Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Changing over to private

Did you notice my posting stopped? Of course you did...and as always...I have good reason.

We are officially matched with a beautiful birth mom and are expecting to expand our family in December! We are in the process of forming a close, meaningful relationship with the birth mom as the adoption will be open. We are excited, scared and every other emotion in between.

Unfortunately because of so many anti-adoption groups out there, I have decided to start a new, private blog that will chronicle our adoption journey and beyond.

I would love for each and every one of you to continue to follow our journey and I understand that going private is a pain in the arse, but I need to do that for my protection and the protection of my (hopefully) future family.

If you would like to continue to follow our journey, please send me an email and I will add you to the reader list. My email address is nfrtl_myrtl@yahoo dot com

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Sober Dreams

Each of us has a dream. We have an idea for how we want our lives to mature and the goals we want to accomplish along the way.

My dream for the last 27 years was to have a family. I wanted to be a mom so badly and every time I envisioned my future - I was always in the mom role. Not always the "wife" role but always the mom role.

As I am preparing to let go of that dream I am feeling utterly lost. I no longer know what I want out of my life. I have spent the last 8 years of my life (and my entire marriage) trying to have a family and now I am not certain who I am. I don't know what my passion is, what my goals are or even how to rebuild a dream that I have had for so long that doesn't involve having a family.

It's completely overwhelming and isolating. It's exciting and adventurous. It's thrilling and terrifying.

I have caught myself wondering if this is what it feels like to have a mid-life crisis. I look at my life and realize that it isn't anything like what I thought it was going to be. I have lost myself somehow in this drive to have a family. I lost sight of all other passions I had. I lost sight of my role as a wife, as a friend, as a daughter and sister. Almost every aspect of my life has drenched in fertility treatments, support groups, blogs, adoption certifications, research, testing, failed cycles, miscarriages and failure.

I have conflicting feelings on making the choice to live child-free. After having a dream for so long, it is extremely difficult to just let that go. However at the same time, I feel like I am a free basing crack whore coming down from a wild trip. I am definitely having infertility withdrawals and withdrawals from the dream I once had, from the identity I wanted and from the goals I sought to achieve. Now I am this freshly sober person fumbling around like a new born pony trying to find a different identity for myself, a different goal and a different dream. It is a bitch.  

How do you build a new dream for yourself after you have had the same one for so long?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You are not a mind reader

So stop acting like one!

This is a daily struggle I have begun to battle. I have found myself constantly telling myself what others are thinking of me. The thoughts aren't nice. Not only that - they are bullshit!

I have no idea what anyone thinks of me unless they tell me. I don't know if they even care that my belly hangs over the top of my jeans when I sit down. I don't know if they think that I dress childish. I don't know if they think that my "trying to be ombre but not quite nailing it" hairdo looks like shit - but I have told myself they do.

Why? I really have no idea, but I am determined to try to stop it - I want to feel beautiful. I want to be comfortable in my skin, my not so stellar hairdo, my favorite cardigan with a hole in it that I love so much I just can't get rid of, my stretch marks, my flabby areas - all of it - I want to love it all.

I have wasted so much time investing my thoughts in what other people think of me that somewhere along the line - all of the negative things I had created in my mind took over how I thought of myself. I have been so unfair not only to myself, but to everyone around me. If I continue to think that my friends are thinking awful thoughts about me - am I really going to be able to open up and fully engage in their friendship and companionship? Um...NO!

This video literally brought me to tears. I could identify with so much of this tainted self view. I want you to watch this video and think how you would describe yourself.

Apparently there is research out there stating that only 4% of women WORLDWIDE believe they are beautiful. 4%!!!!!! Does that number enrage you? It should! I may not have children of my own, but I have some amazing young women and girls in my life and if I could contribute to their life in any fashion - it would be teaching them to love themselves, and to believe in their own unique beauty.

I hope that each of you reading this feel the same because it DOES start with us - girls aren't born hating their bodies - they are taught to hate their bodies - I think it is time for a change in the lesson plans!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Changing My World

I have hated myself for many years, and for many reasons. None of them founded, none of them true, but I have been a semi-professional self hater nonetheless.

I can't remember how far back the self hate started, but I believe it was around the time I was 7 or 8. Just typing that age on my screen makes my stomach curdle. I look at how sweet and innocent 7 and 8 year old children are and I can't imagine them carrying that kind of hate in their hearts. It is so unfair.

I believe it began as a direct result of the sexual abuse I suffered as a young girl. I was abused by a very close family member and I am still trying to free myself from the guilt and shame that engulfed me after that. I began hating my body, I had trouble trusting people, and I was terrified as I watched my family crumble under the stress of me reporting the abuse.

Then came a 6 year court battle while I was going through High School and College that ended in my abuser getting probation.

I hated myself for putting my family through that for what seemed like nothing. I felt damaged. I hated my body. I lost not only more trust in people, but lost all faith in the court system.

Then I met my now husband and he made me feel amazing. I felt loved, beautiful, worthy and every other gushy lovey dovey feeling there is. We got married after dating for a few years and started to try to have a family.

I failed.

Bam and I have now been married 8 years and have no living children. We conceived 4 times with my body killing off our children each time for some unknown reason. I hated my body. I felt like a failure as a wife. I felt like a failure as a woman. I felt like I had disappointed my family, Bam's family, my friends (even my infertile ones). I gained a bunch of weight thanks to my PCOS, self loathing and fertility medications. I hated my body.

I have stretch marks with no children to blame them on. Like the majority of women with insulin resistance I carry most of my weight in my stomach and have excess facial hair that I relentlessly try to remove. I hated my excess facial hair. I hated my belly fat. I hated my dimply thighs.

I will no longer be entertaining that four letter word. There are many other four letter words that I LOVE...but hate is out of my vocabulary. At least when it applies to myself - I will always hate peas and that won't change (sorry mom!)

I am a fucking strong woman who has endured more pain, disappointment, heartache and loss than many 31 year old women I know. It took a lot of strength and endurance to expose my abuser in 6th grade. It took even more guts to make the decision to go to the police and then even more balls to endure a 6 year long legal battle.

I have earned every fucking stretch mark, stray hair and dimple on my thighs after putting my body through years of fertility treatments, stress and miscarriages.

I need to give myself a break and start treating myself as good as I treat my friends - I take that back BETTER than I treat my friends because I haven't always been able to be a good friend because I was too busy hating myself.

I want to be comfortable in my skin, I want to be able to laugh and be silly and not worry what others are thinking of me. I want to be able to dance goofy, live free and be comfortable in the decisions I make. I want to know that the friends I have around me, know the true me and love me for that. I want to look at myself in the mirror and see the strong bitch that I am staring back at me.

No More Self Hate.

I am changing my thoughts and in turn...I am changing my world!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Validation vs. Platitudes Infertility Style

Pamela over at Silent Sorority recently blogged about grief and her post resonated with me so deeply, specifically the use of platitudes when helping someone through the grief process, I wanted to write about it as well. See her post "Grief is a Form of Love"

I REALLY do not like platitudes. As in when I hear one, it makes me want to crawl out of my own skin and I find myself instantly shutting down. It seems to me that many of them are just cop outs or ways to avoid an ACTUAL conversation about life, and grief. One that Pamela had mentioned in her blog post that really gets me going is "God/life/universe doesn't give you more than you can handle." I call bullshit.

Throughout my life I have been challenged way beyond what I would call "handling." Have I survived? Yes, but I hardly consider barely getting by and living in complete survival mode "handling." I have busied myself, numbed myself, eaten my feelings and enlisted numerous other coping "skills" to get through the challenging times, but I can't look back on all of them and honestly say that I "handled" them. I survived them.

I think people use this particular platitude in order to avoid really talking about someone's struggles. I know many do this unintentionally, but it really is just an easy way out of a potentially uncomfortable conversation about grief and how damn unfair life is at times. It is a way of brushing it off, undermining the pain and desperation from the struggling individual. As if saying that the person struggling is in the wrong for feeling hopeless, depressed, and/or anxious because no matter what is thrown at us in life, we will be able to handle it.   If this is true, then I would like someone to explain how our suicide rates across the globe keep increasing at alarming rates.

Throughout my infertility struggle, the platitudes and assvice I received was at times mind boggling. I definitely heard the above referenced platitude more times than I can remember and every time I hear it, I get more and more infuriated. Then there are others like: God's timing is perfect. Ummmm...ok not really sure what this is supposed to mean but when people say it to me, it makes me feel like they are saying "Stop being do damn impatient you ungrateful woman...God will bring you a child in his time, not yours so just sit down, shut up and be patient." What if he doesn't? Oh...right - then the platitude changes to "God has a perfect plan for you."

And the platitudes just keep coming:
Time heals all wounds - really? Cause my pain 8 years in to my family building journey is much more intense than it was at 1, 2, 3 or 4 years.
Everything happens for a reason - Well of course everything happens for a reason, but not all of them are good reasons and if platitudes are meant to make people feel better, then this one fails miserably. I don't see any good reason 4 of my babies had to die, meanwhile women all over the globe are having kids that they don't want, and can't take care of. Care to explain?
There is someone worse off than you - this particular platitude really PISSES me off. How much more demeaning and belittling could a platitude get? By telling anyone this you are LITERALLY saying: You don't deserve to be upset, feel this pain or be sad because other people in the world have it worse than you. What a craptastic thing to say to someone you care about.
It will all be worth it in the end - In the infertility world - this may be true if that "end" results in a child. In fact, usually the people I hear spewing this particular platitude are already on the other side of infertility. They have a child in their arms. What about those that choose to get off the crazy train and instead choose to live child free after infertility? Will all of that pain, heartache, money, emotional trauma, physical abuse and loss be worth it then? If there are any readers reading this that have decided to remain child-free after infertility I would love your feedback on this one.

Let me challenge each of you that when you feel that platitude (let's face it, we all use them at one time or another) squirming up from your gut through your vocal cords - to stop it short there and instead really engage in the conversation and offer some real support. Real, true, unscripted support. Can you imagine how much different our relationships would be if our fears, hurts and insecurities were met with understanding, validation and support?

What are your most hated platitudes? And....go!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Pregnancy announcement enigma

Today there are so many ways of announcing a pregnancy it may actually make your head spin. With social media and the like...the possibilities are near endless. With 1 in 8 people dealing with infertility - it is still a little baffling to me that SO many people are still so clueless in how to tell your infertile friends/family/co-workers etc. about a pregnancy. If you have found my blog because you are looking for advice before you make your announcement - I applaud you and thank you - you have already conquered step 1 and 2.

Over the last 8 years you can imagine I have had to smile through many pregnancy announcements. I couldn't even begin to count how many, but I can tell you that I remember those that were sensitive to my journey, my feelings and my losses -  and handled their announcements well...and those that didn't.

Sure every person is different, every infertile person handles pregnancy announcements differently but I think the following 5 steps pretty much encompass the things that most infertile people want and expect out of our loved ones when announcing a pregnancy.

1. Know Your Audience. I really think this one is a no brainer - but apparently I am wrong because I know MANY people who still don't do this. The first time I was told to "know your audience" was in writing class in High School - Know who you are writing to - know who your listeners are. Shouldn't this be true in all of our conversations? Think before you speak and especially think of how what you are about to say could effect those listening to you. Don't join all of your family together for a big, public "we're pregnant" announcement while your infertile aunt/uncle/sister/brother/friend is in the room. I would feel like quite the asshat if I went on an on about how wonderful eyesight was and what a "blessing" it was that I have 20/20 vision in front of a person that is visually impaired...wouldn't you?

2. Be Sensitive. This kind of ties into number 1, but in addition to that just be sensitive to the fact that your wonderful news may trigger some very raw emotion in someone else. I have been very open about our infertility journey and our miscarriages so literally anyone who has known me for any measurable length of time knows that I am challenged in the reproduction area. I don't tell people about my journey for pity, to seek advice or accolades. I tell them to educate them on how large this issue is and so that they can be sensitive to my situation. If people don't can't expect them to be sensitive. If I don't know you are visually impaired - I may just unknowingly make an asshat of myself gushing over the beauty of eyesight.

3. Say NO to Social Media. Or at least postpone a social media announcement until you have had the opportunity to tell your infertile friends personally whether via a private email, a phone call or in person. Be a good friend and protect them from the shock and pain of seeing an unexpected pregnancy announcement as soon as they log onto their computer in the morning - nothing ruins an infertile person's day quicker than that - other than a negative pregnancy test.

I have more people hidden on my Facebook feed than I care to admit (or count - math is not my strong suit). It isn't because I don't love these people - it is quite the opposite, but I have to protect my heart. I have good days and bad days and on my bad days I have to protect myself from the constant posting of belly pictures, ultrasound photos, baby pictures and the Mom-zillas on my news feed. On the good days I can go to their pages and gush over their cute kids, bellies and the like but at least I get to choose when I see those things. This is so important I am going to reiterate this point: DO NOT ANNOUNCE A PREGNANCY USING SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT FIRST WARNING THE INFERTILE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE!

4. Be Understanding. Please understand that your infertile friend or family member really is happy for you. However, your announcement has triggered a lot of negative thoughts about him/herself, her situation, and her losses. In my case this typically results in a half ass smile, a hug, a quick congratulations and even quicker exit so no one sees my tears. I am not heartless, I don't hate pregnant women or fertiles - it just triggers a lot of emotion surrounding my own failure of a body, my losses and the future I thought that I would have with my husband that I now know I won't. I am excited for all of my fertile friends and family members - even for myself sometimes at the thought of a new niece or nephew, but the truth is, it reminds me of my four miscarriages and all the pain that Bam and I have endured over the last 8 years. The one thing you need to know - your infertile loved one's tears HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU PERSONALLY.

5. Grow some balls. Sorry this is so blunt but I get so sick of hearing "I didn't know how to tell you, I didn't want to hurt you, I was scared" from people. I have been on this journey for 8 years - I am tough. Do I cry? Yes. Do I get depressed? Yes. Do I get over it? Yes. Do I carry on with my life? Absolutely.

Infertile people have balls. We have to - we have to watch endless amounts of baby commercials, TV shows like 16 and pregnant, 19 kids and counting, and the like. We attend baby showers, we sit through non-stop children banter when there are more than one mother in a room. We endure over sharing conversations about episiotomies, diaper blow outs, sore nipples and stretched out women parts. We do this because we are strong and we love our fertile friends and family members. I am just asking that you do the same. If you really are unsure how to tell me, ask. Ask me what the best way is for me to hear this sort of announcement. Is it scary for you? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? Yes.  Will it help you understand me more? Yes. Will I respect you more in the end? Absolutely.

I was recently made aware that my oldest sister is going to be a Grandmother and found out via my  Instagram feed. My niece made the announcement on Instagram with an ultrasound picture and everything. To say I was shocked doesn't really even come close to the anger and betrayal I felt. My family knows almost everything about our journey including our failed adoption and I am just shocked at the lack of sympathy and understanding I received from them. Looking back - this isn't the first time. One of my sisters couldn't even tell me about her third pregnancy. I found out from my mom when she was already 4.5 months pregnant - talk about a slap in the face.

I am not Humpty Dumpty- Your pregnancy announcement will not cause me to have a great fall never to be put back together again. I will recover, I will move on and I will deal with it. But don't be an asshat about it - treat me like a person that you love, respect and sympathize with.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Anxious love

My heart races, my mind won't stop, my palms sweat and it's hard to catch my breath - here we go again...another visit from my dear friend anxiety.

I am not sure exactly when I started noticing that my anxiety was getting worse, but it seems that the older I get...the more anxiety I have. (Of course I am CERTAIN the 8 years of fertility treatments, miscarriages, failed cycles, failed adoptions and everything else in between have NOTHING to do with my increased anxiety - scoff)

When Bam doesn't call me or come home when he says he is going to, my mind automatically reverts to the worse case scenario. Here are some examples:

He was mugged walking to his vehicle and is laying unconscious in an alley somewhere in downtown Phoenix.

He was involved in a horrific car crash on the way home and his phone was ejected from the vehicle no where to be found which is why the paramedics have not contacted me yet.

He has run away with the new secretary at work, they are on their way to Tahiti never to be heard from again.

My mind is just a bowl full of fun isn't it?

It isn't just with my husband. It is with EVERYTHING. I can be just driving down the freeway minding my own business and catch myself thinking...if I had a blow out right now and part of the tire hit the motorcyclist behind me, it would surely cause him to crash and possibly die. How would I be able to live with myself if that happened? I should pull over and check the condition of my tires at the next off ramp.

Seriously...bowl full of fun.

I can't remember when this started, but it has recently made me think about having children...a lot. I functional of an adult am I going to be with all these crazy anxious thoughts running through my head about my kids?

My mom friends say they worry all the time. They worry about bullies at daycare and school. They worry about them getting hurt on the playground, about them getting their feelings hurt, getting sick,  being left out, being called names and on and on. My fears when thinking about kids of my own fall along the lines of: getting abducted from their bedroom in the middle of the night, suffocated at daycare, jumped into a gang at school, molested at the neighbor's house, and these are just a few of my fears for the first 10 years! (Ok - I know, I really need to stop watching the news)

Maybe this is just another defense mechanism where my brain is trying to talk me out of having kids altogether because I have just been hurt and disappointed so many times, but it is rather legitimate isn't it? I mean with all of the worrying I do already - how can I had one or two defenseless little ones onto my "worry about" roster without becoming certifiably insane and ending up in a white padded room in a medically induced drooling state.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Am Enough

I have struggled with self esteem issues the majority of my life. I am the youngest of six children and I always found myself struggling to find my own identity in the sea of my large family. I wanted to be unique, I wanted to be my own person but I just wasn't quite sure how to do that.

I have felt this strong desire for as long as I can remember to be accepted by everyone and was so terrified to disappoint people. I am not sure why, people disappoint me all the time. I still love them, I still respect them and life moves on. Our 8 year infertility journey has been 8 years of me feeling like a disappointment every month - do the math...8 years times 12 months - that is 96 times that I disappointed people (and that is just due to infertility - I have disappointed plenty of others for plenty of other reasons). On purpose? Of course not, but it was the failure of my body that caused the disappointment nonetheless.

I disappointed our friends who desperately wanted us to have kids so our kids could play together. I disappointed them because us being able to have kids would have taken the big fat elephant out of the room and eased the tension when we were around each other. I disappointed my family who wanted another baby at Christmas time, or another grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin etc. I disappointed my husband in so many ways - all un-intentionally of course, but I disappointed them all. Much to my dismay... my friends are still my friends (the good ones anyway - the ones that just couldn't hang were cut loose) my family still loves me dearly and my husband adores me. I Am Enough.

The necklace I bought myself as a daily reminder
I was a healthy weight when I met Bam and about a year after we met my insulin resistance (although I didn't know that is what it was at the time) kicked in and I gained a huge amount of weight and have continued to gain as I have pumped my body full of hormones and drugs encouraging it to produce an egg and then maintain a pregnancy. Then my depression kicked in after months of infertility and I started eating to cover my feelings and I didn't reduce my carb intake because I wanted to feel normal damn it. Everyone else around me can eat it and I just want to be a part of the group - I don't want to feel left out. As I got heavier, my depression worsened, my self image was wrecked and the cycle continued.

I know now that I need to give myself a fucking break. My body, my mind, my heart and my emotions have been through hell and back over the last 8 years. I did the best I could at the time, and now the only thing I can do is try to do better. When I look at myself in the mirror, I need to think kind thoughts and quit telling myself that I am a "fat slob", "unattractive" and "unlovable" just because I don't have the measurements of Heidi Klum, I don't look good in a bikini and I have stretch marks and cellulite. Bam still thinks I am sexy, so why shouldn't I? I have been living with this mentality that as long as I hated myself and hated my body, I would be motivated to lose the weight when in all actuality it is the self hate that has kept me where I am. I have to love myself for who I am, for what I am and the weight I am before I can love myself enough to change the things that I would like to change. I Am Enough.

I Am Enough. I don't NEED to have children in order to be a successful woman. I don't NEED to have children in order to fit in with my friends and family. I don't NEED to have children in order to be loved by others. I don't NEED to be a size 6 in order to be lovable. I don't NEED to lose weight in order to look and feel sexy.

I Am Enough. I DO need to be healthy mentally. I DO need to stop being so hard on myself. I DO need to tap into my creative side. I DO need to accept myself for where I am and who I am. I DO need to exercise more and live a more healthy lifestyle because heart disease runs in my family - NOT because I NEED to be skinny to be cute.

I AM ENOUGH - and so are YOU!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It has been damn near a year since I have posted on this blog and I can't exactly explain why I am back other than the fact that I have missed having an outlet. I have missed having a place to gather my thoughts and leave them. I have missed all of my readers which I am still surprised that I even have - thanks for hanging in there with me!

So much has changed in the last year but mostly myself. The person I was a year ago is so foreign to me now. I am reinventing myself, my priorities, my hobbies and my way of thinking.

For those of you who are returning from my previous blog I would just like to point out a major change. I am not in a good place with god and at times question his existence or at a minimum his sanity and stability. I have a difficult time believing in any religion especially one that portrays an infinite being that "blesses" people with babies only for them to be murdered, raped, abandoned, abused etc. Yet chooses to not "bless" loving, caring, responsible adults with the children they so desperately desire. This is not the only reason I have given up on conventional religion and religious beliefs but it is a big one and for right now it is not up for debate. Do me a favor and do not leave comments trying to convince me otherwise I can promise you they will not be met with an open heart at this point - it is just where I am. As I previously stated, I am reinventing my ways of thinking and I am giving myself permission to follow my beliefs even if they are unconventional.

So...where was I ahhh - a recap of the last tumultuous year - last year at this time my husband, Bam (yes, that is a nickname with a pretty good story behind it) and I had decided to pursue adoption out of the foster care system. We both knew that our hearts had been broken so many times that we would not be able to do any fostering at this time, however we were open and even excited about adopting an older child.

Don't get me wrong, it took me a while to get used to the idea of never having the baby experience, but I used things like no sleep, colic, teething, projectile vomiting, diaper blow outs and the like to help convince myself that I didn't need to do the baby thing - I just really wanted to be a mom. This journey was not AT ALL what I had envisioned - but the end result was the same.

We endured 4 months of classes to teach us how to relate, bond, discipline and nurture children that have been neglected, abandoned, starved, raped, drugged and so many other unconscionable things. Although the information was valuable and I learned a lot, I felt my heart both aching for these poor children, and burning with hate for the adults responsible for these children's pain. By the time we graduated from the classes, I felt like I needed a month or so just to deal with my emotions from the class.

Then, we were thrown a huge wonderful possibility of a curve ball. I was contacted by a young woman that I will call just that...for the sake of this blog. Young Woman is a sister of a friend of mine, 9 weeks pregnant and wanting to place the baby for adoption. We email and Skype a few times and I instantly felt more at ease with this woman whom I had never met than I ever felt possible. It was at that time that I had an epiphany moment and thought that this was going to finally be the end of our journey, everything was fitting together so nicely.

Young Woman never wanted to have children of her own, so I felt partially released from a guilt factor I had regarding infant adoption. I hated the fact that in order for me to have a family via domestic infant adoption, it required such pain and loss to be felt by such selfless individuals. The fact that she never wanted kids, lessened that for me. The fact that the father of the baby also was not interested in having more children helped even more. Young Woman also wanted to place with a couple that had not been able to have children of their own - which said to me that she had thought about her decision and I felt the risk of her changing her mind and deciding to parent was minimal.

No, I am not an idiot and I know that until birth parents relinquish their parental rights, there is always a risk of them changing their minds, but with Young Woman, I just felt completely at ease and I started letting myself get excited about the potential of being a mom to an infant again.

I was cautious though...I knew that she was talking to another couple as well, so I tried to keep my heart and mind guarded. I created a hidden board on Pinterest of baby cribs, gadgets, clothes, crochet designs etc. so that I could dream and live in this fantasy world while no one else knew, not even Bam knew how deep I was allowing my thoughts to roam. We didn't tell anyone aside from a few close friends and my infertility support group - We had been hopeful so many times, only to be devastated in the end so even though I was confident in our meetings and discussions with Young Woman, I still knew that I was risking another broken heart.

In February we found out that the baby was a healthy baby boy and instantly my dreams started flowing of watching Bam and Baby Boy playing in the backyard, playing catch, fishing. Oh I could go on and on about the dreams and the hopes and the experiences that I envisioned we would have. Her due date is June 26 only days before my birthday and I envisioned spending my very first birthday as a new mother and that 32 would be the best damn birthday yet!

I pulled out the list of names Bam and I had chosen from my nightstand drawer. The paper is leathery and weathered. It is stained with tears and fragile from how many times it has been opened, closed, crumpled and smoothed out again over the last 8 years. There it was...the name for a baby boy that Bam and I had chosen 8 years ago and our chance to use it could be very close!

Young Woman had started to distance herself over the last month or so and I was beginning to feel a little uneasy. She had told me that she was having some mixed emotions and that she was going to a counselor to help her work through her thoughts which I was so grateful for. I am a compassionate person and whether or not she ever wanted kids, I knew that now she was feeling the baby move in her belly, feeling his hiccups, feeling his kicks and was likely having the same daydreams about him that I was - I couldn't begrudge her for that nor blame her - that is completely normal.

Young Woman contacted me in March and let me know that she had indeed decided to parent. She was as sweet as possible in her message to me yet my heart still broke into a thousand little pieces. Then I got pissed at myself for letting myself get so attached, for allowing myself so much hope and so many dreams. I hated myself for putting myself in the position to feel this much grief all over again.

It took me a few days to realize that I felt myself not only grieving the dreams and the hopes of a newborn baby, but I felt myself also grieving a relationship with Young Woman. I had envisioned a beautiful open adoption where she comes to our house for Holidays and birthdays and we talk on the phone and email and become great friends. I had envisioned us becoming a part of her family and she a part of ours.

This was a much different type of grief for me. I was grieving so much more than the loss of a child and I still am. As I sit here typing this, my heart still hurts, I still feel a little lost and I am unsure that I can survive any more pain on this journey to build a family.

I have begun reading books about living child free and imagining what that looks like. I have been paying close attention to how my feelings are changing as I educate myself on child free living and whether or not that is an option for Bam and me. At this point doing anything is just too painful, so instead we are doing nothing. We are focusing on ourselves, on our marriage that has been bruised by devastation and our careers.

There will be a time to make a decision, or maybe we will just fall into the child free lifestyle and find ourselves comfortable there someday, but today is not that day. It is not the day to make that decision and it is instead a day to reach back to something that used to bring me joy and release that turned into a dark, depressing compulsion somewhere along the line and breathe new life into it...My Blog.