Forgiveness.

I went to see my parents and sister last week in Florida. It was wonderful…lots of sunshine, relaxation and laughter. I obviously miss my parents living 3 minutes down the road, but seeing them in their new home/new retired life makes me profoundly happy. My parents worked so hard raising my siblings and myself (and the countless friends who practically lived at our house growing up)…they deserve the peace and quiet of their new life. And they seem so content. It was a really wonderful trip.

But, something surprised me during my visit…my family’s reaction to me. It started with my mother…we were sitting on her front porch, watching the sunset (which is not as amazing as a Cape Cod sunset, but surprisingly close) and she commented on how happy I seemed. I smiled and replied I was hearing that a lot lately…must be the yoga and meditation and she continued “no, I mean it…you seem better.” This caught me off guard…better? Better now means before I was ‘bad’? I asked her what she meant by ‘better’ and her response shocked me…. “You just seemed so tired before we left…I was worried about you.” I laughed saying of course I was tired, I work a lot, I’m always tired, but she stopped me “No, I mean you seemed tired with everything…”

‘Tired with everything…’ I kept repeating that phrase in my head the next few days. ‘Tired with everything’. Had I been? My parents left in November…November I was in my new job, our new home…had I still been that sad? Had I still been that disappointed? Had I still been that tired?

My sister surprised me next. On my last day, as we were driving to the airport she commented that she was so happy to see me in such a good place…’Tired with everything’ immediately came to my mind…so just like with my mother I asked for clarification…what did she mean by ‘in such a good place’…her answer “You just seem lighter…” Lighter now means I was heavy before?

And I realized something…they were both right. See I worked really hard last year to embrace it all: the IVF, our Warrior embryo, the pregnancy, the miscarriage, my new job, our new home, my sisters baby, my parents move, my evolving friendships, the highs and lows of our marriage during all of it…I tried really, really hard. And trying that hard for so much (even though somethings were tremendously good, while others were unbearably difficult) it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to feel that much…to be that happy and that sad…to be that hopeful and that disappointed…to be that thankful and that angry. It’s exhausting to be given so much and also have so much taken away. It made me very tired, the weight of it all was very heavy.

So the question is…how did I become lighter?

The answer, I’ve come to realize is…forgiveness.

First of all, forgiving random people…that was simple. I forgave the stranger in Target giggling with her adorable baby next to me as I clutched another box of pregnancy tests I knew were going to be negative. I forgave the pregnant girl next to me at the lab draw station who complained about the symptoms of her pregnancy as I waited to find out if my blood work would confirm a miscarriage. I forgave our doctor the night he called to apologize for that blood work confirming what, in our heats, we all already knew. I even forgave the co-worker who told me having a miscarriage ‘wasn’t that bad’ as I felt my body rejecting our Warrior. I toss random forgiveness out into the universe easily these days…

Forgiving the people I care about…that was surprisingly easy. I forgave our Warrior for not having a heartbeat the moment I didn’t hear it. I forgave my sister for having a baby (when I didn’t) the minute I saw her being a mom…a tremendously good mom who I think is better at it than I’ll be. I forgave my friends and family members for not always saying or doing the right thing when time after time they did say and do the right things…they get it right a lot more than they get it wrong. It’s not hard to forgive the people you love when they love you without needing any forgiveness.

I think Dan and I forgave each other over time…it’s taken us time to forgive each other for not having a baby, for saying the wrongs things, for hoarding our disappointments and anger silently until the words, when finally spoken, were filled with such anger and disappointment we always ended up hurting ourselves more than each other. I think we both have finally forgiven ourselves for not being the spouse the other one needed all the time…for losing ourselves in grief. We found ourselves again, which made it easier to find each other. We’re better now and we’ve forgiven ourselves for needing to be.

But the hardest person to forgive…it was myself. It’s taken a lot for me to look in the mirror and be happy with the person I see. For so long the person staring back at me was so angry, so disappointed and so sad. And that anger, that sadness, that disappointment others felt it…in my words, my behavior…they suffered because I suffered. But, they were quick to forgive, because they loved me. But it wasn’t easy for me. It wasn’t easy for me to forgive it all…and I don’t mean what happened, I mean how I handled it…who I became. It’s not easy for me to forgive myself for becoming so tired…I let go of myself, I became a person I didn’t really like being and I justified my behavior because I was suffering. I allowed myself to look in the mirror and not really like who I saw and I let myself be okay with that.

But, I’m not now. I’m not someone who is okay with being not okay. I forgive myself for who I became, but I won’t ever be that person again. I forgive myself for not working harder on being better and I think I can only do that because I am working so much harder on being better. I’m taking the time to own my emotions, even the terribly ugly ones, and finding a way to work through them. I’m allowing myself to feel the disappointments (because I know  there will be more), but I’m forcing myself to accept those disappointments and find gratitude to overcome them.

So that’s the reason behind the new ‘lighter’ me I think…It’s all easier to bear when you forgive yourself for all the once unforgivable things you’ve been carrying around.

 

P.S.

If when you read the title of this  post  your first thought was “forgiveness…is more than saying sorry” we should definitely be best friends.

WordsWednesday

“It’s never been a perfect world. It’s never going to be. It’s going to be hard and scary and if you’re lucky…wonderful and awe-inspiring. But you have to push through the bad parts to get to the good.”- C. Ryan

The Land of One Pink Line.

Meghan here, writing from the warm, cozy carriage of the Positivity Train I’ve been riding on. It’s a happy place-I’m still doing daily yoga and meditation, reading good books (I just finished ‘Everything I Never Told You’ by Celesta Ng and ‘The Unseen World’ by Liz Moore…looking forward to trying my first Book of the Month Club book ‘Lucky You’ by Erika Carter while I’m on vacation in Florida this week) sleeping better than I have in years and just feeling better. Things are good.

But (because my life involves infertility which is the ultimate BUT even while on the Positivity Train) I had a bit of a positivity slip-up this week. See, my period, who I affectionately refer to as my monthly monster, has decided not to visit this month. Now, this is not an entirely uncommon thing for me- between my endometriosis and the fact that I ovulate very irregularly, my cycle is always irregular.  It’s normal for me to go 35-40 days between cycles, sometimes I skip entire months…I’ve just learned to be ready whenever my monthly monster does arrive. But, this month…well I need that damn monster to show up so I can start my stim cycle. The Menopur and Follistim is waiting in my fridge (anyone ever use both?! Last time I only did Follistim so this ‘aggressive’ stim cycle is certainly making me nervous, but I’m ready), I didn’t pick up any per diem work at my second job to allow for extra relaxation, one of our guest bedrooms has been transformed into the ‘IVF zone’ (syringes, alcohol swabs and my shiny new sharps container line the dresser) and my second cycle ‘injection song’ has been picked. First cycle I played Drakes ‘Take a Shot For Me’ every night while giving myself injections (I thought it was a clever play on words); this cycle I’m going with ‘My Shot’ from the musical Hamilton. I’m ready…but my monthly monster-it isn’t.

The rational part of me accepted this as normal: I’ve been working out consistently for the first time (in a long time), I’ve been eating a lot healthier and, obviously, I’m stressed about starting our second cycle…all things which make my irregular period even more irregular. BUT there’s also the irrational part of me, the part that refuses to disappear even though she is always disappointed, the part of me that thinks a late period equals a baby.

So the rational part of me spoke loudly every morning  when I woke up without my monthly monster: “You’ve been running a lot lately” “You’re in a different state of mind” “You’ve been eating new foods” “You’re stressed” “You’ve been emotional” “It will happen soon” BUT the irrational part of me spoke softly all day long “Your nails are growing” “You’re craving Arnold Palmers” “You’re tired all the time” “The Gods are apologizing for 2016” “This is why you feel different”

Rational and Irrational Meghan have been arguing like this for 2 weeks now.

And then yesterday while Dan and I were out running errands I found my mind wandering…the Positivity Train took a slight detour…I found irrational Meghan visiting a place I like to call “Baby Dreamland”… In Dreamland, I sneak upstairs, pee on a stick and then surprise Dan with TWO pink lines. I show up at my parent’s house on Thursday and make a cheeky comment about preparing to be grandparents again. I raid my sister’s closet for winter maternity clothes. I create the perfect pregnancy announcements for my family members. I call my IVF center and apologize, but I won’t be seeing them for a while. The Follistim and Hamilton song will have to wait. We agree to the amniocentesis, but of course this miracle baby won’t have SMA (the Gods aren’t that cruel). Dreamland is perfect.

And then rational Meghan slaps irrational Meghan in the face and right out of Dreamland and goes to Target and buys a pregnancy test. (Correction: I buy 3 pregnancy tests…you know just to make sure). And then I sneak upstairs and for probably the 50th time in my life, pee on a stick. They say it takes 3 minutes, but my one pink line shows up in about 30 seconds. NOT PREGNANT. Rational Meghan accepts this instantly “of course it’s negative, now get back on the train…this detour was useless…choo choo.” But Irrational Me…I need a minute. I stare down at the one pink line, I yell at myself for being such an idiot, I promise myself I won’t do this ever again…and then I let it hurt. I let myself cry. I let myself feel bad about leaving Dreamland. I tell myself I’m not an irrational moron, I’m a human…a human who wants a baby.

And then I tuck the two unused pregnancy tests in the back of my bathroom drawer, for another day. I put my glasses on to cover my red-rimmed eyes. I hurry downstairs, hug my husband and enjoy a date night at one of our favorite restaurants. And today, well I woke up without my monthly monster (still), so I washed my face, drank my daily small cup of coffee, started this blog, and steered my positivity train onward…towards the Land of Two Pink Lines…choo choo

Choo choo…

On December 31st, 2015 after discovering we only had one viable embryo I wrote my three siblings an e-mail trying to explain how Dan and I were feeling (that was before this blog, now they read how I’m feeling along with the rest of  you). In that e-mail I wrote that I was going to give myself until the end of the year to feel bad and then I was going to get back on the positivity train (I thought I was being funny because there was only 1 day left of 2015). My brother wrote back on January 2, 2016 writing “by now the Meghan Positivity Train should have left the station. Choo choo.” I laughed about that concept then, but I have to admit something now…I don’t think I ever got on the positivity train. I think I wholeheartedly accepted our one embryo. I accepted our chances of getting pregnant. Then I accepted our miscarriage. And then I accepted putting our second cycle on hold. I spent a lot of 2016 accepting…but being positive…I honestly did not spend a ton of time on that.

But now…well, something has changed. I feel different. I feel different about our second cycle. I feel different about our marriage. I feel different about my life. I feel optimistic, which is great because I’m looking forward to a lot of changes this year, but, more importantly, right NOW, I feel peaceful, content and happy…truly, genuinely…happy. Sadly, I think I forgot what it felt like to let myself be happy, in the moment, so much of my happiness these part 2+ years has revolved around the future, not the present. But like I said, right now: I am happy.

I’m sure this new found happiness is partially because I’ve embraced a healthier lifestyle: no alcohol, herbal tea, daily yoga, LOTS of reading, meditation…things that last year were foreign to me (aside from the obsessive reading) but that I have really learned to embrace, mostly, from following some other blogs. I also think the handsome husband and I are both more satisfied with our professional lives (we both accepted new jobs in 2016) and certainly happier in our living situation (goodbye three floor rental, hello beautiful new home we own) and we took these past six months to really focus on our marriage (not our infertility) which makes for a healthier relationship between the two of us as husband and wife. I also devoted a lot of time this past year to some personal relationships. I’m significantly closer to 3 dear friends (who I’ve known for most of my life, but like many childhood friendships that go into adulthood we lost touch for a while there) and they have been such blessings over the past year. I’ve also let go of relationships that brought nothing but negativity into my life, I’ve accepted that you do not need to maintain every single relationship because it once mattered a great deal, or more specifically, because I once wanted it to matter a great deal. I’ve learned to appreciate my family more, with my parents and siblings all living out of state, I’ve learned two very important lessons: 1. I can handle life alone, I’m very capable of standing my own two feet. 2. I’m insanely blessed because there isn’t a thing in my life I have to handle alone if I don’t want to. I am overwhelmingly fortunate in the family department. And the last thing: the most important thing (I think): I like myself. This past year has taught me so much about the person I am and the person I want to be. The only way I can really describe it is that infertility has made me a better person.

So folks, this is me jumping on the Meghan Positivity Train, I may be a year late, but I’m excited to see where this train takes me. Choo choo.