New Year Resolution: Letting go.
Since starting on this journey to grow our family two years ago, I have held tightly to control. I have traced back my need for control - it has deep roots in my past - my childhood, my early youth.
Growing up I was very fortunate. I did not want for things though I was taught I would need to work for them. I never went hungry, I never felt cold. I never wondered where I would sleep or if I would eat, and I never questioned if I was loved. I knew I was deeply loved, by both of my parents; I knew this like I knew the sun would rise each morning and set each night.
With that being said, I wouldn't say I had an "easy" childhood, or maybe what I am getting at is I did not have a childhood without it's trauma, as I am sure we all do to a certain extent. I felt that I grew up very quickly despite my fathers efforts to relieve me of responsibility that was not mine, despite him trying to shield my brothers and I from what was going on. My mother, despite her best intentions, love and effort, succumbed to and spent years devoured by something she believed she lacked power over. Sadly this led to the crumbling of our family unit and as life as we knew it.
I think when you're small you do not think of your parents has humans; humans with flaws, strengths and weaknesses, as we all are. I didn't. They are simply your parents, a duo - your whole world, largely your entire experience for so many years. And when that falls apart we, as children, grab at the fragments left behind, trying to piece them back together desperately trying to get back to the safe, predictable nest our parents had built around us. My gathering and reflecting has lead me to believe that the experience of losing that left me feeling very out of control of my surroundings, my emotions and my security of knowing where my life was headed as a child. I felt insecure and unsure. I felt out of control.
I hate feeling out of control - like I can't manage or predict what happens to me. I have recently been working on taking responsibility and accountability for my own actions and emotions. This has caused a huge shift in perspective. I have since realized that how I react to something is mine, especially now as an adult. My reactions, feelings, actions are my responsibility, not anyone else's. I am in control of them, though sometimes I feel like I'm not. I am. I know this. I am responsible for for how I treat people and how I perceive the world, how I choose to speak to and about people, how I react to how others choose to treat or speak to me. This was a bizarre concept originally - because to a certain degree I have more than I ever realized, just in a very different way than I had viewed it in the past. I can now say this understanding comes from growth, experience and perspective.
Like so many of us I have felt so out of control of my own emotions - at the mercy of my surroundings, at the mercy of other people and what they choose to do. And to a certain extent I still do sometimes. I am still growing, I am still learning; and I have come to realize that I will always be; growing and learning. There are things we are in control of, and there are things we may never be able to sway or change in the way we want to. This is life.
My own body isn't working the way it is "supposed to" - this is the ultimate betrayal. Women were built for this, so why wasn't my body cooperating? Why isn't this happening for us? For years I have made myself sick holding onto control over this - thinking maybe if I just did this one thing different it would be the thing that changed it all for us.
Can I tell you how many things I've tried in the last two years that I thought would increase our chances of conceiving, because I believed it would give me some sort of control over the situation? I became insane, obsessed - as most of us who battle infertility do. If someone told me to stand on my head for 3 hours and eat slugs I probably would have tried it. I've tried supplements, diets, sobriety, acupuncture, exercise, expensive technology, crystals, moxa, herbs and more. I can't tell you how many packs of OPKs and pregnancy tests I've purchased. The money we've spent is nauseating. Not to mention my anxiety and stress were through the roof at times as a result, try as I might to reduce and manage it. Through the process I've weeded out what is working for me - helping to improve my overall health and well-being. Ditching the things that add stress or become a money pit with zero reward. These can be hard to cut though, my thoughts begging me - "what if I just needed one more cycle with this and then it would have worked?" Infertility really messes with your head. Even with our best intentions there fueling our want for control, unfortunately sometimes it ends up hurting us further instead of helping us.
Side rant: Let me make sure I am being clear here. I am not telling you "just relax and it will happen!" - I loathe that bullshit. Stress is not making me or you infertile. Women get pregnant under insane circumstances - war, famine, rape, etc. I hope this goes without saying: you need to do what you need to do. And if that means trying out a whole bunch of things feels like the path you need to walk, then by all means DO IT. I do not regret for a second all of the things we have tried and done. Had we not, I would wonder if one of those things would have been it. There is no right way to do this. Every mind and body is different and unique. Do you boo!
Okay, now back to it:
Growing up you hear - "try hard enough and you can become anything you want to be." This is not true for all things. Despite our persistent time and effort, our arms are still long to hold our baby. I crave to control something I now know I honestly have no control over. That has been a really hard pill to swallow. I can work my a$$ off and graduate college. I can go buy a new car, I can move into a new home. I can eat whatever I want for dinner. I can meet someone, get engaged and get married. I can change my eating habits, I can exercise and change the way I look, the way my body functions. These are all things I can more or less control. But you cannot control infertility. No amount of money, effort, medical intervention or "perceived control" can guarantee anyone a baby.
It is hard to recognize when you are in the thick of it. Your one track mind and heart giving everything it has to yearning for your baby. Thoughts consuming you, "How can I make this my reality? Why is it so easy for other people? What do I need to do differently? What am I doing wrong?" And let me tell you how impossible it has been to let go. I have spent 2 full years in the grips of this darkness, letting it devour me- taking me in, chewing me up and spitting me out. And I show up for more, every single time. Infertility has beaten me up, it has made me question who I am, what I want, what I am capable of. I often wonder how much longer I can manage this.
I am finding that once you are ready, and not a second before, it will happen. You will let go of some of your control, little by little, or maybe all at once, as you realize that sometimes you really never had any. Not over infertility.
Does this mean that my heart isn't broken? No. Does this mean I have everything figured out? No. Does this mean it still doesn't hurt like hell every time I see a baby announcement? Nooooope. That shit still hurts and it sucks. But today I can say it feels easier, it feels less heavy, less sharp. My shoulders feel a bit lighter. I have realized I can fight this kicking and screaming - which I have, every single day for the past seven hundred and thirty days, or I can begin to let go. This is just where I am at, today, in this journey. I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow or next week, but this is where I am right now. My intentions have always been rooted in resolution and I have found that trying to control this and letting it swallow me up has only adding to my unhappiness. And today I feel like I can begin to release. I will still continue to fight to grow my family; and at the same time I will let go of the blame I lay my own feet, of the resentment I hold toward my body, of the guilt I carry around every day. That no longer serves me, not that it really ever did, but I am ready to let it go.
Thank you again for holding space for me and following along.
Wishing you healing, contentment + peace.