Standoff-ish

 

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Growing up, I always wanted friends and a big family that was close. As I tried to make girlfriends, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working for me. Sure, I have a couple friends that I’ve known, but never that group of girls that does things together. They were all one-off friends who either didn’t like the other girl or didn’t know she existed. Until I moved to Utah and decided to just go for it. I met my group of friends that I spend the most of my time with at a previous job, one girl at a time. I LOVE our group. I’d be lost without them.

But then I think about being part of a big family and not feeling like I belong or being at church and again not feeling like I belong. Here is what I’ve come up with – it is me and not them, for multiple reasons. I’m afraid to be myself at church for fear of not being good enough for the other Christians. I’m afraid of getting into conversations that others are already having. I’m afraid that I’m not welcome into the group. And I know I just don’t fit in with the age groups and the places they are in their lives (i.e. younger, younger with kids, our age with kids, older with kids).

I’ve been told that I’m standoff-ish to people. I have absolutely no idea how that comes across, because I’m just scared to piss people off. I’m scared that they won’t accept me. I don’t jump in and just go for it for all of these reasons. I just don’t go and insert myself somewhere. I don’t even know how to do that. The thought of it makes me uncomfortable.

As I’m trying to find my place in my life, I’m re-evaluating my fears and how to overcome them. I don’t have all the answers yet. I don’t know if I ever will. What I do know is that I need to work with them rather than against them. I will slowly start trying to include myself, but if I walk up and others stop talking or disperse, yeah that won’t happen again (I’m speaking from previous experience here).

As I work to grow myself, I also want to work to be aware of others who are like me. Is that person shy or actually pushing everyone away? Doe he/she feel like they can be included in the conversation/group? Am I being a welcoming person to new people or even just different people I haven’t spoke with before? Does someone feel on the outside because they have a different life situation?

As I get older, I continuously encounter more and more situations that my fears overcome me. They consume me. It can be really debilitating and alienating. Others may think I am a bitch or standoff-ish, it isn’t that at all. I am working on growing and becoming more confident in myself. I’m appalled that others see me as standoff-ish when in reality I am just shy to a crippling state. I don’t have it figured out how to get past this, but I’m working on it. I am ALWAYS a work in progress. Always.

 

Life is an Adventure

We just returned from our first vacation for us outside of weddings, funerals, and Christmas in a long time (maybe a couple years???). Our only agenda this trip was to camp at the cabin with some friends and then over at the lake for the annual family lake trip.

The trip started out with the normal drive down to New Mexico to go to the cabin in the Jemez Mountains. The first “fun” experience was near Moab when a truck pulling a long camper turn in front of me (not immediately in front) and stopped in the road! I had enough time to stop, but if I had hesitated one second, we would have gone right into that trailer. I do not know what possessed that person to stop in the road, but he almost gave me a heart attack and woke Eddie up from a nice little nap. We were safe, no harm done.

We woke up the next morning to a beautiful view….

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This view started the next four days of relaxation – with some irritation. The damn dear flies were biting and the regular flies (and horse flies) were extra annoying. We went for a hike one morning and I had to turn back because my sensitive skin, all natural bug spray was doing absolutely nothing and I was losing my temper with all the bites I was getting. My legs were a war zone. My attitude was not very easy to control. It didn’t help that our two dogs each rolled in fresh cow poop.

Other than flies, we had some afternoon wind that delayed us eating each night since we needed the fire to cook our meals, but nothing eventful happened.

Then on the Fourth of July, our friends headed back and we stayed to enjoy a day of relaxation to the two of us. We watched Chloe stay inside because she was over the flies and Radar chase little field mice and chipmunks under the house and the wood pile. It was a great day. So we decided to go for a drive so I could explore more of the area. There was no way I was walking and getting more fly bites.

The drive was slow and beautiful. We took the paved road to a nice graveled one to go explore by an old Girl Scouts camp. At one point, I noticed my low tire lite came on so we pulled over. Sure enough, we had a flat tire. Something had gashed the tread. We work together and change the tire to the spare. Looks like we are going to head to Albuquerque after all so we can get the tire fixed and not run to the lake on the spare. We get back in and as we hit the pavement to go to the cabin and collect the dogs and clothes for the night, I stop to just check that the spare is doing good enough to make it the hour and a half drive after the cabin. Well, there is flat tire number two. Now the passenger side has had both the front and rear flat tires.

We left our phones at the cabin, because, why would we need them, but thankfully my work phone was tucked in the glove box. I started walking along the road hoping to get enough service to call Eddie’s mom to come get us and our two tires so we can get them fixed. No such luck on service. But I was able to flag down a nice man and his two sons who went back to help Eddie. The nice man had a flat repair kit (now we do too) and helped Eddie patch the tires with three plugs per hole – more than should be used. He also had a small air pump (we will be getting one) that filled both tires up. We left the spare on the rear and put one patched tire up to be a spare if the front tire’s patch didn’t work.

We went and got service to call Eddie’s mom. No answer. Brother, no answer. His wife, no answer. I guess we are taking the dogs and hoping these three tires and the two on the drivers side get us to town without issue.

On the way, we are stopped in a line on the small highway coming out of the mountain. Turns out there was a fire on the side of the road (later we found out and saw that some structures burned – prayers to those families) and we had to take a detour……on another dirt road. So far the tires are holding. We made it to town and to the family gathering for the holiday and everyone was shocked to see us. They had been in the pool when we called. We stayed for a few, mooched some dinner, and headed to Eddie’s mom for a much desired hot shower.

The next morning we headed to Discount to be there when they opened – as with so many other people. In total, we were there for just under two hours. They couldn’t save the tires (no big shock there) and had to get two tires from another store. This 4Runner came with 20 inch rims – I CANNOT wait to get rid of them, they are way too expensive and aren’t as good as something smaller for driving on dirt roads. I wanted to puke at the cost of those tires.

We went back to the house, picked up the dogs and our stuff and headed back up to the cabin to pack up the rest of our stuff. This drive uneventful. As we were packing, we realized, we couldn’t find our tent for the weekend at the lake. That was going to be an issue so we were fully ready, but not as willing, to head back to town to buy a new tent. Eddie’s mom got to the cabin to grab the boat and let us know that there were extras and we were good. BUT, the boat had a flat tire. So Eddie and I pulled out my jack again and changed that tire. His mom wanted to get it fixed so we found a small shop in Cuba that was open. Turns out, the tire was not sealed on the rim when it was mounted so the shop remounted it and we were good to go.

Finally we were on the road to the lake. The lake was wonderful, except for the daily afternoon wind storm. I slept like crap as for two of the nights, my stomach decided it didn’t like dinner and I had to keep going to the outhouse and a third night my bladder couldn’t hold enough. By the last morning, I was ready to be home. The mosquitos were biting so I gave in to the allergic reaction and used the Deet repellent. I was more willing to have an allergic reaction to Deet than to the mosquitos. I ended up with an additional four mosquito bites before I made that decision.

Chloe was so over camping but swam to me on a paddle board in the lake. Radar just wanted to explore everywhere. I didn’t get sunburned, but Eddie got a small one from missing an area with the sunscreen.

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All in all, I have bites from mosquitos, deer flies, red ants (Eddie’s mom’s driveway while reloading the truck), and chiggers (from the grass near the lake). My body is a war zone still.

All throughout this trip, I was pondering on the future of this blog/website. With our adventures, the entire time we were dealing with my tires, I was telling myself “life is an adventure, life is an adventure”. This became my anti-stress mechanism so I didn’t flip out on what I obviously couldn’t control. And that’s when it hit me, this blog will be about the adventure of my life – the highs and the lows, the vacations, the infertility, healthy living, anything that I feel like sharing that crosses my life. So over the next few weeks, you will be seeing a transition in the feel and URL. Life is an adventure and I’m going to share mine with you.

What Happened to My Sanity?

The last few months have been a whirlwind of emotion and challenges being thrown at me. Oh and the need to make some big life decisions. And because of all of it, I haven’t been myself. I have been a mess. And I’ve actually been hiding because of it. Not only hiding from my online presence, but from my presence in real life.

Since December, my work schedule has been absolutely crazy. I wasn’t letting myself hate my job because of it, because in all reality, I loved and still love my job. But it threw me off of routine and routine is a huge requirement for my sanity. At least some semblance of routine. I lost that. But as of writing this, I have it back and it feels so freaking refreshing. Ahhhhhhhhhh………….

My last post was on March 8th. Five days later, one of Eddie’s aunts passed away after a long battle with heart issues. On our way to her funeral, I got the call that my mom was put on comfort measures – she was also in her final days. Just about a month prior, the nursing home had put her on hospice care in her same room because she had lost quite a bit of weight and was showing a bit more rapid decline. I was made to believe it could be six months to a year. It was about a month.

While attending a rosary and funeral mass for an amazing woman who had so much love to give and so many people that loved her, I was coordinating with my uncle the finality of my mom’s life. I wouldn’t show any emotion regarding my mom because I felt guilty that I was preoccupied with something other than the whole point we went back to NM. I also had to reach out to my sister’s who I hadn’t talked to in years. That’s another story, maybe for another time. Regardless, more stress.

The night after the funeral mass for Eddie’s aunt, my mom died. I found out early the next morning. The funeral home picked her up, did the embalming and testing for the university body donation, and she was delivered to the university. That was it. No funeral. Nobody outside of my grandma (my mom’s ex-mother-in-law) and my younger sister were willing to gather to do anything. It absolutely sucks knowing that while yes, my mom burned so many bridges, her own blood wasn’t willing to get together. They didn’t see the point.

I struggled with not showing emotion because I felt guilty while also feeling like a shitty daughter because I didn’t force people to get together. I did nothing for her. It still eats at me. So does the fact that it is absolutely final that I will never have the chance to repair that relationship. I knew that with her Alzheimer’s diagnosis and her rapid progression, but her death made it all so very final.

Some days I still feel like I have no right to cry over her death and the finality of not being able to repair the relationship since I was the one who put up the wall. This is something I will really have to work on.

After all of that, we decided to go ahead and go through one round of IUI to try to conceive. We had already done one round of Femara, but that didn’t work. When we talked it over with the doctor, we told him this was the only shot we were going to try because just doing the Femara screwed up my hormones and sanity. I wasn’t willing to keep going through that multiple times. Our doctor couldn’t understand what I was talking about, but I guess I’m one of the lucky ones who absolutely cannot handle drastic hormonal changes. We went all out with Femara and FSH and a trigger shot. After the IUI, I didn’t drink alcohol, I didn’t workout, I didn’t lift even a case of water. I had so many follicles that matured, the doctor would only proceed with the IUI if he aspirated the remaining follicles that had not started the ovulation process. I responded too well to the drugs. I had the potential to have 4 eggs fertilize. That was a chance we were willing to take.

During the two week wait, Eddie’s grandma also passed away. Nobody saw this coming. She was doing so well and was so lively. We drove back once again for her rosary and funeral mass. On the way home, I started my period – two days early. I was devastated. I cried so much of the remainder of the drive.

We decided that we needed our life back outside of trying to get pregnant. No more fertility assistance. No more tracking ovulation and intercourse. No more timing intercourse. No more. We are both of the mind that it is okay if we don’t have our own. Adoption is not something we want to explore right now because we need to get back to just us before we go that stressful route.

All through this, I was planning a baby shower with two other friends. I was having a blast and loving it. I loved being included and part of the planning. When I was feeling pessimistic about the IUI, the baby shower planning pulled me through. It even put me on track after discovering the IUI didn’t work. Until the night of the baby shower. I enjoyed the strawberry mojitos REALLY well and was doing great during the baby shower. I had so much fun and loved seeing our friend’s face with all she received and all the surprises. It was (and still is) a blessing to be part of that. But then it was over. And she left. And I started cleaning up. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I would never have a baby shower for our baby. Saying this sentence brings me to tears every time.

Then there is the upcoming shower for our niece’s first baby. We have been shopping and hunting for great condition used items because we are in the best place ever to find them. I even booked a ticket to fly back right after a long vacation to be at the baby shower. But then it hit. I don’t know that I really want to go. I’m looking for all this baby stuff and it isn’t even for us.

Let me stop right here. I have ALWAYS said I am not going to be angry at people for getting pregnant and I am not going to shy away from going to people’s baby showers because I’m not having one. I still am not angry at other’s for getting pregnant, even if they are oops pregnancies (Except when they leave their kids in hot cars and they die! Or they abuse their child resulting in injury and even death!) I don’t wish any other person to go through the infertility journey. Please get pregnant and enjoy your pregnancy. And I truly do want to partake in the celebration of the baby’s that other’s are having. Even as I write this, I want to be at our niece’s baby shower. I do! But maybe that will be a high and low kind of thing. Maybe some days I want to go and maybe some it feels like torture. I don’t know. Either way, I’m going to be there and I am going to give more gifts. And if that is an off day for me, you will never know it. It is your day, my dear, and I’m going to make sure that you enjoy it!

I have always been one to be aiming towards something in life. And for the couple of years that I wasn’t, I was a complete mess, not that I knew it at the time. So when we stopped trying, I put it in my mind that the only other option was to say no kids and live life without hope of one day getting pregnant because it would be easier that way.

Except it isn’t. And I think that is where my breakdown after the baby shower and the feeling of not wanting to go to another baby shower came from.

Eddie and I had talked about what we would do if we didn’t have kids. We would finish the house, sell it, get a place that was mainly garage, and spend time overlanding and exploring in our 4Runner. We would enjoy just being us. So that is what I focused on. But it wasn’t a big goal for me. It didn’t feel like a direction in life that I had planned for. So I focused on it more and more, trying to get myself to truly want it. That made my sanity worse.

All the while, I shut down and didn’t want people in my life. I didn’t want to share it anymore. Why would I? I thought there was nothing to share. I hit critical mess status.

Until I decided to pick up my personal development again after not having any time for it for a few months. My book of choice was I Am That Girl that I have been trying to finish for months. Thank you Alexis Jones for slapping this girl in the face. I really needed it.

Side note: I didn’t talk about any of these feelings to anyone, not even Eddie, the one who I can share EVERYTHING with. I kept it all inside. Nobody was permitted in because nobody would understand and everybody would think I’m just weak.

I only read five-ish pages after picking it up because in those five pages, the flood gates opened for the breakdown that I needed.

The pages were wise words from Francesca Adler-Baeder. She talked about pacing ourselves, seizing opportunities, taking time to be with friends and loved ones without feeling pressured to be successful, and pruning the shoulds from our schedule to replace with the want tos.

Then Alexis Jones talked about being everything to everyone and not being just you. She says:

To be “that girl” means that you’re allowed to make mistakes, change your mind, start anew, and reinvent yourself. “That girl” is in all of us. It is the pearl that we sometimes forget or misplace, but never lose. Mot of us have to go looking for her, dust her off, and shine her up a bit, but she’s always and forever the most beautiful part of us. She is timeless, not affected by gravity, wrinkles, or gray hair.”

To be “that girl” just means you’re going to give life your best shot, that you’re not going to make excuses or justifications, that you’re going to go for it, whatever that means for you……..
……Being “that girl” means you are a constant work in progress – you’re willing to be vulnerable, flawed, and compassionate and are someone who stumbles and falls but isn’t afraid to admit her shortcomings in the midst of her magnificence.

I lost it after reading this. I put my bookmark back in my book, walked to my bathroom, grabbed my box of tissue, and lost it.

I wrote in my journal for the first time in two years. Some of what I wrote that I was feeling was: that I felt so alone; I wanted to just rack up more debt to finish the house and sell it because we don’t need something for kids ’cause that’s obviously not happening; I wanted to destroy the onesies we bought when we anticipated getting pregnant any day.

I felt so alone because I know that my husband doesn’t have the same emotional feelings and doesn’t necessarily understand them; because my friends have kids, are pregnant, or haven’t started trying; because those that went through infertility have kids, either naturally or by adoption and have had identifiable reasons for why they had trouble getting pregnant (not unexplained infertility); because the one friend I know that is still in her infertility journey leads a much different life and is so strong in her faith that it feels that she won’t understand me; and the one other woman I know in the journey, I’m not sure if she calls me a friend or wants to grow through this journey together; because I feel like all family wants is us to have a kid and doesn’t understand how much I feel like a failure because my body won’t deliver.

I cleaned up and decided that I still wasn’t going to talk to anyone because there was no need. Nobody would understand.

Then on our way to get froyo, I blurted out asking Eddie how he was doing with the situation – of course, my strong, loving husband had the simple “I’m fine” response. I hated that I asked and hoped he wouldn’t ask me. But he did. And as I was driving it all just came out, with a pause to go in and get our froyo. While he may not understand the emotional feelings I have (yup, I still feel like a failure because it is my body that won’t make the damn baby), he wants me to talk to him so he can be there for me, even if he has no words to help me.

One thing we talked about what my need to have a direction, a defined direction that is almost, for certain going to happen (you know, like graduating college or us getting married). He doesn’t understand this need, but helped me come up with two and helped me realize that it is okay to have more than one and they can be “if this happens, then this”. I don’t have to have a specific definition for life. Shaun T put this quote on his IG recently and my conversation with Eddie simply compounded on it. Having children isn’t necessarily the meaning of my life. I get to define what that meaning is. Right now, I want to define it as being happy. The meaning of my life right now is to be happy, no matter what.

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A lot of other feelings came up as well, since this whole mess has hit every aspect of my life. We talked about me having a hard time going places because I don’t want pity/sympathy looks from other women. I can’t stand that feeling of having others look at me with these eyes of sympathy. It feel demeaning to me. Why? I don’t know. Eddie thinks maybe it is because I don’t accept it or know how to accept others actually caring about me. Um, yeah, that probably is it. I really don’t know how those that you see occasionally or once a week could care about me. Never had it. Don’t know how to handle it or how to know if it is sincere. So my lesson here was that while other’s may look at me with sympathy, it is because they care about me.

And there was the fact of not wanting to talk to my close friends about these feelings because I don’t want anything to change with the closeness we have with them being pregnant/having kids. I am terrified of not being included anymore because I’m the one struggling with infertility and they are afraid I don’t want to or can’t handle being included. To my dear friend who has refers to me as Aunt Crystal to her daughter, you don’t know how much this means to me. To my cousin who included me in the touching gift request for your daughter, I want to write that letter, but it will be drastically postponed until I work on me first, but I REALLY do want to write it.

And to Alexis Jones, when you wrote the following in I Am That Girl, thank you. I needed those words at this exact moment.

We are prisoners of our own minds, limited only by the extent of our own thoughts and looking everywhere but inside for permission and approval.

To those who follow me for inspiration – I am sorry I haven’t provided any lately, I’ve been a mess. Hopefully me sharing this with you shows that we may go along so freaking great and then hit some wall and life becomes this path of what feels like destruction, but we can work towards getting back out of it. It takes identifying it and being willing to work on it. We don’t all have to share it, but working on it goes amazing distances.

To my wonderful husband – I seriously couldn’t live without you. I need you more than you probably will ever know. You inspire me everyday to live life happier and more free. You are my rock.

To all of those who are wondering if they should share their thoughts because they don’t want to come off as showing sympathy due to my paragraph above, please share whatever is on your mind. I’m working through not understanding what friends, even those I don’t see that often, mean and that they truly do care.

To the family that is afraid to talk to me about it, I feel like you care about us (Eddie and I) when we do have the long conversations about it.

I will admit that I don’t know where this blog/website will go from here. I don’t know what the future holds for it. At the moment, I want to continue it so I can provide more content that you can relate to for those who are like me. But I don’t know what that will look like. If you are like me and you have stumbled across my page, feel free to reach out to me. The only thing I will say is I can’t do long lasting pity parties, they bring me down and make it difficult to get back up (again thank you I Am That Girl for pulling me right on out of mine that I was trying to hide).

Wishy Washy

Have you ever heard the phrase, “you are so wishy washy”? No? Just me? Okay. Well now you have.

This is how I’ve felt the past couple months. And I KNOW it probably looks like it too. I’ve been all over the place. I can’t decide what way is up half the time.

Here is what I do know – I am just trying to take care of me with my ever changing life.

Here is what life is like right now: I work odd hours (sometimes early morning, sometimes evening, sometimes both, and sometimes on Sundays), we are still one of the one in eight couples living with unexplained in fertility, I am trying to study for and obtain multiple certifications for my career, I found a career that I’ve been searching for for years, we are still happily married, I still workout and strive to lead a healthy life, and I am still a Beachbody Coach. Oh and we are still attending Mountain View Christian Assembly and we try to spend time with friends around my crazy schedule.

I feel wishy washy.

I have come to a conclusion – I can’t do it all and feel sane at the same time. I hit a point that I had to step back from as much as possible to regain a sense of self. As I’m gaining that sense of self again, I’m prioritizing what is important. I don’t feel like going into a list of what ranks where, but I will tell you that I’m adding the most important things back in, or they never were part of the release while I stepped back.

Two key points I do want to touch on: Beachbody and our infertility journey.

Yes, I am still a Beachbody Coach. No, I haven’t posted as much about it. I am working at figuring how this fits into my current life. Life changes and we must change with it. When I started Beachbody, I hated my job and then went through a few job changes over a couple years. Beachbody got me through that as well as connecting me with someone who helped me with my Endometriosis, helping me accept personal development and that I really needed it, finding my voice that I had buried so deeply, and finding my avenue for health and fitness in my life. I will forever be grateful and have absolutely no intentions of quitting. Maybe just realigning with my life. As of writing this, I still drink Shakeology every day, usually for breakfast, and I have started CORE DE FORCE over again. I am still helping those who come to me for advice, I’m just not hosting groups at this time.

That brings me to my infertility journey. Did you know that one in eight couples will encounter infertility? Well, you do now and we are one of them. We were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. That’s great! Um, no. Maybe?! Crap, I don’t know. Those are just some of the emotions that come with such a vague diagnosis. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t have conceived already. No explanation. So we are trudging along through this. There is no guidebook. There are no definitive instructions. There is no definitive answer. We are coming to the point that we might start considering medical assistance. With this being such a personal endeavor, we are going to keep it that way until we are ready to share. I will share things here, but I’m not envisioning going into daily detail as we are doing anything. It will probably come after we have had time to process and accept.

This is a crazy life that we are living. God has plans for each and every one of us and we don’t know what those plans entail. I am slowly learning to take each day as it comes. This learning process is super difficult for me and can easily cause me to shut down on the exterior. I am in a growing period of my life and it isn’t easy. I hope to share more of the growing with you as I’m doing it. This will be my main communication point for all things of my life that will be shared publicly. I’m happy to converse with you, just reach out.

Change can be hard and scary, but it is a natural and necessary part of life. Trust that it is for your best life and best self. – Your Joyologist

When ‘When’ Turns to ‘If’

When two people are trying to get pregnant and have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, the ‘when we have kids’ starts changing to ‘if we have kids’. It sounds quite depressing, but that is the story of life with infertility. It doesn’t mean we’ve given up. It doesn’t mean that we don’t think it will ever happen. It just means that we don’t know if it will – no matter how much praying we do or how much we believe it will (although that is tested too) or the availability of treatments.

As the months go on, my mind continues to run crazy with all kinds of different thoughts – positive, negative, and some somewhere in between. I don’t know if I’m alone in some of my thoughts or not, but I am sure there are some of you out there that have some similar thoughts. And the worst part about these thoughts? That we are afraid to share them with other people for fear that we’ll receive feedback we don’t want to hear. Infertility can be a lonely journey, even though there are two people involved.

I thought I might share some of my thoughts because I want you to know that you are not alone and I’m tired of hiding it all in. If you are family and you are reading this and are wondering why I haven’t talked directly to you about it, it’s because for me, it is easier for me to write out my thoughts than convey them in person. I’m really not good at conversation or talking about myself – haven’t you noticed?

It hasn’t been long enough for me to really call it infertility, right?

This is one that I’ve really struggled with. Medically, you are considered to be struggling with infertility if you haven’t conceived within 12 months if you are under 35 or six months if you are over 35. As of writing this post, we have been trying for 18 months. We have gone through the testing and have been medically diagnosed as struggling with unexplained infertility.

Even with that, when I say that or think about the term infertility, it doesn’t feel right. Maybe it is because I never thought I’d actually be one to hit this point. I also feel like our 18 months is not enough to be considered as struggling with infertility because there are so many out there who have been struggling for many more years. But then I have to remind myself that our journey isn’t their journey and there is no reason we should be compared.

I have no idea why I still struggle with feeling like it has been long enough to call it infertility. I have no idea when I’ll get past this. The reality is, we are struggling with infertility.

What if I just wanted kids because that is the normal thing to do?

Yeah, this thought has crossed my mind. Having that thought doesn’t mean that I am going to stop trying. It’s just one of those thoughts that comes during the journey. It comes with all the thoughts of what life could be without having kids – all those things that you wouldn’t ever be held back from because you have to worry about whether kids can go or that they’ll cost extra or that you can’t find sitters. There are so many possibilities for our lives without kids. Honestly, this has helped me to understand why some people decide not to have kids. I was one of those who couldn’t fathom how people didn’t want kids. I get it now. But I still want my own, even if this thought crosses my mind.

Why am I broken?

When struggling with unexplained infertility, you aren’t necessarily broken. I preface unexplained because I have no experience with having a cause for infertility and I don’t want to pretend that I do.

This is one of my biggest struggles. Even though it is unexplained, it is my body that isn’t making it happen, after all, I’m the one that needs everything to work within me. So yeah, I feel broken. It is not a feeling that I can really explain other than with the word broken. When hormones hit the worst and I have my worst days, this is where my mind goes the most.

Even though I know that I’m not broken, it is difficult not to go there. It is a thought that will probably haunt me until we do get pregnant. Which leads me to…

What if we don’t ever get pregnant?

Yeah, that’s a frequent thought too. Most people will ask about adoption or fertility treatments at this point. We get that you want those answers and don’t understand our decisions, but this thought is still valid. Yes, we are still early in our infertility journey. Yes, we still have time before my hormones start changing for menopause. But, there is always the question, how long do we try? What if we don’t have kids? What if my body never conceives? What if?

These are questions that come along with the over-arching question and the answers for each couple vary and each couple most likely changes their answers over time. No matter what, until we conceive, this will always be a thought.

Quickly, on the topic of adoption, that is not in our cards right now, and fertility treatments are a thought for the future, but the hormones can cause my Endometriosis to start growing again and bring back the pain that was the cause for my surgery in May 2015 so we aren’t ready to go down that road. That could change at any time, but that is the answer as of today.

What is she was right? What if I would be a horrible mom?

She will not be named. This family member told many people that I would be a horrible mom. This coupled with my upbringing not being so great, I have this thought so very often. It is a difficult thought to get over and has caused me many, many bouts of crying. It doesn’t help that I see so many amazing parents who do so much for their children that I would never have thought to do or even know about. I struggle with this every time I see all these amazing parents.

I don’t have any answers for this one. This is my biggest struggle during this journey. All I know is that I’m not my parents and no parent is perfect. Yes, there are horrible moms out there, but I know that I won’t be one of them. And by horrible I mean seriously horrible and shouldn’t be able to raise kids. But, that is how my family member referred to me (this is one of many reasons I do not associate with that person).

If we don’t have kids, don’t do everything we possibly can, and don’t adopt, we’ll be letting our family down.

Oh yeah, I have this one too. There is no history for this thought or detail needed. It is a simple, standard thought. What I do know is, if we end up not having kids, that is our business and our decision and there is no reason that we would let anyone down. That just isn’t even something that should be considered. It is, but it shouldn’t. Our family should support us no matter what, and if they don’t, that is their business.

These are only some of the thoughts that plague my infertility journey. I know there are more, I just can’t think of them right now.

You are not alone in your infertility journey. You probably have some similar thoughts. You are normal for having these thoughts. So many people try to help us have a more positive outlook and try to get us not to think about any of these things at all. By not trying to think about them, we leave ourselves sitting ducks for major breakdowns. I personally believe that we have to explore our thoughts, no matter whether they are negative or positive, so we don’t go into major breakdowns or into depression. The key is not to dwell on the negative thoughts. Hard to do, but possible.

If you are struggling with major breakdowns or depression through your infertility journey, please talk to someone. Reach out, you are not alone.

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As I sit here….

….watching the today show cuddling with my puppies and drinking my Shakeology, I wanted to put words to the last few months of 2016 and my sentiments for 2017.

So many people consider 2016 a crappy or horrible year. I am definitely not in love with it, but I have a difficult time saying it was horrible. I am definitely glad it is over though. A good word to sum up 2016 would be lost.

I kept feeling like I was getting ahead of myself and my fears, but in reality all I was doing was taking two steps forward and four steps back.

Professionally 2016 started off rough but ended the best it ever has. I was definitely lost trying to find my place in the professional world – but I found it. You know that image you used to get when you thought about growing up and having a job/career that you would get? I finally found the job that fits that image and it is so refreshing, challenging, and enriching. It only took two years to get into this position with this exact company, but it is so worth it.

I see big things happening for 2017 with my career. I love my project management position in technology and I am encouraged to better myself. I will be getting a few certifications in the first quarter that will help me to advance in my career. When I think about going to work, I can’t wait to learn more and be the best I can be.

I have been very involved with our church and have taken a step back. With this and with other things, I made them so much of a duty that I felt I couldn’t have variation. I had to take a step back to take care of me and rediscover my love for our church. People have noticed our occasional absence and lack of extra-curricular participation. We aren’t leaving and aren’t lost in our faith. We are doing it our way with allowing for ourselves not to be perfect. Yes, I struggled with needing to be the perfect Christian and attend church every Sunday and be over-committed to show my dedication. This is not necessary and I’m taking steps to take care of me and my faith and my struggle with appearing perfect. I just want to be normal.

Emotionally 2016 has been a great struggle. I started 2016 off with new braces that affected my self-image, as well as with fatigue that just kept kicking my ass over and over again. We also had decided to become foster parents along with having our own children (both of these carried over from 2015).

Well……at the end of 2016, we decided to let our foster care license lapse as we are officially in the world of unexplained infertility. Testing has shown there is no medical reason why we have not been able to conceive. We were told so many times “it will happen when you bring the foster child into your home.” For some that may be true, but for us, we don’t feel that we want to bring a child who already may not feel wanted, into our home where we are struggling with having our own baby. We just feel that these kids deserve more than we have to offer right now. This decision isn’t a decision to never foster, it is a decision for not right now.

There are infertility treatment options, some not invasive, that we have been offered. We have not yet decided to try any method as the ovulation boosters increase estrogen which can increase the growth of endometriosis lesions. That is a difficult decision to make.

Throughout the infertility journey we have been told multiple things. Things that are helpful and things that are not. If I were to give you any advice for speaking to someone who is trying to have a baby I would say:

  • don’t ask every month if they are pregnant, even if they are just starting to try (that is a LOT of pressure and can make them feel like a failure every month they say no)
  • stop telling them that it just takes time to get the birth control out of the system – no, it doesn’t take as long as is commonly thought, especially not years
  • stop telling them “it will happen when you least expect it”
  • stop telling them that it just isn’t time
  • don’t tell them just to adopt – that isn’t for everyone and it definitely isn’t cheap
  • don’t act like it is faux pas to talk about and avoid the topic all together

I know there are so many lists of what to do and what not to do with couples struggling with infertility, and it actually changes depending on the couple. If you aren’t sure, just ask them.

Many women struggle with seeing or hearing pregnancy announcements when they are struggling with infertility. For me, I work really hard not to be one of the women who just can’t be told. I mean, I work REALLY hard. But no matter how hard I try, it seems to still bother me when I least expect it. And for anyone women who is in this struggle with me, the days before a period when our hormones are adjusting is the worst. That is when it is the most difficult for me each month. That is when I want to just hide and not come out until it passes. For instance, I have always wanted a boy and a girl. The other night, I came to a realization that I have a boy dog and a girl dog and maybe that is all I get. Yeah, that went through my mind. We all have thoughts that kick us when we least expect it. But we get back up and keep going. We haven’t given up on having our own children. I haven’t given up. Not yet.

Oh and the braces. I got comfortable with how I looked in them for most of the year, then they started adding space so I can get crowns on my front teeth and now I have gaps that I’ve never had and can’t properly pronounce my f’s and s’s. I know I chose to get braces and it will be worth it in the end, but when my emotions are already raw, it is difficult to be happy with my own smile. I’m just counting down the months until these things are off and I can get the crowns that will fix those gaps.

So yes, 2016 has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I’m praying and working hard for 2017 to be better.

But 2016 wasn’t all bad. Eddie and I are still happily married and we are still growing as a couple. Our home is still our home and we are provided for. We have family that loves us and have found friends that make up our own little family out here. 2016 brought growing friendships that are so dear to me, both here and far away. We are both advancing our careers and are happy with them.

2016 also brought both of us better health. We both work on our nutrition and workout. That is part of our life that may experience breaks, but will not be going away anytime soon.

On that note, yes, I am still a Beachbody Coach, but I am figuring out what that means for me. I know that I am still dedicated to helping others change their health and life the way mine has. I will not be quitting this anytime soon. This is one of those things that I’ve been re-evaluating over the past couple of months and will continue to change to fit my life as my life changes.

2017 will bring us some changes. We are going to buckle down and spend less while also working on keeping progress going on our home and our health. We do plan to camp a lot more this summer and explore our beautiful state and parks.

We are looking forward to 2017 and my motto will definitely be moving forward and growing. Also, not giving into fears.

So after a big, long ramble, I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on 2016 and what you want out of 2017. Take care of you, mind, body, and spirit. You’ve got this!! I’ve got this! We can live our best lives and the fabulous lives that we’ve always envisioned. It just takes a little work and reflection.

Cheers to 2017!