Monday, December 30, 2013

Random Thoughts Before New Year

1. The Important Letter.

I've sent my mom the letter via my brother (I asked him to print it out). It ended up being a 4-page MS Word document (plus a paragraph on the 5th page). Still no word from her via SMS to me. I imagine it's going to take time for her to bury the dream that she's been having for us. I hope the other half of my letter gave her comfort, because the first half talked about my honest feelings when it came to our infertility journey. It was REALLY hard to write the letter and I was on edge the whole day yesterday while waiting for the response. 

In the end I contacted my brother via YM and asked him how it went. She said that mom had cried. I was so emotional during our chat in YM and I started crying, too. My bro helped explain to her that I wasn't blaming her and that I knew she meant well, but that I'd like to be supported not by her praying about a miracle pregnancy or by her telling me to keep on praying to get pregnant. I have given her more ideas on what to pray on in the letter, so hope that helps, too. My bro said that she must be sad when she read about our struggles and all the feelings that I had during the tough period of our infertility journey. I sent her an SMS yesterday, telling her that I'm thankful to have a mother who prays for me and that I love her and I ask her not to be too sad because we're doing fine.

2. Infertility and Relationships.

Sometimes I feel that infertility is a double-edged sword. When I was preparing to write the letter for my mom, I knew it would crush her, too. I don't want to crush her dream for us, but I felt that it must be done for the sake of our relationship. I began to feel our relationship cracking and I don't want to lose our relationship. I was struggling to try to find a way on how to crush her dream gently and I hope I have succeeded in doing so. 

Other than that, here's also something I wrote weeks ago about infertility and friendship:  

"Infertility is a tricky thing to deal with when you have a pregnant close friend whose pregnancy reminds you of your losses. As much as you'd like your friends to tell you as many parts of their joys and sorrows and as much as you'd like to tell your friends about your joys and sorrows, it's not that easy to figure out the fine line. The fine line where you don't want to burst someone else's happy bubble by telling them that their stories trigger very soft spots within yourself, but then again you wonder if you should let them know about at least some of them because you want them to understand your journey. The fine line where you wonder how much stuff you should tell your friends about your feelings because you fear that they are going to hold back sharing their joys because they don't want to hurt you, but on the other hand you don't want to miss all the lovely moments even if those moments trigger some pain within your deepest self."

It IS a shame that infertility is affecting those around me this way, but I welcome the lessons that it's giving me (and other lessons that it will give me in the future).

3. I found this article via an FB share and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it for so many different reasons so I'd share it here too: Confronting the Lie: God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle.  

4. A friend of mine gave me this challenge weeks ago and I've finally found my word for 2014. 

My word of the year is “Disentangle”. I need to practise disentangling myself from any emotional connection or baggage so that I can take a step back and celebrate other people’s beautiful moments with them without drowning in grief when their beautiful moments are the ones that acutely remind me of what I will never have. I want to disentangle myself from those heavy weights that make me want to crawl or drown in my grief so that I can stand up and continue my healing journey.

Here's the challenge in case you want to participate: What Will You Choose For Your Word of 2014? 

Last but not least, Happy New Year! Wishing you more peace, comfort, and healing throughout 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Peaceful Christmas

We had a peaceful Christmas with MIL as usual (no kids involved). BIL and SIL came over for a while, but then they left to go to the graveyards. We went to the graveyards already before they came for a visit to light some candles in front of hubby's grandparents' and FIL's graves. FIL's grave doesn't have a gravestone yet. 

Before Christmas, I had a "pat my own back" moment. :-D The close friend who's pregnant posted a side view and front view baby bump pics in FB, so naturally the photos garnered lots of lovely comments. In the beginning I wanted nothing to do with it, but then I had an experiment with myself...I took some time to clear my mind, then suddenly a thought occurred, "Hey, what if it's some random acquaintance who's pregnant and it's the first time for her to post the baby bump pics like these for the whole world to celebrate? How would you deal with it?"

I took my time to step back mentally and it worked!!! YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!! It was like unlatching a mental connection with her so that I could respond in a more neutral fashion. It felt GOOD to be able to mentally step farther away as a way of emphasizing that her experience had nothing to do with mine. *pat on the back* I've shared this with the GW ladies and I received so much warmth from them. It feels nice to have people with whom I can celebrate this kind of victorious moment. :-D

I actually used the trick again just now (FYI I'm having my PMS now) as I almost felt a thump on my chest as she had just posted a photo of herself holding a tiny Christmas stocking with the writing "My first X-mas". For a second there I was thinking, "That could have been me" but then I forced myself to step away mentally again and I could comment on the photo to celebrate the moment with her. Mind you, I think this is easier done because it happens in the internet world***, not face-to-face. I don't know if this trick can be done IRL (in real life) or not, but I'll remember to try it out if I'll ever have the chance to do it IRL.

*** I'm further away in my healing journey, so I also think that's one reason why the trick worked. If we had tried having a baby at the same time and then she had gotten pregnant first whereas we ended up with infertility, I dread to think just how much devastation it could have done to our friendship. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Important Letter

*cross-posted with my other blog*

I'm in the middle of composing an important letter in my head. I'm going to transfer it to text later on. You see, if you're a regular reader, you probably know that we've decided to surrender to life without kids. After spending a few years trying to conceive and thinking that family = husband + wife + a kid (a few kids), it took A LOT of energy and a long winding healing process to finally switch to thinking that a complete family = me + hubby. My huge hole in the heart has dried up and we've been content with what we have (read: meaning on most days, we can focus more on what we have and be thankful for what we have instead of the hole in our hearts, though there are tender moments here and there).

During our infertility journey, I've told my mom succinctly about our decisions and every time she seemed to be supportive. Last summer during our holiday, mom wrote me an SMS saying, "Last year on your birthday I woke up early in the morning and sent a prayer to God so that you'd be pregnant. Instead your SIL got pregnant."

I was shocked when I read that SMS. I told her about our decision to live life without kids already three years ago and back then she said it was a good decision, but last year she was still praying like that? Mind you, I AM thankful that I have a mother who prays for me, but I find that it's rather useless to pray for someone to get something that the person in question doesn't want anymore (that the person in question doesn't even try to get anymore). What's the use for that? I know that I can't control what she hopes for us and I KNOW damn well she means well, but nevertheless I felt sad and upset when I read her SMS. Why? Because what she thinks will make us happier only makes me feel that what we have right now is not enough

The world is already so full of reminders of our losses and we need all the support we get to live the kind of life that we've chosen. In the past I had some guilt over the fact that I couldn't give my parents any grandchildren, but I've learnt to get rid of the guilt...but I haven't actually told her about this kind of guilt. I'm planning to tell her about this guilt so that she knows how hard it was. Choosing this path hasn't been easy and I need all the support I can get. If the person saying those words isn't my mom, I won't even consider trying to explain all these to her/him, but because I'm still going to keep in touch with my mom, I need and want her to understand my situation better.

You see, a few weeks ago I was talking to mom on Skype and she told me that a long-distance relative of hers came for a visit. When the auntie saw my wedding photos, she realized that I had married a foreigner, so she asked my mom the usual stuff (where I live etc.)

Auntie: "Does she have kids?"
Mom: "Not yet, because she postponed it and used birth control pills."
Auntie: "Oh yeah, I also know someone who used birth control pills to postpone having children and after that they had trouble conceiving. They finally had a child after four years of trying."

Again I was shocked when I listened to the story. I know that my mom didn't just tell me this story for no reason. So she was more or less blaming me for the use of birth control pills or postponing having children? And does that mean she still hopes for a miracle pregnancy? 

I'm always thankful to have a mom like my mom and I admire her for many different reasons, but I'm struggling with how to tell her gently about all these things (where do I start, how much should I divulge, etc.?). The reason why I finally thought about writing her all these stuff is because next year we're planning to visit Indonesia and I just don't want to hear these kinds of words coming out of her mouth anymore. These kinds of words don't help us in any way whatsoever. I'm going to take my time in writing this letter out. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy some free days from work! :-)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Other Lessons That IF Has Taught Me

The list below is a long overdue post that I've written halfway through many months ago...I've been busy in Gateway Women Google+ community for women who are childless by circumstance and I've enjoyed myself there. It's nice to know that there are so many supportive women who understand my journey and it's nice to know that I can support many women there because of the childless link among us. It feels GOOD to be in my "own tribe" so to speak, so lately I've shared some things that I usually share in this blog in that community instead. 

Anyway, there are several SUPER TOUGH lessons that I'd like to record here in this blog that infertility has been teaching me:

1. To focus on someone else's happiness when you feel like you're transported to a place of pain: in front of rows and rows of your buried dreams.

I think in the beginning of my IF journey, it was practically impossible to do so 'coz my wounds were still bleeding profusely and the pain was too much to bear sometimes. Nowadays it's "easier" to do it, though that doesn't mean I'm not affected at all. I find that I'm most affected during PMS as well as when I feel that there've been too many reminders of this broken dream around me - that's high time for me to step back and take good care of myself.

2. To channel and work on the grief somewhere else (esp. if the person involved is important and you don't want to rain on their parade). I found that this is more difficult than #1, especially if you're in regular contact with that said person and because the said person is important to you, it's tough not to share your vulnerable moments with them, but then again you don't want them to feel bad about you that they stop sharing their good moments with you. 

3. To know when to shut up, to refrain myself from saying something unnecessary that is potentially hurtful, to choose my words more carefully to the best of my ability whenever people open up to me about their pains and struggles. I want to master the art of comfort in, dump out

I find that at times when I feel uncomfortable when I'm facing someone else's pain or struggles that I find hard to relate to, it's easy to say all the wrong things simply because I feel helpless. 

4. To let go if despite my best efforts I end up hurting someone anyway. Sincerely say sorry, let go, and start all over again. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Year in Recap: Number of Babies/Pregnancy Announcements

OK, so it's not the end of the year yet, but there are only a few weeks left, so let me just have a year in recap of the number of babies that have been born and the pregnancy announcements in my social circle this year (that I know of - there may be more out there that I have no idea about).

First born babies: 10.
First pregnancy: 1 (in her 3rd trimester now)
Second born babies: 9.
Third born babies: 2.
Third pregnancy: 1 (in her 2nd trimester now)
A pair of twins (she's got five children prior to these twins).
First grandchild: 1. 

Total amount of babies/birth announcements: 24 +5** (two aren't born yet).
Total amount of pregnancy announcements: 25.

**Updated on Dec 8, 2013: Just saw another second born baby announcement.
**Updated on Dec 18, 2013: I forgot to add another second baby born a few months ago (just realized it today). 
**Updated on Dec 20, 2013: Two more babies have been born.
**Updated on Dec 26, 2013: A first born baby has been born.  

Hell, I've survived all that this year, so I must give myself a huge pat on the back! :-D Although I must say that it does help that I don't live near any of them except for one of them, but still three years ago it would have been much harder to take all these announcements and photos, especially it would've been so hard to accept my close friend's pregnancy he he...THANK GODDDDDD for the timing!!!

P.S. If you want to see cute photos, go here: Two Ferrets and A Cat. Why? Because I love cute animal photos ha ha ha...

P.P.S. Why did I even take time to count? Just because I felt like it. LOL!!!