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Riding the Waves

When the effects of infertility hit you, they hit like a ton of bricks. It’s like an immediate effect in your air bubble that kills a little part of you, while everyone around you is still living. When it hits me, I feel paralyzed until I vent out that emotion. Whether I am sitting in a classroom full of students, in a meeting, out to dinner, at
church, or even in the still of my own home, infertility comes on like a wave of rushing water, and for a minute, or a day, or sometimes a whole week, it drowns me. And suddendly, when I least expect it, the tide draws out and I am me again.

I don’t know how many times I have given an analogy for what I feel, but I do know that when I compare my hurt to something tangible, it makes it “okay” rather, easier to see the end of it all.
It reminds me of those movies where the whole world is moving rapidly, and I am standing still. I am standing in the center and everyone else’s life is spinning. Everything is going too fast to touch or to really soak up, but I am there… In the middle…the unnoticed part of the world- watching and waiting. About a year ago I made a pledge to myself to work on me and to be happy with what I have been given. I've pretty much taken a time out for the last few months and I can definitely feel it! In refelcting this morning, I realized that even though I was hit with a wave of emotions recently, I have learned the most, especially in just the last year of my journey.

First I learned that pretending like I am happy without children, allows me to be happy for the time being. Sometimes I have to pretend to survive. I can't just stay home and have a pity party when I feel like it. I have to grow up, smile and get on with life. I have to to be happy. And when I say HAPPY, I mean truly, deeply happy for others, watching their lives blossom. And for someone struggling with infertility, things that others don’t think twice about can be struggles that have become big accomplishments for me. Some of those are: going to kids parties, buying baby gifts, planning events around new parents/babies, looking at pictures of other peoples’ children, being happy for those buying bigger homes because they have “outgrown their starter home” from having children. It’s life. And everyone is evolving. There is nothing I can do to stop that- nor would I want to, and I think others who do not suffer with infertility think we do— HEAR THIS: We don't want you to suffer, it’s just that we want someone, anyone to understand us—and for us that means being in OUR shoes (not kind-of in our shoes…but living it currently-- because kind of in our shoes means you don't understand-- and that's okay-- please hear that it's okay that you don't, we still love you!)

The second thing I have learned over the past year is that by pretending I was happy, I discovered that it’s okay to be happy and NOT PRETEND (and that maybe I was happy because I was grateful for the life I have). It’s okay to struggle with infertility and feel happy without children. Let me repeat: WHEN YOU GET THERE, (it took me 7 yrs of marriage to arrive) IT’S OKAY TO BE HAPPY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE-- God wants us to be happy, not at any cost, but because he loves us. And that means discerning His Will in our lives. Just because we WANT something, doesn’t mean it’s good for us NOW—and comparing ourselves to God, we are kind-of like those 2 year olds with our “Give it to me NOW” attitudes! But that’s (to me) what Joy in the Journey means. I learned that when I focus on what I have, rather than what I want, my wants get smaller, and then I had to ALLOW myself to feel that way. I had to admit to myself that I am okay with what I have.

The third thing that I learned was that NO MATTER how “okay” I am on my journey, that I am going to wake up some days and feel the hurt. A good friend also on the journey once told me that bottling up those hurts won’t make me any better (think of it like poison or bad food) those hurts have to, FIRST be acknowledged, and SECOND be voiced. I learned that I can’t be afraid of the nasty part of infertility. If I want to truly conquer it (kind of like an addiction)—I have to be able to tackle it HEAD ON—Look it in the face, accept it, and vent it out in a safe place, such as: calling a friend who struggles, blogging or writing about it, working out, or doing something that makes me feel beautiful (pedicures, big earrings, and spending time with those that love me). It was a God- thing that I met this awesome lady 10 years ago. He had a feeling we would need each other!

I also learned that not everyone is where I am and I am not where everyone else is, and that’s okay. And as much as we love our friends, the truth is—it’s hurtful to compare your success with someone else’s struggle and I would ask you keep that in mind with your friends who struggle with infertility. The very best thing you could for them would be to pray that they find peace and pray that they are able to discern God’s will in this challenge and that they may be able to overcome bouts of bitterness and envy.

I think what I learned most in the past year is that it’s okay to forget for a moment “how long you’ve been trying” and it’s okay to forget for a moment your "cycle day" and to just live. Because while everyone else’s life is riding the high tide, you are getting older, and you are missing out on the waves of YOUR LIFE: the life that was designed for you. And above all, I learned that it’s okay to forget everything that I just wrote and sometimes I have to write it all again to remember that I am going to be just fine. It’s okay to go all the way through this “already thought of” realization to remember that I am an overcomer.

Waves of Grief

There are big waves and little waves,
Green waves and blue.
Waves you can jump over,
Waves you dive through,
Waves that rise up
Like a great water wall,
Waves that swell softly
And don't break at all,
Waves that can whisper,
Waves that can roar,
And tiny waves that run at you
Running on the shore.

Eleanor Farjeon