22 October 2013

Hello!


To the dear people of this blog community, I feel as though I've neglected a good friend.  And it hasn't been a good feeling.  I'm so glad I can write something today!

If you might be a little surprised that I just stopped blogging over 4 weeks ago, I can tell you that I am even more surprised!  I didn't expect to take a break and it wasn't planned at all.  But it just happened. And based on how I have felt the last few weeks, I guess that I really needed it.

I've always known that being able to blog at all was a gift...meaning...a lot of things have come together for me to be able to do this at all (time, desire, ability to not earn an income, and feeling like I had some truths to share at all.)  The ability to do this has been beyond me.  It has been fueled by something outside of myself...truly a greater power.  You see, this blog is actually not a profession nor a hobby of mine.  I don't even feel like a writer.  Or a blogger.  Or a social media guru.  Or an internet saavy person.  And certainly not a photographer.  ha! None of this comes naturally to me or easily to me. But I gave up all other pursuits to see if I could somehow share something meaningful here.  And somehow, I've gotten some words out.  I have never taken that for granted.  I've been amazed time and time again that somehow a post just comes together.  It's all been quite a miracle to me.

And so, when I woke up about a month ago and felt as though my voice had stopped, I again knew what a miracle it was to have written hundreds of posts prior.  I felt grateful for all that had come before.  And I waited to see what might happen.  I waited for that desire to write to return.

The break mostly got started because of a sequence of events.  The day after we spoke at a conference in Manhattan, I had a skin gum graft surgery in my mouth.  It was actually pretty bearable, but my face was very swollen for days, eating was very difficult, and it was overall uncomfortable.  I was also in charge of an overnight women's retreat for my congregation just 4 days later, so all my energy was directed elsewhere.

I had also been on the birth control pill for about a month.  It's part of the IVF protocol and I was taking a different brand this time (Zovia) that sent me for a loop.  It's incredible how disconnected I felt from myself just by taking those little pills.  I had to go into survival mode just get through it.  I'm so happy that I will never, ever have to take those pills again.

I came back from the women's retreat exhausted (though the experience was wonderful!) and then two days later I began the IVF injections and sonogram monitoring.

With the IVF protocol came the treacherous 4-5 hour round trip visits to my doctor in Long Island every few days, sometimes back-to-back.  The B.Q.E. and L.I.E. and bumper to bumper traffic have been my world, as well as multiple home injections morning and night, lots of pills, infusions, dosage calendars, and heat packs.

We've also been a bit short-handed by several women in the female leadership of my congregation, and so I've been taking on several extra duties in the last many months.  It has kept me oh so busy.  But it's always very fulfilling work.  And I'm glad that somehow I've had the ability to keep up with it and that it has, in turn, kept me going, even on days when I wasn't feeling great.

But, well, the break continued on and on....and this is why:


I've needed every ounce of energy I could muster to get through this IVF.

In the beginning, after weighing so many factors, we had a burst of motivation to go through with it - so we did.  But it has still been difficult for me - in fact, very difficult.  I guess my heart and mind and body had not been planning on doing this a second time.  It has felt like my actions have not been in harmony with my body - which is not a good feeling, I can tell you.  In a way, doing IVF has actually felt abusive to my body.  Doing it once was one thing, but twice has felt like one time too many.  We did actually consider canceling the IVF at the last minute, but in the end - I realized (due to our location, our very specialized doctor, our other options, etc.) it really was now or never.  So I've carried forward with it.  Though I don't know how many times I have said in my head, "I'm so glad this is the last time."

And I know this will make mothers and people everywhere gasp, but I have wondered if I should be pursuing children at all any more.  It's been so many years, so much money, time, and energy.  I've wondered if this pursuit is the best use of my life at this point.  I have wondered for quite some time now if being a mother and raising a child is even my calling...and if this excessive pursuit has held me back from being able to fully embrace a different role in life.  It's sad to me, but I actually don't feel a strong desire for kids/babies anymore - I don't think about having one, long for one, crave one, etc.  It's like my life - not by choice - has just taken a different path.  And the acceptance of that path feels more comfortable to me than fighting against it.

So with very, very little stamina, I have continued on with this IVF.  I have had to gather every bit of energy possible to help me go through the motions of this process.  We HAVE been succeeding in going through the motions, which I am grateful for.  We've had some of the most loving moments during the daily drug rituals each morning and night.  I've been more grateful than ever for the most loving husband in the world.  I've been able to remain fairly calm during all of these injections and procedures (even the infusion, the IVs, the egg retrieval, anesthesia).  But like I said, I've had to put ALL of my energy into pulling this off - every last drop available.  This has left nothing for blogging, emails, twitter, responding, texting, documenting, etc.

During our absence, we thank you so much for all the kindness you sent our way...it has blown us away. We also thank those of you who have desired to connect with us here.  We love connecting with you here, too.  Discussing life and sharing life with others remains one of our greatest joys.  We hope that it can continue here in the days ahead.

Much love to all of you,

Mara

P.S.  During the break, we did do another segment on Huff Post Live called, "Your Relationship Will Never Be Perfect."  I know some people were curious as to why I left during the interview. Well, it's not that exciting, but I had to leave for a doctor's appointment (which HuffPost was OK with).  In fact, I have to leave for a doctor appt. now...hope to see you soon.  :)

P.P.S. The photo above is from a few days ago...(it's kind of funny to me that I look pregnant in the photo!  ha.) We had just spoken at a singles conference in the most beautiful area of New Jersey.  I was grateful that I was able to speak and that it actually felt really, really good to do it.  It was also just wonderful to drive through the rolling hills and see the fall colors in all their glory.  Danny knows that I can hardly drive by a vegetable stand without stopping.  This cauliflower from the Amish just couldn't be resisted.


70 comments:

  1. Mara, thank you for the update! I'm sure you will hear this a million times over, but I'm so happy you wrote again. I will be praying that you would sense you are being carried through everything going on, inwardly and physically. xo, Rose

    ReplyDelete
  2. I applaud you for setting aside even this beautiful blog to focus on what you need to in order to make it through everything going on in your life. No matter where this takes you, I greatly admire your love, compassion, and acceptance of our Heavenly Father's plan for you. You're amazing! I've been blessed many time by your blog and am very grateful for the time you've taken to write it. Thank you, thank you! I really look up to you two.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Welcome back! We've missed you! I have confidence that everything will work out for you just as it should. Thank you for being authentic and hopeful and showing us that sometimes you just need a minute. Good for you for taking a breath and attending to your highest priorities. I am grateful for all that you share.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my goodness, this broke my heart a little. Going through my 2nd round of IVF was much more emotionally exhausting than I had thought. It took everything, and I shut down a lot from social media and the internet, just to conserve all emotional strength, and protect my fragile stage. Blogging and sharing, does require an excess of emotional energy. To every season. God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So happy to see a post from you! Your blog has been such a comfort as I go through my own IVF process, and I'm sending you lots of good thoughts. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh oh oh! I have been thinking about you so much this week. I am SO GLAD you are alive :]]

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for your example of attending to top priorities and values even when it's hard or risks disappointing people. It's an example I have been craving. Bless you, both.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Welcome back Mara & Danny - you have been missed! Wishing you all the best as you continue to soldier through this IVF!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Welcome back! It is so nice to read your thoughtful words. Wishing you all the best for this round of IVF and whatever follows.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So good to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to drop in and say hello. Best wishes coming your way.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Welcome back Mara! I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers during this process. It is sooo good to hear from you. I have missed you and your updates! It's crazy how much I looked forward to what you had to say everyday, even if it was just about turkish towels :)

    Katie

    ReplyDelete
  12. I cannot tell you how happy I was to see this update post today. Your blog has been a place I can come for enlightenment positivity. I have sorely missed your posts over the last month. The past seven weeks have personally been the most difficult of my entire life. I am thankful for all of your previous posts that I was able to look at and gain encouragement and comfort from. I was especially glad to see your update today and I look forward to more wonderfully uplifting posts from you both.

    I know IVF can be a grueling process. Not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. You have such a wonderful attitude and I hope for only the best for you and Danny. I admire you and your strength and I admire your ability to choose joy no matter

    I rarely comment on blogs but I have found so much goodness here that I can't pass up an opportunity to tell you thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's great to "hear your voice" again! Mostly a stalker here...commented once I think? Kudos for knowing when you need a break and acting on that wisdom. I can relate to the infertility questions. Although I had a big surprise natural pregnancy after several years of trying, I have faced the debate about a second attempt and the question of whether life has a different story for us. Thanks for your courage and transparency. It is a gift to those who have traveled some of the same paths and for those who have not.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Perfectly said. I think there is much bravery in stating what you need in your life even when it goes against the long held belief of what things "should" look like. Letting go of expectations is so scary and so daunting and so fulfilling.

    Good luck in mapping out the rest of your story!

    ReplyDelete
  15. So lovely to hear from you and see your smiling face! You are an inspiration and I wish you peace and strength as you go through this difficult process. And I'm glad you have a real-world community in the form of your friends and congregation to help sustain you through times like this. Warmest wishes.

    Kristin

    ReplyDelete
  16. I knew you'd be back! Thanks Mara and Danny. :-)

    Nisha

    ReplyDelete
  17. Good for you for doing what you needed for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's totally made my day to see a post from you! I was seriously so worried about you guys - it feels really strange to care so much about someone I've never met. It just goes to show how powerful a connection you've made with your readers that you have so many people who had such strong emotions about your absence. Sending love your way. xo

    ReplyDelete
  19. It feels so refreshing to hear you say that you needed a break. It is so hard in this busy world to adhere to what our real calling is. I have spent the whole day feeling like my world is falling apart. Maybe I need to listen more to my body and slow down.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am so happy to here you are doing okay and working on surviving. I am usually a silent fan and appreciate your messages of health, and love, and many things in between. I love love love that you are honest and real with how you are and where you are at. That can seem so simple but I have learned that being open and allowing others to share my burdens with me has helped me so much, despite my tendency to be very closed about my most intense feelings. Surviving at times and admitting to everyone that this a really hard time is so brave. You are more fabulous than you know:-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. My life missed your frequent inputs. Know that whilst you question and seek whether to be a mother or not, you haven't for one minute missed your calling for this season, you have richly impacted so many lives with your words.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh Mara, it's good to "hear" your voice on here again! I admire you so much for sharing everything that you're going through with your readers, but then I think that openness is why you have so many devoted readers! I hope that as your big life plan unfolds, you can be astounded, in the best way, by the things God had planned out for you from the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for the update! I wish you both the very best as you make it through the next little while. That does sound extremely tough and demanding. It's funny, you're positive voice has been in the back of my mind since I started following your blog and it was missed! I actually had a dream about you and Danny a few days ago. I was driving down the street and I drove past your house and you were both outside. Danny was planting flowers in the ground and you were standing over him smiling and admiring his good work. You were both happy and glowing and I thought, "Oh good... they are both okay! They are doing great!" Of course you guys are. I'll be sending positive vibes/thoughts your way as you make it through this IVF cycle. Thanks for all the goodness you instill in your readers!

    ReplyDelete
  24. You have been missed, but your health and well-being are the utmost priority! Hope your IVF is/was successful!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am happy and relieved that the two of you are alive and as well as can be under the circumstances. Mara, you are such a beautiful woman, inside and out; you look amazing despite the challenges you are facing.
    p.s. I also thought you looked pregnant in that picture.

    I respect and admire your decision to just take a break and for now coming on the blog and posting an update for your readers (which you didn't have to do - but it is appreciated)

    In case we don't hear from you for a while: Thank you for all of your words (so far) - you really changed my perspective on relationships and my life will forever be changed for that.

    Best of life, love and a little bit of luck for both you and Danny.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Glad you are back, but as a reader, I am still really irritated that you couldn't be upfront about your absence, and left your readers wondering and worried. Really unprofessional (since this is your profession) and really contradicts everything you say you stand for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May I be the first but certainly not the last to say: Boo!

      Delete
    2. Don't hide behind 'anonymous' and write such hurtful things. Surely the above explanation goes far enough to justify the need to take time to themselves?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous 8:27 - can I just say that a profession by definition is a paid occupation. If you think that Mara is making loads of money off of this just because she hosts adds, you are mistaken. Sure, she might have some perks, but I would wager that if you factor in all her investments of time and money, I bet she makes pennies on the hour. I've been there and done that and it is not always easy to devote so much time to an unpaid (unless you count the pennies on the hour) profession. And taking an unannounced break, does not go against everything she stands for. Try again.

      Delete
    4. For what it is worth, Kathryn is correct. Pennies on the hour. Mara used to make more in a month than we've made in the entire two years we've done this. Don't let the ads fool you. It's difficult when the advertisers that do want to work with you are dating websites. No thank you.

      This isn't a profession, it is a labor of love.

      Delete
    5. Danny, are you and Mara opposed to online dating?

      -Helen

      Delete
    6. Not at all, Helen. But many of the websites that contact us for something are not in any way aligned with the overall message of the blog.

      Besides, Mara and I met through email :)

      Delete
    7. haha, anon, are you serious? Surely you jest. How does reprioritizing her efforts for a season, according to her personal needs, contradict everything she says she stands for? She says she stands for choosing happiness despite circumstances. I think Mara exemplified what she says she stands for.

      Delete
  27. Glad to see your post today! Missed seeing updates and appreciate your time and as always for sharing your journey. My best,

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great to hear Mara. I think I'd written previously I thought you were saving your energy for IVF. Keep saving it! glad to know you're happy and well. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am over the moon relieved. I wish I could do more to buoy you up. It is really such a miracle to have the energy and clarity to be available to the world, and we tend to take it for granted until we hit a wall where we don't have it. My own experiences with this (hyperemesis and antepartum depression) have led to a world of empathy for people dealing with chronic illnesses - people who never feel well enough to function on all cylinders.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Don't usually comment, but had to say I'm so glad to see you back! I've missed that daily uplift that your blog provides. Wishing the best for you and Danny as you look ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hoping the IVF worked!?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great to hear from you Mara! Glad to know you are doing well and making the time you need for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh my heart about burst when I saw that picture and thought you were pregnant! So glad you wrote this post and hoping all your dreams come true. Happy you are doing what's best for you! I was worried you had forgotten us for a but but all is well!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Welcome back! Sending prayers, love, and happy thoughts your way.

    ReplyDelete
  35. With our ivf, I had to get to the point that I would be happy with what ever the outcome was. I do think I reached that point, but it was so emotionally draining to get there. I even thought that being at that point meant it probably wasn't going to work for us. Luckily it did! I hope it works for you, but whatever happens I can see you will have a happy life.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I think it's fantastic that you took the time you needed. We should all be so brave! Well done. Best wishes to you both--wherever your journey takes you.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am a recently new reader and first time commenter. I've been married 12 years and have one 8 year old via IVF. So much of my life has been consumed with trying to become a mother (4 years) and have more kids after that . . . that I came to a realization that this is not the life that God sent me to live. To spend all my emotional efforts and desires to jump through a million and a one hoops to have kidlets. I allowed myself a break at year 10, found peace with being mother to an only, and recently two months ago tried acupuncture for the first time. It is literally the last thing we have not tried (chlomid, temps, IUI, IVF, cleanses, clean eating, foster care, adoption, etc.).

    And today I was just pondering and was impressed that I'm actually supposed to get a job. That I need to be working because I think the Lord wants us to retire early and go on mission trips. I'll be 42 when my daughter enters college. So, I best drop what I think the right thing for me to do and actually find what He wants me to do.

    I wish you peace in your own journey. It is a hard, hard road to find God's will for your life. Good luck!!

    Love,
    an internet stranger friend thousands of miles away

    ps never feel guilt for doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. even stopping blogging :-)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sometimes you just need to do what you can and no more. It's funny how you mentioned the shift of not necessarily wanting to have children anymore and feeling like your life is taking a different direction in regards to calling. My husband & I are going through something very similar at the moment. Good luck with things no matter what you choose.

    ReplyDelete
  39. YIPPEEEEEE!!!!! You are back. Good to know so we can pray for you and Danny as you go thru IVF. I actually thought, Oh my goodness, she IS pregnant! One day, I pray we will be able to see a bump picture! Take the time that you need and whatever you need. Good to know you are all okay.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Wishing you the best! I'm so glad you posted, though. I have been checking regularly hoping you'd be back :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. There is a time and a season for everything dear Mara. You've shared so much of yourself and strengthened us here in so many ways. Now it's time for you to tend to your own life and take the time that you need..xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  42. I admire your courage and your bravery in admitting that things have changed for you. Bravo, seriously. I always thought I'd have a child - but as the years passed, aside from one miscarriage when I was very young, nothing happened. Eventually, it turned out that I had a womb that tilted backwards, making it more difficult to conceive. My mother had this condition - though she did conceive me, in her late thirties. I was her only child. I chose not to go through IVF - I admire the journey that you and other women make in undertaking this. I believe strongly that it's a woman's individual choice. But it's not for me - I'm almost 45 now; it's not impossible that I could a child. If I had a child, they would be cherished and loved to the best of my ability. I just mentioned my own experiences, because I went through a similar epiphany not so long ago. And do you know what? I've never felt so much relief in my life. I have plenty of life and in love in me to give. And I know that I'm going to be okay. Better than okay, even. You're a strong and sassy woman, Mara. I wish you all the best whatever route life takes you down.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi Mara (and Danny)! You are making the astonishing effort to see the dream of being physical parents through to the logical and reasonable end, and it seems healthy to consider that you may not get your heart's desire--AND that it doesn't have to be a loss that you mourn and feed the rest of your lives. "Mothering" means so much more than physically bearing babies--as your recent efforts in your congregation demonstrates. Really. It sounds like you are getting ready to accept whatever comes to you. It's good to rest as you prepare for the season you will be entering in your life next--whatever that is.

    I read poetry when I am too tired or sad to talk. Here is a stanza from Jane Kenyon's Let Evening Come:
    Let it come, as it will, and don’t
    be afraid. God does not leave us
    comfortless, so let evening come.
    Whole poem here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175711

    Here is a similarly gorgeous Mary Oliver poem for you: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/?date=2009%2F05%2F03

    ReplyDelete
  44. Soooo happy to have you guys back. It's like my friends just went on a month long vacation and we have sooooo much to catch up on! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  45. Yay! Very glad that you are back. Best wishes for your ongoing IVF treatments. Looking forward to all your insights once again : )

    ReplyDelete
  46. Glad you're back! I've missed hearing from you, but completely understand the wonky schedule thing, and can only imagine what it's like to add the health stuff to that. I thought that those cauliflower were regular flowers at first!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Mara,

    SO relieved to see that you and Danny are well. You have to do what feels right for you, as a PP pointed out, "mothering" is so much more than bearing and raising a child. Do not underestimate the value of your service to others, maybe that is God's plan for you :)

    Those cauliflower look too pretty to eat!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thanks for the update! I was hoping things were going well for you.

    Going through fertility treatments this past year, I rather lost focus on the goal on having a child. Instead, I was just focused on one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, to get through. I'm also the type who prefers to expect a bad outcome, and then be pleasantly surprised if things go well, rather than deal with disappointment. So my goal for our first IVF cycle was simply to get a few blastocysts on ice. (In the end, we transferred one and only had one left to freeze, so I was still a bit disappointed there.) Two weeks later, when the tests came back positive, I wasn't quite sure where to go with that information!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I hope the IVF worked for you guys! Prayers and good thoughts from me.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'm so glad y'all are doing well. I knew you had to have been super busy with life. Being a member of the church can take up a lot of time when others are out of town, moved away, etc. Especially when you shine, and the sisters or Bishop rely on you. I've been there! On top of everything else you've been through with your surgery, and the IVF. Bottom line is that you are alive and well, and beautiful and in good spirits...that's all that matters. Much love to both of you, and god bless you with whatever he has planned for you!

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  51. So, so great to hear from you! THanks for sharing your journey with us, and I'm so so glad you're back :) Sending you and Danny lots and lots of love.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Best wishes to both of you! Very happy that you two are still going strong. :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Welcome back, Mara and Danny. I'm a new reader--in fact, I discovered your blog completely by accident right around the time you took your break and have been checking it regularly for your return. Your words really resonated with me--made me think about some of my attitudes and thought patterns and inspired me. So I look forward to reading more. Best of luck with your IVF journey. I know from friends who have been through it how emotionally and physically draining it can be, so take care of yourself as you need to.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thoughts and prayers with you! And a bountiful amount of renewed energy for you, Mara!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Welcome back! Everyone needs a break every now and then. :) can't wait to hear how the IVF turned out this time.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm so glad to hear you are doing well! I have been thinking about and praying for you during your time off blogging. Your words on this blog have done more for me than you can ever imagine. Thank you so much for using your life to bless others. You are very much loved!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Welcome back. Thank you for being honest and also finding a way to continue to share.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hi Mara,
    I think it's GREAT that you took a break when you needed it. You're a human being and you deserve the same respect and freedom that anyone does. You're not here for 'entertainment on demand' for your readers, but to share your beautiful enlightened journey and help others. That also includes 'helping yourself' when you need to.

    'The readers' don't own your blog -- as a writer, YOU DO! So it is more than okay for you and Danny to do what you need, when you need to.

    I wish you every good thing! Take care of yourself and be blessed.

    Sending heaps of love from Australia,
    Catherine x

    ReplyDelete
  59. Yay! so glad you are back... and that all is well.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hi Mara,
    I'm glad you have been attending to your own needs lately. I also want to commend you for not posting just for the sake of saying something. I really feel like the words you share on this blog come from spirit, and I think spirit can't and shouldn't be forced. We are most effective when we are where we need to be at any given moment. I think it is not surprising that the words dried up at this time when you really needed to be elsewhere.
    I also want to say that it's totally okay that you are not feeling the craving for children any longer, and that you had to push yourself with every ounce of energy through this IVF process. I don't know whether children will be in you and Danny's future or not, but I do trust in your ability to do what is best for both of you, and to serve the world in the special and unique ways that only you can. Be gentle with yourself, and give yourself full permission to be in the time and space that you are in. At some point you may even feel like the blogging world is no longer where you are meant to be, and even though we will all miss your posts enormously, that will be fine too.
    Sending you and Danny enormous love xxx

    ReplyDelete

We love hearing from you! We read each and every comment. Any topics you’d like us to write about? Let us know.

Hostgator Promo Code