Writing down the REAL stuff.

August 7, 2008 at 4:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

So I was reading back over some of my recent posts… and I realized something today.

It’s so much easier for me to blog about the “bad mother” feelings then it is to talk about how much I love Baby O… and how happy I am these days.

Of course I’ll be honest here – it’s my blog, after all. I have days where I am incredibly tired. And frustrated. Which, you know, JUST SO HAPPENS to coincide with the times that Baby O fights taking a nap and cries and cries instead.

But overall?

I’m happy.

During all the years of infertility, it was a struggle for me to manage my fear and despair. I worked very hard at staying in the moment, worked really hard on focusing on the good in my life. But it was a slippery slope for me; if I allowed myself to drift off, I’d end up in a very dark and bad place. Worrying about the future, wondering if something I did in the past was the reason for our infertility in the first place.

Staying in the moment was incredibly hard for me.

But. This summer has been salve for those wounds. I have found myself living each day slowly, savoring it as I would a fine wine or good cheese. Baby O and I have a very relaxed sort of rythm to our days. Even on those days where he’s fussy and cranky, we’ll go out for a walk or spend a half hour on my bed together. And usually the one on one time will allow him to come out of his funk. If not, a good night of sleep usually helps us both.

And, you know. Since September IS coming, I’ve tried to look ahead just a little bit. I’ve contacted a recruiter and had a couple of interviews. I have two more next week. I bought a new suit and pair of shoes. I’ve brought my work clothes back down from the attic, and I’ve tried a few on to see if they’ll fit, or if I need to do some shopping before I start a new job.

But the bulk of my energy these days is wrapped in the here and now. In Baby O’s smile. In the smell of him. In the downy hair on his head. In the feel of his cheek under my lips when I kiss him. In the milestones he seems to be reaching daily.

He is the joy of my life.

And though it seems like too neat an ending to say “it was all worth it,” every day I’m with him, I marvel at the fact that if it weren’t for infertility, we wouldn’t have him.

Would I savor him as much as I do if our path to him was easy?

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  1. It’s a crazy realization, isn’t it? Imagine if just one of those other cycles worked. You’d have a whole ‘nother kid. Wouldn’t that suck? The saddest part is that you wouldn’t even know what you were missing.

    I think of that at 4 AM when my daughter is cuddled up next to me nursing and I get all teary eyed.

  2. i think you would savour him as much as you do no matter how he found you. i find that the pain of NOT having an Auden still lingers but my absolute-words-cannot-do-it-justice adoration for that little boy are so primal… and were turned on like a switch. i don’t think anything could have changed that.

    i’m so happy to read your blog these days and to see what a great mother you are and how happy you are with baby O.

    xo

  3. OH, that last sentence got me…I was thinking about that just this morning.

    If I hadn’t traveled this road and instead gotten pregnant three years ago with no problems, would I savor every movement I feel? Would I prepare as much and worry as much about being a good mother?

    I know that I don’t think I would have been as good of a mother as I am going to be now. Now with years of empathy training and learning patience and when to keep my mouth shut and not offer assvice. Not that I”m going to be “Mom of the Year” – but a better one.

    Infertility sucks – and I already dread going through secondary infertility some day – but I learned so much and I can’t imagine my life if I hadn’t been down this path.

  4. It’s absolutely amazing. I feel that same way with Lily. If things had been easy for us or if we would’ve been able to conceive a bio child, we wouldn’t know her. I wouldn’t have her in my life and have the incredible pleasure of being her mom. It’s so cliche and sounds so ridiculously corny, but it is all worth it. I wouldn’t change a single thing – not one bit of the pain because it’s led me where I am today.

    And I do think it makes us better moms. I think it makes us feel guiltier about not liking very single moment of being a mom because we feel like we’re supposed to love every second since it was such a struggle to get here; but more importantly, it does make us realize what a blessing our children are and helps us savor all the little moments. I love nothing better than my quiet time at night with Lily. We say our prayers together and I get to kiss her goodnight every single night. There’s nothing better than that.

    I love reading your blog and love reading about the joy you’ve found in baby O. Squeeze him for us:)

  5. I never understood my losses until I became S1’s mom, then it all made sense. If those pregnancies had come to term, we wouldn’t have him. For too many reasons to go into here, we were meant to be his parents and it all worked the way it was supposed to. Hard to comprehend during the sad times but in reflection, very clear.

    Off topic~do you have any idea how Mary Ellen and Steve are doing? I think of them often.

  6. AMEN. That’s how I feel, too. Exactly.

    Sometimes it’s hard, but I never forget how WORTH IT it all is. 🙂

  7. I wonder the same thing all the time….

    “Would I savor him as much as I do if our path to him was easy?”

  8. I would like to think that no matter how M got here I would have the same feelings about him, but I do think that the struggling and heartache has made me appreciate his life a little more than I would have if it had all been easy!

  9. Our success came by a different path but those last three sentences say it all for me as well.

    (Not to mention the tired, frustrated part when babies like to cry instead of sleep!)

  10. it is awesome that you have found a sense of peace. IF made me a better person. and, you know what?-i think us IF’er’s do savor parenthood-when we arrive-more. there, i said it.
    xoxo

  11. I’ve been thinking the same thing, esp with what has been and is going on right now in our lives/home etc. I agree with aprongstrings, I DO think the IF makes you look at parenthood differently, you are hesistant to complain, you choke up at all the milestones and accomplisments, you reslish everything even the stinky diapers, because as I like to say.,..”If I complain then they wouldn’t be here and that is an unacceptable life to me” .

    I know that the next few weeks will be interesting and different, going back to work will be a new transition but you’re a GREAT mom and a strong woman and everything that happens from now on will be worth it.

    now go spend some more time with that handsome little devil you call Baby O.

    *hug*

  12. This is a wonderful post. I really needed to hear something like that this week- a reminder that all the hassle, the discomfort, the frustration, the fear will make the final outcome so much the sweeter.

    I love reading your posts. Best of luck finding the right new job.

  13. I feel teh same way… We are so blessed to ahve out little ones

  14. This is an amazing post and sums up how I feel a lot of the time. Our daughter, a product of IF treatments is almost 8 years old and I everyday I’m amazed at the things she does and how she’s the most wonderful little girl ever. As I’m in the very early stages of pregnancy #2 from IVF, I’m so excited to get to have these feelings for another human being one last time (I know this is the last child we will have. It took too long for this one). The gratefulness is just oozing all over me.

  15. It is really amazing how IF changes who we are, the ways we look at things and most important, our thoughts and feelings.

    We each are who we are today because of the road we have walked.

    Even though is obvious we are not all smiles and happiness about our IF road, we are fortunate enough to try to make the best out of it and that is what makes us better parents and better persons after all. And that is what makes us “treasure” our life every day, even the most difficult days.

    Keep up the outstanding job momma and always remember you are NOT alone in this road, we are all in this TOGETHER!

  16. I tend to agree with everyone else here — I appreciate my daughter more for everything we went through. This doesn’t mean I don’t give myself permission to be frustrated with her at times when a non-IF parent would be frustrated with their child, though!

    Being a mom is so hard, but it’s fulfilling in a way that nothing else in my life ever has been.

  17. I found my way here though someone else. First…congrats on your baby.

    But I have to say, that when you ask if you’d still savour him as much if your path to him was easy…I find that frustrating to hear.

    I have 3 children. They are all about 27 months apart from the next. And they were concieved naturally and planned. We are blessed that we had no trouble concieving, and were able to say “lets try for baby X in a couple months, the timing feels right” and have it happen.

    But please don’t feel that just because I, and many many other “fertiles” didn’t struggle down the path to conception and birth, we have less of an appreciation for our children. My bond and love for them goes deeper than anything I can imagine in this world and beyond. I am devoted to them and tell them each day how much they mean to me. I cry when I think about how amazing they are and how grateful I am that my husband and I have them. I appreciate them, and though I didn’t have to struggle to concieve, I was still scared of pregnancy(I have a NICU nurse mom…I know all the things that can go wrong), still awed and amazed by pregnancy, and nursed them well over a year(almost 2 for my last one) because I knew it was an amazing gift I’d been given to be able to provide for them.

    I have friends that have/do stuggle with infertility and I ache for all they go through. But they would never for one minute tell me that they will love/appreciate their kids more than I apprecaite mine just because they are working with Specialists to concieve them. In fact they tell me often that its because they see how much I adore my children and what amazing parents we are that they know the fight is worth. That all the shots and meds and BFN’s just make them more determined when they see how much joy we get from our kids. And I take that as a huge compliment.

    Just like I would never tell them to give up fighting for their future children or to “just adopt”. For the record I am adopted and if anyone wants to talk to me about it as an option I have always been willing to but would never tell someone to give up on thier dream of conception, pregnancy, birth and a genetic tie because by having my own bio kids I know how much that stuff can mean. However when our friends have chosen to adopt I am more than supportive to tell them that the genetic ties that I don’t have with my parents and siblings, don’t make a rats behinds difference, because we are family through and through. I can relate to both sides of adoption and biological ties.

    But you can’t know what someone else feels and make assumptions about them. You HAVE had to struggle. You don’t know what its like NOT to. I haven’t had to and don’t know what its like to. But I can tell you, that I can’t possibly imagine anyone loving and apprecaiting and adoring their children for who they are, any more than I do. Sound familiar??

  18. Alex, thank you for your comment – I appreciate it. Please understand that when I wonder if infertility has made given me the ability to savor my son more… I am NOT judging people who have gotten pregnant on their own timeframe. Nor am I saying that “fertiles” don’t appreciate their kids.

    My own personal feeling is that our struggle with infertility has made me more patient, more willing to live in the moment… which has translated into being a better parent.

    But that’s ME, and not everyone. Trust me, I know better than that.

    I worked very hard to keep perspective during the years that we endured treatment. I gave people the benefit of the doubt – even the ones that didn’t understand how hard it was for us. I really worked hard to accept that not everyone can get pregnant when they want to.

    And I do NOT, in any way, judge the people who are lucky enough to plan their families.

  19. That was a lovely post, and I am so happy that YOU are so happy!

    You have walked a very challenging road, and now are on the other side of all that pain and loss. And you are mindful of all the joy you’re experiencing in these moments. And all of those moments add up, hopefully, to a wonderful life!

  20. Hi Serenity,

    It’s not that I think you’re saying we don’t apprecaite our kids…but even in reading the comments here, and ones I’ve read before, I just can’t help but feel that many IVFers feel they don’t just appreciate them more(than they might otherwise have) but that they appreciate them more than those who don’t have to struggle. Which of course I can’t help but take issue with.

    Yes infertility makes you work for what you want, and it makes you evaluate your options even more(can you afford to do treatment, is it worth 3 mortgages “just” for a child, will you be able to stay at home with them now that you’ve gone into debt to create them??) moreso than those of us that don’t struggle do. Although we of course think about those things too…but in different terms. But IF can also make some people hard on themselves and have unrealistic views of pregnancy and childrearing(an acquaintance was convinced she would be perfect and was hit hard when she realized that the dream she’d worked for wasn’t as “perfect” as she’d thought.) Not everyone has these feelings of course when they are infertile, and some fertile women have them too. I think as a society we set ourselves up with such high expectations that when they don’t measure up(work, marriage, family, friends etc) we naturally beat ourselves up. Which is a shame.

    I guess my point in commenting was just to stand up for the “fertiles” out there and let you know that just because we don’t have the same struggles, doesn’t mean that we don’t know exactly how lucky we are. I don’t think any good mom can hold her child, watch them sleep, smell them a millions times a day while hugging them, clean their diapers, nurse for 3 hours in a row during growth spurts at 2am, and listen to Dora the Explorer 800 times, and not realize just how much she loves her child and how much she apprecaites each and every aspect of who they are, and wondering in sheer amazement at how they got there.

    It doesn’t matter if the baby came through ART, adoption, or natural conception…each mother should be appreciated for how they raise their child and not just how they got there. Whether you suffered through ART or got pregnant at the drop of a hat by blinking means nothing in the grand scheme(not to devalue years of trying or 28 hour labours)…but its what you do with the child when their here that tells the most about what type of person and mother you are.

    But all that said, I am glad you feel that you can appreciate your baby more than you might if you hadn’t had to struggle. The most important thing is that you do appreciate him. When he’s grown up he won’t remember all you did to get him there, but he will remember how he was raised 🙂

    Does what I’m trying to say come across?? Its hard to explain it in written words…

  21. Serenity – I read it as if you were talking about your own personal circumstances, just FWIW.

    Alex – I do see your point and appreciate it, and I think it is clear (moreso on the second posting).

    I think we’re all on the same page here (hopefully). There shouldn’t have to be a competition, just people getting on with their lives the best they can. Great line about remembering the way he was raised.

    There is a temptation to think that infertility will give you a greater appreciation – not only compared to what *you* would have been like without it, but compared to others who didn’t have to suffer it. Sometimes I feel like I was cheated out of those years to spend with my child. After all, I wasn’t getting any further from the end of my life all that time we were trying.

    Sometimes it’s nice to think we got compensated for that. In a way, like Serenity, I think we did, but unfortunately, I don’t know that it was enough to cover the whole loss. One day the whole wound won’t be as raw and I’ll just let it go, but sometimes it still makes me crazy to think I could have been just as happy without being dragged through the profound suckage. At the very least, it’s nice to dream every now and then. Please understand this when you start feeling frustrated at the attitude. Hopefully it will help you to not take it personally! 🙂

    Bea

  22. Just still trying to hash out my thoughts here…

    I guess what I’m saying is I can tell myself I appreciate him more, but then I can’t prove it. After all, how many mothers say they were unprepared for the way parenthood made the feel? Perhaps it would have been the same. I’m certainly sure fertile mothers love their kids loads. Who can judge how deeply others feel, anyway, when you can’t even accurately say for yourself how it might have felt, had things been different? And that goes for both sides of the equation. So let’s call the whole thing off, right? That’s my rational side talking.

    But my irrational side can’t quite let me run with that thought now, because the whole things still hurts too much and I need to not hurt so I can do my mothering job properly. So please don’t be too hasty to take it away from me, because I still need it. If you love your kids as much as you possibly ever could, you don’t need anyone else to believe otherwise, so just let others heal in their own time. 🙂 smiley because I want you to read it in a friendly tone of voice, and because everyone will heal eventually, honest. Meanwhile, just don’t let it get you.

    Bea

  23. I’m so glad you’ve found such salve, and I hope to be able to write the same at this time next year. It is hard to learn to be happy after IF, and even harder to talk about it, as I am learning.

  24. BTW, by “harder to talk about it,” I meant “harder to talk about that happiness.”


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