Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lesson Learned: Be Thankful For What You Have!

I'll be the first to admit that I've been in a really dark place this last week and a half.  I suppose that I've spent at least 3-5 days every month in a funk since we began this journey towards parenthood.  This last month was the one that completely broke me, and I spent more time thinking about me than usual.  Therein lies my problem:  the more I think about me, the more I think about the unfairness of life, mine in particular.  I'm sure there's a pill for that, but God has an easier remedy for me:  focus on OTHERS FIRST.  I have no time to mope when I'm focused on others. 

I told my husband last night that even though people tell me I'm musically talented, I personally know how UN-talented I am.  I love music, and I like playing pretty songs, but I had to work extremely hard to make things sound pretty--that's not talent, that's drive and determination.  I think I have other talents, and I feel I've summed them up with a nice mission statement for my life:  I am to love the people that God loves.  Just that.  Love involves holding a hand, wiping a brow, comforting a little one, giving away smiles, praising even in the midst of a storm, hugs freely given, telling silly jokes, being Gracie to Stephen's George, cooking meals for others, making afghans, sending a note, and most of all letting others know that I KNOW that God is in control of my life.

So how did my attitude change so quickly?  Funny you should ask.  I was snapped out of my self-pity by a family emergency.  My mother-in-law passed out on Tuesday and we thought she had a stroke (she didn't-I'll get to that in a bit).  We spent half the night at the ER, and they kept her because they couldn't find any brain or heart damage.  She came home on Thursday afternoon, and two hours later, she passed out again, and when the EMT's arrived, my father-in-law passed out on them.  The culprit?? A propane leak that led to toxic levels of carbon monoxide in their house.  Had my mother-in-law NOT passed out, they would have gone to bed and never awakened on this side of heaven.  I haven't stopped thanking God for the results we had.  They are both safe, as is my brother-in-law, who also was poisoned.  We're obviously taking out the stove that led to the problem, but I can't say enough how thankful I have been.

  This world is not about me, and even though this is a place for me to vent safely, I also need to remember that putting others first makes me a happier person.  I suppose I should also stop whining about not being a mom.  I was pregnant for 10 weeks, so I technically experienced pregnancy.  I also gave birth, not in the way I wanted or imagined, but I gave birth.  I have a daughter--she's in heaven, but she's alive there.  I have friends that have never experienced any of this, and while I'm not going to experience the fullness of being a mom, I technically am one. 

 I am going to take a break from this stress right now and focus on making others' lives happier and fuller.  Does that mean that I stop posting? No, but it means that I am reaching a point where I say that I am coming to terms with not being a "real" mom.  We don't qualify for foster parenting, have no money for adoption or fertility treatments, and know that the natural route is not working.  In other words, I'm being told that traditional motherhood is not in my path at this point in my life.  I'm going to accept that and embrace the fact that the title of "Aunt"  might be the only one I hold.  I'm going to be the best I can be, find my joy again, and go on with my life.  As I stated at the top, I'm putting thankfulness first, others second, and me third.  I know starting out that I will fail at this attitude from time to time, but having a goal means that short-term losses will not be total failure, but an opportunity to restart.  Loving the people that God loves puts me on a path towards making my world and His a much better place.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Long Time, No Speak...Which was probably a good thing.

Well...I think the best way to begin is to say, "Sorry :( ". As a friend of mine stated earlier, I sure know how to enter the blogosphere with a whimper.  I didn't intend to ignore this blog, but life got in the way, I worked on improving my attitude, and...I could go on for a long time with a large number  of excuses, but it all boils down to attitude and gumption--getting a better attitude and having the gumption to admit that sometimes I'm a failure.

I've been working on my attitude, which knowing me will be a life-long process, no matter how much I work at it.  I've been spending more time in my Bible, praying, and trying to improve my spiritual outlook.  I still feel that I should be a mother, just as strongly as I felt that I would one day be a wife.  I had to come to terms with my singleness before I met my husband, and I have a feeling I'm going to have to come to terms with childlessness before I can be a mom.  Which really stinks, especially since I know so many people who "accidentally" became moms, or who wanted one and now have two or three, or who were content with no children and now have a houseful.

I have a poem stored in my computer that tells of this struggle I'm going through.  If I ever get brave enough, I'll print it out and hang it up or frame it beside my bed.  I have to be honest, I'm not there yet.  I think it would be easier to come to terms with infertility if I knew I'd get pregnant once I proved to God that I was OK with it.  But I don't have that guarantee.  When I see infertility displayed in the Bible, I see than in many instances it was used to further God's kingdom.  I also noticed that several of those women were elderly.  Now I don't know God's plans, but I really want to be a mom BEFORE I'm in my 80's.  I also have noticed that these women pray without ceasing for children.  I guess this proves that maybe I'm not ready to be a mom, because I don't pray without ceasing for motherhood.  I want to be a mom with all my heart, but it seems to me a bit selfish to pray about me all the time.  I have so many others on my prayer lists who have needs much greater than mine.

I guess all of this is just to say that I'm still bummed about not being a mom yet.  It hasn't helped that I just found out about another cousin who's pregnant.  I am surrounded by expectant cousins and other relatives.  It also hasn't helped that my pregnant sister (who did NOT mean any harm by what she said) told me about her upcoming doctor's appointment where she's getting a 3-D ultrasound to check for any abnormalities.  I've been praying for her baby's health and inquired about if they thought something might be wrong.  She told me it was just routine, but she IS 28, and her doctor and her internet research had both explained how much more risky pregnancy is the older you are, and how 32 is the age where pregnancy problems grow exponentially, and if the mom and dad are over 32, there's this huge risk of birth defects.  She then said that they'll love their baby no matter what, but that if they know ahead of time, they can save up for any extra doctor visits.

That's what she said, here is how it hit me (and I'm stating up front that I know I've over-sensitive about this kind of thing-hence the blog where I talk it out): 

Ranae, I'm so glad I've got another one on the way, and we know that with every pregnancy there's a chance for something to go wrong--as you should know, having lost your baby.  While my husband and I are both still in our 20's and really healthy, I'm still getting tests done because I'm not getting any younger.  Oh, and you know, you and your husband are both over 32, and he's in his 40's and you're not "healthy", so even if by some miracle you get pregnant, you'll probably have a baby with a lot of problems.  I still think you're too old to have kids, but if you want to keep trying, you need to know the cold, hard facts.  Just sayin' , but you have a snowball's chance in heck of becoming a mom the "normal way".  You need to just get over it and just accept that fact.

OK, now that's off my chest.  I know she didn't mean it that way.  She's just all facts and numbers and I'm all feelings and perceptions.  We're like oil and water and we're sisters.  If I didn't look so much like my mom's side of the family, I'd swear I was adopted.

I'm just still swimming in the fog of uncertainty--I can't get more serious about taking fertility medicines until I get a full-time job with insurance, and even though my part-time job is less stressful, I worry more about finances.  I'm trying to find a way to make it through the summer, that is, provided I can get a job.  I've just reached my breaking point.  I feel like saying "God, I've gone through two straight years of torment--professional, personal, spiritual.  Can I please have just a couple of things go my way?  I just want a job and a baby.  If I can only have one right now, I'll take the job--I just want to feel like I'm worth something to someone other than my husband.  The past two years have taken my confidence away.  I'm not good enough to be a mom, I'm not good enough to be a teacher (according to those 2 school boards, even though neither one will tell me exactly how I failed as a teacher), and I'm not good at being a "Christian woman" either--either that or I need to start ignoring some parts of the Bible.  I just keep going through this stuff in my head, and every time I get it dumped out, someone or something puts it all back in there.  I'm sick, and I'm tired, and I so need someone to tell me that this has all been a bad dream or that God's got something big in store for me so all of this "stuff" I've gone through is just to prepare me for it.  I'm going to cry big-time if I find out that it all happened because I'm just an incompetent person.  I know that when I get to heaven I'll be surprised by all the ways I've helped out the kingdom, but I really need to know a bit of it now---that someone knows I'm not as bad as others have made me feel, that I am worth it, and that all those promises in the Bible pertain to me, too.