Saturday, September 22, 2012

Putting IF in Its Place

Welcome ICLWers!  If you're coming to this blog from other than ICLW, please check out the box on the right column and see what it's all about!  Go ahead...connect with others who "get it."  You won't be sorry you did.

I'm a therapist specializing in infertility and adoption.  I could go on and on about why I'm writing here, but here are the basics:
  • I've dealt with both infertility and adoption
  • I feel I've navigated both waters pretty well (and about a year of time when I was adamant child-free living was for me)
  • I'm convinced that helping others is precisely why I had to experience the heartbreak and difficulty
Welcome!

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There was a time in my former IF life when I would be moving along swimmingly and the smallest, most trivial thing would remind me that I was infertile. 

Once when I was hiking I stopped to marvel at the beauty of a tree.  Harmless, right?  Eh-hem.  Here were my thoughts:

"What a gorgeous tree!  I wonder how old it is?  I wonder what this place looked like when it was just a seedling?  Oh!  Look!  What a cool branch with a little nook to sit in!  I bet I could climb that tree and sit there with a great book for a couple of hours.  The branch should be pretty strong.  I bet it's strong enough for a treehouse let alone me!  Aww...a treehouse.  Wouldn't it be fun to build a treehouse?  I can picture T and our son or daughter making a weekend project of that.  I bet they'd be all cute and dirty in overalls..."

It went downhill from there.  Trust me. 

The point is, when one is dealing with IF, IF is in everything.  In every thought.  In every experience.  In every wish.  In every seemingly benign walk down the street.  Heck, I bet a bowl of alphabet soup would randomly spell out "baby," just because an infertile was eating it.

Today I was researching for a work-related thing and came across this book that I want to purchase from Amazon:

When I went to add it to my wish list, this is what I found:


If anybody ever asks me the definition of irony again, I'm just going to show them these screen shots.  Seriously.  IF is inescapable. 

Obviously there are things that happen in our universe that are totally out of our control.  IF in particular feels like one gigantic chunk of chaos, tossing us every which way until we (hopefully) find some sort of footing.  However, it doesn't have to be that way.

Hear me out!

Think about this.  When we are living life in the infertile world, IF becomes prominent.  Obviously.  It probably looks something like this:


In reality, though, your life is filled with many more things aside from IF.  I gather you don't sit around all day and think about IF, right?  Even if you use the bathroom and take a shower, you're doing something else besides dealing with IF.

What would happen if you put IF in its rightful place?  What would happen if you start to realize and emphasize the things outside of IF?  It might look something like this:


IF is there. And it's prominent.  But it's not the majority of your life.  You're a wonderful person with lots going on and you deserve to find some peace by putting IF in its rightful place with the rest of the important things.

Starting today!  Give yourself an hour to do something else besides getting on Dr. Google and finding the next New Age remedy to try.  Put IF in its proper place.  YOU are the boss of IF!  It's time to feel empowered!

Until next time...be well,

~M


P.S. You must excuse my bad art...or laugh at it.  Whichever. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

They're coming! Those Darned Holidays

It's September.  2012.  Sometimes I cannot get a full grasp on how fast time goes, can you?

Coupled with infertility, time going by fast is not a good thing.  When you suddenly realize that the friend who was first "trying" with you now has a 5-, and 3-year-old, it hits you.  Hard. 

Once back-to-school starts, it's all over!  Because Halloween is knocking on your door, and then it's Thanksgiving inviting Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year, and Lunar New Year all in right with it.

And let's face it.  These holidays are super kid focused.

How many of you see the miniature super heroes begging you for candy in your neighborhood and want to cry (or scream, or run away)?  How many of you secretly resent your in-laws for not reciprocating in the whole holiday gift-giving, because you don't have children.  Just another reminder, right? 

What do you do when you want so much to be a part of the kid-focused celebration?  What do you do when you have to shop for gifts for your 8,000 nieces and nephews....you obviously have to visit the dreaded "kid" parts of stores.  What do you do when you get the "So???  When's the baby coming???" questions from family and friends during holiday gatherings.

Short of becoming a raving lunatic (at least publicly), taking care of your emotional self during the holidays is extremely necessary.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Seek the support of a loving spouse or friend who "gets it."
  • Have a bunch of tools in your toolbox for answering unwanted kid questions.  Here's a great article with a few ideas.  And here's another great article from the Stirrup Queen.
  • Begin your own holiday tradition for just you and your partner; You are a family after all!
  • Love on your pets!  Or dress them up.  Or both.  Santa photos with the family parakeet, anyone?
Yes, I actually did this to my poor doxie. He's smiling. No really, he is.


  • Journal, journal, journal.  Nothing is as healing as a good journal vent.  If you really want to begin a healing process, write a letter in your journal to your baby.  What do you want him/her to know about what your holidays will be like?
  • Distract yourself with a wonderful new (or old) hobby, preferably something that ignites the creator in you.  Start a garden (indoors if you're in a cold area), draw, crochet, make gifts for people....the possibilities are endless!
This is just a small list of things to do for yourself during the upcoming holidays. I'll be talking more about it as they draw nearer.  For now...deep breaths.  Live presently.

Until next time...

~Maria