Friday, April 26, 2013


That's a happy little title.

But, it's National Infertility Awareness Week.  And while it's easy to have an aversion to "National 'Let's Focus on Something Else Sad' Weeks," I do think it's helpful when people take the time to be honest about how they want others to to interact with them when it comes to what they're dealing with; their thing.

Before adoption was my thing, infertility was my thing.  And when infertility is your thing you have a bigger chip on your shoulder and feel a lot snappier (as in meaner--not as in perky) talking about it with people.  It's not like this flag that you want to wave because you're so proud of it and you want to be its new poster child.  Generally you're aware that people get weary of hearing about it, you assume they must be trying to guess what's wrong with you and why it's so hard to get pregnant--because let's be honest--you probably did the same thing with other people in your shoes before they were your shoes too, and a lot of stuff annoys you about babies and pregnant people and baby showers and Gap Kids, and older well-intentioned (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt) women.

Infertility is that thing that you never truly believe will happen to you.  You know someone who couldn't get pregnant but they'd always had horribly irregular periods growing up so it's no shock--that's not you.  You know someone who got really sick in college and had to have surgery and treatment and were told they might never get pregnant--that's not you.  You know someone who took birth control for a hundred years and had a hard time getting pregnant--that's not you.  And there are a million "that's not you" scenarios.

And all of a sudden it is you.  For NO reason.  No medical reason.  Doctors are baffled.  Every test shows you should be getting pregnant.  EVERY SINGLE ONE. Specialists deliver the news that you are in that 20% of infertile couples where there is no reason that you're not conceiving naturally or with treatment. Idiopathic is what they call it.  Which is a good word because at the end of infertility treatments it all feels idiotic and you want to scratch your eyes out.

I can remember a handful of occasions while going through infertility treatments when I really had a meltdown--like really cried. 

When my husband and I went to see United 91 we had to leave the theater because I started having a panic attack.  I'd never had one before so didn't really know what was happening.  I couldn't breath, I was crying, I felt like screaming, I was scared of the movie, I literally felt like an alien was going to erupt out of my body and I couldn't do anything about it. I was on drugs at the time and then when I figured out what had brought on the attack I was so angry that I even had to be taking these drugs to try and get pregnant that I got more upset. 

Another time my husband was out of town and I took a pregnancy test before work; negative as usual.  I hadn't really had a firm inclination that I was pregnant to begin with so I don't know why I got so upset.  I called my friend Liz at 6:00 in the morning sobbing and told her to tell our boss I'd be late to work--I just needed to pull it together. 

And then another time one of my middle school students talked back to me in class.  Imagine.  A middle school student talking back to their teacher.  I fell apart.  Huge, ridiculous, insane, I should be committed sobs.  Again--the drugs.  They totally dictate all normal functioning of your body and turn you into a robot.  And that made me mad. 

One time I walked into work and someone was waving their strip of ultrasound pictures around like a ribbon dancer and I pulled them out of her hand, ripped them into a hundred pieces, and stomped on them.  That's not true.  But I wanted to.  Kind of. 

And that's the hard part of going through infertility.  I never begrudged the fact that someone else was pregnant.  I really didn't.  I didn't want everyone else to be infertile too.  I just wanted to not be.  I went to baby showers and was happy for my friends.  I wished that I could have one too, but I truly was happy for them.  Once or twice I turned down an invitation for one because I just didn't feel up to to it, but it had nothing to do with my friends.  It just doesn't feel good to feel jealous so I needed a reprieve.  The other hard thing is that you can't always predict who can talk to you about your infertility and who can't.  Some people are just better sounding boards than others and you can't even put your finger on why--they just are.  You just gel with some people.  Their advice doesn't annoy you, seem cliche, or make you want to kick them. 

So here's the thing--if you have a friend or child struggling with infertility you need to try and figure out how much space they need; ask them how they'd like you to talk about their infertility, do they want to talk about it at all, do they want you to wait to talk about it until they bring it up, do they want you to ignore it completely?   Maybe even tell them that if you're not someone they feel like they can talk to about it, you understand, no big deal, but you'd still love to go shopping with them, have coffee, and see a movie.  Give them that freedom.  And don't take it personally if they don't want to attend a baby shower or two, decorate your baby room with you, or help you find maternity jeans. They're probably as sad about not being pregnant as you are excited about being pregnant.

Additionally, if you have a friend struggling with infertility please don't tell them things like,

"I bet when you're least expecting it, you'll get pregnant." PLEASE STOP SAYING THIS.  PLEASE. 
"Have you tried_______________________ (and you could fill in the blank with anything here)?"
"Just be thankful you don't have to deal with ___________________________ (fill in the blank with any pregnancy related malady)."  You think I'm kidding that people don't say this to those of us trying to get pregnant?  Ask ANY of your friends dealing with infertility if this has happened to them and they'll confirm it with a resounding yes. 
"How much longer do you think you'll try until..............?" Until what?  I was asked this so many times and I never really knew what the other person was getting at. 

On the flip side, if you're struggling with infertility you need to figure out how much space you need and communicate that to people you love--they're not mind-readers--just like you aren't. Chances are they've known someone else dealing with infertility that has handled it very different from you.  And that's not wrong, it's just different.  You also can't assume that just because your good friend asks you to flip through a baby name book with her she's being insensitive.  She's just excited--and that's a good thing.  If it's really too uncomfortable or sad for you, tell her.  Tell her you're happy for her but you just can't do it right now--it's too hard and you hope she'll understand.

This whole living with and understanding infertility is a two way street.  It takes sensitivity, common sense, and grace on both sides.  Let's all give it to each other.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thank heaven for retro one-piece bathing suits.......

I swear.  I'm so in love with retro bathing suits that even if I was a size "I'm ready to compete on the Bachelorette" I'd wear one.  I bought my first one from Popina about two years ago (it's that red one below--but in yellow) and pretty much haven't looked back.

Granted, the one I bought from Popina takes about ten minutes to shimmy into and you had best be prepared to not go to the bathroom for about five hours (or do and just don't tell anyone....what?  I didn't say that) because once that thing's wet and you pull it down it's never going back's still my favorite bathing suit I've ever owned.

I've acquired a few more since then....and I've got my eye on that amazing black and white ruffled Albion Fit beauty below.  Summer's on the way (I think) and in case you're in the market for a new are some of my favorites!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Big Brave Adults

I've thought a lot about writing this post or not.  It's one of the first stories about Georgia that I've really considered not writing, out of respect for her.  I think about that more frequently as she's getting older and older and I wrestle with which stories are mine to tell and which stories are hers.  Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to write this story for her though. To let her know that being scared is okay.  There is no one who isn't scared sometimes, a lot of times, and that feeling is normal........and okay. And at one time or another in our lives......we've all failed.......we've all fallen short on something we've really wanted......and again, that's okay.

Georgia has wanted to get her ears pierced in the biggest way for about a month.  She talks about it almost everyday.  Multiple times.  She even plays ear piercing store with her stuffed animals and some kitchen tongs. I have never brought this topic up.  It's all her.  She initiated it and she continued it.  Chris and I have no magic age in our heads that we deem ear piercing appropriate or not and told her we were happy to take her to get it done if she really wanted to do it.  I was honest with her in telling her that sure, it hurts a little bit, but then the hurt goes away quickly and you look in the mirror and you're so excited that you have little sparkles on your ears.  She seemed okay with that.

Last Saturday she announced that she wanted to head to the mall after church on Sunday and do the deed. She was firm.  She couldn't wait to go to bed on Saturday night so she'd wake up faster and we could go to church quicker and then we'd go to the mall.  Come Sunday morning I didn't bring it up.  I truly wanted this to be her decision.  But sure enough within a half n'hour of being up Georgia shrieked that this was the day she was getting her ears pierced.  And she repeated that shriek every ten minutes or so until we pulled into a parking spot at the mall.  She practically sprinted to Claire's laughing the whole way.  Chris and I kept giving each other little looks that said, "Do you really think she'll do it?"  "She's surprised us before." "We'll be so proud of her." And I was telling myself, "She'll look so darn cute!"

We picked out earrings, little sparkle pink flowers, and hopped up in the chair.  No crack in the armor.

She told Chris to take a picture of her ears.  Her ears for the last time without any holes in them.

As the earrings got taken out of their packaging, the sterile wipes came out, and Georgia saw the white guns placed on the counter she started to falter a little bit. 

And I expected that.  Getting your ears pierced is a 'big deal rite of passage' for little girls and as ready as you are to get it done, it's scary, and there will be tears, and last minute hesitations, and I knew that as her mom I'd probably need to do a little coaxing when it came right down to it.  I knew she'd be happy in the end and we all need encouragement sometimes to do scary things that those who have gone before us know aren't really all that scary when it comes right down to it.  

But she started to cry harder.  That kind of cry where it's hard to catch your breath.  And she told me she wanted me to hug her the whole time they were piercing her ears.  I told her I couldn't do that.  And she cried harder and said she wanted to get down.  So I helped her down.  And she cried harder.  Too hard to get your ears pierced.  We walked out of the store for a bit to see if she'd calm down and it just got worse.  

When we told Georgia that it was okay, she didn't have to get her ears pierced, it was no big deal, it infuriated her.  The thought that we believed she wasn't brave or couldn't do something was more than she could handle and she fell apart.  And as her parents we decided that she wasn't least not that day. We scooped her up and carried her out to the car and she kept crying, huge sobs.  And it broke my heart. It's the first time I've seen her truly upset that she wasn't able to do something.  Not because she was physically incapable but emotionally and mentally.  She couldn't get herself there and the defeat that she felt was too much for her.  

She calmed down over the course of the car ride home and we quickly involved her in a game of hide and seek when walked in the door.  I asked her about two hours later how she was feeling about her ears.  She told me that she'd stopped thinking about it and she wanted to talk to me about it tomorrow.  I gave her that space. 

On Monday she asked me, "Mommy, when I'm a brave adult like you I won't be scared to do things will I?  Like get my ears pierced.  I'll never be afraid of something when I get big and I can't wait for that." 

I kissed her on the head and replied,"Georgia.  Everyone is afraid of something.  Everyone.  Even grown-ups.  I'm afraid of something almost everyday.  And sometimes I ignore that fear and just do the thing I'm afraid of.  And sometimes I'm too afraid and decide not to do that thing.  And both are okay."  

She wanted an example. 

I told her I was afraid to bring her to swimming lessons because it made me sad to see her cry about it--and nothing makes a mommy sad like seeing her little girl sad, but I did it anyway because I wanted her to be safe in the water and it is a good thing for little girls to know how to swim.  And now?  I reminded her how she could go under water by herself. She smiled at that.

"So grown ups aren't always brave?  Is that really true?," she confirmed. 

"Right. There is no one that is brave all the time. But a lot of times scary things are worth it.  However, if you decide that it's just too scary don't do it, and that's okay, it's completely okay and you don't need to be mad at yourself for it."

I continued to explain that she needed to stop being upset with herself for not getting her ears pierced; for being too scared.  There would be so many opportunities to try it again and that daddy and I would take her whenever she felt ready. 

She says she wants to try it again on Friday.  And I'm happy to help her try. 

I'm also happy to walk next to her if it doesn't go well.  To help her see that not accomplishing a goal, failing at something, is okay sometimes.  It's not the end of the world.  It's not an opportunity to beat yourself up.  And in the end we all do it.  And goodness.....we're not going to have a meltdown over it. 

All this seems easy.  It's ear piercing.  But one day it will be a strained friendship, not making a team, not receiving an award, making a bad decision about a social situation, not getting into the college of her dreams, not landing that perfect job, or working through a problem with her own children..........the list of things we can fall short on never ends and I have to show her in these early formative years how to fall short, how to deal with it, and how to get back up.  Sometimes over and over. 

We might find ourselves back in this chair tomorrow.  If we do........fantastic.  If we don''re learning how to fail, how to be scared, and how to say, "right now just isn't the right time...........and that's okay."

Because none of us....none of us are 'big brave adults' all the time, and our kids need to know that. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

I am a builder.

Fighting.  I feel like I'm getting really good at fighting with my four year old.  Actually, that's not true.  I suck at it.  And no matter how many times I say the proverbial parent line, "I'm not arguing with you about this.  Mommy is deciding," or the  Love & Logic moniker, "I love you too much to argue with you," we fight.  And it is exhausting.

We fight about socks, jeans that look like boy jeans, jeans that look like mom jeans (seriously--she called a pair of jeans 'mom jeans' today--I own no such thing), where I brush her hair after a bath, the volume on her music before bed, why she can't eat brownies for breakfast, why she can't eat cereal out of a box in the car--the actual cereal box, why I don't know the answer to how big a beaver dam is (that's right ,keep laughing--it's real funny when you're the one explaining how beavers knock down trees for the thousandth time and the explanation is still not sufficing), and on it goes.

And one of the most frustrating pieces of advice triviality that people tell new parents is "pick your battles."  Yeah, I think we all get it.  I'm not going to fight over what bow Georgia wants to wear in her hair, what pair of (reasonable) shoes she wants to wear, how long she wants to hang out in the bathtub, what pajamas she chooses, or how many stuffed animals she wants piled in her bed every night.....but some things........they're not going to be battles because the outcome isn't negotiable.

Enter.......the inevitable fight.  The growing pains.  The hard work.  And I'm choosing to clutch tightly to the other thing everyone tells first-time parents, "It's just a phase."  That this head-butting of sorts will pass and something else will take its place until more head-butting of the tween variety sets in.

I say all that to say that in the process of these little moments (which makes them sound cuter) I have to remember that I am a builder.  I so badly want to say things to my daughter in the midst of these disputes out of frustration, anger, irritation, and sheer humanity.......but I have to bite my tongue.  Does that mean no correction? No consequences? No hard lessons? Definitely not.

But it means I need to watch my words.  Because frequently the words that we, that our children, remember with the most accuracy and clarity out of all the amazing ones that will ever be spoken to them are the ones that cut.

I can distinctly remember three different comments made to me while growing up, all before the age of ten that hurt.  A lot.  I remember who said them to me, where I was when they were said, what it smelled like, what I'd done right before they were said, what I was wearing........everything.......because they were hard comments.  Unnecessary.  They didn't build me up.  They weren't constructive.  They hurt. And I carry the ramifications of them as a thirty five year old.

And if you're honest--I bet you have them too.
And I'm not naive enough to think that my daughter won't have them.
I'd just like to do my best to reduce the amount of them she attributes to me.
I want to be her builder.
And building is hard work.  Things need to be readjusted, taken apart, reevaluated, secured, repaired, and contemplated.  A good builder doesn't destroy their project mid-stream because something is frustrating about it, not going well, a little different than originally envisioned, or taking longer than originally thought.  A good builder keeps plugging along.  Making intentional decisions and consistent progress.

I'm her builder.
And I write this today more of a reminder for myself than for anyone else.  Getting it out.  Hitting publish.  It's for me.  I need to feel convicted of it in the midst of an embattled week.........

If you're there too, you're not alone.  Just remember......we're builders.  And sometimes it's really hard.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Break {My favorite}

There pretty much isn't any other time of the year that I love going on vacation as much as spring break.   There's something liberating about escaping a too long winter here in Michigan to someplace sandy, warm, salty, and that makes my hair as big as Monica Gellar's in Barbados.  (YouTube that bad boy if you haven't seen it already).

We went back to Destin, Florida this year.  An easy-ish drive (minus the never-ending flat and brown state of Indiana) with kids and such a beautiful part of Florida.  Our amazing friends came with us this year and that whole "taking a gamble on vacationing with friends and hoping they're still your friends when you return" thing paid off in we knew it would.  We had SO MUCH fun!  Too much fun to put in words.....................

And the video that didn't make the montage cut..............

My friend Rachel being serenaded by the bakery boy at Publix.  He offered to sing her a song if she'd buy an Apple Pie.  I think he thought we were Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in disguise and we'd be whipping out a golden ticket to Hollywod if we deemed him good enough.

Paula and Randy we are not.
The pie was good though.
Not as good as the vacation though.

Tonight, I'm so aware of how fantastic it is to have such great friends and am thankful for the irreplaceable week we got to spend together.

Thanks Hammonds!  Cheers to Ariel Dunes 610.

You Might Also Like....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...