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.