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!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Food: chicken satay on homemade naan topped with cucumber, cilantro and coleslaw

I posted this pic on my instagram yesterday and declared myself a magician. Dinner was homemade garlic naan bread topped with iceberg lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, spring onion, chicken satay and coleslaw. The perfect fusion of salty, nutty, crunchy, tangy, doughy, yummy... Stuart actually groaned at first bite and then ate 3 more.

I make this naan recipe from BudgetBytes. It's good every time. We've even used it for personal pizzas. My tip would be to roll it a little thinner than you think you might need. When I cook it I use garlic butter in the pan.

Next on is shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced cucumber - Stuart isn't a fan of cucumber but from the first one he ate with cucumber on it he did say it's a crucial member of this experience - sliced green onion, cilantro, then the Chicken Satay.

I use a basic, trusty recipe:

2 tbls peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lime juice
3 tbls brown sugar
2 tbls curry powder
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 t hot sauce
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cubed or sliced thinnly

Combine all ingredients and marinade chicken in it for 2+ hours

You can skewer them, perfect for the barbeque or grill. I just throw the chicken and the sauce all into a frying pan and cook it slowly that way.

The coleslaw was from a bag - coleslaw mix with mayo, sugar and vinegar.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mighty Mathis update

Mathis passed away yesterday morning peacefully, surrounded by his family. He was 8 months old and touched so many lives - he'll continue to touch lives forever too. What a giant.

It's been hitting harder and harder just what a privilege it was to meet and hold him. The impact continues to grow.

Check out his facebook page here - share your own Hope List and change your profile pic to the above image to show support.

Read his blog and see his adventures here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mighty Mathis

Yesterday was a really special day for us. It's one that although had Autumn screaming in the car for an hour will always be looked back on with extreme fondness. It was the kind of day you treasure.

We drove down to Saratoga Springs as soon as we were up and ready to leave. We spent the morning with Stuart's family, went on a walk, played outside, and enjoyed being out for the day. In the afternoon we headed up to the Mount Timpanogos Temple to meet my friend Jackie and her family.

Jackie is an online friend that I've always felt a bond with. She's sisterly, and that's something I really value in a friend. She has 3 gorgeous sons that have such strong characters that you'd want to steal them all. Amazing dark curly hair, long eyelashes, dimples, the cheekiest smiles!

Whenever we meet anyone from online (this is showing how awkward I really am. I do know people in real life too!) I always get anxious to the point of having mild panic attacks - what if I'm not the same in real life? what if this ruins everything? what if Stuart makes this really weird? haha! He worries about that too.

Luckily Jackie and Dujuan are more normal than us - so friendly, chatty, good huggers, laugh easily. I love them.

Their youngest son, Mathis is 8 months old. At 6 months he was diagnosed with Spinal Muscual Atrophy - Type I. With a life expectancy of 2 years Jackie and Dujuan are traveling and fulfilling a Hope List with him and his brothers. You can follow along with their Hope List progress and get updates on Mathis through their blog and facebook page.

My experience holding Mathis and looking into his sweet little face is something I'll never forget. I expected to see him and be changed. I actually expected to see him and not be able to keep myself together at all. I held it together though, and I wasn't changed in the way I expected.

I had prepared myself to feel things like, "We have to live our lives more fully. We have to be nicer to each other. We have to be more patient. We have to cherish life and one another, and our talents, our time, all our relationships etc..." I was prepared to feel depressed, I guess. I expected to feel like I had to do more but instead I came away hopeful. Holding him actually healed my heart. I felt relieved knowing that we are living our lives fully. We are nice to each other. We're happy! We're not where we expected to be, or wanted to be at this point but we're happy. We spend the time we have together. We say and show "I love you" every day. Patience, for now is not something we struggle with. We're living life, just the way it's meant to be. Feeling that means more than the other side of the coin I was expecting.

Yesterday was really special.