Wednesday, December 23, 2009

cry today, bake tomorrow

So today I cried in the shower. Actually, the shower is my favorite place to cry. Something about the way it's already wet in there, and I'm all alone. There's no one running to get me a tissue or try to calm me down. It's just me and the shower tiles. No one is trying to make me stop, or worry that my crying will distract someone or wake them up. I don't have to worry about my makeup or my clothing or where the tissues are. It's a private place to let all my frustrations out and then wash them all away. Down the drain and swept to a whole other place.

Why did I cry? Hmmm. Complicated answer. I watched Julie & Julia this morning, and while I loved the story (what foodie wouldn't? cooking and blogging all wrapped up in one!) there were certain moments that touched the cry button. Like the fact that Julia Child couldn't seem to have children. It's not obviously mentioned in the just two small moments. One where Julia and her husband are walking through the park in front of Notre Dame and she notices a mother pushing a stroller, and her husband pulls her closer and her expression is pained. The other moment is when her sister sends her a letter saying she is pregnant, and Julia bursts into tears. I could identify with those moments. Fleeting as they are, in film and in real life, women who are touched by infertility feel them acutely. This great woman, with all these accomplishments under her belt, wanted children. And did not have any. Makes my small life feel larger somehow. If someone that talented couldn't do it, I shouldn't feel so badly about not procreating either.

But, I got out of the shower and tried to pull on a new attitude. I got in the kitchen to make peppermint bark (post about those details to come later) and attempted to channel both Julia and the Pioneer Woman. Cooking and taking photos. So I take the warm melted bark out of the microwave and stir in the crushed candy canes. Then I walk around the island to where I have placed the cookie sheet. And I run smack dab into the still open microwave door. With my shoulder. Small amounts of bark go flying, and I start crying again. It hurt. Badly. I know I will have a bruise later.

So I'm crying and spreading bark and the dog is barking and I wonder how people get over the bad things that happen to them. Yes, I know sometimes people do bad things to themselves, but I'm not really talking about a drug addiction or being the victim of something horrible. Infertility happened to me. I didn't do it to myself. And how do I really get over it? Get past it? I think an obvious fix will come when we adopt a baby. I won't be able to dwell on being childless when we are no longer childless. That makes sense. But in the meantime, what do I do? How can I be proactive? When we were filling out all the paperwork, I had something to work on, to accomplish. Then we were putting the nursery together, and that gave me purpose. What is my purpose now?

To wait, I guess.


I've said it before, I really try and have a good outlook on all this. I try SO HARD. But the truth is that all that trying wears me out eventually. All the good attitudes and positive spirit are hard to hold up indefinitely. My smiling drama mask slips and the halo tilts and if you're looking right at the right time, you'll see one selfish human underneath. I want. I need. I can't have.

Pity party, table of one.

So tell me, all of you who read this blog, how do I lift my head and keep walking? What are the prayers I should pray? Any ideas for one who is just trying to keep her head above water? I know it's okay to grieve and mourn and be sad on occasion, but I'd like to come out of this a much better me. One who has learned a lesson about something. And I think I'm so far in it that I can't see what the lesson is. I can't see the forest for the trees.


Alison said...

Aw man, I really wish I had something encouraging, insightful or poignant to say. I really do. However, I don't. I'm sorry.
I feel so badly for you and wish that you weren't dealing with this.
For what it's worth, I think a pity party is completely acceptable; so is crying in the shower.
I know that when this is all over you'll look back and think it wasn't so bad, but it's hard to be positive. It's hard to hold your head up. It's hard to remember that everything will work out in the end. It's so very hard to be patient.
I really wish I could offer you some sage advice.
Just know that I'm forever praying for you.
I hope your shoulder feels better soon.
Hugs, Alison

Gretchen said...

Well, as a "non-procreating sister", I will tell you something you don't want to hear.

After you adopt a child, that childless void appears to be filled and years of yearning and mourning fade away. Then, your baby is a toddler, and your fertile friends are having baby #2 or #7 and the pregnancy talk happens again....morning sickness, maternity clothes, VBAC discussions, and breastfeeding issues - all of which, even though you are now a mom, you have nothing to offer to the discussion.....and it all comes back like a ton of bricks. All those old wounds you thought had been healed with your child, are now open and bleeding.

I have come to terms that I will never completely be over not being able to conceive and give birth (and everything in between). And that's okay.

The GOOD news is that when the hurt comes back, the pain doesn't last as long. You have a better ability to let it go and thank God for how He has worked a miracle in your life by blessing you with a being a mother to a child through adoption, just as He adopted you.

A verse that helps me, and I hope will be a help to my adopted children in the future is Acts 17:25-27

"And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every national of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us."

Gretchen said...

The reason those verses are special to me...

"He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live"

God knows when the child He has set apart for your family will be born...He has already determined that time.

And He has already determined that child will live with you and not his biological family. God plans all of our when our adopted children struggle with the "why's", I hope this verse will help them draw their ultimate strength from the Lord.

Frizzy said...

I loved this movie and felt a deep connection to Julia after seeing that movie. Those two scenes touched me so deeply and brought back my own feelings of grief, longing and waiting in an instant.

I recall the Christmas before Yaya came home with us. I remember how it felt to have a baby room, a crib, childproof locks on all the cabinets, safety locks in the outlets and all the things that protect a baby but NO BABY!

It's a feeling like no other. You're not hopeless or you wouldn't have gone to such lengths. You're not defeated either but there is nothing that will ever compare to those feelings while you WAIT.

Some days we handle the longing better than others. Then there are thd days we receive the joyous news someone dear to us is expecting. The pain comes back in an instant. It smacks you in the face and grabs you when you least expect it. Christmas was the worst! It's all about kids!

This is something I have come to understand and hold dear to my heart. God knew what he was doing when he chose me to be an adoptive mother. GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES! Christmas is all about one particular baby. JESUS! Jesus was born so that we could all be adopted into God's family through his own sacrifice. God knows your pain. He too had to rely on someone else to bear his son and children. He had to wait for Mary not just anyone could have been Christ's mother. Like God, you are waiting for the right woman to help you grow your family.

The scriptures I cling to are as follows:

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

Matthew 17:20 if you have faith as small as a mustard seed if you, you will say to this mountain,
'Move from here to there’. It will move; and nothing will be impossible for you

I love your dear friend. I am sorry your heart is breaking and that nobody can take away your pain right now. Someday soon, your arms will be filled with THE CHILD GOD INTENDED JUST FOR YOU.

My offer still stands. I am always only a phone call away.

Melissa Stover said...

frizzy and gretchen left great comments! i was hoping someone did since i have nothing. i'm trying to compare infertility to any other situation in life of wanting something and not being able to achieve it, but the only thing i could think of was marriage (also i know little about being single since i married at 20).

for a woman, i don't think there's anything harder than infertility. it's what we are made to do, bear children. we have a womb for that purpose. i think of all the women in the bible who were infertile who cried out to god to fill their wombs. obviously it is something god cares about and hears the cries of women or it wouldn't be in the scripture for us to read.

of course, i have no answer. but, dare i say, i love these posts because you bare your heart. and even though i hurt for you, i appreciate your journey and your struggle to understand your lot.

there is a purpose. i can't help but believe that.

Maria T said...

I've been trying to formulate some sort of eloquent encouraging response to your authentic and heartfelt post, but I don't know that there are many external sources that will bring comfort and hope.

The responses you've already received are so beautifully written. I have little else to offer. From someone who has experienced loss through infertility and miscarriage and failed adoption, I will say that there never seems to be sufficient answers. There really can be peace - but it seems that comes only from surrender and acceptance and the grace of God.

One thing that makes my experience a little different from many is that my "waiting" goes far beyond the wait for children. I always knew I wanted to be married with kids. During my 20's, I watched my friends pair up and get married and start their families. I wondered when my turn would come. Then I wondered IF my turn would come. Then, I started to look at the possibility that my turn may NEVER come. It wasn't until I was 35 that I even MET my now husband. I didn't marry til 37...and then had to deal with all the family planning issues. All that is to say that there's one thing I realized that has changed my perspective.

God's plan was better than my plan.

If I had known that I would eventually marry THIS man, and build THIS life and it be THIS good - I would have even waited longer. And I would have waited better.

I tried to apply that when waiting for a child. And don't you know - I feel the same way now that Gianna is our daughter. I was waiting for HER....not the next available baby.

People who travel the roads of infertility and adoption have to give up control in a way that many people don't. For me, that's a huge life lesson that my God is continuing to teach me: I am not in control. It may appear that people who are fertile and can procreate "at will" are in complete control....but they're not. That's a false sense of control (of which many of us are envious.) Their lessons in giving up control will come, too. And maybe we'll be there to help them through.

Prayers for you as work through all this waiting. Writing out and processing it in this way is pure gift. (I think you should copy this post onto your adoption blog so it can be part of your story. You'll have a book before it's over!) I still believe these are your labor pains. Praying your delivery is much less painful. :)

Jamie said...

You never can see the lesson in the midst of it all. And even if you could, you probably wouldn't want to hear it. It sucks. Plain and simple. You're allowed to acknowledge it and lift the suckiness up to God. But you do know Who's in control.
And the shower is my favorite place to cry too.

Mommy said...

The shower is my secret crying place. No one knows but me and the Big Guy and I can blame the red face on hot water. I wish I had the perfect words to share. You know I've never walked in your shoes but I do know what it's like to wait for something you want so badly it hurts. I continue to pray God will lead you to your child soon. I can't imagine the hurt you feel. Please know I am praying for you and your family. Let's try to chat again soon. Hugs, M