I recently read this quote and it really (I mean really) described my 2015 experience.
“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” – William Shakespeare
2015 met its fair share of my emotions. The year started out with so much hope because we decided to try IVF to grow our family. We were hoping and expecting that IVF would be the answer to end our secondary infertility problem. The plan seemed so right at the time. But we went through two unsuccessful cycles, which left us with lots of heartache and all the emotions that followed (hence, the blogging silence) – anger, grief, jealousy, guilt – you name it, I had it. I felt sorry for myself, jealous that others (even celebrities) were able to conceive so easily, resentful for what I could have done to prevent this, greedy for wanting another child (especially since the reason why I wanted another one was for Luke) and isolated because I felt no one understood what I was going through.
As I was going through all this, sometimes I failed to see what I had in front of my face – Luke! The sweetest, happiest, goofiest, and smartest threenager I know. Yeah, yeah everyone tells you the same thing about their kid and you know what? They’re all right about their kids. They are special little humans whose love has no bound. My bond with Luke is something no one else has and no one can take away. He is truly special. His hugs, his utter joy when he sees me at the end of the school day, and his spontaneous “I love you, mama” moments all melt my heart and tell me that I’m doing something right. What I receive from him, I want to give him back more. A sibling to love and laugh with and most of all, my attention.
For 2016, Charlie and I are still hopeful but this time, we’re more realistic. We still don’t have an answer from my doctor or the RE. At this point, there’s nothing that anyone can do to help. We kind of feel lost at the moment but also feel that we’re starting 2016 on a blank slate – no expectations – time to start over and reflect on what happened in 2015. Through our reflection, we realized that we have so much to be thankful for. Both our parents are still living, Luke is thriving in school, and we both have stable jobs. Most importantly, our marriage is still in tact. We realized that maybe some things or people don’t enter our lives when we want them to or when we think we’re ready. Instead of waiting, grieving, and having an expectation, we should live our lives to make memories, build a stronger relationship with each other, pray, stay grateful, and be patient.
For those going through something similar or were in a rut in 2015 , I’m sharing 11 things I plan to do (or not to do) in 2016 that will hopefully lead to a happier, fulfilling and hopeful year.
1. Take Better Care of Myself – Yoga and massages are what I need to relax. I rejoined the gym in the fall of 2015 so I can work out in the early mornings and take some yoga classes. I know I need to lose some weight so I bought a FitBit to track my exercise and steps. And hey, working out in the mornings have always made me a happier person. It’s the endorphins! If time and our budget permit, I plan to get a fertility enhancement massage once a week to relax and get the blood flowing.
2. Stop Feeling Sorry for Myself / Stop Comparing Myself to Others – I think this comes a close second to adding to my heartache. Sometimes going through infertility, I tend to think that everyone else is getting pregnant but me. Poor me. I have learned to snap myself out of it. When I start feeling this way, I need to acknowledge the thought, remind myself that I’m not a victim, and that I am doing things or have plans to make myself feel better.
Comparison has always been my downfall. When I start comparing myself to others, I start to feel like poop or that that I can’t keep up. Then everything I do to keep up just doesn’t feel right or work out. Every time I’m on Facebook or Instagram, I see someone else announcing their pregnancy or showing off their new baby. It makes me sad because I don’t have that news to share. Sure, my friends are moving on with another phase in their lives but that doesn’t mean I need to be in the same phase. I need to stay in my own lane. Run/walk my own race to better myself for myself.
3. Travel to Somewhere New – One of the best things about traveling is the planning. To wonder about all the places we should visit or places I’ve always wanted to visit. Traveling refreshes and recharges my soul – to go somewhere I’ve never been before and imagine myself living there or just to explore. I often plan a trip to somewhere I’ve never been to give me something to look forward to – something else to think about – almost like a new beginning. Yes, we come home and everything is the same as we left but I’ve brought back the happy memories of the trip, new found hope and wanderlust to do it all over again.
4. Take French Lessons – I’m a self-proclaimed Francophile. I love all things French….except I can’t speak it! I’ve always wanted to take French lessons, so I signed up for lessons at Alliance Francaise de Chicago starting in February. I know it will be challenging to learn a new language at my age but I’ve already faced many challenges during these past two years. This should be a good challenge. I hope to speak the language of love while learning to love myself and what I can do.
5. Stay Present – I know I’m exaggerating but I feel like I was a couch potato to Luke in 2015. My mind seemed to be on questioning why we couldn’t conceive instead of playing or paying attention to him. Also, seeing other people’s pregnancy announcements on social media played a huge role in making feel down. I need to put the phone and social media down and spend that quality time with him…even if it’s playing cars and having him critique the way I make car sounds. If I don’t, I know I’ll regret it.
6. Go On More Dates with My Husband – Charlie and I tend to do everything with Luke because it’s fun! But when we do date nights with just the both of us, it feels refreshing because we can have an adult conversation, hold hands, enjoy our drinks and meals. Sure, we still talk about Luke, but it’s one-on-one time and that time is used to make our relationship stronger.
7. Have a Healthy Social Life – It seems as friends get pregnant, I just want to distance myself from them. It’s not that I’m jealous but I just don’t want to them to think I’m sad or know that I’m sad for myself. See, there I go feeling sorry for myself. I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep those relationships since most of them are all positive. I’m going to accept requests from new and old friends to go out for dinner/drinks. And hey, I don’t need to wait around for these social activities because I can always reach out and plan some as well.
8. Be My Own Cheerleader – I often find myself being the cheerleader for friends, especially for friends trying to conceive. Telling them to keep up, to stay positive, to believe that it will happen, and to offer guidance on where to go or who to see. But I never seem to be able to tell myself those things or cheer myself on. I think I’ll come up with a silly cheer when I start to feel down or hopeless (I can’t think of a witty one right now). I know I got this, though! I can do hard things.
9. Document Memories Through Photography – Photography is a fun hobby for me and using it to document Luke’s growth is my creative outlet. I love the thrill when a picture turns out so good (in an unexpected way). I know I said to stay off social media but I plan to use this blog to post some of my favorite pictures and moments of the year.
10. Get Professional Help – I always thought I could do anything in life with a little bit of “self help.” But with all the emotions and sadness that I went through last year, I’ve come to realize that a little bit of counseling isn’t going to hurt. In fact, I think it’s going to help my coworkers (since they don’t have to listen to my thoughts and doubts and struggles). Although they tell me they don’t mind, I’m sure there are other things to talk about…such as my renewed hope for 2016 and my beautiful family.
11. Get A Second Opinion – I mentioned earlier that we feel lost at the moment but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more help. We have decided to see another RE to talk about our situation and see what else is out there…because there is still hope!