Thursday, April 25, 2013

Once a year

Yep, it is my birthday today.
I am not feeling a whole lot of festive.
I have been pulling myself through the week.
I know I have a lot to celebrate and how thankful I am for this life.
My parents are alive and mostly healthy, my body seems to be acting civil towards me,
I have an amazing husband and I am able to explore my art.
I am thankful.
I also have this overwhelming feeling that I don't deserve a celebration.
Like I have not done enough to earn it.
It is the battle I have been fighting.
All week, and last I was telling The Barren I didn't want to talk about my birthday,
 it was too emotional.
But...knowing me as well as he does,
I have overstressed my beloved, as he knows
I will want to be surrounded by friends at the last moment
and then he will be at a loss.
So to reduce The Barrens stress level I have helped him out this year.
I decided that maybe a cake eating party would make me feel better.
I will report back on that.
I am sending out the last minute invites today.
I also plan on dressing up and
we are having dinner with the parents tonight, and I know that should set me strait.
In beginning my birthday reflections,
I think I might go silent next year for NIAW, or not post anything in regards to my infertility.
I hope that this year, I can begin to make a metamorphosis and start to tilt the scales away from
being the infertile woman...and more about being the artist who also has
a body of work about infertility.
I plan on making a new list of goals for myself....
and eating loads of cake
with ice cream

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quiet the crazy

Here we are ladies, in the middle of NIAW.
It seems like many of us don't need to be reminded of this week,
 as we live with it daily, hourly, even moment by moment.
This week makes many of us sudden advocates, warriors and spokespeople.
Many of us are reluctant, or fearful of revealing ourselves.
Myself included;
 because after 8 years
I am now working on being something,
someone, other than the infertile woman,
the barren couple,
the sad story.
Yesterday I was in a deep dark place, I had a whole lot of crazy swirling in my head.
I had my mean mantras repeating themselves, the destructive ones, the easy ones...
I had a weekend full of my crazy MIL who probably has no thoughts about our last encounter and figures it was just a normal conversation about the weather or a new item of clothing.
 I was not able to tell her how it made me feel and I think that had taken a toll on my mental health. I was not able to make eye contact with her the whole time and it made me feel weak and sad. It built up and when I awake yesterday it was VERY clear to me that
I was going to battle a day of deep sadness.
I have composed a bunch of letters in my head, spoken to myself, with great presence and dignity about how it made me feel and also envisioned whacking her upside the head a'la cartoon style until she came to her compassionate senses.

this is an illustration only, I do not have button eyes
None have escaped my head...really
though it was fun to think about picking up the paella pan that
separated us at dinner and hit her with it.

Now, she is far away, and most likely we will not see/hear from her for many more months, or until she calls frantic for us to visit them thousands of miles away, RIGHT NOW drop everything.
We will cross that bridge when it appears; until then I am working on filtering out all the hurt and pain and frustration.
I am better today, I told The Barren this morning while standing naked and wet from the shower: "today is a new day, lets try this again"
it was the start of the day, I was naked and nothing had stuck to me yet!

NIAW makes me remember, that there are other people in this world that have no idea what others are living with, how powerful a casual statement can sit and fester, or how desperately we don't want to think about this week.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Empty-NIAW 2013

In honor of NIAW I have decided to post something I wrote two years ago:

Emptiness- containing nothing
Infertility left a hole in me. I was left as shell of myself for some time.
The first sign that something was wrong arrived while I was at work…I got a frantic phone call from my doctor just two hours after my first pelvic ultrasound. “Um… there is a fairly large unknown growth that appears to be in your bladder and we are not sure exactly what it is. So I need to you see a gynecological oncologist, an urologist and get a CT scan in the next day or so”.  I worked at a warehouse and so while she is feeding me a list of numbers and phrases over the phone, I was simply seeking a quiet place to hear all she was saying. When she was done, I couldn’t move; but when I did I shot out the door as fast as I could in hopes no one would see the flood of tears that would be my last for a long while.
I became a pin cushion, I was probed and prodded for months, years…some people were skilled and left no marks, others left bruises, rashes and scar tissue.
I was submissive through this all.
As the months passed, something shifted and I felt nothing; no pain, no joy, no happiness… nothing. Food was not enjoyable; friends were of no comfort. I spent time staring into space, watching the walls be white. I commuted 45 miles to work daily, and often times would find myself at work not remembering how I got there, even though I had driven myself. It took great effort to make easy decisions, like which cereal to buy for breakfast. I was on auto pilot.
I was able to dress myself, bath myself and eat, but I was not there for it.
I stopped expressing emotions; I didn’t laugh, get angry or cry. I was a shell, it was me to all appearances, but no one was home.
The stork has been visiting- 2007
I visited her at the hospital, and cried on the way there. Mourning as I drove closer and closer...
The night I received her call, I dozed off with my arms wrapped around my invisible baby...wanting so badly to wake from this horrible dream I am in.
I felt like Dumbo's mama watching all the other mothers receive their babies.

I have not slept well and had a panic attack in the shower this morning...feeling as though I would faint. I fought the collapse, because I didn't want to frighten my husband in the early hour.
Sadly, it would have been very easy to surrender to the dark.”  Text from BARREN: life on infertile soil
As my bruises healed I was left with the stark reality of having no external symbols of my pain, my heartbreak, my existence.
How would anyone know what was happening…

Sunday, April 21, 2013

NIAW 2013

Here is the start of a week, we all are too familiar with.
Let the headgames begin!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Note to self...

The front of the postcard, charming, no?!

So I was in the garage today, making room for furniture that is bound to arrive by this weekend.
It is the only place that it will fit.
Furniture that is no doubt beautiful and old and too big to fit in our tiny home.
BUT I am still holding a candle for a "forever home" that will fit the chest and the dresser.
I was moving things, building a pile of items that will be picked up by the local thrift store this week before they unload more things into the tiny garage that we then get to deal with down the road.
Anyhooo... I was moving stuff and unearthed a box of old photos.
Among the treasures I exhumed was a postcard I sent myself.
Yep, I am that person....I send myself a postcard the last day of the journey telling myself how I was feeling at that moment or what I had learned.
It arrives days after me, and usually just as the "paradise is fading from my memory" and I am getting back to reality moment.
This postcard was sent to me, by me in 1997
I had gone (escaped)* to Europe for a few weeks, to find out how damaged I was.
The Barren and I were about 5years into our relationship and he was ready to settle down and I was flipping I ran away to listen to my heart and get a little space....well a lot of space.
He endorsed this, and waited for me to figure shit was really only a short period of time but enough to put things in line, ya know?! 
*Running away sounds to romantic, but really it was me on a $20 a day budget for food and housing and I was eating a lot of candy bars and staying in hostels that fed you breakfast so I could pocket bread or cereal for dinner.
I read this postcard again today with a smile on my face.
This is what it says:

Well- here I am and there you are- two way different places-but still one person. You can depend on yourself- and know how long and short time can be, hours, days, months. Feet are tired, ankles sore- emotionally exhausted. but-in a sense a bit afraid of getting into a groove-becoming set in my ways again. Remember movement-simple movement. walking barefoot-walking the dog-motion is what you need and know that returning can be just as good as coming- the swing is in your heart- you have the ability to come and go and don't let that be taken away.Continue to say what you feel. Be aware of what you need and tell him- don't back down as you wouldn't want him to do.and make art-your soul needs it. Send slides-invest in yourself and enjoy time. Don't wait for it to pass (as I am doing now) be loving-take another chance and give it. Know that you are a strong-confident woman-keep that damn smirk on your face. Keep them wondering.

I am so glad I sent myself this is like a pocket mantra.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Phonecall

I miss these phones,
you could slam them against things and make dents
I was reaching out to a couple people I know in an effort to help a fellow friend make a couple connections for possible job opportunities.
It is WAY out of my nature to ask or refer to myself as a bridge for someone to get something.
I guess I don't feel like I hold that level of importance or something.
you know like, I know someone, and they work at this place and a third person I know wants to work at said place and so I introduce them so they can chat or make that connection.
I just wanted to do whatever I could to help this awesome friend, so I got over it for the morning.
Well, one of the calls back, with a more then happy to help person, came from someone I have only really casually spoken to over the years. She is CRAZY smart, you know, speaks 5 languages fluently and has 245thousand extra letters after her name from degrees she has collected over time.
She is about to be 35yrs old, and is very involved in her career.
She got married a couple of years ago to a friend of The Barren.
When we were chatting about the easiest and best way to get my friend and her to contact one another she got kind of quiet.
I asked if she had more travel plans in line for the year.
She said those heartbreaking words
" I don't know if this is the right time to say this but...."
She then told me that she threw out her BCP when she got engaged and after three years found out that she has PCOS.
I was bathed in a calm, a heartbreaking calm
I told her I was so sorry, and how heartbreaking it is.
She then began to talk about everything; and I began to listen with a heavy heart.
She told me how people are relentlessly asking her when she is going to start a family and that it kills her a little each time.
"it is in gods hands" is her normal response,
she said for her it gets them to stop asking and that it conveys that she is wanting children and is not a child hater or shunning the idea/hope.
(seriously, isn't it amazing that people jump to the idea that we don't like kids because we don't have them....ughhhhh)
She mentioned how she feels like she is letting her family down, her brother is gay and she is the families only hope for grandchildren and that she is letting them down.
I said the words that I work to believe everyday:
" This is not your fault, you didn't do this"
I then tried to assure her that she would find the right choices for herself.
I told her that she and her hubby would find their path, and that maybe she could mention it to her family too, that she was struggling...and needed some extra love and compassion.
She mentioned that her husband said to her
"that if she took better care of herself this wouldn't have happened."
He told her "you should call The Barreness and The Barren, they know about what you are going through"
(notice the lack of engagement from hubby, it is all her, not him)
I felt like my friends did, wanting to find a cast iron pan and lop him upside his head.
I repeated the mantra:
This is not your fault, you did not do this
I told her that it was important to remember it when things got dark
She said she was offered a job out of the US and was considering it. She said she needed to find a new path, a new purpose, a new reason for being who she was.
It broke my heart a little more
but I completely understood.
I mentioned that this process is a lifelong one, some days are good and some are bad.
I gave her an exercise my therapist gave me and she said she would try it.
When the call was over she thanked me and I told her I believed in her and her choices that were right for her, she needed to make those paramount.
After hanging up the phone, The Barren who overheard the whole call said:
" are you OK, that was a lot for you"
I said: " We are the infertility hotline, we can answer all questions.
Our phones are open 24/7"
I got up, pulled two sticks of butter out of the fridge and made cookies.
It was a lot

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Moving Forward...

image via pinterest
So as another week passes I feel fortified!
badass girl friends!
This last weekends family gathering was so low on drama, it was shocking.
(thank you for your kind words and thoughts)
The Barren and I both were still a bit guarded,
and watching our niece and nephew play with the other young duo that was there was heartbreaking, but also enjoyable as we had no responsibilities other than giving hugs and kind words.
The Barren feeding the in house bunnies and piggies
We were often quiet, and although there was a lot of talking, a lot of it was about other people, other adventures and other events. It was refreshing.
We posed for the "awkward family photo" and the few pics I have seen so far, reflect the level of comfort everyone was feeling from wearing matching outfits.
No attacks, no drama for me, no drama for The Barren
We returned home and I spoke with girlfriends and unloaded my heart.
Every dear wonderful friend I spoke to was angry and wanted to hit them( SIL and MIL)
 upside the head with a cast iron pan.
It made me feel so loved and protected and cared for
in a really primal way.
I know that the ladies I have worked so hard to have in my life are dear wonderful companions.
I feel like the luckiest lady on earth for it.
Now, now I am diving back into the is where I am happiest.
It is safe and free and smells right
Plus, I need to reinforce those plates of armour
My aforementioned mother-in-law will be visiting very soon.
next week I am told.
So that distance I thought I had is not the case....The Barren promises to stay near this time.
I think mostly to make sure I don't pick up any pans

Friday, April 05, 2013


image via etsy
All the clothes are packed, the xanax is packed, a pair of cozy PJ's are packed.
I am about to dive into another weekend of family.
This one has the airs of mellow, all appearances point to it.
Wine, a private room, no real plans aside from meals together
and the aforementioned family photo.
All the children that will be attending have preplanned activities, that do not involve us.
I am a little gun shy, but call me gullible, I think this one will be far better then last
or what we refer to as "Hell Weekend"
thank you all for your kind words about my last posts...I felt so much better after reading them.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Still processing

I am still filtering through the anger and hurt that my family bombarded me with.
The lingering residue that I have made bad decisions is what I am trying to scrub off.
Some choice sentences that I am working on letting go of are:
We are so greatly disappointed.
You can use my uterus
(a loving gesture, but when offered after almost 10years and from behind a glass of wine.
 It is hard to not see it as really a selfish plea)
  • " You should be sympathetic to your friend, she must feel so guilty for being able to get pregnant so easily. Especially when you couldn't, I mean that must have really hurt her"
  • "you can have my kid"
My response: there is a joke saying, if you keep offering me your kid I will show up at your door with a lawyer and adoption papers.
" I am serious, I would consider it"
  • "Even though you are not a "fill in religious preference" like me, I know you are still a good person"
  • "If you can get past a baby not looking like you, the adoption process is really fast and easy. You shouldn't close that door so quickly."
  • "More grandchilden is always better"
  • "Why don't you just have some more surgery and remove your problems and then use IVF and try again. The Barren probably wants that and is just afraid to tell you."
I remember saying at least four times,
"After 8 years and 3 miscarriages, we decided to stop the heartbreak. Adoption never fit our dream of parenthood or our belief system. Becoming parents was never about just "getting a child"
this was met by blank stares and "easy fixes"
I realize that a lot of what they were saying was really them grieving, their losses in this scenario.
I also realize that they made me feel horrible and like it was all my fault, which it is not.
I am very glad it will be a long time before I need to sit in the room with these ladies again.
They have a lot of issues to work out.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Currently Processing....

I was sitting alone on the porch of a rented home, listening to the rain, focusing on the person we were gathered to celebrate.
She died last October of rare form of lung cancer, never smoked a day in her life...
and would have been 47 years old this day.
My step Mother in law comes up and sits down in the chair next to mine. My SIL follows her and leans against a handrail on the porch facing me.
" The Barrens' father and I have kept quiet about how so disappointed we are that you and the Barren didn't adopt. You know we think you would be AMAZING is just too bad. You know you still can. I have a friend that runs an agency in San Francisco"
I turn to my SIL (The Barrens sister) who has now consumed over a bottle of cheap wine, her lips and teeth are stained purple. She begins to sob: " Have you two ever thought of having someone else carry your baby? It was so easy for me, I feel so badly that it was so easy for me and so hard for you"
I took a xanax after we got back to the hotel, it felt like I had been punched over and over again.
That damn Barreness snuck into the party and used others as her puppets