The Other Side

I have been in the in-between for so long.  Like being stuck in the dusk before dawn.  Like being stuck on that tightrope suspended between cliffs. Suspended in air on that high wire, with nothing supporting me but hope.

Looking backwards is so very dangerous, it threatens the balancing act that keeps me stable.
Looking forward is so very languishing, it threatens my focus and vision.
Looking down is so very disorienting, it threatens certainty of plummeting hope.

Living out a precarious existence, nothing certain, everything dependent on my ever strengthening faith muscles to keep me from falling into nothingness. Dreaming of the other side is what kept me moving forward. Step by step. Inch by inch. It's what made the in-between doable.

And then, it's there. I look down and land is just one step away. Taking that last step onto solid ground, suddenly I feel a release in my chest, like I was holding my breath and didn't know it. Suddenly I have the feeling of incredible f…

Letting Go of The End of The Rope

With a lot more time on my hands these days to think, and so many less distractions and busyness that detract from certain thoughts, one thought in particular has kept coming back to me that I've had to wrestle with. I wrestled with it because I did not want this to be a 'me' decision, so I finally talked it through with my husband and God the other day, and feel a conclusion has been reached that has consensus between all three of us.
We have made the decision that we are no longer desiring to have our own biological children. We have always been united in wanting our own children, not felt led to adopt or foster, so this is the end of our chapter of trying to expand our family. We still feel God still has something in store that will use our parenting nature, and maybe even my love for babies somehow, but it will not be having kids that we raise as a mom & dad.
I know this doesn't change my identity, yet it still feels that way a little.  This is who I have alwa…

Finding Support Stability

The precarious support system of the infertile. Sounds like an article in National Geographic.  However, it's a thought that occurred to me because I just can't seem to find a network of fertility-challenged friends that lasts.

Just when you've found your people, things will change.  Chances are someone is going to get pregnant. Chances are someone is going to adopt.  Chances are someone will move away.  Chances are people move on and don't need support any more. While it would be nice to be able to have some consistency in the chaos of infertility, those who are in the same chapter of this story will not stay that way for the duration.

While having that group of 'me too' camaraderie and empathy can feel crucial at times, I've learned that the nature of our struggle means I will need more.  I've recognized how important to my well-being it is to create several pockets of safe support in areas other than my infertility support group.

Here are some of my…

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…