Sunday, February 9, 2014

Infertility: Part 2

I've had two friends this weekend post links relating to the topic of infertility. The first was this: Your Infertility is Safe Here and second this: Infertility: Sometimes it Hurts to be a Mormon.

Infertility is something I was never actually aware of or at least had never fathomed. Even now I'm not entirely sure what it means - did I suffer infertility even though I had a baby? Can an infertile person have a baby in the end? Do I have any right to "claim" infertility or talk about it now that I have a child? These are the kind of boundaries that exist within our culture as well as within my own brain. Many times I thought, "they have kids, they won't want to be friends with us" robbing ourselves and others of friendship. Stupid boundaries. Stupid non existent self worth.

I want to share a message of hope and encouragement. This can be applied to many more aspects of life than infertility.

I put off having a life for years. I measured my self worth on something outwith my control. It didn't matter how loved or talented or awesome I was, I wasn't fitting into the mold I was raised to believe defined me.

I got married when I was 19, to a mold breaker - within Mormon culture young men are taught to measure their worth on their missionary service. Expected to graduate high school, work for a year and earn money to fund a 2 year mission is what they're raised to do. Young women are raised to make the goal to marry a return missionary. Return missionaries are worthy. As I mentioned, I married a mold breaker, a non return missionary and he was perfect for me, still is. My dad didn't serve a mission although he applied 3 times. He has been my example of what a great husband/father etc is, which is why I think I didn't have "return missionary" on my list of "things I want in a husband".

Throughout those years the question "where did you serve your mission" has come up more than "why don't you have kids?" I actually couldn't tell you if anyone came out and asked "why don't you have kids" but there are experiences where glances were shared, brows furrowed during initial introductions mostly,

"How long have you been married?"

"Almost 7 years"

"And how many children do you have?"


Silence. Awkwardness.

I guess people who are married have nothing in common unless they have children?

Let me tell you, you have the power to change things. It's easier said than done but in my experience being secure and comfortable with your present instead of your dream-present, or expected-present is vital. It took me 7 years to come to terms with our situation. Don't be a victim of your dreams. Live now. Want but keep living. I let so much life slip by because I was waiting for something that wasn't coming when I wanted it to come.

Looking back I feel like if I'd done that sooner my fate would have changed sooner. I can see now why everything happened. Absolutely everything. The people we met, the places we lived. Everything makes sense looking back now. We grew together, we shared deep emotions, we found light, we cried, we argued, we blamed, we hurt, we healed, we wanted.

We survived.

And I honest to goodness wouldn't change it.

As soon as we stopped waiting the burden was lifted. Years of carrying the shame, fear, self judgement, punishing ourselves etc. The negativity began to soften. The truth is 1. You are not as alone as you feel you are, and oddly 2. You also are.

Nobody knows exactly what you're going through. That hurts, but for me it was comforting. Do you find it comforting in a way too? It gave reason for the pain and loneliness and having a reason when there was none really comforted me. It comforted me and broke my heart when my mother told me she couldn't understand what I was going through. I didn't understand either. I was glad she didn't understand too.

But you're not alone. Everyone has struggles. You can help strengthen others because of your experience. You're learning empathy and patience. Two of the most important things that are disappearing in this world are growing in your heart. Life is so hard. Follow your heart and live your life.

Educate yourself, no matter your situation. If you want something and it isn't happening open your mind and your heart. Research your situation and make some changes.

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you've always got.

Use your time now. Live your life now.

Share your troubles and your experiences. We'll never be able to change "the mold" if we never share our stories and feelings. Don't be ashamed and don't let the hand you've been dealt define you. Rid yourself of those feelings and you'll have room to grow.

Infertility:Part 1 here
Infertility: To The Indian Lady on the plane

Happily breaking the mold: He didn't serve a mission and I married him, and she didn't show up when we expected her to.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

10 Years

Photo by Kera of The Perfect Moment Photography

Stuart and I will have been married for 10 years in March which has given me pause for thought on many occasions throughout the last year. 10 years is HUGE!

Neither of us would say we're where we thought we would be after 10 years of marriage. In fact we've made a couple of five-year plans and nothing we thought would be possible has been.

Autumn was supposed to be part of that first five-year plan, we would have been settled and employed by now, Stuart would be a dentist, I'd have a drivers license and a car, we'd have taken several family trips to fun places - disney cruise, yes please, I'd have been able to go home to Scotland once a year. Honestly the list is endless and has the ability to be pretty depressing if we let it.

As it is, we're still in school - between us we have 2 and half degrees with a whole other one on the way, we have one gem of a child, a financial situation so frustrating it'd make you scream - Stuart capped out on grants and we're paying for this out of pocket or out of his parents pockets at the moment (and emotionally ourselves), we've never lived in a house/apartment that doesn't have white walls, I've been home 3 times in 10 years... this list could go on too.

Right now we're incredibly excited to be finishing school in December (fingers crossed!). Stuart has a job through the school as the Webmaster for the Computer Science College, which is his first work experience in his chosen field and he loves it! I love that it's going to look so good on his resume and will score him some fantastic letters of recommendation. He works directly with professors and the Dean of the college.

This week I've made some goals and have decided to stop waiting for life to hand me the opportunities I expect to be on their way. I've been waiting too long and putting a lot of things on the backburner. It's time to make things happen!