Intentions.

March 7, 2012 at 10:30 am | Posted in Stuff Outta My Head, The Community | 16 Comments

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about how I feel about the ALI community. I’ve been thinking about it for days, now, though – ever since Mel posted about it.

And I read comments, and re-read comments, and then today’s post too.

When I started regularly blogging 6 years ago, it was to put my experience with infertility out into the universe in the hopes that I’d help people. My goal was to blog about my life honestly, the ups and the downs and the rollercoaster of emotion and happiness and fear in the hopes that maybe someone who was struggling would find my experience helpful in some way. And along the way, I found an amazingly supportive community of women who held me up when I couldn’t stand on my own, and who cheered with me when Lucky was delivered into my arms. And I found some of my best friends through this community; women who I am proud to call part of my family.

I admit I’ve struggled a bit with this blog lately. Blogging has changed pretty significantly in the past 6 years, as has my life. I feel like a blogger really has to work at keeping readers; linking to twitter and facebook and marketing a blog in some way. It’s not enough to click through and comment and read other people anymore, you have to stay on top of it more than I’ve had time for.

And over the years I’ve seen my commenters dwindle. Which hasn’t been a huge deal for me, really. Until last year, when I really struggled with trying again. The support that was my lifeline when we were trying for Lucky seemed to be gone. I started getting in my own head, making assumptions about my readers. Maybe it was because people felt I should be happy with what I have. Maybe I was being a drama queen because I wasn’t able to handle something that, on the whole, is a good problem to have. Maybe I should just relax. Maybe I wasn’t marketing my blog enough.

Maybe I am just a boring, repetitive, bitter old infertile who needs to stop blogging.

Charlie Brown remarked last night, in jest, that I had two moods: angry and tired. And then, for the rest of the night, whenever I said something, he said, See? Anger! or See? Tired!

I am, you know. Angry and tired. Probably all the time. And I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve certainly blogged about my struggles here.

But you know, I am starting to sound like a tired old country song.

I can’t have more kids and I’m tired all the time
And I hate my life and well, shouldn’t I be fine?
Because I have my Lucky and damn is he great
Shouldn’t I be happy even without a new due date?

I know that in the grand scheme of all the things that could go wrong with my life, the fact that I’m (yes, still) infertile is one tiny part. I mean, seriously. I am married to a really good man. I just switched jobs for one that allows me not only a day off a week, but a schedule where I could run every day of the week, pick up Lucky from school, get dinner on the table, clean up, AND prep for the next day – without feeling like I’m doing too much.

I mean, seriously. There are people out there who deal with FAR worse things than being unable to have a second kid. Especially in the ALI community. There are heartbreaking losses and starting over and fear that they will never be a parent.

So why is it I, personally, can’t handle trying this second time around?

And I think that’s where I’ve gone wrong, you see. The intentions of this blog, when I first started, was to put my experience out there in the hopes that it might help that person. Over the years it’s turned into a narcissistic need to have people validate my journey. A need for support, for help.

For people to tell me what to do.

Somewhere over the years, I seem to have lost my compass – my Intention for my life. I don’t know it happened; maybe in the overwhelmed, sleep deprived months after Lucky’s birth, where I really truly had no sense of me as a person anymore, where I could barely PEE on my timeline. And then going to work, in the environment where nothing I did was enough, I needed to do more more more more. And then trying again, where no one can really tell us why IVF isn’t working for us, but let’s try this in the hopes that we’ll come out on the other side of the odds. And then, with having a nearly four year old who really does hold me captive to whether or not I want to fight THIS battle, right now. And then, being injured, not being able to run as much or as fast or at all for so long now.

I haven’t felt like I had control over ANYTHING for a while now. And when I do feel good, it’s that I’ve managed to stay on top of all the things in which I have no control, rather than a real accomplishment of creating an outcome.

And that needs to stop.

The thing about Mel’s post today that was most jarring to me was the implicit assumption that you can create a world in which you want to inhabit.

Wait, what??? You are actually in control of creating your life?

And the thing is: I used to believe that, back in the day. I blogged about finding the positive in our IF experience, working really hard NOT to cede my life to it, to remind myself that life was good otherwise. I HAD that idea, that I could create my life to be what *I* wanted it to be. And, well. Lately I haven’t had the energy to do so now; I’ve gotten lazy, or unwilling to do the work it requires to change my perspective.

Or something.

But I can’t go on like this. Angry and tired is NOT the world I want to inhabit. I don’t WANT to come here and blog incessantly about how I’m scared and overwhelmed and how much IF hurts. I want to be honest, but I want it to be MY honest.

And my honest needs to start with me: changing my perspective, seeing the little things, gathering up those moments where I am gloriously happy and breathing them in. Reframing the bad stuff into a different perspective, letting go of the worries I have zero control over, and refocusing on my purpose in life.

My purpose has GOT to be more than being tired and angry all the time.

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16 Comments »

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  1. What I find for me is that it’s hard to get out of the angry/tired thinking. It’s so easy for me to slip into the role of angry or tired because I AM angry or tired. Like you, I’ve been trying to look at the good in my life. You know what? There is a LOT to be happy about too. Being angry and tired and finding those reasons are like putting on a pair of nice, comfy, sweat pants.

    Time to take off the sweats and see the good in life. I like it when I finally do it, like wearing a pair of jeans that make you feel awesome by how good you look in them.

  2. I too struggle with the idea that we have control over our life, that we can create the life we want. The whole idea that we “chose” to be “childless/free” is still something that irks me. Technically, yes, I did “choose,” if only because I did not choose to continue with infertility treatments or adopt. (As the old Rush song says, “You still have made a choice,” lol.)

    But when I read your post, the old slogan “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” popped into my head. ; ) Or (the line that popped into my head when I read Mel’s post), you have to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” We can’t always choose the random things that happen to us; we can’t control other people’s behaviour. But we can choose how we respond to them. (At least, that’s what I try to remind myself.)

    I’m sorry you are having such a tough time lately. I loved the last line of you post & hope you will soon find that “serenity” you seek.

  3. Wow… I read those posts and some of the comments and holy drama (not drama from Mel’s writing, but drama in the comments). I don’t even know what it all means… the last thing I knew, a PAIL was something you put sand and water in. I have a hard time reconciling myself to the ALI community at this point in our journey. I have my core group of friends who have been with me since post #1, and that has branched out to friends-of-friends (like you!) who I’m so encouraged by and I want to return the favor. But I don’t return to the hub of the ALI community (Mel’s blog, LFCA, or participate in ICLW) often at all. Part of it is that I don’t want to rehash all those old feelings on a daily basis, and part of it is I don’t really know where I fit in. Nobody wants to read about the girl who’s been blogging for 5 years who has 2 kids and wow, who knew, had fairly manageable PCOS that whole time she was in the trenches. So I don’t visit, and I sometimes don’t know what to say when I visit my friends’ blogs who are still trying. I want SO BADLY to be the Pollyanna and tell them to keep their chins up, but again, nobody wants to read it from the girl who made it to the other side. So I just don’t say anything.

    I don’t really know what my point in all of this is. I guess I needed your comment space to vet my own feelings. But know that I’m always cheering for you, even if I’m not sure how to say it. I’m so hopeful that the new world you’re creating is going to be magical. xo

  4. I have been in a “angry/tired/depressed” rut the last few months. Weirdly enough, I think my life hit the derail button about the time I thought I had finally “achieved” the big goal–gave birth to my daughter. Things started going wrong in our lives with jobs, money, etc. And while on the whole, I have tried to take the time out and see the good–well, I have been feeling kinda beaten down lately because we always seem to be going 2 steps forward, 3 steps backwards in our life.

    But lately I have been trying to pull out of the rut–and your post is pretty much where I am too–trying to pull out and get my life to where I am happy at what is and what can be…

    Wishing you luck in pulling out of your rut!

  5. This is so timely for me. Apparently God/the Universe/whatever you believe, is REALLY wanting me to get the message: happiness is a choice. I keep forgetting it but I’ve been reminded like six times this week.

    And commenting, it comes and goes. I always read but sometimes I don’t know what to say. Especially now, where my life is – I’m finding it hard to comment on other blogs…I’m sorry. You do deserve support regardless of my baggage/life.

  6. It’s interesting to me to read people’s feelings about how the ALI community has changed, and the blogosphere in general. I guess since I didn’t start blogging until after I had a toddler, I never worried about whether it would be interesting since I wasn’t in the trenches of IF. I do worry when I lose readers, but I try not to think too much about WHY I write, just do it.
    But to echo back exactly what you said to me yesterday, what you write is not boring. There’s a lot to think about, and I see you doing a TON of work, working through it. Just writing it down is probably helping you – the validation is extra.
    I’ve been feeling very little control over my own life lately, although in normal circumstances I’m pretty good at finding the positive. It may be hard to change your outlook & habits, but it’s not that hard to start listing. Once I wrote a blog post on “10 things that make me happy”, and my mood improved for WEEKS after that. And in high school, when I was so overtired and getting up so early, I had to make myself think of one positive thing that was going to happen soon, just to get myself out of bed. Probably 8 times out of 10, my positive thing was breakfast cereal. But it worked.

  7. I remember, at the outset of our decision to adopt, that I felt similarly…I was worn out, beaten down and just in a general funk. Back then I decided to turn over a new leaf and work to live an attitude of gratitude. Doing so changed me in profound (and profoundly happy) ways.

    I hope that you are able to set your intention in a way that positively affects your day to day life.

    There are still times, like now, where because of my recent FET failure and my fear that all things child #2 related hinge on this last FET, I feel myself retreating and isolating myself, but there is a self protectiveness in there that perhaps I should not avoid.

    And, who ever said that the sole purpose of blogging had to be for the greater good of everyone else. When you can’t turn to many IRL friends for support, advice, help, or an ear, why is it wrong to use one’s blog for that and not have that be narcissistic?

  8. I blog for myself, in a lot of ways- it’s a way to work through my own feelings. I don’t keep a journal, and I type much faster than I can write. The comments and support from the people who do read regularly are an added, wonderful bonus, and the readers who have turned into real friends (like you) are something so great that I could never have expected.

    I hope you are able to find a way to make this space what you need. And I hope that, in its way, can help you find a way to make your life what you need too.

    (I also really struggle with angry/tired. My big one is keeping score internally with Q. He does SO much and yet I feel like I’m always grumbling to myself about what I feel he hasn’t done. I need to work more on this.)

    xoxo
    T.
    PS. Your new job schedule sounds AWESOME!

  9. Just so you know. I still read. I’ve read every single post. I usually read from my iPhone and commenting us such a chore. And it usually takes me three tries to read because someone needs to go pee, or have grapes, or has fallen. But I am still here. I still care.

  10. It sounds like you’ve hit a changing point…you know the moment where your perspective shifts and your understanding of your pain and your experieince is different. Sometimes you reach this point by chance…other times you’ve put in a lot of hard work to get there. I’ve been doing some reading on happiness and what can increase happiness in our life. As someone that spent a good deal of time depressed and angry over infertility and couldn’t find my way out…I think….hapiness is increased by maximizing the time in our life with things that bring us joy. Spending time with O. Spending time with true friends. Running. Exercising so that you feel your life blood. Maybe focusing on these little ways that you increase happiness will bring you greater happiness…as I think that achieving a happy life is the most important thing we do. And, you should be so proud of yourself for knowing yourself well enough to know that TIME will make you happy…Time for yourself, Time for O. Getting over the bitterness and anger maybe can’t happen. Maybe you can’t make it go away. But, you can work on accepting that it is part of you and increasing the amount of time you are happy. This may be hedonistic…but….I think you have acquired enough of Maslow’s hierarchy to pursue it….

  11. I feel like this blog is a journey, and especially over the last few months, I *do* see a change … perspective is not something you can change overnight, though, even if you do have a lot to be happy about. There are old wounds that need healing.

    And I also feel like blogs serve different purposes and different points in our lives. Maybe we start them because we’re looking to work things out for ourselves. And somewhere along the way, we feel like we’re working things out, so it becomes easier to see ourselves as putting the crap out there to help others, so they don’t have to go through it, or at least feel like they’re going through it alone. And sometimes we do it because we need validation … after all, blogging is a PUBLIC act, not like writing in a private journal or writing a book. So the relationship between audience and writer is a two-way street.

    For what it’s worth, I always read, even if I don’t comment … and I do think that loyal followers are gained through relationships, not through “marketing.”

  12. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT.

    You have no control over your life.

    Go back and read what I said: create the world you wish you inhabit. That doesn’t mean that you have control over it. Shit is going to happen to you, and that is going to affect your world. How long it affects your world is going to depend on other circumstances too.

    I don’t believe I have any control. I think trying to control things is what gets us in trouble. Or believing we can control things. Because then shit happens and you take it to mean that it was your fault vs. the randomness of shit happening.

    Think about this idea in the way Voltaire presented it: if you want flowers, plant your own garden. Which leaves room for the fact that just because you planted your garden doesn’t mean that it will rain enough or the seeds will take or that crows aren’t going to eat your flowers. (Do crows eat flowers?)

    Do I think it’s a good idea to ATTEMPT to release being tired and angry — of course. If those emotions aren’t working for you, you should take steps to get out from underneath them. But go easy on yourself: this is what you are feeling in the moment. It’s a very real reaction to a very real stress.

    • Yes. I agree. But I DO think that there’s a way to create a space where you can take a step back and react DIFFERENTLY to what you can’t control. You CAN control your reaction, you can’t control the outcome of things.

      What I have been doing is ceding control to the universe entirely. I haven’t taken responsibility for what I CAN change, I’ve sat back and used “well I have no control” as an excuse to remain angry and sad and have isolated myself even further from people.

      What I want to do is create my own world where I give less POWER to the universe. Yes, I might not ever have another child. And that sucks, and it’s not my fault if I can’t get pregnant even with a new IVF protocol and fancy new RE.

      But I can control how I RESPOND to that suck. I can be more active in coping with it. So yes, that’s what I mean when I say that I intend to create a world in which I want to inhabit. Where I actually plant flowers instead of telling myself, “why bother? It’s not like I know they’ll grow or anything.”

  13. Yes, angry and tired, that does seem to be a common theme amongst us post-baby, doesn’t it? Or maybe that’s just a general parenting thing.

  14. I am so happy I stumbled across this blog. Thank you for posting about the mixed bag of emotions that comes with trying to add to your family when dealing with IF or SIF (in my case)

  15. Oh Serenity, my old friend. I’m sorry that I deserted you. Hell, I deserted everyone. I haven’t blogged in 1,000 years and I don’t even create imaginary posts in my head anymore. I never, ever would have been able to imagine a world where I didn’t check my 70 – 80 blogs each day to keep up with the women that I had grown to know and love. Then bloglines went belly up and I never got google reader to behave correctly, and I just sort of gave up. It was like a long, protracted, one-sided breakup that made absolutely no sense to me (because I precipitated it, yet I was feeling like the dump-ee). Anyway, I stumbled on this whole PAIL disaster and saw your comment and literally squealed with glee. I’ve missed you!

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that even though I don’t read as I used to, and Lord knows I don’t post like I used to, I am still with you in spirit and I will be checking in on you again to make sure you feel loved and supported (especially with the whole trying-for-second-child adventure). xoxo


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