Archive for May, 2010
May 7, 2010 | By: Liz
You are probably being inundated with blog posts right now, and articles about how to cope with Mother’s Day while you’re waiting to become a mother. The last Mother’s Day I spent before I became a mother, I spent it at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Puerto Rico where Charlie took me for the weekend right before our next IVF cycle started. I spent the weekend doing my Lupron injections and drinking Pina Coladas and beer by the pool (sorry Dr. Chung, I know you said no alcohol!! oops). Charlie went hiking. Neither of us was in much mood to deal with the holiday so we escaped. I got pregnant with twins that IVF cycle and shortly after miscarrying the pregnancy decided to adopt. What I didn’t know then that I know now is that there is a far more productive means of escaping. Instead of drowning your sorrows or hiding, visualize how you want Mother’s Day to be when you are a mom.
Charlie keeps asking me what I want to do this Mother’s Day. I don’t know. Breakfast in bed brought on a tray by my little boy sounds too cliche. And the kitchen will just be a disaster that I get to clean up. Instead, I have been visualizing future mother’s days and trying to create a rich memory for this year. I am trying to create the perfect Mother’s Day in my head.
I asked for a trip to the gardening store and extra hands in our garden so that I can plant things that grow. I want to celebrate this year’s Mother’s Day by making the earth rich and fertile and creating life that I can look at outside the kitchen window when I am doing dishes later this summer and be reminded of Mother’s Day. I am trying to decide what flowers and plants I want to put in.
Mother’s Day has different meanings to all of us. It is an especially painful holiday when your womb and arms are empty, when your power to reproduce or be a mother is in someone else’s hands. But you do have power to visualize what it will be like when you are a mother and in so doing, by creating every detail down to the smells and textures, to the exhaustion you will feel at the thought of cleaning up the mother’s day mess in the kitchen, you help speed your way to its manifestation. Create your future mother’s day and write it down. Live it in your head. Don’t for a second doubt it will be real. The flowers this year are only a start for me. I need to visualize more Mother’s days, with more babies. Where will I be then, what flowers will I be planting?
And you know what, as I am writing this, I remember that my first Mother’s Day as a mother, I planted a rose bush in the garden of the house we were renting. I had made a promise to myself before my very first IVF cycle that I would thank the earth and plant something to remember that time in my life. I totally forgot about that. WOW. Maybe this is my way of celebrating. But clearly, that promise has been realized. Yours will be too. And mine will be again.
So, what does your perfect Mother’s day look like?
May 4, 2010 | By: Liz
Today I saw a pregnant woman on my way home from dropping off my son at school. I had been in this really amazing place of feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for my life and my children. I was literally weeping at this vision of a train of school buses leaving his elementary school. I had him in the back seat. This was my dream for years and now I am among those whom I envied. I am a MOM. It was the most beautiful moment and I stopped myself to “appreciate” the appreciation in my heart. I stopped myself to thank the Universe. I looked in the rear view mirror and told my son I loved him. Life was full, rich and I was blessed.
I dropped him off and debated which way to drive home. I opted for the way I came so I might catch a glimpse of those school buses again. I could have chosen a faster route home, and a stop at Starbucks, but I wanted to see those buses and feel that wonderful sense of perfection and rightness again. I wanted to hold onto it for as long as I could. Soon, I knew, the day would interrupt and I would be struggling to find that sense of peace and joy. Maybe I should have taken a right instead of the left and gone to Starbucks. My day sure as hell would have been easier.
Because whammo there she was. She was hugely pregnant. She was wearing a white shirt that barely stretched across her belly. She was big and beautiful and I could see her belly button sticking out from a 1/4 of a mile away. With a sudden intake of breath I went crashing from an emotional space of rightness and calm, free falling my way to the depths of despair. Choose the profane word you like most and insert it here. Mine begins with an “F”.
WHY???? Why does this continue to bug me. Why cannot I get past my need to be pregnant. My life is full and rich, and challenging and amazing and hard and beautiful . . . just as it is intended to be. And yet one siting of a woman filled with the life that I have yet to bear and I turned into a weeping mass of depression. I pulled the car over to watch her for a few moments, turned on the Dixie Chics’ song about infertility, and had a good cry.
I imagine my heartbreak this morning was more real because I recently lost an unexpected pregnancy. I spent a little over a week of my life living in wonder at the miracle of nature and my body that I could conceive at 43 without Lovenox and without donor sperm. According to the ultrasound, I was 5w4d when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t keep the ultrasound because I didn’t want another reminder. I knew the pregnancy wouldn’t stick. That was too much to ask for. But I did live with this beautiful secret for much longer than I expected to until the inevitable . . . .
Now I am struggling to make sense of this accident. My body is still recovering, and I am sure I am 100% normal in my response to that which I long to have, and see all around me, and all too often. It is Spring and I have always noticed that I see more pregnant women in the Spring. It sucks that so far this experience has been denied to me. I sat in the car praying that one day that the Universe will let me carry a child to term. I also accepted the fact that there is a lot of work and change that I realize I must do if I want to realize my dream (another subject in and of itself).
But what shocks me is that I/we can go from such unbelievable peace, contentment and gratitude to the depths of despair so quickly. This is what infertility brings us. I have been thinking alot about this infertility rollercoaster thing we’re on. I don’t think it’s a roller coaster anymore. I think it’s more like bungy jumping. Every attempt we make at conception or adoption is like diving off a bridge with a seemingly thin rope tethered to your ankle. Will the rope be strong enough to pull us up before we hit the ground? Is it short enough to prevent us from smashing into the ground or will we crash and burn? There is so much faith that goes into that bungy jump, so much strength and bravery that we need in order to let go and try and feel the sensation of falling safely. Or to try and feel the the glory of the wind rushing past our face and facing the risks and fears that the “velcro” won’t stick. My velcro didn’t stick this time and boy did I crash and burn.
But I learned something too. I learned that I don’t want to give up my dream of carrying a child. I’m willing to do the work and face the risks inherent in striving for this as my reality. I learned that I am willing to dive off of the bridge again. In fact, I am craving and longing for that opportunity. I am officially no longer risk adverse and have put nothing but my happiness and the desire to fill each and every one of my dreams — not just being pregnant, but all of what I need and want as a person but have been too afraid to ask for because of what it might mean to the rest of my life, or how it might impact the rest of my life. I decided that my children deserve a happy mother, not just a good mother but one who is happy and fulfilled by all aspects of her life and her being-ness. Indeed, I think now that if I hadn’t had the miscarriage I might have failed to teach my children a valuable lesson: to believe in yourself and your dreams. I discovered I am brave and strong.
I know now with a certainty that words cannot convey that my children came to me out of my faith that I would be a mother; that the events and circumstances in my life have all had meaning both in the way they came to be and because of the time at which they were realized. The Universe plays a roll in everything that happens, there is no coincidence to anything that has happened to me. All of it was part of my own divine inspiration. And with that divine inspiration I will get to a place where I am standing on top of the bridge again waiting to feel the rush of wind, the freedom in the free fall and the unknown, and the joy and terror of staring my demons in the face and waiting to feel the cord tied around my leg catch me as the velcro finally sticks. There is more to my journey through infertility. Of that I am certain. Of the outcome, I am certain in that too.
I have spoken with three clients today. All of whom feel as I do. That the journey seems too hard but that there must be purpose to it. One client left me the most beautiful voice mail last week, thanking me for being a part of her family’s journey and telling me not to give up on my own (she didn’t know about the miscarriage but she must have sensed that I have been depressed and struggling with many different issues in my life and my family). She also said that she knew one thing with certainty, that their journey was enriched by knowing me. I was moved to tears. My experience as a woman, as a lawyer, as an infertility patient are enriched by each of my clients. As I help them with their contracts, with their search for a birth parent, with the daily ups and downs that come on this path, I learn new ways of expressing hope, of finding peace in each moment, of being grateful for what I do have and in renewing my faith in what is possible. I am as grateful for each of my clients as I hope one day they will be (or are) for the work that I do for them. But no one has ever expressed their appreciation or gratitude as she did. I know I am doing exactly what I was intended to do and I would not be doing this work had I not endured 4 IUI’s, 7 attempted (six completed) IVF Cycles, 3 adoptions, and now ten miscarriages. It all had purpose.
This morning as I sat in my car having my cry I wondered why it is so hard (as the Dixie Chics sang so eloquently). Is there is a reason it is so hard? And I realized that there is a reason. It is because it’s part of learning that the process doesn’t have to be hard. I can instead choose to believe in the outcome I want. What is hard is the fact that we don’t allow ourselves to believe in what is possible. And in not believing in what is possible, we prevent it from taking place.
It is not easy to go from the pain and grief I felt this morning to having total and complete faith that my dream will one day be a reality. But if I don’t hold steadfast to that dream and believe in believing, the velcro will never have a chance to stick. These last few months I have discovered a place inside me that is strong and fearless. I know without a doubt that I have the power to create my dreams. I am glad I saw that pregnant woman this morning, and I am glad that I spent time weeping for the child I just lost. But that child is a reminder that my body works, that my dream is alive, and that I am moving closer to it. We are all moving closer to it, as long as we create the vision and believe it will happen, we are moving toward its’ creation. In this case, it’s the creation of our child and/or our family.
It’s okay to have hard days. The hard days make us understand how worthwhile the journey is and make us appreciate the easy days more. Today, I am taking baby steps toward my next baby’s steps. I don’t know when, but I do know it will BE. What I can’t do is allow the hardness of the process overtake the belief in its outcome.
If you too are having a hard day, remember that you’re not alone. And remind yourself to hold onto your dream and to make it more and more vivid every day. Your baby, and mine, are coming. In their own time and their own way. As it is meant to be. I wouldn’t have met all these wonderful men and women if it wasn’t for the way it had to be. I wouldn’t change a thing. Not even the baby that I just lost. S/he taught me an incredible lesson. To have faith in myself.
It may sometimes take baby steps to get through the day, or the week or the month. But each little baby step is one GIANT step closer to the reality you envision. Believe yourself. Believe your dream. Don’t give up.