Trains of thought (read: all over the place)

GOALS

I like goals. I revel in making them and I feel incredibly proud when I meet them. I’ve made a lot of goals in my life. They have defined certain periods for me, in both positive and negative ways.

This month I made two goals, one was to participate in NaNoWriMo in some capacity, at least getting started on my novel and the second was to practice 15-30 minutes of mindfulness meditation at least six days a week.

So far I’ve done a decent job of one and failed miserably at the other.

Yesterday I was participating in an online discussion about goals and how to achieve them. I realized, as I contemplated what others had written–and wrote my own responses–that right now I have absolutely no bandwidth for goals that don’t center around self-care. Combating this depression, dealing with the emotional ups and downs of TTC and looming secondary infertility, keeping my shit together at work and nourishing my relationship are all I have the time and energy for right now. I just can’t focus on writing or photography or even making my daughter’s 1-2 year photo book.

And that realization makes me frustrated and depressed.

I don’t want to lack energy for EVERYTHING else except keeping myself together. I want to be able to express myself in my writing and keep my house in decent shape and make meaningful connections with my partner and revel in the amazingness of my daughter, and I don’t feel I can do any of those things right now. All I can do is carve out precious time to practice sitting meditation and try to just experience this point in time for what it is and not what it might be. This is so, so hard for me.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just take the Zo.loft. I sit an stare at the bottle, the tiny 12mg pills and watch my thoughts oscillate. It’s funny, because I used to sit and stare at my old meds bottle but the practice was not at all similar. That experience was full of longing. This experience is full of trepidation and also frustration that I need to take something and anger that the thing that will most help me is not allowed, and ambivalence that the thing I can take likely won’t help and rage that all of this is because of something that isn’t even happening. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by the SUCK of it, I can’t see past it to anything else in my life.

BURNED BRIDGES

This community used to be my sanctuary, but it’s not anymore. I’ve realized this recently; the reality of how much it has changed for me snuck up on me somehow, thought it should have been totally obvious.

I’ve been trying to reach out more as a blogger. I’ve added a lot more blogs to my reader, mostly the blogs of people commenting on my blog. Sometimes I find a new voice through the blogrolls of others’. (Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve shopped around on people’s blog rolls, I forgot how fun that is!) But the more I’ve clicked through to new people, the more I’ve invited their posts into my reader, the more I realize that all roads seem to lead back to places where I don’t feel welcome, to worlds where bridges have been burned. I don’t want to be in these places in the blog-o-sphere. I don’t want to be reminded of the mistakes I’ve made, of the times I’ve maybe wronged others or of when others have maybe wronged me. I just don’t want those daily reminders.

And I’m not sure what to do.

I can’t avoid it all completely, or I’ll be a very isolated blogger indeed. And the whole point of writing “here” is for the community aspect. But when you don’t feel like you belong to what is becoming an every growing portion of the community, you can feel very stuck indeed. I have no idea how to reconcile all of this with my desire to write and be read, to read and comment, to support and be supported. I really am at a loss and I hate that this place has stopped being the sanctuary it once was for me. I feel less comfortable in some parts of the blogosphere than I do in real life. I never thought that could ever be the case, but increasingly it is so.

HOPE

I’m officially in the TWW of this cycle. I ovulated on CD12 and even though we were BDing on the odd days, we hit my O date too because of my impressive, darker-than-the-control-OPK I got that morning. This month we hit the nail on the head, again, and got a positive OPK to boot. I’m 1.5 months into acupuncture and Chinese herbs, I’m two weeks into mindfulness meditation. I want to think that all of this means something, increases our chances, but the truth is, even if it does, we still only have a less than 20% chance. I think at the age we are now–approaching advanced maternal age–it’s closer to 15% (maybe even 10%?). That really isn’t much chance at all, when you think about it.

If we don’t get pregnant this month I’m going to struggle significantly. I just don’t know how many more BFNs I have in me. If we fail this cycle I’ll find out right before the holidays and I’ll spend Thanksgiving waiting for AF. Not the best way to spend the day, but at least I won’t be at work. The truth is I’m looking forward to this day of bounty, and I really don’t want it to be ruined. I guess we’ll see.

A REMINDER

Today, during my guided meditation, the following lines really spoke to me:

If a painful sensation arises in the body, and you add to it a fearful anticipation of the future, or terrible self-judgement, then your painful physical sensation will change into great mental suffering… See the difference between experiencing the pain directly in this moment without adding the past… See the difference between experiencing it directly in this moment and adding a story. Can you open to the experience in the moment as it is, constantly changing?

Insight Meditation by Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein

I know I bring the past and the future and my own personal stories into every cycle, every charted temp, ever OPK, every hope it will happen, every certainty it will not. Experiencing these days, weeks and months for what they are and not what I fear they will be, what I morph them into, is exceedingly difficult for me. Hopefully my meditation will help me experience these days for what they are, if only sporadically.

10 responses

  1. Here’s my take: please, take it with a grain of salt. This time period you’re in right now? It’s finite. One way or another, you’ll resolve your sub/in-fertility. What that is going to look like is unknown. Which means for the time being, you need to focus on self-care. And when you no longer need to focus on self-care, you can take that energy and focus it on creative pursuits.

    It’s flexibility that’s key here. Right now, your present is such that you need to spend time focused on you. And that’s okay, because it won’t always be like this.

    I don’t know if the above is helpful for you, but it is for me, tremendously. For me, knowing that this storm won’t be the rest of my life, that it’s finite, that eventually it has an end, is what allows me to navigate the depths of the suck. It’s what gives me strength.

    Sending you light and love and abiding with you.

    xoxo

    • I actually JUST came to this realization; procreation purgatory won’t last forever. I swear I’ve been flying ever since. I mean of course I KNEW I wouldn’t be trying to have a baby for the rest of my life, but honestly, sometimes it really felt like I would be. But I won’t. At some point I will have a baby, or I will stop trying. Done. Wow.

  2. All over the place? well kinda, but at least you separated it with different headings 🙂

    Dealing with depression and all that comes with it is definitely a major pain in the ass. It’s kind of like infertility. You don’t really have any control over it, you have options, but none of them are the most pleasant. However, we have to do what we have to to make it work, right? I know taking the meds is frustrating because it’s not the right drug to take care of the whole problem, but it allows you to take it during pregnancy. I’m sorry you’re not able to focus on much else than this. I wish I could wave a magic wand for you.

    I have had so many bridges burned, I feel like I’m stuck on an island. Sometimes we burn them and other times they’re burned for us. I hate that you feel that way about this community. There are times when I feel left out or feel like my words mean little to others. Sometimes I contemplate closing my blog and cutting myself away. But I didn’t start my blog for them, I started it for me. Closing it would be closing a door on myself. Feeling comfortable in real life versus the blogosphere…I still struggle. I struggle with both. But I find the most growth I’ve had is when I face the uncomfortable and challenge myself. I hope you find your niche again and you stick around….

    I hope this is your cycle. I know BFN’s suck. Trust me I know that. Hold on to hope because at this point, that’s about all we have, right? I’m hoping for you!!! I hope the meditation will help you achieve the ability to experience things for what they are…I’m notorious for changing things in my head and getting all mixed up….keep up the meditation….

  3. re: burned bridges: The ALI blogging community is fluid. People come and go, their circumstances change dramatically. Sometimes people are able to read others’ stories and offer support, other times they are only able to lash out at what they don’t understand, won’t believe or can’t accept. None of that is on you. You do nothing wrong here. It is your space to work out your issues, not to kowtow to everybody else’s crap. You may lose some readers along they way, but you will also pick up new people. That is the way of blogging. That is also they way of life. We don’t become besties with everyone we ever meet and keep them around forever. Being true to who you are will ultimately draw to you the people you want involved in your life and your blog.

    • I like this comment because it’s what I was thinking as well. Followers and bloggers come and go. When I think back to who I first followed two years ago, I don’t even know where those people are anymore (with the exception of one). I wasn’t blogging then, so there was no back-and-forth commenting as I was just a lurker. I would stop following because of something they said, or I wouldn’t be able to handle where they were in their TTC journey, etc.

      With the introduction of PAIL, I’ve found people who are in the same life stage as me and that’s helped things stabilize for me in regards to blogs I follow and people I interract with. I will say though, since we’re all parenting now, it seems that everyone is trying for baby #2 or #3 and if you’re working on that too (and not having success), it can make it hard to read certain blogs on a regular basis. With such an active community, there are constant reminders of where everyone is in their journey, and that can make things hard. But it is what it is and we can always choose to click away and unfollow. I hate the idea that my blog could cause pain for someone else, but my blog is my outlet and I try to always remain sensitive to others’ IF struggles.

      I hope you get good news next week! That would be wonderful! I think the holidays put an extra special pressure on us when we’re TTC. I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving at my sister’s when we’d just been told that IVF was our only hope, and everyone wanted me to take care of their kids and babies so that they could have a break. UGH. The holidays suck when you’re TTC.

  4. Thinking happy thoughts on your behalf, that self-care is successful and you can expand to doing something beyond that soon. Maybe self-care needs to be a goal for now. In my life, I know I’m useless unless I take care of myself first (hint to self: get on that already, really). Also secondary not-immediate fertility really hurts, so don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you, it’s the scenario that’s aching. It’s a rotten and presumably temporary situation so remember that. The best way to get through the doldrums is to keep going.

  5. Really moving and thought provoking.

    I am so sorry you are feeling this way. It’s not a good place to be in. I admire so much your dedication to self-care. I think that’s exactly what you need to be doing right now.

  6. I think that by focussing on self-care at the moment, you’re doing what you need to do so that you can cope with the rest of your life. Nanowrimo is a huge commitment, and something to be taken on only when you’re feeling up to it. Don’t beat yourself up for not doing it. I think you’re doing great if you manage to cope with work, child and partner.

    Blogging and blogging communities (and I’ve found on-line communities) change. At a particular time in our life they can provide tremendous support and comfort. But as we change, and as the bloggers we used to read change, perhaps our expectations change too. And expectations set us up for disappointment. I know I’ve felt that myself. And that’s a loss, theres a sadness not to get the rewards we expected, the rewards we once got. I don’t have an answer for you really, except to say that if visiting some parts of the blogosphere make you uncomfortable, then stay away. There’s enough in this world that makes us uncomfortable that we can’t avoid. Don’t seek out stuff that makes you uncomfortable. That’s the great thing about the Internet. We can close the door on the URL world much easier than on the IRL world. (and yes, I know that’s what you were saying to me in our previous comment discussion)

  7. I love goals! Plans, shit written down on calendars; do this on this day. Very soothing. Unfortunately if the goals are unachievable, even if it FEELS like they should be, they will only cause strife and sadness. Try to be gentle with yourself, and instead of being upset you can’t reach some of your goals, be appreciative you had the presence of mind to have the self realization of your limitations. We can only do so much.

    Do you like acupuncture? Do you notice a difference in any way? Your moods, body. Or is it just for TTC? My bff has been trying to get me to go to acupuncture for YEARS and I’ve just never been able to do it.

  8. There are only so many hours in a day, and so many goals you can work on at one time. Right now, I think you are doing the absolute right thing focusing on self care. Because if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to do your best work creativly anyway. I’ve had to learn this lately too- I can’t comment on every post I read, even if I want to. I can’t paint like I used to because I just don’t have the time or energy- all that is spent just keeping things together during the day until I can collapse in bed at night!

    As for the burned bridges, I’m so sorry. I know it hurts and is so painful. I really hope you can get back to a place where your blogging is your sanctuary and you find bloggers who you feel safe in community with.

    Praying for you in this 2WW- aaa, I hope this is the one for you!

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