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Excuse me, but I’m going to get a bit deep right now. The last month or so has been pretty tough, emotionally. BUT…I think I’ve faced those struggles for a reason. Because now I’m in warrior mode. And I’m OK with that.
It’s been a challenging couple of years dealing with secondary infertility. I have found myself feeling the pressure, physically – it’s my body that isn’t doing what it should. I have felt emotional pressure – pretending that I’m OK on days when I really am not. I have felt like I have not been participating in my life – through no real fault of my own.
On top of that, I’ve obviously had all the usual pressures of real adult life and parenting.
I’ve been saying things to myself about how I have no ‘life’ and have been feeling depressed about it.
But that’s the thing. How do I define ‘life’? I’ve been defining it as that thing I cannot have. I’ve been defining it as all the things I could have done if my situation was different.
If my situation was different, I’d be able to say yes to so many more social opportunities. If my situation was different, maybe some of my friendships would be thriving instead of barely even there. If my situation was different, I might be fitter and slimmer (you can work harder if you’re not afraid of rupturing something important at certain times – and if you’re feeling better you tend to not eat as many feelings). If my situation was different, I wouldn’t have to pretend I was OK at the school gate when I’m not (because it’s just too awkward if you answer “how has your day been?” with “not good – I’m super infertile today thanks”). I could do more drinking of wine. I could take better medications when I feel sick. I wouldn’t be sick as often. I might be a lighter, brighter person.
But my situation is not different. It is what it is.
And I am finally beginning to embrace that. I can’t spend my time yearning to be the old me. The me from before all of these struggles. I can’t spend my time in a futile fight to be her again.
I am learning to embrace and empower who I am now. The chick with the battle scars. The one who is still standing, despite all the shit she’s had to deal with. What’s with talking about myself in the third person?
I was too scared to join support groups online because I thought that would mean this shit defined me or that I might be obsessed. I didn’t want to be that person who got ‘crazy’. But one day I realised that I am crazy. Because that’s what this stuff does to you. No matter how much you try to not let your life revolve around it, the sheer volume of tests and results and effort that goes into trying to have a baby ensures that ‘positive distractions’ are merely that – distractions. May as well be crazy with women from all over the world who actually understand what I’m going through.
I was sad because I could feel my friendships changing. Some have thrived and others have faded. I have decided to stop scrambling to pretend to be the old me so that I can keep everything the same. I am going to do what I can, when I can, but not so I can stave off the fear of being left out or because I’m killing myself worrying about what others think of my flaky social abilities. I am going to do these things because they feel good (hopefully for all involved) and keep me mentally healthy. And when I can’t do them, I won’t beat myself up, because true friends will understand, will check in, rally around, and won’t judge me for it. I’m in this situation whether anybody likes it or not!
I’m going to choose the way I look at my battle scars. I am going to take my power back. I am even seriously considering my first ever tattoo! Something that symbolises my strength and my open heart. Something to look at when life gets tough. Because it is. A way to show the world that I have been through some shit but I’m fucking rad and kicking arse. Just like everyone else, I have a story and this is mine. I earned those scars and it’s what I make of them that matters. Not to mention how strangely appealing it seems to choose to have a whole bunch of needles in my skin that will create something beautiful, after spending so long being poked and stabbed for reasons that aren’t so beautiful. I am going to wear these scars (whether designed by an artist or a surgeon) without apology. Pretty or not.
So I present to you, the new me. She’s not better or worse than before. She’s just different. And both versions of herself were/are awesome in their own ways and had/have flaws like everybody else. Oops – more third person talk. I can’t help it.
One thing I am is stronger. I have dreams and plans and I have back up dreams and plans and I have back up plans for the back up plans. I am going to land somewhere awesome no matter what. Because life doesn’t always go to plan and I know that better than anyone. I think it makes me more compassionate. More real. More able to roll with the punches.
I still have my shit days. I will melt down and I will cry my eyes out. I will feel sad. I will feel frustrated – angry even. I will have to pretend I’m OK during small talk sometimes. I’ll get lonely. But I will use those tough moments as fuel for my fight. I will wear my struggles like a badge of honour and not a sign of a secret shame.
These struggles are not all of me. But they are a part of me. And trying to pretend they aren’t just makes me feel worse. And it’s taken me two years to realise this. To truly realise it. The old me is gone. There’s a bad ass mother who’s seen some shit standing in her place. And I’d better not forget it.