WHAT I GIVE

As an involuntarily childless infertility and IVF survivor, the best Mother’s Day gift I can offer my Mom is my own well being

I know it has been awhile, dear readers.  More on my unexpected hiatus from blogging and the pieces above later.  

For now, I‘m happy to report that I made it through my end of the week travels relatively unscathed by any Mother’s Day hoopla.  A few people with whom I’m in regular contact even remembered to not bid me a “Happy Mother’s Day” and upgraded to the somewhat inaccurate but much more welcome “Have a nice weekend” instead.  

Or at least I’d like to think so.  I regularly check myself as I’ve been prone to fantasizing about people giving a shit over the past five or so years, often to find out they were not even dipping their big toenail into my shoes.  But assuming it was intended, these seemingly micro considerations render a difference in one’s well being for the better. Read more

One Reason Why

Santa Clause didn’t visit, but grief did

Today is my five year blogaversary.  Tah – dah!  

It’s strange to think that five years ago today I clicked “publish” on this blog for the first time.   Read more

12 Ways I’m Showing the Holidays Who’s Boss

The surprising benefits of themes, nuts and bolts

I haven’t been playing coy.  At least totally not on purpose anyway.  I’m well aware of what time of year it is.

The often bargain basement notion of “focusing on something else” has functioned as a dismissive annoyance for the better part of my healing process.  “Focus on the life you DO have” – when that was thrown my way for many years people may as well have been poking me with a fire iron.  So disparaging and unintelligent in its simplicity, isn’t it?  While ultimately that was what I wanted to move towards coming out of treatments (because really, who HASN’T thought of that), the trip from point a to point b is nothing short of a brutal, painstaking labyrinth.  And that’s putting it nicely.  

Not to mention that when you are putting yourself through the wringer to try to have a child, and when you are coming to terms with the fact you will never be a parent, these things ARE major parts of the life you do have.  This is not a trip to Vegas, people.  What happens in baby making and involuntary childlessness land does not merely STAY in baby making and involuntary childlessness land.

And there are always those people around you hyped to find you a “distraction”, especially when your pain reaches its peaks and needs to be felt and expressed most.  A distraction deemed for you when it is really for them, as if it’s possible to focus on anything else but trying to comprehend your missing children and make sense of this new life you didn’t ask for.

It seems though, I’ve finally figured out an application for the peripheral “focus on something else” modus operandi (perhaps there is a time and a place and a grain of truth to almost everything).  Yes boys and girls, so far this year I’ve found that “focusing on something else” during the Christmas season may be my way to go for now.

Please do let me explain. Read more

An Easter Note to Self

Pulling into the parking lot, we were overcome by an unanticipated wave of families with young children.  Someone decollapsed and snapped into position a twin stroller as I got out of my car.  On my right, as I walked into the garden center, a set of grandparents were suspended in time, gazing oozingly at their grandchild before re-entering their vehicle.

It was Good Friday, and Holy Shit indeed.   Read more

An Advent Calendar for the Involuntary Childless

My Christmas Conundrum

I remember vividly my first mother’s day which came about three months after our final failed treatment. My heart was so heavy breathing felt like bench pressing. The intensity of my pain deemed the question “Will I survive?” more than legitimate, my need for self protection fell just short of having to inhabit an actual cocoon.

But recently I found myself thinking, there’s an efficiency to mother’s day the winter holiday season is entirely lacking. Albeit one of the more hard hitting emotional blows that exists, it’s mostly one hit and you’re done. A bit of lead up, nauseating commercialism and some violating conversational recap here and there, but a seasonal noose it is not.

This winter holiday/Christmas thing however is a bonafide MARATHON. And the longer something goes on, the more deeply it begs the question “what to do?”, and in cases of being childless not by choice, “what NOT to do?” Our fourth holiday season out of our final failed treatment and I still have no real answers. Read more

Going Out In the World An Iffy Bet For Infertility Survivors

Long Island, New York. We’re in the living room of Sarah Chamberlin, child free not by choice survivor of infertility, as she ponders this upcoming Mother’s Day.

“The rampage of advertisements has already begun” Chamberlin calculates. Read more

Heartbeat

I was missing you on the day things crumbled. My cart seemed so bare two days before Christmas as I struggled to procure the few things your Dad and I needed, trying to make the best of our holiday for two we felt no urge to celebrate.

I didn’t know then why Fairway Market was spinning and going black or why my heart was flailing about or why the vision of the woman cuddling her toddler in the cheese line suddenly felt no less barbaric than the act of trying to exist.

All I knew then was that I missed you. What I know now is that the towering experience of missing you was layered with a malfunctioning nervous system and I think back on that space in time with sorrow. And with a pointed acknowledgement of human fallibility. That space in time when I sat in my car and in my body spinning out of control trying to fathom your absence. An impossible feat under normal circumstances, an utterly defeating experience in the presence of unregulated blood pressure and minimal blood flow to the brain.

I dialed 911 as my heart relentlessly beat out of my chest. Read more

The Paradox of June

An infertility survivor’s early summer musings

I had gotten through Father’s Day without much flinching.  These milestones, or non-milestones, depending upon how you look at it seem to, in me lately, provoke the question:  Does it get easier, or am I getting stronger?  Read more

Mother’s Day Through the Eyes of an Infertility Survivor

“Happy Mother’s Day!” my spin class instructor called out.

I lurched to attention, having been yanked from my “spinning zone”.  This weeks’ class had given me time to think and engorge my lungs with prana after a week of little physical activity.  Visions for my future, for this life I didn’t chose, had finally started to creep in and I used the class to focus on them.  And I was feeling GOOD.

“Happy Mother’s Day to you all!” she called out again.  It was only Wednesday. Read more

A Week in the Life of an Infertility Survivor Pt 1

Hi All –

Wanted to remind those of you in the IF community about Justine’s #MoreThan1in8 project over at Ever Upward.  She’s asking for our photographs and stories of surviving and thriving that she’ll compile, in some surprise way I hear, for National Infertility Awareness Week.  Which is next week already!

I submitted mine a little over a week ago.  I wrote whatever came to mind (shocking, I know) and focused more on the survival aspect as I myself have barely entered the thriving part.  I sense I’ve got a ways to go before that takes hold.

Like Justine I do believe we have power and voice in numbers, and that it is past time for us to be seen.  So if you are in the place of being ready, have your submissions in by this Friday the 22nd.

My writing this week comes in a few parts, so buckle your belts and off we go……

 

The Pause

Musings of an Easter Scrooge

“Cover your left nostril with your right hand ring finger.  Inhale to the count of five through your right nostril.  Pause for one.  Cover your right nostril with your thumb, release your ring finger from your left.  Exhale through your left side to the count of five.  Pause for one.  Inhale through your left side to the count of five……”

I’ll never forget the first time I was instructed to pause between the inhales and exhales of my alternate nostril breathing.  The suspension, for me, was unquestionably luxurious.  I thought I had been introduced to a utopia of sorts, where neutrality and all else that is coalesced, emerging as the perfect cocktail.

In my current life, I’ve been having a decent stretch lately.  I have regained some of my ability to see into the future, at least a few months into it anyway.  What an oddity to have my future vision yield something besides dull blobs of blankness.  I’m slightly busy again, busy for the first time in six years with something other than baby making, surviving and grieving.  And more importantly, it seems I’m actually ready to be. Read more