Politics & Catholicism, Part One

Warning you now. If you don’t want to read about Politics & Catholicism, then click away and don’t bother reading Part Two, either!

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Another chance to change your mind

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Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you! 

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Before writing this extremely long tirade regarding Politics & Catholicism, I truly debated if I should share this article, let alone go on a rant. As you can see, I ultimately did. 

This article was written by Jeannie Gaffigan, the wife of well-known comedian Jim Gaffigan. In this piece written for “America: The Jesuit Review,” Jeannie stated that — though she is firmly Catholic in her beliefs, and is most-definitely pro-life (as most Catholics are) — wrote that she will not be voting for Trump this election. She stated the impetus for writing this essay was the Twitter Storm that ensued after Jim, who has always been non-political in every single act he performed or interview he has done, had uncharacteristically tweeted a “profanity-laden rant against President Trump.” 

Personally, I don’t think the tweet was that bad; however, the responses he received (as well as on Jeannie’s own Twitter account) was full of vitriol & hate. And many of them  (continued to) spread misinformation. Several responses even turned to quoting Trump when he called his opponent as a “fake Catholic.”

Which, for someone who ordered law enforcement to deliver tear gas to peaceful protestors & the surrounding media personnel standing in his way just for a photo opportunity, Trump certainly didn’t display Christian-like behavior. Ironically, that photo op was to show the public that he is a good, God-fearing Christian. In actuality, his actions prior to this photo op (and even after the tear gas was delivered) proved that he is definitely NOT Christian. Seriously, he doesn’t even know how to hold the Bible properly!

But we’ll get to that in my next diatribe, as I suspect this post will end up being super long. Anyhoo …

After Jim’s tweet, close friends and families of theirs had privately came up to Jeannie to informed her that they didn’t like Trump either; in fact, they hate everything else that he stands for. However, they also suggested that as a “Real Catholic,” she should “hold [her] nose and vote for Trump if only because the Catholic faith dictates, above all, we must vote for the pro-life” candidate.” 

What I like the most about Jeannie’s article is she stated so eloquently those exact reasons that *I* won’t vote for Trump. Well, actually she quotes from Pope Francis’ message that he delivered to the US  as a result of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, which went into overdrive following the death of George Floyd and other similar events (before and after) his death. 

Pope Francis said, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”  

Jeannie then wrote that systemic racism in our our current culture has led to the economic and social inequality we’re currently experiencing — or rather, just now “noticing” — in our country.   And in the current state of affairs, it is virtually impossible to claim  that we (as Catholics) are truly practicing a “culture of life,” which protects the the sanctity of ALL life. Jeannie goes on to add that , “… we [as Catholics] have been complicit in a long history of de-valuing our fellow human beings based on the color of their skin or the way they came to this country.”

As someone who has had 12 years of Catholic education (and has also been label a “Fake Catholic”), this goes against everything I learned about humanity in school and during the thousands of homilies I’ve listened to in the course of my life thus far. And, although my Mom sees me as a “Lapsed Catholic,” I want her to know that all the money that my parents spent on my education did not go to waste. I have *always* turned to what I was fundamentally taught during my formative years. And I continue to practice these principles of Catholicism today; not only spiritually, but ethically as well.  

My actions are the result of practicing a lesson that I was taught during my formative years and is a moral principle for several different faiths: 

“Love one another; [and] just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

(John 13:34

The Golden Rule, or as it is defined by theologians, the “Ethics of Reciprocity.“ It’s the first thing you are taught in Catholic school (and/or catechism classes). It’s the one act that is almost inherent for most Christians, and the rule that even any empathetic person that choose to be agnostic or an atheist. 

As someone who chose to be an RN, I am inherently drawn to treat everyone with empathy, of which I learned from that Golden Rule. It certainly is a lesson taught in Med School (“First, do no harm”) and Nursing School (via The Modern Nightingale Pledge that “Nursing is a ‘Missioner of Health … dedicated to the advancement of human welfare.’”)

How about Muslims?” you might ask. While not directly quoted in the Quran, Muslims also have the intrinsic belief that they “must think about how their actions affect others; to see the world in a whole new way – through the eyes of another.”   

The basic gist is: Be good to one another. 

Can you, as a Christian, think that Trump is following the Golden Rule? Jeannie Gaffigan certainly doesn’t think so, stating in her article that “Mr. Trump is only pro-Mr. Trump.” How can someone claiming to be Christian say that prisoners of war and soldiers who died defending our freedom are “losers” or “suckers” ?!? 

I could cite many (MANY) more examples of how pathologically narcissistic Mr. Trump is; but I won’t. Yet.

Any sane Christian would agree that Trump has broken all Ten Commandments AND has committed all of the seven of the Deadly Sins. I (obviously) subscribe to that thought. Wholeheartedly.  However, after much reflection and  prayers  (yes, Mom, I DO pray) I cannot vote for a person who is not sympathetic, let alone empathetic. Trump definitely does not think of others, except if it affected him personally. As a matter of fact, I believe he doesn’t even *think* about — let alone pray for —  those individuals & groups that do not subscribe to his beliefs. Truthfully (and stay with me here, my friends), Trump probably doesn’t know the Beatitudes, much less recognize that MANY Christians use this as a guide to *understand* and learn from those individuals / groups / religions whose thoughts don’t align with their own beliefs. 

As a refresher for my friends (and a lesson for those friends that are not familiar with the Beatitudes), here they are: 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

Matthew 5:3-10

Forgive me if you find the following sentences insulting. Before you cast your ballot (stone?), I beg you you to See. The. Whole. Picture. Before deciding who should represent and lead the American People. Please DO NOT cast your vote simply because of the ONE platform on the current president’s stance – or rather “indifference” – regarding Roe v Wade. Think of the OTHER platforms that he promotes during his (COVID-19 ridden, non-mask wearing, anti-social distancing) rallies. 

Let me say this in another way. If you (Catholics & Christians) are planning on voting for Trump just because he agrees with only ONE of his many platforms he’s using to run his campaign;   or because who is “for” (better stated, “indifferent” about) Roe v Wade .. please please PLEASE remember those Beatitudes. Ask yourself if Trump plans on helping ALL the individuals named in the Beatitudes, as WELL as those unborn children who’s life you’re fighting to defend.  

Does that mean I’m pro-life? As a confirmed Catholic, that answer is tricky and it depends on the events & situations surrounding the woman & her loved ones. I think there are circumstances such as complications during pregnancy, as well as the lack of support & financial means to raise a child, are involved in making a decision. And I am aware that, even if it’s not directly stated in the Bible, the interpretation is that the woman should keep the child. 

But (and this is where I bring up empathy) think about it in the context of yourself, your sister, mother, aunt, daughter, grand-daughter: 

What if you were single or married to an abusive spouse? What about the safety of the the child once he/she is born? 

What if your sister is unable to financially afford even the basics for herself, let alone a child? 

What if your daughter’s pregnancy happened as a result of rape? Of incest? Of sex trafficking? 

What if your grand-daughter had a miscarriage in the late 2nd or 3rd trimester? Would you expect her to keep the lifeless child in her womb until she is able to deliver her stillborn baby? 

What if, in the desire to have children, your infertile daughter & son-in-law seeks other means to start their family and it doesn’t “take”? What if they didn’t have enough money to go through another round, using frozen eggs .. But they can’t anyway because they didn’t have enough frozen eggs to even try again? What if a year passes, and your daughter (now confused, hurt, and ashamed with still not having kids) receives a call to renew the “rent” to keep these eggs frozen — but didn’t have the thousands of dollars it takes to keep them frozen for another year? What if that couple had no other choice but to “give them up?” 

Yes, that last situation was true. And yes, it did happen to me. 

What about adoption, you may ask? Well, let me ask you to put your empathy hat on once again. What if your sister wants, yet knows she is unable, to keep the child (for various reasons as mentioned above)? What if your sister was given different CHOICES and ultimately decided to put the child up for adoption? As a woman who is infertile (well, menopausal TBH), I believe that this is *much harder* to do than the general public would think. 

If you *truly* believe that adoption will “solve everything,” then, once again, you should examine the whole picture. Ask your sister why she is / was leaning one way or the other. Understand the various reasons your sister is making (or already made) the decision she did. Seek to understand, rather than instruct your sister what she should do. 

Don’t tell your sister what YOU would do in her situation; rather, ask her what YOU can do for her. 

And support (and RESPECT) her decision, regardless of it goes against your belief. 

I can’t tell you what it would be like to give up a child (we couldn’t even have one if / when we tried, anyway 🙃😝😂) or even to end a viable pregnancy, but I imagine that person would continue to live her life with a ginormous gaping wound in her heart; knowing that her child or his / her spirit is out there somewhere. I imagine she will always have the feeling that a part of her is missing in her life and stay with her the rest of her days, even when she wanted to get / could get pregnant again. 

Can you see the resemblance in emotions for a woman that couldn’t have kids of her own? After over 15 years of infertility, I *still* have that gaping wound and hole in my heart (and can’t forget “good old Catholic guilt”) from our attempts to have biological children of our own. From losing those frozen eggs. 

So I can hear the question now: “Why didn’t you & your husband try to adopt?” As an infertile couple, we DID consider that alternative. Let me just tell you (from experience) that it isn’t EASY to “just adopt.” There are financial issues, privacy issues, and the overall feeling that you’re not “good enough” to be *approved* by the agency to be placed on a list; let alone  *chosen* by a woman. For those that sought to adopt, I’m simply in awe that they could open their hearts and home to accept a non-biological child. I’m absolutely thrilled that those adoptions were successful, and that they were able to start (or complete) their family in this method. 

In my case, I was overwhelmed by the thought of starting our family by adoption. My confidence had been shattered to pieces by years of doctors appointments (sometimes daily looky-see’s down there 😱). Simply stated, I couldn’t “just adopt” after years of failure and disappointment to have a biological child of our own. I was afraid that, even though we might have been chosen to be parents of that women’s child, the biological mother or father or other family members may change their mind and then take away the baby I had been wanting to raise since first go married. I had no power in our ability to have biological children let alone adopt, so at least I can direct the narrative of our situation and “Let God, let go.” 

Obviously, Hubby and I ultimately decided that if it was meant to be, then it would be. And since nothing came of it, we decided to be fur parents instead. After finally making the decision to remain child-free, I felt the entire weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. 

So after reading my own experience, ask me again if I’m pro-life or pro-choice. Ask me if I believe that each person is unique and that their life experiences lead them to make the decision they do / did. I know what I am, but I want you, as a reader, decide on where I stand — and where YOU stand — on this issue. 

Okay, as I knew this would be a long post, I will just leave off here and continue my rant in the following (long) post. 

Read Part 2 now. Or later. I have no problem if you decided to take a break, especially if you feel I’ve talked (written?) your ear (eyes?) off.

New Directions

I had a life plan.

Never mind the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (at least in regards to a career), but by the time I was 15 years old I had a general sense of how I wanted my life to turn out.

I wanted to get married by the time I was 25 years old and have my first child by the age of 27.

And because I had this notion that thirty years was a ginormous age gap between my last child and myself, my goal was to quit “baby-making” by the time I was 30 years old. This notion came from the first hand experience of a 15 year old who not only dealt with a big generational gap but a cultural gap as well.

But yeah; I’d have all the kids I could bring into this world before I turned 30 years old.

Obviously, this life plan never panned out. I mean … geez. I even pushed “actively trying” for that first child into my mid-30’s. We had already gone through all the infertility treatments we could (financially and emotionally) put ourselves through. We had even seriously considered other options to bring a child into our lives; either through domestic adoption or international adoption.

But in the end, Hubby & I made the decision to move on with our lives without children.

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There have been many reasons why Hubby & I decided to close the door on the quest to have children. One of which was to regain some sanity in our lives.

Living in 28-day increments, in which any given moment can produce the tiniest bit of hope, can be exhausting. Especially when the next given moment can quickly turn into a major disappointment. I won’t lie … it has been incredibly nice  to step away from living in four weeks of constantly worrying about whether or not I’ll see two pink lines.

Another reason was obviously to start moving on with our lives; to start planning a “new future” without children.

When that “life plan” I dreamed of at the age of 15 was completely derailed by infertility, I know I spent a lot of time and energy trying get it “back on track” … In other words, I fought tooth and nail not to head down the child-free “railroad track” that my life was already on.

Making the decision to move on with our lives was not an easy decision. But when we finally decided on the child-free path — this “railroad track” (if you will) — it was as if I could finally allow my life to move forward in the direction that my life and our marriage was already on. I could finally stop struggling to get “back on track” and accept that perhaps we were never meant to be on that particular “track” at all.

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A "chance" photo, shot during our trip to Banff,  Alberta
A "chance" shot taken from the road in Banff, Alberta

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Today I turn 38 years old. I’m obviously very far from where I thought I’d be by now; in that “life plan” I concocted at the age of fifteen.

If my life turned out as I planned it to be, I would have had at least one child somewhere between the ages of 7 to 10 years old. And I probably would have begun to think of returning to the work force after being a Stay-At-Home mom once the 7 year old started first grade.

But it’s not … and today I can finally say that I’m actually really okay with it. Maybe it has to do with age, but I’m finally to a point where I no longer have focus on the dream or “life plan” I had always had in my mind.

Instead, I can finally accept that this is where Hubby & I are meant to be at this exact moment in time. And we can forge forward in this new uncharted direction in our lives.

Infertility Bets On Hold, Part 2

(If you missed Part 1, click here … )

While I’ve pretty much begun to resolve those particular grief issues, there’s still that lack of strength that I feel I need in order to go through the entire adoption process.  Because it takes someone who really has enough strength to climb over the proverbial brick wall getting in the way of having a child. And specifically, I’m talking about all the rules and reg­u­la­tions and inves­ti­ga­tions into your pri­vate lives just to raise a child that is not bio­log­i­cally your own. Quite frankly, I know that I don’t have what it takes to go through that.

Why do I say that? (And Kelly … hopefully, this will help answer the question you posed to me at one time … ) Well first of all, I just know what I’m capable of handling emotionally, and I know that I wouldn’t be able to survive any further disappointment or heartache. Or as my new favorite quote from Pam says:

It got to the point where the potential for more heartbreak was more overwhelming than the glimmer of very small hope.

The second reason I feel as if I have little strength is because I have little confidence that things will come relatively straightforward and simple to us.

Not that I expect adoption to be an easy path. If we did decide to adopt, I have this very strong suspicion that we’d have so many more walls to climb. Give me a chance to explain … and I’d absolutely love to hear what others have to say to contribute to this discussion.

Let’s start off with Domestic Adoption:

  • Hubby & I both Asian American; Filipino American, to be specific.
  • How often do you suppose any Potential Birth Moms (PBM) would look at our dossier and — just by looks alone — think that we’d make great parents when their child will (most likely) not look at all similar to the adoptive couple that they’d hope to raise their child?
  • Or that the PBM might worry that their child would face more barriers having Asian American parents?
  • How often are Asian American babies given up for adoption; especially if the PBM is also Asian or Asian American? Culture dictates that family is important. If the child is not wanted in the immediate family; chances are that there is another family member (aunt, cousin, third uncle twice removed) that is willing to raise the child. Unfortunately, that’s a situation that’s likely never going to happen to us.

Moving onto International Adoption:

  • There are stricter laws and regulations from various countries in effect.
  • Some specific countries, like Russia and Guatemala, have either suspended or have placed holds on any adoptions to the US.
  • Wait time. Even for Filipino adoptions there are certain stipulations on how and when a child can be adopted; when the child can come back to the US with the adopted parents. And quite frankly, I don’t think I can afford the three-year wait in order to adopt a child from my native country.

And finally other, all-encompassing barriers:

  • Age: Let’s face it. Hubby & I are currently pushing 40. And yes, I know that there are couples out there that are raising babies that are much older than us. But there was a reason why Hubby & I started trying to conceive within a year of marriage: I had always seen me as a younger mother; one that wanted to finish having babies before the age of 30. There was a specific reason behind that: my mother and I are exactly 3o years apart in age (sorry Mom!). Growing up (particularly in high school), not only did I deal with a cultural barrier, but I also dealt with a huge generational gap. Both my parents were pre-baby boomer, while I was most definitely a Gen-Xer. Even though after I turned 30, I knew that this was something beyond my control, adopting now — especially as the rules and regs of adoption have gotten more strict — well, it no longer seems prudent for both Hubby & my sake.
  • Energy: Along with age, this is the second biggest concern that I have. And, if I was honest with myself, the flimsiest barrier of all. Because, really this has to do with energy and stamina. It’s one thing to raise a child with the thought in mind that you’ll be young enough to (somewhat) keep up with their needs. It’s quite another thing knowing that I can no longer wake myself up in the morning without hitting the snooze button a dozen times. Would I be able to care for another life if I can barely care for my own? Like I said, flimsy … but I’m just being honest.

I don’t bring up these points to be negative in any way, shape or form. I’m simply stating facts that appear to be the most obvious barriers for our individual case when it comes to adopting a child. And that’s assuming that we would ever go down that route. And, as I said above, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I perceive as barriers.

*****

As it is, I feel that we’ve already played our game of Infertility Roulette. We’ve already placed all the bets we wanted to at this time in our lives. And we lost that bet. With adoption (or h*ll, even if we ever decided to go through IVF again), I want something I can be sure of … something I can count on.

I hesitate using the word “guarantee” … since nothing in life is ever guaranteed, but after more than ten years of fighting the odds and now facing even greater odds against us (age, finances, etc), Hubby & I opted to get out of the betting pool.

And this is why, at least in my eyes, it’s never as simple to “just adopt.” It’s never easy to go through another round of IVF.

This is why Hubby & I have decided to “cut our loss” … or in this case, “cut the strings” … and live child-free after infertility.

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Related Links:

Cutting The Strings

Infertility Bets On Hold, Part 1

Thoughts on Adoption

Information on Filipino Adoptions

Wiki Info on the Pre-Baby Boom Generation

Wiki Info on Generation X

Infertility Bets On Hold, Part 1

(I guess I need to start off by saying, no … things have definitely not changed in my barren world. And don’t let the title of this post fool you. Apparently I may have “freaked” a couple people out by both the title and the picture below … LOL!)

I’m not a betting person. Which, when you think of the many trips Hubby & I have taken to Vegas, is quite humorous. All those casinos, and the most we played were slots.

I mean, I’ve played poker and blackjack in my college years; but seriously, all bets were based on pennies. Or cigarettes, depending on who you were playing with (<cough> Tim <cough>). But to place actual money that’s more than a dollar (okay, maybe $2 max for a slot machine)? Can’t see myself spending that kind of money.

My odds with these tests were never good

Which, given the odds that Hubby & I were given when we did our one cycle of IVF, makes it ironic. We were given a 51% chance that we’d be successful in our pursuit to become pregnant. We knew the odds were only 1% more on our favor. We had hoped to win this bet — a bet in which we put a boatload of money into the pot — and we lost. And I was devastated.

That’s not to say that I regret ever having done our one cycle of IVF. Because even back then I knew that this was something Hubby & I had to try in order to feel as if we tried everything in our quest to reproduce. I’m just simply saying that the results of that bet, that one IVF cycle, was enough for me to know that I could never place another bet on another IVF cycle ever again.

So yes … the next logical step would be to go for adoption, right?

Except adoption isn’t a simple thing to just “think about.” First, there’s the process of grieving the fact that I can’t have a baby. That alone is nothing simple. That process involves never being able to experience pregnancy. In my case, it involved never being able to see two pink lines in a pregnancy test.  And it involves feeling as if my body’s failed, not only me and my Hubby (especially my husband), but our parents and our siblings. And our siblings children, too.

Then there’s the other part that I needed to grieve; which is outlined in more detail in this recent post. It’s grieving the fact that we will never be able to have our own biological baby.  A child that we could pass our genes to. A child to pass the Filipino traditions we were taught growing up; and finding a way to blend both our American and Filipino sides together. A child to carry on my Hubby’s last name.

And while I’ve pretty much begun to resolve those grief issues, there’s still that lack of strength that I feel I need in order to go through the entire adoption process.  Because it takes someone who really has enough strength to climb over the proverbial brick wall getting in the way of having a child. And specifically, I’m talking about all the rules and reg­u­la­tions and inves­ti­ga­tions into your pri­vate lives just to raise a child that is not bio­log­i­cally your own. Quite frankly, I know that I don’t have what it takes to go through that.

(Part Two continues tomorrow … )

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Related Links:

Thoughts on Adoption

Baby Picture

Identity Labels

Anybody remember the old-school Dymo label-makers? I’m not talking about the fancy electric ones where you can type in whatever you want before printing it up. I’m talking about the ones where you turn the dial to choose the letter and squeeze the handle (as hard as possible) to imprint it on the red or black vinyl tape. And G*d forbid if you misspelled a word and have to start from the beginning.

For some reason I was thinking about that label-maker this past weekend. And really, it started last week when I received a wonderful email from an old High School Friend (HSF) that I hadn’t heard from in years. She had responded via Facebook in regards to the post in which I admittedly found myself questioning my purpose in life.

HSF talked about how, as women, we are always questioning ourselves about what we truly want in life. That we’re always finding a way to label ourselves while simultaneously trying to achieve more than what we can physically and emotionally handle. And that, in the process, we tend to lose perspective of who we really are in the grand scheme of things.

For HSF, it’s a matter of juggling multiple identities. She’s a wife, a daughter, a mother of three (beautiful) children. She’s also a free-lancer, a founding president of one of her alma mater’s alumni groups. Yet as beautiful as her life appears (especially from perusing through Facebook), she admits that she’s still coming to terms with the “Successful Career Woman” label; especially as she’s currently staying at home to with her three young kids.

The point of HSF’s email was not to point out how much different her life was to mine; rather it was simply to point out that regardless of how we view our lives, we only limit ourselves by placing labels on who we are or what we do. And furthermore, why can’t we just enjoy the path that we’re currently on and embrace who we are while traveling down this path?

I must admit, I’m still struggling to deal with the valid points that HSF has brought up. I’m sure it has to do a lot with the many years of believing that “Motherhood” was the end-all be-all for a woman’s livelihood. (I contribute this, as always, to the strong Filipino cultural influence that I identify with.) And, even though I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t have biological children of my own, I still long for something to fill that void that Infertility has robbed me.

Furthermore, with my recent unemployment situation, I feel as though I’ve been stripped yet another label that I’ve identified myself with. That “successful career woman” identity flew out the window the day I found myself surreptitiously without a job.

And really … that’s what this post was trying to explain.

While I’d love to “give up” those labels that I’ve placed on myself, I also must admit that it’s these labels that I’ve come to rely on to “ground” myself, so to speak, when I’ve otherwise felt lost. It’s these labels that help remind me of who *I* am in the face of uncertainty:

  • I’m a Wife.
  • I’m an only Daughter.
  • I’m a Sister to my Brother.
  • I’m a friend.
  • I’m Filipino-American (1st generation).
  • I’m Catholic.
  • I’m a nurse.
  • I’m a writer.
  • I’m infertile.
  • I’m child-free after infertility.

When looking at who I am; what I believe is the center of my core … it’s pretty obvious that there are those identities that I have no control over. These are the identities that have been imprinted on my soul; the ones that I cannot change. The ones that I’ve grown to accept as part of who I am in this life.

Then there are the labels I’ve chosen for myself (Catholic, nurse, writer, friend). Those are the identities that, despite the years of time and investment I put into them, I can readily let go. But do I really want to do that?

The problem, as I see it, is when one of these identities has been lost; especially at a time where I wasn’t ready to a) let go of that identity, or b) accept that identity for what it is.

Take for instance, the part of myself that identifies with being infertile. This was one label I never expected to own. But the fact of the matter is that after one year of trying to conceive (waaaay back when, it seems), we were unable to get pregnant. By definition, infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. That’s a fact. There’s no way I can change that pat of me; there’s no way I have control over that situation.

But take the part of me that identifies with being child-free after infertility. We tried everything that we could possibly do (within our own capabilities both financially and emotionally) to give ourselves a biological child, but that just never happened. And because we thought long and hard about our other options, Hubby & I chose to accept that living child-free was what was best for me. And believe me … it was not an easy choice to make.

And because, she nails it right on the head … here’s how Pam from Silent Sorority recently described the reason why she and her husband chose the child-free path:

“It got to the point where the potential heartbreak was actually more overwhelming than the glimmer of very small hope.”

In any case, my point is that with our decision to live child-free, I dealt with having to let go of one chosen identity and accept a new chosen identity. I had to let go of that identity of motherhood that I held on for so long. and I had to accept that living without children, despite the incredible longing to have a biological child of our own, was my new identity.

As I said before, the decision to live child-free wasn’t a choice that we wanted to make. It’s not that we didn’t discuss opening our hearts to adoption. Or opening our wallets to more infertility treatments. Simply put, identifying ourselves as living child-free was a choice that we had to make. Hubby & I needed to weigh our options to decide if that the small glimmer of hope was worth the insurmountable heartbreak we’d already been through. Hubby & I needed to make this decision so we (or rather *I*) could maintain my sanity.

Because if I didn’t put that label on me, I’d still be struggling to determine who I was … if I couldn’t be the mother I had always dreamed about.

And of course now … my new identity crisis is to determine what to do with my career. But I will take a page out of HSF’s book and learn to enjoy the journey while I discover what’s next.

How about you, Blog World? What parts of yourself keep you grounded? What labels do you place on yourself? How do you identify yourself?