The Breaking Point

I found my breaking point on an ordinary day, in the middle of the week, after work in the midst of getting supper ready.  Seven days late, yet when I felt the empty chasm after, it was so expansive I thought I flushed my heart and dreams too.  And I was suddenly so done with that feeling.  I wasn't certain a life had ended that moment, but death was certainly hovering.  My hope, my spirit, my life, had all been slowly draining and I wasn't sure how much there was left of me.

I knew it was time to take a break.

At that time I hadn't ever contemplated a break, it came on me suddenly, but looking back here are some signs I sure needed it.

1. I was suffering.
My mental health was on a drastic decline.  I found myself in a familiar pattern I thought I had overcome.  I began to intensely internalize my feelings, but that only amplified my anxieties and grief.  Feeling alone, without a lot of supports, only worsened how much I kept my feelings trapped inside my mind, a 'catas…

Finding Comfort & Joy

For years I have been fighting a winter bug. It took awhile for me to realize the pattern year after year.  That's because it was a slow descent into becoming a holiday humbug.

Exactly ten years ago I first began to notice my less than 'merry & bright' self as the Christmas season approached, but it had been a very hard year in general, so I think I wrote it off as that remaining down-hearted feeling.  But there was much more I was unaware of that was affecting me, and my moods were growing in darkness just like our northern winter skies.

One of those influences was a seed of discouragement that had been planted a few years earlier, and it had been fed, watered and nurtured frequently since then.  In mid-December 2007 I had my longest pregnancy to that point, but on the twelfth day we experienced our first significant loss.  It was our 4th year of marriage, I had just turned 30, and my younger sister announced her 3rd. It was a very difficult Christmas.

For the next 5 Chr…

Building a Positive Body Culture

Culture seems to be the buzz word of the day, but for good reason. We are beginning to realize that there is something more significant behind our automatic actions. That awareness has helped us see there is no longer the excuse of "that's just the way I am". It has shown us that there are reasons behind everything we do, whether we know what they are or not. And when we see these reasons in larger patterns, we tend to give credit/blame to a culture that exists behind the scenes.
What I am beginning to realize is that we have a personal culture about our bodies as well. We have spoken and unspoken values we place on our body, which create expectations we try to meet. Some of mine have been: "Getting pregnant will help me love my body more". "My family is all big, that is my destiny." "I need to look skinnier so people don't think I am pregnant."
But these values don't help my body stay healthy, they actually discourage me from ta…

The Infertility Worrier: You Can Overcome

As a child I grew accustomed to feeling ill when my worrying waged a war within my brain, and then body. With my first period, I actually thought it was my annual 'first day of school' gut-wrenching anxiety. A connection between my cycles & my concerns that would continue, and grow, more complicated for the next 30 years, often confusing one issue for the other. I share that background to help you understand just how long I have been battling the unwelcome powerlessness of panic. And how much fertility issues have added to the fight. 
There came a point when I finally realized the connection, but also that coping with each of them in an unhealthy way was contributing to making each of them worse. The stresses of life and infertility were snowballing and I was standing at the bottom of the hill without a clue how to stop it or get out of it's way. So it hit me, knocked me down hard. So hard I didn't get up for awhile. But that's what convinced me I needed to pr…

The Infertility Worrier: You Are Not Alone

It felt like a 20 lb weight was resting on my chest, preventing me from doing anything, especially rest. I was not unfamiliar with the sleepless side-effect of constant worry, but this was different. It was also different from the stress of keeping myself busy to avoid feeling the emptiness. I tossed and turned in bed until I decided to get up, rather than wait for the alarm to signal the next part of my schedule. Even though it felt like I could barely breathe, I forced myself to go with the flow, swept away in the tide of the day's timetable. Even though that weight was giving me the sensation of sinking.

In 2010, I found that my natural pull towards overthinking things were only inflated by the last four years of infertility. New considerations were constantly complicating things, because all the possibilities seemed endless with 'un-diagnosed infertility'. But on this particular morning, it wasn't all the treatment options, the grief of miscarriages, or the …

Taking Back My Stolen Identity

When someone has had their ID physically or electronically stolen, there is often a feeling of being deeply violated. It’s a feeling that who we’ve built ourselves up to be has now been tainted by the misuse or abuse of our reputation, or good standing that we’ve worked so hard for. Sometimes infertility can give us that same sensation, like our identity has been stolen.

I used to think of myself as an optimist, or as I called myself, a hope-timist. I used to always see the glass as half full. I always saw the best in a situation or a person. I could always find a reason to smile, to laugh. I had been through very hard seasons before, during which I sometimes labelled myself victim, and sometimes survivor, and yet through it all I still felt like me.

But with infertility, as I was losing hope, I was losing the cheerful, easy-going, positive person I once was. Then came the depressive episodes, some the result of grief, some the result of the S.A.D. I developed as I got older. But re…

Joy Beyond the Bundle

Having lived in Winnipeg 24 years, my whole adult life, one would think I'd have made peace with winter by now, but one would be wrong. However last year I was really confronted about my attitude towards Winterpeg, and someone shared the perspective that I can refuse to find joy in the cold & snow but then I will have less joy, yet still the same amount of cold & snow!  It actually worked, we had our coldest & longest winter of my lifetime this year and for the first time I didn't just tolerate it,  I embraced it!  It was so freeing! And that wasn't the end of my liberation, this revelation triggered another one as well.

It is a perspective I've actually heard years before, joy is not based on circumstances.  Unlike happiness, joy transcends our situations, our relationships, our achievements, etc.  Like I realized with winter, where circumstances are not within my control to change, why should I let it dictate my level of enjoyment for 4-5 months of the y…