Time Warp Tuesday: Peace

I’m trying to get this out, at almost midnight. Better late than never, right?

In case you’ve missed all the other Time Warp’s I’ve done, this blog hop involves looking back through your archives (or the archives of a blogger you love) and finding a post that touches upon a theme and then reflecting on that post, and how you’ve changed since you (or someone else) wrote it. Thank you Kathy, from Bereaved and Blessed, for creating and continuing the Time Warp. I always enjoy it.

This month’s Time Warp focuses on Peace. I really wanted to reflect on this theme because honestly, I am one anxious, stressed out pregnant lady right now. I really need to take some time and return to the topic of peace.

When I searched my own blog for “peace,” the first post that came up was one of the first I’d ever written. It’s called Finding Some Semblance of Peace and it was written in the early days of my second pregnancy, when I was terrified of suffering another ectopic.

Reading that post, I was struck by how similar my fears were at the beginning of that pregnancy, compared with the beginning of this pregnancy. I was also grateful to be reminded of a Buddhist teaching that I wrote about there, which I grasped onto in an attempt to quell my terror at losing my second pregnancy.

In Buddhism they teach that there is no birth and death. We exist before our lives as we know them and afterwards. We are not our bodies or our collective experiences, we are a part of everything everywhere, that has ever been and will be. One way to understand this concept that seems so impossible to grasp is with a wave. You can describe a wave as being tall or short, powerful or tame, destructive or fun. You can measure a wave’s speed and distance. You can say that a wave begins somewhere and ends somewhere. But really, a wave is just water. The wave is never born, nor does it die, it is always water no matter what form it takes. When conditions are right the wave manifests. It is this way with everything. When conditions are sufficient things manifest. When conditions are not sufficient they don’t manifest.

I really appreciate that reminder right now.

Looking back at this post, I wish I could tell the woman who wrote it that everything was going to be okay, that those two lines and doubling betas would become a precious three year old girl, doing her damnedest to thwart your attempts to get her to sleep. When I think of the piece of mind I could have given her, it hurts my heart to think of all the suffering I could have prevented.

But it is also a good reminder of how the me from three years from now might feel toward the me of right now. Probably, she would want to do the same for me, assuring me it would be okay and that my fears and anxieties are for naught. That I should choose peace even though I’m not sure the peace is coming.

I’m on the eve of a series of pretty big transitions: going back to work in the third trimester; making a very restricted financial situation work; introducing a second child to our family; becoming the mother of a newborn again. Each of these on their own is a big change, all together I feel on the cusp of a complete mental break down, especially when I spend a lot of my feeling terrified about losing this baby boy. I absolutely need some peace in my life right now and I think this post did a lot to remind me of how big and scary the unknown can seem, but how everything may just be okay.

Tonight I hope I can breath deeply and return, with every breath, to a place of peace. I definitely need the respite, from my own mind, from my own, manufactured issues, from my worries and anxieties. The reality is, things will most likely be okay. And even if they aren’t, I will eventually be okay. And remembering that should be enough to help me find some peace.

Time Warp Tuesday: Decisions

When Kathy over at Bereaved and Blessed announced that this month’s Time Warp Tuesday theme would be decisions, I was immediately intrigued. I knew I wanted to participate though no specific post, or even topic, immediately sprang to mind.

When I did a search on “decisions” in my archives I was met with a most interesting–and eclectic–set of entries; so many different topics, all equally captivating. I could tell it was going to be really hard to decide which topic to tackle.

I was also struck by how many huge issues we had survived, that I had almost completely forgotten about. There were blog dramas and disagreements with my in-laws and uncertainties surrounding my choices as a mother and reflections on couples counseling… oh so many posts about couples counseling. I knew, in the end, I would have to revisit one of those posts just because they made up such a significant percentage of my search results.

Ultimately, I choose one of the posts I wrote during the very dark and difficult time we experienced before we started TTC#2, when we were trying to decide if and when we were even going to have another child. How could I have forgotten how hard it was for us to come to a place of resolution on this hugely divisive issue? How could I have forgotten how hard I fought, and how devastated I felt, when it seemed we would never agree on what to do, when the decision seemed far too difficult, and all seemed exceedingly hopeless.

In the end I choose to revisit, this post, called Two Losses, which describes the utter devastation I felt when we decided–with the help of our couples counselor–to wait 1-2 years to start trying for a second child.

What really touched me about that post was how raw it was, and how vividly it addressed the pain and disappointment we can sometimes feel when making a decision as a couple seems to negate who we are as an individual. At the time I was contemplating giving up my most precious dream in an attempt to secure my relationship. I had never felt so forced to make a decision that I did not personally agree with. The post is about sacrificing who I was to be a part of something bigger. It was about how hard it is to know what to do when you love someone as much as you love yourself.

Relationships are so hard. When big decisions have to be made and two people don’t agree, they can feel impossible. During those many months that we stood at the crossroads of trying–or waiting–to have another baby, I wondered if the decision would tear us apart. I think there were moments when I was sure it would.

When we finally made the decision, it almost broke me. Maybe, in the end, it did. Maybe that is why we ended up making a different decision entirely.

Because, of course, we ultimately decided not to suspend our family building attempts. We didn’t wait another 1-2 years to try for our second child. When I consider our diagnoses of DOR and MFI–and what a 1-2 delay probably would have meant for our family building endeavors–I am filled with a renewed sense of gratitude that we abandoned our original decision and started trying sooner than we had planned. In the end we got that 1-2 years anyway, it just came in the form of secondary infertility and not in a deliberate choice to wait. When I think that we might have never become pregnant again had stuck with our original decision, well the possibility makes me shutter. Revising this dark time gives me yet another reason to believe this pregnancy was meant to be, that it is truly a miracle.

So many of the posts in my search results were about Mi.Vida and I the decisions we’ve had to make. Looking back on all the uncertainty we faced, all the steps we took into the inscrutable unknown, I am reminded of how far we’ve come. Reading those posts I recall how unsure we were that we could ever afford a house or that we should buy one at all. Now we have our forever home and we marvel at how lucky we are to live here. We didn’t know if we should look for other jobs, or if we could even find something that would be right for either of us and today Mi.Vida started a new career that seems to be a perfect fit for both him and our family. We wondered if we should have another child and now we count down the months until our son’s expected arrival.

So many of the big, looming, terrifying decisions have been made. So much uncertainty has been resolved. I know we can’t see into the future and know that the security our decisions have provided us will still be there, but right now, at this moment we are reaping the rewards of what we decided to do. I suppose that is why we feel more confident making decisions as we move forward, because we have the confidence that we can make them well. Sure we’ve made mistakes, we’ve taken missteps, there have been poor choices along with the good, but I stand by each of the really difficult decisions we had to make. And I’m confident that we will be able to navigate all the future decisions that come our way.

Time Warp Tuesday: Books That Change You

It’s time for the Time Warp! For more info on Kathy, of Bereaved and Blessed‘s Time Warp Tuesday, click on the icon!

I haven’t written a ton about books. I participated in the first two PAIL book clubs and wrote about Bringing Up Bébé and The Conflict. I thought both books were interesting and the discussions of those books prompted me to read Why Have Kids? which touches on similar themes. But both of those posts were kind of recent and I like to look back and find older posts for the Time Warp.

For this TWT, I decided to go back to a giveaway post from 2010 where I offered the winner one of four different books, one for each of the different parts of the TTC/loss/pregnancy/motherhood journey that I had traveled. One of those books touched me very deeply, and recently touched the life a dear friend in a really positive way. Here is what I wrote about the book in my previous post.

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron

This book touched me, during a time when I my heart felt unreachable . A friend gave me this book in the aftermath of my ectopic; each chapter helped me to accept the suffering in my life and learn to have faith in the peace of the present moment. I can’t explain how this book brought me such comfort, but I’ve given it to others in times of loss and they’ve all agreed it was invaluable. This book helped me pick up the pieces and gave me the courage to move forward.

This book had a profound effect on me after my loss. Like I said in my past post, it was able to reach me when nothing else could. It literally–at the time–changed my life.

Recently a dear friend of mine found her life collapsing around her. Her mother’s long time boyfriend had a stroke, then her mother had a heart attack, then her sister went into kidney failure that developed into sepsis. Her sister almost didn’t make it.

Around the same time her oldest son (19 years old) was charged with four felonies and–during an unrelated incident–got a DUI. Needless to say friend was really struggling.

When my mom told me about all the was going on (they are also very close friends) I immediately knew I had to get Chodron’s book to her. I had just recently gotten the book back from another friend who had needed it and I was thankful I had it to pass on to this friend during her impossible time. This same copy was given to me after my loss, from a friend who struggled with IF for ten years before adopting a son from Korea.

There are few books that really change the way we see the world. This book did that for me, it did that for the friend who gave it to me and for the friends to whom I passed it along. They all have reported profound experiences reading. This book is able to offer peace in times when peace seems ever elusive. It delivers a profound message in a way that people can understand.

These past months have not been easy for me. When I passed the well-worn copy to my friend I bought myself another copy for Kindle on my iPhone. Now, whenever I’m out and about and feel overwhelmed by this depression or TTC or work or my relationship, I open it and read a chapter or two. Chodron’s words never fail to instill a peace and gratitude that I wouldn’t be able to find by myself. I am forever grateful for her book and for the difference it has made in my life and in the lives of my friends.

Time Warp Tuesday: Hope

It’s been a long time since I participated in Kathy (of Bereaved and Blessed)’s Time Warp but this month’s topic seemed too timely to pass up. That is because this month the Time Warp Tuesday theme is Hope.

I doubt there is another community that has such a strange relationship with hope. The ALI community loves and hates hope. We cling to it and push it away. We need it while we worry it might destroy us. Hope can lift us up and send us crashing down. Hope is tenuous and powerful and deceptive and wonderful all at once. Hope is hard to hold on to and even harder to let go of. Hope is well… hope.

I wrote this post on the eve of second attempt at TTC. I can’t believe that was in February. I can’t believe I wrote that post nine months ago. If I had known nine months ago where I’d be today, I wouldn’t have felt much hope.

And the truth is, I don’t feel much hope anymore. I’ve obviously lost all hope that having a second child will be a smooth and easy experience. I have lost all hope that even one part of our family building process will be what I expected. I’ve lost all hope that my family will look like what I expected it would look like. I’ve lost all hope that this second attempt won’t ravage our relationship, leaving it in tatters by the end.

I’ve lost all hope for any of those things because they’ve already happened in the ways I’d hoped they wouldn’t.

But I haven’t lost all hope that I’ll have another baby some day. I may never think the cycle we’re on will be the one but I do believe that some day, some cycle will be the one. And while I don’t have much hope that what I’m doing will increase our chances of conceiving, I still do those things.

And while I do have a slim hope that we’ll conceive on our own, I’ve made an appointment with an RE in case we can’t. So I suppose I do have hope that we could some day afford treatments, and that they may help us, if we need them.

So there is hope, it’s tenuous but it’s there. And I suppose it’s getting me through, because without it, this really would be a dark path to walk.

I have to admit, re-reading that post makes me sad. It’s sad to see where I was back then, nine months ago. It’s hard to see how much hope I harbored that it would be different. It’s hard to see how misguided I was. It makes me wonder if the hope I hold now is equally as misguided. It makes me wonder if someday I’ll look back at the hope written here and scoff at it like I scoff at the post written nine months ago.

I don’t want hope to make a fool out of me, but I also need it to get through, and that is why I’ll always despise hope as much as I need it.

Time Warp Tuesdays: A Very Merry Un-blogoversary To You!

It is not my blogoversary but that is the topic of this month’s Time Warp Tuesday so I’m going to write a little bit about it. My blog is only a little over 2.5 years old so I’ve only had the opportunity to celebrate two blogoversaries here. The first wasn’t all that special. It mostly acknowledged that I had considered using my blogoversary as a set date to shut down my blog but ultimately decided not too. I’m very glad I kept this space alive and well, despite the growing pains I felt after my daughter was born.

The second ended up coinciding with my 500th post, which I was very excited for, but ended up happening in the middle of an existential blogging crisis, when I was grasping for a new intention in this space. I wrote a thoughtful post that day, in which I said a few things, among them this:

Not long ago I took a break from blogging as I attempted to rediscover my intention. While I haven’t figured it out yet I feel closer to it. I know it has something to do with forging connections and fostering community, but I’m not quite sure how to accomplish either.

It’s interesting to me that both my blogoversaries fell during times of blogging identity crises, when I was grappling with the intention and future of this space. I know that is something I have struggled with, and continue to struggle with, something I suppose I will always be turning over and over and in my mind. What is my purpose here? What am I trying to accomplish? What makes the time I spend here worth it–for myself personally, for my family? The truth is the answer to these questions changes as I change, as my needs change, as my support systems change.

Recently I created a new space. This space is public, it is associated with my “real” name and I share posts there on places like Facebook. Now, whenever I start formulating a post I consider where I will post it. What do I want to say? Who do I want to read it? I didn’t realize it at the time but that space will dramatically affect this space, not just changing the amount that I write but the topics I tackle here as well. This space will probably become more private and personal, it will focus more on my need for support and less on my love of writing. I wonder how that will affect my readership and even my attitude about this space. I plan on writing more about it here, but I wanted to plant the seed during this post because it seemed relevant somehow.

How do you mark your blogoversaries? How has your blogging intention changed over time?

Time Warp Tuesday: Blog Beginnings

It’s Time Warp Tuesday and while it might not be Tuesday where you live when this ends up in your reader, please know that it’s Tuesday in California when I post it.

Today’s theme is Blog Beginnings and we’ve been asked to revisit our first, or one of our first, posts. I have to admit, I love the idea of going back to my virgin post, the post that popped my blogging cherry, the post that was the first step in my journey here.

My first post was titled My Not So Brave New World and was posted on August 2 30, 2009.

It’s interesting to revisit that post now, on the cusp of trying to conceive a second child, when my life is about to be thrust back into the emotional turmoil that results in any attempt at family building. I wish I could go back and tell that girl that things would be okay, that she’d eventually get her rainbow baby, that she would become a mother. And knowing I want to say that now, makes me wonder if the Esperanza from two years in the future will be wishing she could assure me of the same things now – that I will complete my family – somehow, some way.

I started this blog because TTC and loss had taken over my life and no one around me seemed to care. I wanted to find others who understood and I wanted to support others who were going struggling with similar issues. This is how I ended that first post.

The struggle to start a family is not something our society shares. We would, and do, share the start of our family with the world when the word struggle is not included; but when that word finds its way into the experience, suddenly we are shut down. I know there are thousands of women out there who are struggling to start their families and feel they have no where to turn. I am one of those women. I also know that within their ranks are hundreds more who have to make room for depression and anxiety in their story. I am also making room. My hope is that my story will some how help others to feel less alone in their struggle.

Two and half years later I am thrilled to report that I found that community and that membership here is more rewarding than I ever could have hoped it might be. Two and a half years later I’m stunned by how much this space means to me, by what I feel I’ve accomplished here. Two and a half years later I’m in awe of the fact that the most important events of my life are recorded here for posterity. Two and half years later I am so proud of what I’ve built, and so thankful that I wrote that entry, and pressed publish, over 625 posts ago.

Sometimes I think about moving my blog to a self-hosted place. Every once in a while I entertain the idea of a new beginning, but I’m not sure how or why I would do that. Revisiting my original post makes me consider why I might want to move to a new space. I believe my blog is constantly evolving, but does it need a new home to do so? What would a new space give me that this space cannot? Honestly, I’m not really sure and I’d need very definite answers to those questions before I invested time and money committing to self-hosted site. In fact, I think I would need to determine a goal for this blog before I did made a move and we all know how I struggle in determining the purpose of this place.

In the meantime I’ll keep writing here, I’ll keep engaging in this community, I’ll keep reaching out to others and being so, so thankful when people reach out to me. In the meantime I’ll remain incredibly grateful that I wrote that post two years ago, and deeply satisfied by everything I’ve accomplished here since then.

When and why did you start your blog? How has it evolved over time? Has your blog been the outlet you hoped it would? Has it become so much more? 

I would really love to read your first post. If you want to share it, please include a link in the comment section.

Time Warp Tuesday: Comments Please!

I know it’s the last day of my week long blogging hiatus but when I heard what this Time Warp Tuesday’s theme was I felt I had to put up a little something. It just felt like too perfect an opportunity after my reposts this week.

You see, this week’s Time Warp Tuesday is called Comment’s Please! The idea is to revisit a post that you liked and that got very few comments. I felt compelled to participate in this week’s TWT because I basically reposted all these past Mindful Monday pieces this week because they got very few comments when they were first published. I was hoping that if I put them back out there again, maybe they would ring true with someone who wasn’t reading me over a year ago when they were first published and that person would let me know in the comment section.

The Buddhist teachings of mindfulness and loving kindess are important parts of my life. Buddhist teachings have been some of the only pieces of wisdom to provide me comfort during TTC, our loss and the uncertainty of parenthood. Buddhism helps the world make sense. It brings me immense comfort amidst the suffering of life. It seems like the perfect lens with which to experience infertility, loss and motherhood.

I have to admit, I genuinely don’t understand why my Mindful Monday posts got so few comments. I know that Buddhism as a religion or belief system might not be for everyone but its teachings seem to transcend organized religion. Even if one believes in G-d or any other deity, the power of mindfulness and staying in the present moment seem like valuable teachings.

Perhaps the relevance of these teachings is not as universal as I believe. Perhaps I don’t present them all that well. Perhaps people just aren’t interested in this kind of stuff when the hustle and bustle of every day life is tugging them elsewhere.

I hope people don’t read this as a plea for pity. I’m not personally hurt that these post didn’t get many comments. I’m merely curious that they don’t seem to inspire much reaction. (Approaching a situation with curiosity instead of judgement is another valuable lesson Buddhism taught me.)

So today, for Time Warp Tuesday, instead of linking to a specific post, I’ll just ask that you pick any of the reposts from the last week (scroll down on the main page) – whichever you find most compelling and comment on that (if you feel so inclined).

What kind of posts most inspire you to comment? What kind of posts do you rarely comment on? Is there anything specific a blogger can do to better ensure you’ll comment (like end the blog with prompts such as these)? How do you feel when a post you hoped would receive comments fails to do so?