Observe & Report

A Song No One Would Expect Me To Love

Day Fourteen – A Song No One Would Expect Me To Love:

I think I’ve already mentioned this in one of my epic music posts. But I think this song requires mentioning again.

There’s something about Sweet Child O’ Mine that I absolutely love. Which is weird for me to say, since when the song was first released I absolutely couldn’t stand the nasally voice and the high-pitched screeching guitar solo.

It took listening to another version of this song to help me appreciate the complexity of this song. The tempo of this remake stripped the song down enough to allow me appreciate the melody; it allowed me to listen to the absolute sincerity of the lyrics.

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A Song From a Band I Hate

Day Twelve – A Song From a Band I Hate:

Ugh. Hate is such a strong word. So even though I think there may be some really bad songs out there, I don’t think I can truly hate a song. Or a band. Or even any particular artist.

And yet … I can have a strong dislike for songs that are “presented” poorly (like the original version that I refer to in this post). Or I can dislike a performer that is misrepresented as an “artist.”

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My “Least” Favorite Song

Day Two – My “Least” Favorite Song:

I actually had a hard time trying find a least favorite song. I think it’s because I inherently believe all songs have redeeming qualities.

(Huh. Come to think of it … I think anything or anyone in the world has some redeeming qualities. You just have to look for it … )

Take Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” … This is that song and video that went viral on the internet after critics and viewers on “the webs” claimed that it was the worst song ever written. So yes … I was one of those fools that clicked on Rebecca’s video and watched in horror as the song played out. And I confess that I thought that it was a pretty bad song.

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Dream A Little Dream

Like the hat? We also had his golf putter and a TV remote placed with him!

I saw my Dad the other night.  Well … actually, I saw him in my dreams anyway.

I guess it was only a matter of time that Dad would show up in my slumber. After all, it’s been 4 months and he’s (obviously) been weighing heavily on my mind since then. Except his presence in this dream took me completely by surprise.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

Dad appeared to me in a dream that involved staying at a hotel in Las Vegas for a conference with some co-workers (both past and present). In the dream, a former co-worker confronted me regarding a statement I had made about being excluded from some team activity. She had asked me if this was going to affect our working relationship. And just as I was about to answer her, I looked up from where I was seated and saw my Dad standing right by the hotel room door. Plain as day; wearing a set of khaki trousers and a dark red collared sweater … something I could see him wearing whenever we’d go out to dinner together.

But Dad wasn’t alone. He was with a person, whose face looked so familiar; perhaps a family friend from back in his home town that I had met at one of those Canadian “reunion” picnics we’d go to every year. Whoever it was, I couldn’t place the name.

As soon as I saw Dad, I jumped out of my seat and ran up to him and wrapped my arms around him tightly. “I’ve missed you,” I told him.

“I know,” Dad said to me. “I’ve missed you, too.” And then we started talking as if he’d been on a trip back to the Philippines, rather than being physically gone from the earth. What we had talked about, I can’t really remember; but I do recall feeling sad when he told me that they had to go now.

“Okay,” I told Dad. “I’ll walk you guys to the elevator.” And so we walked down the hall and I watched him and this family friend step into the elevator. As the elevator doors started to close, I started to feel panicked; my heart began to race and I suddenly felt bereft.

So I stuck my hand out to stop the elevator door from closing and jumped in. Except when I got inside, my Dad wasn’t there. I looked about the elevator and saw the family friend that had previously accompanied my Dad. I asked where Dad was, but all I got was a shrug of the shoulders.

Once we got to the hotel lobby, I got off the elevator and decided to wait for another elevator car to arrive; thinking that Dad had jumped onto another car instead. After a couple cars came up empty for Dad, I walked towards the hotel entrance intending to sit on one of the couches in the lobby and cry. After all, I had this sick feeling that I’d never get to see him again … even though in the dream it felt like he was just going to walk around the Vegas Strip. 

But as I walked toward the lobby, I felt a tap on my shoulder. And when I turned around, I saw my Dad standing there. He engulfed me in another bear hug and said, “You didn’t think I’d leave you, did you?”

I nodded my head, the tears streaming down my face. “I’ll always be with you,” Dad told me. “Don’t ever forget that.”

And that’s when I woke up.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

Strangely, my pillow wasn’t wet with tears, even though my eyes felt as if they had been crying. And the rest of my body just felt extremely tired. And sad … extremely sad.  I had remembered waking up briefly in the midst of the dream to tell Hubby that I saw Dad. But by the time I woke up after the dream was over, Hubby had already left for work.

During our last trip to Vegas ... Dad was "pole-dancing" on the tram! LOL!

So instead I told a good friend that I had met for lunch later on in the day. This friend had also lost her father earlier last year and had been there to comfort me during the days following Dad’s death. Without giving her any details about the dream, she told me that it was my Dad’s way visiting me; of showing his presence to me. And we left it at that.

Later on that evening, I told Hubby about the dream and what my friend had said to me. In between the sobs I had let out, he held me tightly and wished that he could make the pain go away.

Then over the phone, I relayed the same thing to my Mom. She too, believed that my Dad had come to visit me and in turn asked me whether or not he looked happy. At first I had told her that Dad’s belly appeared fuller, and we both laughed. “Obviously he’s being fed well up there,” my Mom said, both of us knowing how much my Dad loved to eat.

But then Mom asked me again, “Did he look happy?” After all, other than some “random” events that have taken place at the house, Mom had yet to see Dad face-to-face.

I thought about it for a moment; thought about our conversation and the words Dad had said to me in the hotel lobby. And I answered, “Yes. He looked content.”

“That’s good,” Mom had said. “That just means he’s at peace.”

And as strange as that statement sounded, I believed Mom. And it comforted me … especially knowing that my Dad said he’d always be with me.

Effin’ Facebook

Dear Facebook Moms,

I apologize in advance for the snarkiness of this note. I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I’m currently going through one of overall emotional downslides right now.

Because really — truly — if you are my FB friend, I honestly like you.

What I mean is that I don’t randomly “friend” a person unless I have a legitimate connection to any of you. And I follow your status updates and photos and notes that you all post because I’m genuinely interested in your lives.

But today I have a beef. And I must emphasize that it’s the Infertile childless woman in me that is really upset.

You see, I love that I get to live vicariously through my FB Moms … love that I get to see pictures of the youngin’s in their various milestones in life. I absolutely love that I get to read about random stories that truly make me chuckle.

And when I start to see FB status that ask me to honor all those Mothers out there for the hard work they do every day, I don’t complain. Because I know from watching my own Mom how difficult it is. And I know from reading and hearing about your lives how much you all deserve recognition.

But people … Must I remind everyone that there’s a National Holiday out there that celebrates this? One that happens every single May? One that, year after year, reminds me that I’ll never be on the receiving end of such love and adoration?

Please don’t get me wrong … I’m not asking anyone not to be proud of who you are or what you have in life.

If anything, I’m just asking that you remember — in your quest to be recognized and acknowledged for all the little (and not so little) every day things you deal with … that there are women, like me (who have desperately wanted to become Moms), that will never be able to partake in this recognition.

And that, as a woman … there are few other things (outside of a stellar career or ground-breaking discoveries) that an every-day woman can be recognized for. That … despite the need to find an identity for yourself outside of being a Mom … that you do indeed have some sort of socially recognizable identity.

So please … On your quest to show pride for the wonderful Mother you’ve become … also remember those women who won’t be able share in your own experiences. And that there is an entire world out there of women (one in eight, to be precise) that are struggling to have even a sliver what you have … Women that struggle to find any kind of every-day identity.

Because I can’t speak for other Infertiles out there … but being a Mom had been an identity that I’ve always wanted to say I owned. One that, even after so many years of giving up my dream of Motherhood, I still mourn the loss of every day.

Thanks for … at the very least … reading.

And now I’ll head back to my regularly-scheduled, self-imposed seclusion. Better that I stay quiet and contained for now, lest I offend even more people … including myself.

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Revertigo

There’s this episode of “How I Met Your Mother” that Hubby & I recently watched. It’s the episode in which Robin meets up with her Canadian High School boyfriend; a boy who broke her teenage heart in his van after playing a gig with his band, The Foreskins**.  She confesses to her friends that the minute she set eyes on him, she suddenly felt like she was sixteen again; complete with the excitement and butterflies that a “first love” could only elicit. But not only that, Robin found herself acting exactly like she did at that age. 

Marshall, in his wise ways, had developed a term for this type of behavior. He called it “Revertigo” … a phenomenon in which a person reverts back to his or her former self when around certain individuals from their past. In this episode, he uses Lily as an example; having her invite her old high school friend, Michelle, who brings out the “gangsta” in her whenever they’re together. But once separated from one another, they revert back to their normal selves. 

Hubby and I could not stop laughing during the entire episode.*** It was something that we both know happens to me when I get together with my Canadian cousins. When we get together I somehow slip back into this version of myself that I can only call “The American Cousin” — all brash and outspoken with a hint of arrogance (not intentional, of course). But not only that … for some strange insane reason, I also find myself speaking in a Canadian accent; complete with long O’s (as in “sooorry”) and unconsciously adding “eh?” to the end of all my sentences. 

Seriously. We could be in the heart of the continental U.S. and I could suddenly be mistaken for a Canadian! 

The thing is, when experiencing “Revertigo,” every fiber of you begins to revert back to that place and time. All the good and the bad. All the excitement of being at the age that you were and all the insecurities you may have experienced at that time. 

Proof that I was a GleeK in high school

This Saturday is my 20th High School Reunion. And while I debated for a verrrry long time about whether I’d attend, I finally decided that I would skip out on the festivities. I can say that I did it for a number of reasons. The easiest being that I didn’t feel like shelling out the money to see people I really didn’t know that well twenty years ago. Or that I only wanted to see certain people from my graduating class; ones that I’m not even sure will be in attendance. 

I’ll admit that both of those reasons are indeed true; and — in my eyes — valid, as well. But the primary reason is this: I’m just not at the best place that I want to be in my life at this exact moment. I don’t (nor will I likely ever have) the children that I know most of my classmates already have. I don’t have that beautifully maintained home with a well-manicured lawn that my suburban counterparts will also likely have. And I certainly don’t have the job / degree / success in my life that I thought I’d have by this time in my life. 

But I was also a HS Hottie (along with future-SIL), too!

And seeing that this past spring and summer were beyond stressful**** I’m feeling just a leeetle insecure with myself. 

If the phenomenon known as “Revertigo” is true; then all those insecurities and lack of self-confidence I currently have at this point in my life will be twenty-times magnified … like everything tends to be during those “puberty years.” 

Oh, I’m not naive enough to know that my classmates likely feel the same way about themselves in some capacity or another. If anything, I certainly believe that most of us, in our late-thirties, feel like we haven’t accomplished everything that we thought we would have over the last twenty years. 

No, really. I simply don’t want to attend for this simple reason: I’m trying to avoid feeling and acting as if I’m in high school again. And seeing that I’ve had a few major curveballs thrown at me over the past six months, I don’t know if I’d have the strength to combat this bout of “Revertigo.” 

Class of 1990

 One more thing and I’ll go back to being a 38 year old Gen-X slacker … my lack of desire to attend my high school reunion, by no means indicates that I don’t want to see those people I considered close friends during my teenage years.

The way that I look at it is this: If I hadn’t already found you via Facebook (or any other means of communication) … this simply means that you don’t want to be found. And I can respect that need for privacy. And if we were meant to find our way back to one another, then we’ll find each other when the time is right.

To me, friendship is all about every day life; and there shouldn’t be a need to make a big formal deal about it. 

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** “There were four of us. And we didn’t wear any shirts.” At least that’s how the band name was explained. LOL!  

*** Mainly because Robin’s ex-boyfriend was played by James Van der Beek of “Dawson’s Creek” fame.  

**** A quick recap:

  • I got fired from the job I moved to Chicago for; the one that I hoped would help heal me gain some of that self-confidence that Infertility robbed me of.
  • I found out that Dr. Bro and Dr. SIL have finally made the decision to (successfully) procreate.
  • I recently started and am currently training for a new job that will take my career in a different direction.
  • And in the midst of job-hunting, debated on a move back to Detroit only to decide to stay in Chicago (but move to a smaller apartment); much to the chagrin of family members that wanted us to move back “home.”
  • Oh … and being unemployed certainly didn’t help our financial situation, either.

Bottoms Up …

My previous boss once said to me, “You don’t have to get everyone to like you.”

This is the same boss who, in the midst of all the chaos at the end of this past April, didn’t do a thing to help me out. The same boss who worried the whole time that I’d find the job horrible and go running back to Detroit.

But, as difficult as my position at this company would get, I actually enjoyed my job. I found that it challenged me in ways I hadn’t been challenged before. And up until the day I was sent home (and eventually told to stay home), I found myself gaining a little more confidence in myself … confidence I had lost so much of when going through the roller coaster of Infertility.

Megan from Bottoms Off and On the Table wrote a post that really resonated with me. In her post she talks about how busy she’s been at work and how, perhaps, she’s using work as a self-imposed coping mechanism while deciding on the next step of her Infertility journey.

And, oh … could I ever relate to this.

Reading her post reminded me of “stepping down” from my previous supervisor position in Michigan in order to concentrate my energies on IVF. After all, I had already been through years of conservative treatment and months of medicated cycles … all with disappointing results. By then I was so exhausted by the monthly cycles of treatment, which included multiple trips to the various doctor’s offices for lab draws and pelvic ultrasounds, only to be concluded with yet another negative pregnancy test.

And how I even managed to keep track of all the supervisor duties I had during those years, I’ll never remember. But what I do know is that once I decided to become a “regular” staff member (instead of supervisor), I suddenly felt as if I had more breathing room … at least enough to allow some positivity and hope into my life before heading into IVF territory.

After our IVF failed, I admit I began to slack off at work; an obvious sign that I cared little about anything during those first months of incredible depression. Then I discovered that throwing myself into work helped distract me from feeling like a complete failure. Flash forward a few years, and now I found myself moving to Chicago to accept a position that I’d hope would advance my career. I, once again became a supervisor; but this time for a high-profile group within a much larger company.

I did this for a number of reasons, but mostly I did this so that I could further my career. My thought was this: If I couldn’t give bear children because Infertility robbed me, then I might as well focus on the part of myself that I knew I could be good at. I might as well be a “successful” career woman.

And then … well, you know what eventually happened with that job. And the ultimate failure I felt from that fallout. What had angered me most was that I felt I went above and beyond my capabilities of being successful (and had been recognized for such accomplishments), but yet my previous boss never bothered to step up for me and fight for me; something she could have easily done. Except … well, this being the same boss who told me that I didn’t need to be liked, I rather think she had something against me. Personally, I think it’s because she had kids and was currently in school, which meant that she couldn’t completely “focus” in further her career …

As I’ve just completed my first week at my new job, I have found myself contemplating the lessons I’ve learned from my last job; what I should take away from that experience. And since I had four months to mull over the past year and a half, this is what I came up with:

There’s no need to “make up” for my inability to bear children with trying to more successful in other ways. Because it’s more important to focus on being happy with who I am and the strong(ish) person I’ve become … even though it’s nowhere close to where I though I’d be at this time in my life.

And

My previous boss was right. I don’t have to get everyone to like me. Because it’s not about being “liked.” Rather, it’s about being respected … which should really begin with respecting myself. And how can I respect myself if I continue to measure myself on my inability to have children? My life isn’t supposed to be all about whether I or not I failed in the “kids” department. I should be about my accomplishments and about remembering to give myself credit where credit is due.

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Things I’ve Learned on My Alaskan Adventure

  • Alaska (at least Southeast Alaska) is not a giant piece of land completely made of ice, like we were taught in grade school. (You know, Seward’s Icebox?)

  • Not all Native Alaskans are called Eskimos. In fact, the Southeastern Alaskan Natives are the Tlingints.

  • Fish & Chips and Clam chowder at a small lunch kiosk on the dock in Ketchican, Alaska is d*mn good!
  • There’s something inherently beautiful about glaciers and the waters surrounding them. Oh, and it is possible to sail a huge ship through some narrow passages and still be maneuver around glaciers.

  • And by the way, Tracy Arm Fjord is not, in fact, an arm. A fjord is long, narrow inlet with steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.

  • Glaciers have a blue tint to them because that’s the only color that glaciers can’t absorb. And because of that, I think Crayola should come up with a “Glacier Blue” crayon …

  • I now know the five different Salmon species just by looking at my hand.
    • Thumb = Chum Salmon
    • Index Finger = Sockeye … as in “Poke your eye out with your finger”
    • Middle Finger (or tallest finger) = King Salmon, the biggest of the salmons
    • Ring Finger = Silver Salmon
    • Pinky = Pink Salmon.
  • And now you know them, too!

  • I can officially say that I’ve seen a Black Bear with her three cubs and that bears can’t read.

  • We’ve also seen American Eagles and I think I finally understand the metaphor about the strength and beauty of a “Soaring Eagle.”

  • The Filipino-American population in Juneau, Alaska is so big that they have a whole “square” called “Manila Square” dedicated to them.

  • This is probably why the number of Filipinos working on the cruise ships in Alaska greatly outnumbers that of all other nationalities (60% of the staff on our ship alone were Filipino).
  • This includes a Filipino Executive Master Chef and Executive Sous Chef … who were kind enough to create off-menu Filipino dishes. Like pancit. And Topsilog. And Adobo. Yummmm!

  • Skagway is actually spelled Skaguay … but only because the postal office didn’t like the way it was spelled.

  • Skagway was known as the gateway to the Klondike because this was the first stop for most people seeking gold in the Klondike. And from some of the stories I heard (“Soapy” Smith, the thousands of horses killed in stampedes) there were quite a few things people would do for a Klondike Bar … of gold, that is.

  • According to our tour guide, Skagway is a one-horse town. And it apparently likes to hang out in front of the Bonanza Bar & Grill.

  • It’s possible for the U.S. Coast Guard to airlift a critically ill passenger onto their helicopter (on our “Day at Sea”) without officially landing on a cruise ship. It may take more than 30-minutes of practice (and circling the ship) before actually airlifting the person, but it’s doable. (The passenger, thank G*D is now stable in a hospital in Alaska … at least as of Saturday afternoon.)

  • Using the Medical Clinic on the cruise ship (for a pretty big bug bite that caused major swelling and erythema to the surrounding tissue) is much cheaper than seeing your doctor at home; especially for those of us that lack health insurance.
  • There’s not much you can do in Victoria, British Columbia when you only have four hour to spend there between 7:30 and 11:30 pm on a Saturday night.

  • It’s a good thing we didn’t discover the 24-hr Buffet until the last night. Otherwise I would have gained even more weight than I already did …

  • Sometimes all-inclusive vacations (like cruises or other specialty resorts) bring out the worst in people. I think I’ve seen and encountered more rude passengers with an odd sense of “entitlement” on this trip than I’ve had in other vacations past.

    Just because pretty much everything is included on the ship doesn’t mean that you need to take all of the cookies or sweets. Or that you have to be incredibly rude to the crew members who are there to serve you. Don’t think that just because you worked hard for this vacation, you should be waited hand and foot … these staff members are working just as hard for a vacation of their own as well!

  • But overall, we’ve meet some really nice folk … both crew members and passengers alike. If I could, I’d definitely do another cruise to Alaska again. Maybe this time we’d head further north towards Anchorage … and spend a few more days inland, discovering more of this beautiful State instead!

Secrets of an Infertile

The first time I ever took a home pregnancy test (HPT) was on the morning of first wedding anniversary. Hubby & I had only recently decided that we were ready to start the next phase in our lives together. Plus, Aunt Flo had been missing for over a week by then, so I figured it was time.

I won’t lie … I also thought that the prospect of presenting positive “pee stick” as an anniversary gift would have made our first wedding anniversary together all that more memorable.

But when the test came back negative, I threw the stick away and climbed back into bed to cuddle with Hubby who was still sound asleep. And yes, I was disappointed … but at that time in our lives, Infertility was just a distant diagnosis, which was … in no way, related to me.

I’ve never told anyone this story before because until today, it wasn’t something that I considered very relevant to my life as an “Infertile.”

Hubby had been privy to this story, because later that day he happened upon the open HPT package in the trash and wondered why I took one. But otherwise, no one else in our lives had a clue that we were even “actively trying” at the time.

It was something that Hubby & I, as a young married couple, wanted to keep to ourselves.

*****

It’s only natural that most couples wish to keep their decisions on family-planning a secret. Okay … maybe not so much a secret, but more of a discussion that happens strictly between the couple.

After all, it really should be no one’s business to know what’s going on in a couple’s sex life. Right?

But what happens when love and marriage don’t automatically lead to the proverbial baby carriage? And what if months — nay, years go by without having anything to show but a garbage full of negative pregnancy test?

What if you had spent thousands of dollars for an infertility diagnosis and work-up? And then turned around and spent even more money on trying to “fix” the medical problems so that you could produce a biological child of your own?

Should a couple still keep their family-building plans and the infertility diagnosis a secret?

What if you and your spouse had to continuously be poked by various needles and prodded by various health professionals, month after month, just to determine when the optimal time was to reproduce? To go home and have a romp in the bedroom (stress-free, of course)? To collect a man specimen in the comfort of a sterile clinic? To have to sit nice and pretty in those G*d-awful stirrups? Only to be disappointed month after month …

Would it still be inappropriate for a couple to talk about how infertility has affected their lives?

What if you or your spouse were done pursuing the medical route of infertility and decided to adopt? What if you spent an additional thousands of dollars in order to be scrutinized by adoption agencies, local and federal government officials? Just so these agencies can determine if you were “worthy” enough to be parents?

What if the Birth Mom/Family decided to change their minds at the last minute? Or what if the country you decided to pursue an international adoption decided to close their doors on all adoptions?

Would now be a good time to talk to loved ones about infertility?

And finally, what if you and your spouse thoughtfully and thoroughly considered all your other options to build your family … and after years of disappointment and heartache, decided that living child-free was your best path in life?

Would it be okay for the couple to comfortably discuss this decision with any random stranger who asks if the couple has any kids?

These are difficult questions to answer. I know; as I’ve had to dissect each individual question with a fine-tooth comb. I’ve had to determine how each answer would affect the rest of my life and my relationships with those I’ve felt close to at one time or another.

The truth is, each person … each couple and/or the family & friends that are affected by this couple’s infertility … will have different answers. That’s because each person’s journey through infertility can be different than the person standing next to him or her. Even if they were sitting next to each other at an Infertility Specialist’s office.

*****

I find it sad that society deems “family-building” discussions as a private issue amongst infertile couples.

Huh?! WTF ...

Okay, let me reword that last statement: I find it disappointing that society deems “family building” discussions as inappropriate when it comes to Infertility.

While I do think that there are certain discussions and decisions that should be left private amongst the infertile couple, I do think that other conversations should be okay to discuss with other people … other family members and friends and other infertile couples.

Because if anything, Infertiles can be the worse when it comes to openly talking about their experiences and emotions when it comes to building their family.

There’s an article in SELF Magazine’s August issue that outlines this exact issue.

This article (aptly titled “This Woman Has A Secret”) found that a recent survey indicates that 61% of infertility patients hide their struggle to get pregnant from friends and family.

And seeing that 1 in 8 American couples experience infertility … well, yeah. That’s a lot of people that aren’t talking about the heady emotions that can be associated with the inability to reproduce.

Along with those questions I previously posed, other common concerns that an infertile couple can experience include the fear that their life will be eternally empty. Or the sense that the couple is damaged or broken.

Both amplify the shame already incurred by the couple; as they likely feel different from being different than other “normally reproducing” family and friends.

Both make the couple more embarrassed to talk about these struggles and associated emotions with their loved ones.

*****

It’s a difficult thing … wanting to talk about a person’s (or couple’s) individual journey through infertility. It’s ten-times more difficult, given the shame that’s associated with infertility.

As the SELF article points out, it gets even more exhausting when an infertile couple:

… become slaves of their monthly cycle; often unable to leave town even for a weekend getaway due to daily monitoring for hormone levels and egg counts. When month after month a couple fails to get pregnant, their lives stall and the question of whether or not their family will expand looms over decisions about the car they buy, the house they live in, the clothes they purchase.

And this, along with many other reasons, is why many infertile couples choose to keep their “family-building” struggles a secret. Why they continue with the facade that “family-building” discussions should remain personal, as society dictates.

*****

After years of keeping my struggle a secret … of burying the emotions I’ve felt for so long … I believe that it is extremely important to talk about these issues. And I think it’s important for an individual to find their own outlet or support systems.

Hubby & I became "shadows" of our former self ...

But first and foremost, I think it’s very important to keep an open communication with your Spouse/SO. Because if there is anyone else who should know what you’re going through, it should be the person who is traveling down the infertility journey with you.

For Hubby & I, it’s a path that we took together, hand-in-hand. We made it a point to talk about each of our concerns openly and honestly (yes, even the scary parts) so that we knew where we both were at emotionally. And if one person was even slightly ahead of the other person, we’d make an effort to “wait” until both of us were both “on board” before making any major decisions. There was no pushing or prodding; there was patience and understanding that both of us dealt with our issues in very unique manners.

If anything … that was my saving grace in our journey together. Hubby was my rock — my torch, so to speak, lighting my way through the darkness. And I hope that he can say the same thing for me as well.

*****

As for other support systems outside of the couple … It’s difficult to find support out there. I know; I’ve tried.

I’ve sought support amongst my loved ones; my friends. But it’s honestly hard for them to completely understand what it’s like, unless they’re walking in your shoes, your path.

But after years (and years) of dealing with Infertility, I’ve finally learned to turn this experience around by educating others about my journey. And I did this by debunking statements (like “just relax”) and myths (like “just adopt and you’ll get pregnant”) whenever they would surface in those inevitable conversations.

This is because I believe that the more an Infertile person openly discusses their experiences, the more that the general population will understand and learn to empathize with the Infertility community.

I hope that this is a lesson that other Infertile couples can learn from my own experience: Talk openly about it now, so that others can be more empathetic to the Infertility path.

*****

I’ve also tried to find support in an Infertility Support Group.

For me, that was not my cup of tea. My experience mimicked how another person in the SELF article so aptly stated, “Everyone gets up and tells their success stories. Infertility treatment isn’t always about success.”

But … that may not be the case for every support group. So please … you should still seek out an Infertility support group before passing any judgment. It just may just be the perfect outlet for you.

*****

Finally, (and only after a major catastrophic life event) I tried some individual counseling. And that planted the seed that allowed me to talk about my Infertility and the emotions that came with those struggles.

My advice for an Infertile person trying to find the right therapist? Talk to your Infertility Specialist and ask for a recommendation. If you’re not currently seeing a specialist; call one in your area and ask. Chances are, the Front Desk staff or the RN in the office will be more than willing to give you a recommendation. If not, check out RESOLVE’s website for a list of professionals in the area.

*****

Again, huh?!

There’s one more outlet for support that I want to point out. And this outlet, I must say, has been the most therapeutic for me.

After much encouragement from my therapist, I sought out support from online communities. I started out by reading message boards and eventually sought out personal blogs. From there, I stumbled onto Mel’s list and found an entire blogosphere of people that I suddenly felt I could relate to.

Suddenly I wanted to share my story. I wanted others to know what *I* had gone through in my journey. And, because there wasn’t enough representation from the Asian-American/Filipino-American community, I wanted to let those Infertile individuals/couples know that they weren’t alone.

And, as the Asian-American culture typically simultaneously praises Motherhood and yet frowns upon discussions leading up to Motherhood, *I* wanted to have an outlet for where I can point other family members and friends to read when the inevitable, “What? You don’t want kids?” questions came up.

The support I’ve received from the three years I’ve now been writing on this blog have been overwhelming. Not only have I met the most incredible people who get me (and understand my wacky sense of humor), but I’ve found support in old friends and family that I might never have found any other way.

So yes … if anything, I encourage writing a blog as an outlet for your Infertility issues. I encourage you to write about your struggles, your emotions … your biggest fears and worst nightmares and post it for the world to see. I encourage you to be honest, as well.

But most importantly, I encourage advertising it to your friends and family. Because we all know that keeping secrets from your loved ones (whether big or small) can ultimately be frustrating and tiring for all involved.

So why not let the secret out?

*****

I write this to let other Infertile couples know that they do not have to suffer through these struggles alone.

I write this to encourage other Infertiles to talk about their experiences to others.

And I write this to ensure that those now-parents – those who suffered through Infertility on their way to parenthood – continue to share their struggles of Infertility … regardless of how busy their lives may be, now that they have children.**

I write this to make sure that Infertility no longer remains a secret.

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Related Posts:

A brief history of Emily’s Infertility Journey

When Emily decided enough was enough

Why Emily blogs for Infertile Asian/Filipino-Americans

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** This was the only beef I had about the SELF article. For all that it said about the importance of “letting the secret out,” the last sentence in the article is what soured me the most:

Working behind the scenes [of supporting the Infertility community] is one option, but [Lisa] says, ‘I’m sure my volunteer efforts will be for schools or parks. Once I have twins, I’ll have a lot less free time.”

Hindsight is always 20/20 ...

Silent Fluidity

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon

I have always loved water. I don’t mean the water that you drink; although that is more of a necessity than anything else. No, what I mean is that I love to be around bodies of water; love to wade in it, swim in it. Love to simply be next to a lake or ocean … or even just sitting poolside at whatever community place.

That’s why it’s ironic — or simply comical — that, at the tender age of eight, I almost drowned. This incident took place after one of my beginners swim lessons, in which we were rewarded with ten minutes of open swim. I had stood in line for the second time that session; waiting to jump off the diving board. When my turn came up, I sprang off the board and dove head first into the deep end. Nothing unusual, as I was always fearless when it came to diving.

This time, however; I found myself disoriented and unable to determine which end of the pool was up. Despite this, I did not panic. In fact, I actually remember feeling incredibly calm. So calm, in fact, that the swim instructors didn’t realize I was missing until the mandatory headcount in the shower at the end of open swim. It’s a good thing that all this happened in under two minutes.

La Jolla, CA

La Jolla, California

I can recall being hooked in by one swim instructor, while another jumped in to help me up. Once poolside, they apparently performed mouth-to-mouth on me. Except the only thing I can clearly recall is being placed on my side and coughing up water; while, in the distance I could hear my Mom screaming at the swim instructors. Once I had finished coughing, I was immediately encouraged to jump off the diving board once again. The swim instructors told my Mom that it was important to do this right away to prevent me from being scared of the water for the rest of my childhood.

Little did anyone know that, even at the age of eight, nothing could keep me from wanting to be in the water. In fact, once I learned to float on my back I wanted nothing more than to stay afloat and stare at the sky (or the pool room’s ceiling) all day.

And then there’s this. Even though I don’t remember much about what happened after I was pulled out of the pool, I do remember how I felt underwater. Along with that calmness I felt, I remember loving the feeling of floating indefinitely; of complete utter freedom. It really wasn’t until I heard a swim instructor jump into the pool to rescue me and the pull of the hook around my waist that I started to feel scared.

There are nights where I still dream of that moment; where I feel that freedom and that endless tumbling and turning underwater. I can smell and feel the chlorinated water all around me. And these are the moments where I feel the most tranquil. Where I can recreate this inexplicable feeling of happiness.

Reflection of Full Moon on Lake Michigan, Chicago

Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL

It’s strange to think that the one recurrent happy dream I have is of drowning; of almost dying. How can a dream about possible death be something I find comfort in?

I want to relate this dream to my love of water; that love of floating freely in the water. In reality, it probably has more to do with the lack of complete control I have over the forces of water. And, as it relates to reality, this dream most likely relates to the lack of control I have experienced / am currently experiencing in life.

So how could a dream which reflects a lack of control in my life make me happy? It’s that love of complete utter freedom I felt back when I was eight years old. It’s knowing that despite the fact that things can be completely crazy in life … if I just sit back (or in this case float above water) and let go of those things I have no control over, then I can feel more relaxed and enjoy life around me.

I can simply just go with the flow.

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One of my favorite “power ballads” of all time …

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