07 December 2011

Babies & Families & Mothers/Fathers Make Me Happy


During the first year of infertility, I remember actually feeling sad about my life when I heard that other friends were pregnant.

We're talking......mmm.....maybe I'll cut out of this party early because I can't hide these tears any longer.  Or  - no thank you, I'll just sit this 35th baby shower out.  Or, don't you dare hand me a flower at church to carry around on Mother's Day cause I am already seconds away from busting out of this building early (often times there are flowers handed out at church to honor all the women on Mother's Day.)

For a solid year, I was just seconds away from the deepest feelings of desperate/teary sadness, anger at the cruelty of this unfairness, inadequacy as a woman, shame that apparently something was wrong with my body, fear that I never would get pregnant, resentment that I was being left behind outside of the circle of mothers, and worry that somehow my life was not going to be worth anything if I couldn't get pregnant & have a family.   WHAT A SAD WAY TO LIVE!!  It was sad.  Very.

Anybody with me here?  Anyone else out there know what I'm talking about?  :)


OK, well, this was year one for me.  Year two was a completely different experience.  It was a miracle.
Year two was when I started learning that...if I didn't change my overall perspective on trials, even if I DID get pregnant, I would still be pretty jacked up!!

Because even with a baby in tow, inevitably there would be many other things that wouldn't go my way.  I started to see that I could easily live & die and only have small glimpses of happiness when things happened to all be in place perfectly.

So want to know what one of the greatest side effects is of deliberately making some changes?

I don't feel the tendency to compare my life with others anymore.  My life just is what it is.  And it's beautiful.  I now get to enjoy being TRULY, TRULY happy & overjoyed every time I see a little baby.  And I am thrilled each & every time I hear of a friend or sister or cousin or neighbor who is pregnant.  And I am AMAZED at the miracle of a birth every time I hear that a new little one has arrived to this beautiful life safe & sound.   Babies are miracles.  Getting pregnant is a miracle.  Creating a family is a miracle.  What a shame that hearing of these things used to make me sad & cause me pain.  They're the most beautiful things that ever happen in this life.  What a privilege it is to see it unfold and to be a part of it in little ways.  Like having friends over and getting to know their darling children + learning from all the amazing moms & dads around me.

Any comments on how to overcome the pain of seeing others get pregnant while you don't?  I'd have to say this is one of the very heaviest issues related to infertility, right?  My heart goes out to all of you who are still navigating through that & learning how to be at peace.  And btw, this comparing thing is a hot issue for many women, I think.....whether it's comparing homes, creativity, style, wardrobes, etc.  It sucks us in, and I hope we can all work on rising above it!  Cause it just makes life sweeter.  
All comments welcome!

With Love,

Mara

P.S.  A few love announcements:

-One of my very talented/creative/designer friends just opened a new online store called BOOK/SHOP.  He's a lover of books.  And all things that house books.  He's selling books, art, furnishings, small goods.  I am loving this bookshelf & this Paris tote bag.  {THINK GIFTS!}




-Another friend of mine I knew in Brooklyn has an amazing blog & introduced one of my favorite advent calendar ideas I have seen yet.  What a good excuse to buy Christmas children's books. :)

-Yikers!  Just found out there is actually a documentary about all those crazy lights in Brooklyn called "Dyker Lights".  I have heard it's hilarious.

-Danny & I are thinking about what we'll wear for our upcoming photo shoot in Tribeca at 20x24, home of the very large format Polaroid camera (so excited!!)

-Just got invited to a Feliz Navidad TAPAS Party by one of my favorite designer friends.  I love everything this woman does:


-I love *dirt cheap* Christmas decorations.  This wreath idea & these paper ornaments are calling my name.  I need to go down to my local copy store to get some brightly colored paper & tape & paint.

-I could see this manicure idea being cool for a festive holiday party.

-Loving these clutches with neon stripes.  Makes me want to go to town with some neon paint (or tape!) on some old thrift store finds to modern them up.

-What a DARLING way to dress up some treats.  Though sadly the treats for my neighbors will still likely end up on a paper plate inside a zip lock bag.  :)  Haha.  

-I want to buy some cheap thrift store flatware & spray paint it like this for my next party. 

-Need to start buying cereal so I can make a village of these colorful houses.  LOVE!

-These modern mugs are fantastic.  Would fit nicely with my new pumpkin latte obsession + hot cocoa.

-LOVE seeing the Holiday Windows in New York.  My favorites this year are:
Kate Spade - hello streamers!
Bergdorf's - "Carnival of the Animals"- window scene below made of paper!
Lord & Taylor - "What is Christmas Made Of?"  Featuring children's illustrations in response to this question + scenes inspired by the children's ideas.  (So sweet!)
Barneys - "Gaga's Workshop" - you've got to hand it to them for being over-the-top.

(photo by Ricki Zehavi)


20 comments:

  1. I don't have problems with fertility (now), but I was married a little later in life, followed by four miscarriages and experienced the same feelings. I love this quote: “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” — Jeffrey R. Holland
    It is so true. There is incredible peace in just being WORTHY of the best blessings, huh! Even if they can't be experienced now, you will.

    btw, love this blog!

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  2. It took me a long time to learn that lesson. I was in so much pain over my own infertility that I struggled to be happy for others. Especially for those who found themselves pregnant after a mere month of trying, or "by happy accident". But you know what the universe is like. The more I was unhappy for others, the more it threw that kind of experience in my lap until I learned my lesson.

    Now, looking back, and with two kids to care for, I can really see that the timing was divine. I would not have been the mother I am and try to be today had it not been for all the lessons I learned during the years of infertility.

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  3. One week after having emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy (my 2nd failed pregnancy - the 1st was a miscarriage), my younger sister left me a message - stating that she was pregnant. She had been trying for a month. I didn't handle it well and really struggled the first few months of her pregnancy. I was totally happy for her - but sad for me at the same time.

    Now her baby is about 9 months old and I have so much fun with her. I got past the pain and I know I am better for the things I have learned from my experiences with failed pregnancies. It's not been an easy road - and I still struggle sometimes but I am grateful it's my road.

    These experiences have brought my husband & I closer - something I am so grateful for. I can truly say that we would be just as happy and at peace if we never have children. We have grown so much together and have such a wonderful life together. I would love to be a mother to his children - to be blessed to raise children in this life. But if not, that's okay. We're happy anyway.

    That's something I couldn't have said 6 months ago - and a lot of this growth is because of you, Mara! Your example has made me examine my life and my choices. I am learning to choose JOY! and it feels so, so great.

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  4. Thanks so much for your blog Mara (and Danny)! I've commented on a previous post about feeling at peace with my own infertility and knowing that the Lord's hand is in my life regardless of my status as a mother.
    My question for you is how do you deal with awkward questions or comments?
    I've gotten everything from "You're lucky you don't have any kids!" to, "Now we need to get you two one of those." (said by a family member while holding our new baby niece for the first time, 'thanks for ruining the moment!') And then there's the, "What's wrong with you guys? Don't you want any kids?"
    My reactions are varied, and may be getting increasingly sarcastic, bordering rude. We've even practiced in the car on the way to events where we know it will inevitably come up: "This is really none of your business (insert name of repeat offender), this is absolutely not up for discussion!" Thankfully we've never had to use it, but I like to keep it in my pocket for emergencies.
    Every time it happens I start feeling like maybe I'm not as at peace with my infertility as I originally thought.
    How do you deal with this? Any suggestions how to remain calm in the face of tactless questioning?

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  5. The one thing I would add is in response to people feeling sadness/anger/frustration when they find out about others who became pregnant -- and I know the feeling -- I have two sisters that are due this month that both became pregnant by accident.

    The reality is that you may not know what struggles your newly pregnant friend/sister/etc went through to get there. The first time -- my husband and I tried for a month or two and got pregnant quickly -- but then miscarried at 9 weeks (after seeing the heartbeat). We waited for at least a year to even try again, and then it took over a year to get pregnant, and now I'm only 8 weeks again (fingers crossed). But during that year, I worried and stressed, and even now, I'm anxiety ridden that something will go wrong, because you just never know.

    So when you see someone else, and their happiness at getting pregnant, don't assume that it was easy for them or that you know what emotions and struggles they went through to get there. Sure, there are those that barely tried and you can think that it's not fair. But there are also other situations where you are just seeing the exterior of what they went through. Maybe remembering that will help some people balance out their frustrations for their own personal struggles.

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  6. infertility makes me conflicted. at times, I am happy for my pregnant friends. most of the time, I am jealous and bitter. I was the first to get married, and first to announce that 'we're trying'. so many people got married & had kids since. this developed and strengthened my relationship with God and with my husband. I am grateful for the life I have. but I can't help but feel upset that something that should come naturally for women is not happening. I have to make a conscious effort to be kind and giving, otherwise, I am not really feeling the usual holiday spirit.

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  7. I've been married for 5 years and we don't have kids. Being a Mormon in Utah means that we get a lot of questions about it, and the answer is long and embarrassing in some ways, so I'm not ever excited when people ask why we don't have them. I understand people being curious, but it's uncomfortable for me, (and if it's the right time of the month, it makes me want to cry :)

    For the past few years I have been avoiding mentioning anything that had to do with kids, because it throws a spotlight on our lack of children and the ensuing uncomfortableness. It is hard for me to not talk about kids though, because I think they are so cute. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't thinking about what my kids would be like and what it would be like to raise them. It's the most fascinating thing in the world to me! However, I love to talk, so it's been a little bit of an exercise to keep my mouth shut about something that I think is so exciting and interesting as being a mom.

    But I've recently realized that I can't help other people's curiousity, it's just natural. They're not being jerks! And in all likely hood they don't really care at all and are just asking because they don't have anything else to talk to me about! So I've been telling myself lately that I don't have to hide my enthusiasm for kids, just because I don't have them. Yeah, I'll probably get those uncomfortable, unwanted questions, but I shouldn't take it so personally. I should figure out a "script", like you mentioned in one of your lasts posts, to help that kind of conversation when it comes up. As it inevitable does :)

    ::sigh:: What a nice blog post this was today Mara! I enjoy all of them, but this one soothed my mind from a hard days work :) Thanks!

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  8. I think a good thing to remember is that it's not like they're getting pregnant to spite you or rub it in your face. Infertility made me very self centered and I often had to give myself a reality check and say, "Hey, they don't know what's going on with you. It's not all about you. They're not trying to offend." Family planning is a very personal thing for everybody so place not judgement on anybody else's decision.

    That being said, it's still hard. Take a moment to let yourself sulk in private and then pray for strength to let it go and be happy.

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  9. I know this is sort of cheesy, but I just have to start counting my blessings. It's SO hard when it seems like everyone around you is being handed the thing you're working for, but if I start to see all the nice things about my life, I can handle it better.

    Sometimes I deliberately do things I could probably not do if I had children, and tell myself how lucky I am to be able to take super long showers, try on a whole bunch of clothes at the mall, have a clean house for an entire day--things like that. Sometimes by the end, I wonder if I really do want a baby after all . . . I mean, my life is so simple!

    It really can be so hard, and today has been especially hard, so I'm glad I ended up at this blog! But always, if I pray to be grateful, and force myself to count my blessings, I feel so good.

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  10. Thankfully throughout our infertility, I've not been bitter when friends/family announce their pregnancy just because it is an absolute miracle that it even happens. I especially am over the moon when friends who have struggled get pregnant. I can truly understand their joy and rejoice with them. When that would happen, it would give me hope and joy that one day they too would rejoice with me when we finally got to announce our pregnancy. That has been the case, and it's wonderful. I have had many things said to me that could have been extremely hurtful, but I just don't get offended easily. Although I have practiced in my head to come back with a good comeback to things said that could be offensive so that they can realize they should watch what they say so they don't hurt someone in the future. There was one time that I was extremely hurt by a friend who intentionally said something to hurt me just to make a point. I forgave her, but gave it to her so she would not do such a thing to another person going through infertility. Some people are just so clueless they don't understand the pain around it. I can honestly say she now understands because I was 100% honest with her, and there was no sugar coating going on. I was ticked and hurt. The times where I struggle when seeing/finding out someone is pregnant is when it's a teen mom, or when I found out a woman on welfare in our ward was now pregnant with her 9th child. I know it's judgmental, but I just ache for those kids being born in such circumstance (there is a lot of neglect in the family of 9). That's when I ask "Why God, why are you sending your spirits into such heartache when there are so many loving couples aching for children". This is a discussion I will surely have when I pass to the other side, but I am grateful for the lessons we've learned through our infertility.

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  11. I am single, and although I desire to be a wife and mom someday, having a baby isn't a current area that I struggle with. However I totally appreciate this because I can relate it to other areas of my life, like singleness!! Thanks, Mara. You're a gem.

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  12. This past year there have been 8 babies born to our siblings. A few singles with one set of twins and one set of triplets. It has been a huge baby boom with me being the only married girl not having a baby this year. I lost my last baby and have not been able to get pregnant since. My initial reaction was hurt, but then I realized that I had a big choice here, I could love these babies or I could feel bad for myself. I CHOSE to love these babies. It has been such a fun year! Babies literally everywhere. We live close to the triplets and it has been such a joy to see these little miracle babies. I go there to get my "baby fix" and I can change diapers, give bottles, give cuddles and kisses as much as I want. They have been such a huge blessing in my life. I never knew that someone elses babies could mean so much to me. I remember when I was first trying to get pregnant and having a hard time I felt an impression one day that there were lots of "little people" in my life that I could love, they didn't have to be mine. I'm grateful that I have been able to overcome my sadness and have been able to fully enjoy all these nieces and nephews in my life.

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  13. I confess that at times I've been a little bit of a Scrooge when it comes to feelings about friends having babies-- or even getting married. There have been times in the past (especially after a break-up) when for my own sanity I COULD NOT bear another baby shower or bridal shower. And even women struggling with infertility would make me mad because they were already halfway there by being married and at least getting to TRY for a baby! While I remained just as barren without a future baby even a twinkle in anyone's eye.
    Of course I'm being a bit dramatic, but those feelings were real. Sometimes still are, but are less so as I've developed and maintained friendships with women in different stages of life (thanks Relief Society!). When you really love people and have a true friendship with them, their joys will be your joys and their sorrows your sorrows. And even though friends have babies and husbands, true ones have continue to rejoice with me in the happy things (like new jobs and school success) and sorrow with me in times of need. Just like you, i feel like my life is absolutely beautiful and working out just how it needs to, even if not quite how I thought it would.

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  14. I SO SO SO remember those feelings.

    http://lifewiththelittlebird.blogspot.com/2009/12/he-chose-to.html

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  15. i just came across this post (& your darling blog), and as i sit here pregnant with my first child i feel a sweet peace in all that you have said. our infertility has been such a special part of our lives and our marriage. the journey through the unknown, and the miracle of invitro has truly changed our perspective on just about everything.

    the first year was definitely the hardest. by the second i had accepted that the situation was out of our control and we would patiently move forward doing what we could. the feelings were still there but now they were so much deeper. and were helping to form something new inside of me; a spirit of faith and resilience, of love, and of patience that i hadn't previously had. my husband and i vowed to enjoy each other and our lives together regardless of our numbers.

    we passed those months living instead of waiting. for us it was the best remedy.


    thank you for your post, and for all of your hope and encouragement!

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  16. Wow Mara I salute you for reaching the calm space of acceptance.. its so much healthier but so hard to achieve. I totally understand where you are coming from.. After 4 years, countless failed rounds of IVF, 3 operations for endo, 2 ectopics we finally had our 1 beautiful baby boy (and surprised every doctor we had come across - especially when it was a natural conception) ... that time was full of downs and more downs, of countless friends conceiving so quickly, of tears and feelings of desperation and grief but the one thing we never did was give up and never said the word "infertile" as I found it so negative.
    Peace is wonderful and I think its fabulous you are more at peace than you were, but don't be afraid to breakdown every now and then, but know you aren't alone, there are so many people feeling the same just don't give up ...

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  17. I stumbled upon your blog accidentally actually, searching for ALTSUMMIT highlights {great comments on that post, btw... my brother went with his wife and said it was great fun} then saw "infertility" on your sidebar and clicked through. My husband and I started trying in 2007... I refuse to do any fertility treatments. I'm not religious but feel if it's not happening naturally, then I don't want to force it. I am pretty much at peace with it now but still "think" I'm going to get pregnant almost every month then sort of laugh at myself for it. While I don't cry at the news of a friend's pregnancy anymore, I'm still sad my dream of being a mom isn't happening like I always thought it would.

    I wanted to create a baby. Instead I created a blog and made a career out of it in the same amount of time we've been trying. "It" has become my baby.

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    Replies
    1. Maegan, that's awesome that the blog has become a great part of your life. I know the feeling! I'm so glad I have this to work on, especially in the absence of motherhood. Before starting the blog, I was starting to feel antsy as the years passed & no baby came...I had thoughts like....I really am not doing anything THAT meaningful in huge ways for other people...or..my life is passing by and I'm not really leaving my mark anywhere. So I started a blog. I never have those thoughts anymore. :)

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  18. I enjoyed listening to you on Classical 89 a couple days ago. LOVE your positive outlook on live and your openness on things.
    Fortunately I have not had infertility problems, but realize that each of us has their own challenges in life.
    You've probably tried many things to overcome your obstacles. Have you tried adding essential oils to your routine yet?
    Keep up the good works!

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  19. I know this is an older post, but I just love it! I am infertile and this perspective of rejoicing and embracing/loving other peoples kids is not something I read very often. I totally feel this way, and friends always ask if I am ok with their kids around, or if I am sure I want to hold their new baby. I DO! All day in fact! I want to soak up that baby love, and enjoy other peoples kids especially if I am never able to have my own! I also love how positive all the comments are. I am always searching for infertility blogs or articles to give me perspective and so often the comments are just horrible. People are negative or mean or argumentative. I love that everyone here seems so calm and polite.

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