worse on far more stressful days than this.  I’m cool, calm and collected…

and then Target says,

“I see you.  And I raise you.” 

At the register beside us, I hear the cashier say, “Oh my!  You’re going to need our guest assistance to help you to your car!”  I look over. Two car seats.  She’s not just buying baby items.  She’s not just buying a car seat.  She’s buying TWO.  “So!” Says the cashier, “Two seats! Is it safe to assume, TWINS!? YAY! Oh my!”

Two car seats.

Two.

I gather up my little bags of socks and body wash, and whatever other bs I just spent a box of diapers worth on, and I get the heck out of there.

Well played, Target.  Well played.

 

Thanks Target.  I’ll order some more feels from Acme, and try this again another day, m’kay?

Grey Matter

I Matter copy
I did not sleep last night.  I will admit that aside from taking an ill-timed nap, my anxiety got the better of me.
I did pray, however. And the most poignant message that came to me in that time of meditation was this: “I MATTER.”

I worry a lot. I worry about time. I worry about the world. I worry about my health. I worry about my words. I worry about people. I worry about my dog. I worry. I am a worrier.
My mother compared my niece to me this weekend as she recounted their day together.

“She’s very much like Regina,” she said. “there were a few clouds in the sky and she was convinced that it was going to storm, and wanted to stay inside.”

We all laughed. I actually didn’t think much of it. But it nagged me sometime later when I started to realize, that I am passing along this feeling of panic.
Out of all the things I worry about, do you want to know what I worry about most?

Most of all, I worry about whether to ask God for things. Along these years of battle with my own body, there have been many casualties. Slow, silent deaths. One of which, being my hope at many times. Or more honestly, my faith.
I am deeply ashamed to admit that, but hey, I talk about everything else in this space, so why not share that?

When I really started to break down why I wasn’t really praying over any of this very much anymore, I guess what I felt it came down to was, I don’t feel worth protecting, or saving, or listening to, sometimes. In the midst of great accomplishments, professionally I was just named Young Adult Librarian of the Year in my state, and socially, I was just reappointed to a very cool position in my organization, I still feel relatively incomplete in many aspects. And that nagging little feeling of “you don’t really deserve that”, combined with the fact that this STUPID STUPID STUPID infertility thing won’t just die, makes me forget how blessed I really am sometimes.

It’s hard to dictate why people want to have children. I guess that’s why most of us get pissed off when you ask. No matter the answer, as a person struggling with infertility, you’re always going to feel like your answer isn’t cutting it, and is in fact the most selfish one that can be imagined.

Whatever your personal reasons are, I would wager that on the basic human level, there is also an innate desire to leave your mark on the world. To have been here. To know that when you are no more, there is a living, breathing legacy that you have created.

In my silent, overnight meditation, I recognized that for me, it is important that I remember that I matter.
Not only to my family and friends, or even to the organizations and agencies with whom I belong.

But that I matter to God
That He cares for me.
And for my life.
And that no matter how utterly devastated I feel, or how many “no”‘s or “not yet”‘s, I receive, that I am HERE. I am important. I was here.

Whether or not I am ever a mother, in the traditional sense.  Or if I am always going to be battling PCOS.  Or if I forever keep all my hangups, and screw-ups, and whatevers.

I, in all my whatever,…matter.

I will be honest.
I planned to sit on this one.
I make it a point not to debate religion or spirit on this blog, because it is too important to too many, to be left in the hands of keyboards and hotheads when humans inevitably disagree. And infertility-lore is already permeated with misunderstandings, misspeaks, and downright wrongness spewed in the name of it. We’ve all had or heard the “you just need to pray”, or “your faith isn’t strong enough” commentary at some point I’m sure in regards to our medical conditions.

But I think a lot of people feel the way that I do. Once one too many of our prayers seem unheard, or when a new catastrophe seems to fall out of nowhere and all at once, on top of our already shaky faith; that it’s somehow because they don’t matter. That you, out of all your friends, is the LONE person battling childlessness, because it’s you. That it’s because of something you did or said, or didn’t appreciate, that you are now one of the 7.3 million facing this or some other ailment.

I stayed up all night,…just to tell you that if nobody else tells you for the rest of your life,..

I’M telling you;

YOU MATTER.

Take of this post what you will, but it was on my heart to share it.

Heart Attack.

Heart Attack

Last night I took off my smile, laid it on the nightstand and wept.

It wasn’t one of those heaving chest numbers, or the famed “ugly cry”, but rather a long, hot, steam-filled weep, where my eyes literally overflowed, and my nose erupted, and my heart jumped a little harder in my chest.

I wept for Endiah Martin.
I wept for Lenore Draper.
I wept for my city.
I wept for my family.
I wept for my dreams.
I wept because I can’t fathom a life for my children in this place where life is so undervalued presently.
I wept for how much these youth have to endure just to get through life right now.
I wept for all the children who will be overcomers of their childhoods and not beneficiaries of it.
I wept for all the parent-minded people, who may never be parents.
I wept for the idea that time is beating me over the head.
I wept for the idea of money being a barrier to my life goals.
I wept for peace of mind that I long for.
I wept for clarity of spirit.
I wept for courage that I feel distant from.
I wept from exhaustion.

Most of all, I wept because I had no idea what else to do.

I often tell people that infertility is bigger than babies.
I wish they would believe me.

Infertility affects who you believe yourself to be.  It chips away at confidence, and perseverance, and fight.  It is an emotional autoimmunity, forcing one to battle with their own very being.  It amplifies every hurdle, and every pain, and every sweetness, and in its wake, you have to force yourself to continue to be YOU, when it has altered everything you thought YOU were.  Everything that I believed about myself has been called into question as I walk through this.

But I’ve said all this before.  So why am I sharing it right now?
Quite simply, because someone needs to hear it.

Someone needs to know that crying themselves to sleep last night wasn’t weakness, or immaturity, but a release.  That these irrational feelings that come at us so quickly and desperately, are not for us to shove way down into ourselves, but to allow.

You have the RIGHT, to be heartbroken.  You have the RIGHT, to be afraid.  You have the RIGHT, to question everything and accept nothing about this.  You have the right to feel.

So many times we attempt to push down the fact that we are overwhelmed and distraught, as though ignoring it means that it isn’t happening.  This is damaging.  You can ignore your brakes screeching for so long, but eventually they will go out.  You have to take care of yourself.

You matter, and your heartbreak is not in vain.  When you add infertility on top of every other thing that is going on around us, it is a lot to digest.  You owe it to yourself to be honest about where you are, and take the time to address it.

I wish you all the support and love in the world, and then some.

 

Featured image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What If…I Could JUST Stop Caring About This.

What IF - I Could Stop Caring About This

In a moment of devastation recently, I found myself saying out loud that I wished I just didn’t care about this.

I wish I was content to live a life without children in my home that didn’t get “returned to sender” at the close of the weekend or workday. I reckon that would be a peaceful way of life for my husband and I.

But try as I might, I can’t turn this off.

And I’m not sure why.
Could it be the primal instincts of all animals that drives us to procreate? Or perhaps my know-it-all-ness getting the better of me and my assuming that I could do this well if only given the chance? Or in that same vein, maybe it’s my logical mind that is angry that something that SHOULD have worked, has not.

I would very much like to not feel like every baby that doesn’t give that comfortable and knowing reach when I reach out to them isn’t personally casting their vote on my not being suitable.
I would also like to not feel so personally attacked by influxes of mom-driven marketing.
I don’t WANT to feel sad.
I don’t WANT to be insecure.
I don’t WANT to over-think every.little.thing.
But I do.

Last night, around 3am, I was texting with my husband, who was at work, and rattling off things that were driving me crazy.
Finally, he went, “Hey, you shouldn’t be thinking about that right now. There’s nothing that will come of it.”
And it incensed me.
Like, I could FEEL myself become enraged.
Not at him personally, but at the THOUGHT that there was an alternative to thinking about this. As though I’d CHOSEN to be up at 3am pondering the complexities of parental purgatory. Who would do this to THEMSELVES?

I told him as much.

He told me to go ahead and drive myself crazy, but to think about whether he felt like going on the trip before yammering on at him about it.

Sigh.
What do people think about in their lives when they aren’t consumed with this worry and anxiety?
How does one go through life without this constant nag in the background of every decision?
I wonder what it’s like to not CARE about this.

 

Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…I Were A Mom…

What IF - I were a mom

If I were a mom, we’d start our morning’s with prayer, and listen to “Happy”, as we got dressed and ate our breakfast.

We’d walk to school and leave early enough to stop and observe the morning leaves, and the birds as they went about their business.
We’d have a number hunt on the way to school, and see which of us could find a number 4 along our path, or see the letter B.
We’d say a prayer at the gate of the school for a good day, and good friends, and a happy recess, and promise to tell each other something new when we saw each other in the afternoon!

I’d go to work, and recommend books to mom’s, and not fumble for the wording when I explained who I’d read the book to myself.
“I read this to MY son/daughter”, I’d be able to say, and not “I read this to my cousin/goddaughter/godson/niece/friend’s daughter”…
And they’d take my word immediately, because mom’s are faster to take advice from other mom’s than they are from people who don’t have children.

There would be no more awkward pauses when someone asks “How many kids do YOU have?”, because I wouldn’t have to think of a soft way to let THEM down about MY misfortune. No one would tiptoe around me when they discussed babies and pregnancies, because they would assume that I’m over all those icky sensitive infertile feelings. I would be able to request Mother’s Day off, because people would know that my family was obviously going to need me home that day.

Leading storytime at work would be fun, and I wouldn’t wish I could take the crafts home to do at my own kitchen table. When new books came in, I’d order my own copies so that I could add them to our bedtime collection. We would play library at home, because what I do at work every day would be something my children would aspire to.

I’d leave work on time, because there was someone waiting for me, with their something new to tell me. Dinner would be a recipe from Pinterest, prepped and in the fridge, ready for the oven. We would finish up homework and share our something new’s while we waited for it to cook.

My husband would get home just in time for a little bit of tv.
And there would be laughter.
Lots of laughter.
And even more laughter.
And a few more giggles, as we picked out our clothes for tomorrow.
And we’d each have our baths, and then all tell a story that we’d make up piece by piece, and then we’d pray for everyone near and far, before we turned out the lights.

And when little eyes were closed, I’d clean up the evening’s fun from the floor, and put everything away. I’d finish up any work that I hadn’t done, and I’d plan our next fun day. The zoo, or the museum, or the children’s play room. And I would be able to invite nieces/cousins/godkids, etc., rather than collecting them.

And I would feel STABLE.
In my life.
In my position.
In my future.
Because I’d know that no matter what else fell away, I was THEIR mom, and that it was something no one could take away from me.
I would know that I had the final say, in their care, and their education, and their diet, and their activities, and that no agency could dictate those choices based on any arbitrary guidelines.

I would feel like a whole person.
I would feel like a whole woman.
I would be confident.
I would be happy, on more days than I’m sad.
I wouldn’t have an undercurrent of rage.
I would be blessed to know that I was doing my part for the world by raising an intelligent, empathetic, thoughtful, caring, well-mannered, and creative person to contribute to society.
I would be proud.

I would be at peace.
Real peace.
Not the shroud of peace that comes from numbness.
But real peace.

I would be grateful to God for hearing me and answering me.
I would be thankful that my prayers were effective.
I wouldn’t hesitate opening my Bible because doubt was eating away at me.
I wouldn’t question my faith, or whether I’d offended God, and no one else would either.

I would attend baby showers.
I would buy baby gifts.
I would CARE.
I wouldn’t feel so incredibly defeated.
Or so immensely sad.
Or so devastatingly stupid.
Or so cheated.

I would go to sleep with excitement on my face, knowing that in a few short hours, I’d get to see those little faces all over again, and that we’d have new adventures to share.

But,…
I’m not a mom.
And at times, I truly doubt, against my highest of hopes,
That I will ever be one.
Despite my TWO journeys towards adoption.
And my TWO corrective surgeries.
Or my five dosage changes.
And my 8 years of “trying”.
Or my thousands of dollars spent.

But man, even without the frills, what a mom I’d be.


This post is a part of my “What IF” series for National Infertility Awareness Week.  It is my hope that these words will help someone who doesn’t understand why we can’t just “let it go”, or why we “care so much” about becoming parents, will somehow begin to see where the pain lies, and empathize with the 7.4 million others who feel just as I do.  Resolve to know more about infertility, for yourself, and those around you.  We need your support and your love, and your empathy.

For more information on Infertility and Infertility Resources, check out Resolve: The National Infertility Association.

To read the other posts in this series:
A Week of What IF’s.
What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.
What IF…I Were A Mom.
What IF…This Wasn’t So Hard.
What IF…I Could Just Stop Caring About This.
What IF…Infertility Were Acknowledged.
Featured image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.

What IF - I Said What I Was Thinking In the years that infertility and I have been going steady, my sensitivity to the things that people say and do without thinking, has fluctuated. There are times where I am super-sensitive and ready to slap down a RESOLVE pamphlet on anyone who utters something out of pocket, and there are times where I’m just like, “Ah, whatever…”.

I wonder often if people think before they let words fall out of their mouths. I think I get so wrapped up in it because I know that most of us dealing with infertility don’t have the luxury of just blurting out what’s on our minds.  When in fact, there’s usually so much going on in ours, that if we started, I doubt we’d ever be able to stop.

There are so many days that I find myself trying to control my feelings, and stop myself from blurting out something so direct and honest that it would ostracize me from the general population. Infertility does a good enough job on its own of making me feel separate and often less-than. It doesn’t need my help. But there are days where I can’t move. Days where I just can’t stand to think about this any more. And I start to wonder to myself, what IF on those days, I said the first things that came to my mind?

What IF I admitted that sometimes I’m deathly afraid that this will never happen?

What IF I admitted that I see myself getting older, and losing time EVERY SINGLE TIME I think about this now.

What IF I said out loud how devastated I feel every time I think about my grandfather getting older and NEVER seeing any children of mine?

What IF I said that sweet children make me sad and not happy because I just can’t stop feeling sorry for myself?

What IF I answered people honestly when they asked me how I felt every day?

What IF I told the truth when my husband asks “What are you thinking about?”

What IF I said “NO.”, when someone asked me “Are you okay?”

What IF I told people when they were going on and on about nonsense, that I was barely alive, and that if they only knew how much it took for me to BREATHE every day, they wouldn’t want me to waste my breath on trivialities.

What IF I was honest about how many times I have wanted to close this very blog because I’m just SICK of feeling like I’m in the same position I was when I started it?

Recently, I had a passing conversation with a person who is expecting, and sometime during our chat, she offhandedly said that she wished she weren’t pregnant. Had I uncensored myself and told her about the FIVE couples I know who’ve lost babies in the last year that they’d prayed and fought to even conceive, I wonder what would have happened?

Maybe she would have thought more carefully about tossing phrases like that out into the atmosphere. Maybe she would have gotten offended that I’d “taken it there”. Or maybe, at the very least, it wouldn’t still be bothering me to have heard it.

I walked away from the encounter with a sour taste in my mouth. Should I have used that opportunity to educate this person about how many people struggle with childlessness? Should I have said that I was personally offended? Was it the time or the place for that discussion at all?  Was that one of the rare opportunities for me to actually say what I was thinking?

I wonder,…what if…

 

Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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