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Join the Movement to Show Your Support

Tracy:

A little Throwback Thursday goodness from last year’s National Infertility Awareness Week.
Here are some options to keep in mind while you’re helping to educate, advocate, and “Resolve to know more” this year!

Originally posted on Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen...:

Sometimes being supportive isn’t so much what you say to someone who’s struggling, but what you do.

A hug can say more in its simplicity than a whole monologue on how “what’s meant to be will be” and “you’ll be a mother someday, I just know it”.

There are so many ways we can support our fellow Infertiles this National Infertility Awareness Week, and many of them don’t require a word out of our mouths.

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For the intrepid few, sometimes a tattoo shows their struggle and their support.  These are mine.

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You can update the profile photo on your social media accounts with this Twibbon, showing your support.

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You can update your Facebook cover photo with one of these fabulous creations from The Infertility Voice.

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You can help to educate others and encourage sensitivity by posting links on social media to…

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April Is a Promise.

“April is a promise that May is bound to keep.”

I’ve always loved springtime.

There’s just something about the smell of the earth and rain and new green things poking through the decay of fall; something about the symbolism of a colorful rebirth after a long, cold season of gray hibernation.  Thunder and lightning burst open the skies and settle the earth, and warm rains wash the whole scene anew.  The runoff from April showers wind their way in pretty little ribbons and streams down the streets and sidewalks.  Birds and rabbits lend their songs and scampers to a blossoming seasonal backdrop in a state of perpetual forward motion.

There’s something about the spring that just makes me feel at peace in the midst of a great turbulence.

Spring gives me roots, just as it gives me wings.

It grounds me, and gives me hope.

Emerging from the cold darkness makes me appreciate the warm sunshine, and the happiness I feel this season helps me better understand the despair I’ve felt in seasons past.

Gratitude for a warm day or a stubborn crocus poking through the last of the snow does not come from a general appreciation of these beautiful things, however.

Gratitude comes from want, from need, from being without.

I’ve been without.  I’ve struggled.  I’ve wanted and needed and cried and pleaded for things outside of my control.  I’ve been denied, I’ve been angry, and I’ve been on the verge of quitting so many times.

Once I was even given the gift of a wish granted, though it was a short-lived dream from which I was forced to awaken.

Mine was a dream that was meant to be fulfilled in April.

This month is not an easy one for me for so many reasons.  While it may be a month of celebrating life, rebirth, and growth, for me it also symbolizes grief, death, and loss.  The loss of a dream, of innocence, of hope, will stay with one for all of time.  I certainly have not fully recovered, though time has passed by, and life has gone on.

Even being an eternal optimist does not shield a person from a lingering sadness and a strong association with a date, a month, or a time of year.  Storm clouds may bring showers that help the whole world grow, but sometimes it can be so hard to see the silver lining for the rain driving into your eyes.

Spring is that time for me.  Hope and despair marry, and one becomes the other; a tornado of contradictory feelings from which there is no shelter.

April always leaves me confused – sad and happy, hopeful and grieving, warm and cold – but one undeniable fact about this time of year is that it never fails to remind us of what could be, what may be, and what will be.

The rain and the sunshine gently clash, and though one could easily destroy the other, they sometimes strike a compromise and find balance.  Out of that balance comes a rare beauty, a symbol of strength that’s meant to be appreciated, a promise that’s meant to be kept.

I may spend this month feeling like I’m being followed by a volatile spring storm cloud, but I know that hope is still alive, and that the sun will still shine.  As time passes, and we hurtle on toward warmth and growth, the world will explode into a riot of color, I will find gratitude again, and I will know that peace may find me yet.

And if I’m lucky, maybe my dream is still out there in the breeze…

If there’s a chance that April’s promise can still be kept, I will turn my face to the wind, embrace every blustery day, and remain open to whatever the chaotic, ever-changing seasons of life blow my way.

And for all the wild and unpredictable weather of life, one thing is for certain:

I will flourish.

I will bloom.

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Things That Are Good

Today’s blog post is brought you by things in my life that are good (spoiler alert: it’s ALL THE THINGS), and Liz Lemon.

Why?  Because I’m happy, and because it’s my damn blog, and because Liz Lemon is my spirit animal.

Ready?

*****

So I know I haven’t posted in a few weeks, and it’s mainly because I’ve just been so darn busy.

Yeah okay, some of that busy-ness has been in the form of catching up on my dvr-ed programming, eating whatevathecrap I feel like, and generally carving out a deeper ass-indent in my couch, but some of it has actually been productive, yo!

But really, I’ve been up to some things in my regular old life these days.

THINGS, you guys.

Firstly, I’m like 98.56% sure that I ovulated on cycle day 15 last month.

FIFTEEN.

WHAT?  Like, without drugs??

Uhh… apparently so.  The new herbs McStabby has me taking seem to be working some kinda miracles down-unda, and I’m hoping the miraculous normality continues into this month.

So yay for functioning girly-bits!

Also, McStabby totally went all bitter renegade Infertility Advocate on me at my last appointment.  Seriously.  He was all like “UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY IS SUCH A BULLSH*T NON-DIAGNOSIS, GOD!” 

It was crazy, and awesome, and I almost would have laughed, but I was too impressed.  Basically, he is like SO OVER hearing about unexplained infertility as a hard and fast diagnosis.  He wants some of his UI patients to start looking more into other causes of infertility, like immunological issues and bacterial infections.

There are really no reproductive immunologists in this area, so he wants me to start with my OB rather than my RE.  He said that the OB may be more receptive to requesting some of these tests, and less likely to blacklist me from the office for even asking.

Because, you know, I see an acupuncturist, take Chinese herbs, and want to talk about antibiotic therapy and testing for immunological disorders, and I guess some fancy doctors don’t like that stuff.

So I’m trying to decide if this is a path I want to explore, or if I want to just want to keep on keepin’ on with the whole “infertility on the back burner” thing.

It’s a conundrum, to be sure.  I have no idea what to do here.

Aside from that, another cool thing happened:

I made a friend on Facebook.  A FRIEND WHO LIKES BOOKS.  I ran into her a while back in the comments section of a book blog I read, and she and I bonded over our shameful love of Bar Rescue marathons (don’t judge me).  I recognized her name as a news reporter for a local station, and lo and behold, she is also on the Facebooks and is totally friends with another blogger I love.

It was sorta meant to be, you guys.

Anyway, I sent her an email letting her know about the new RESOLVE support group I was looking to promote, and asked whether she thought the station would be willing to share a flyer on their website or via social media or something, and she was like “why don’t you come on my Sunday cooking show and we can talk about it on the air?”

And I accepted.

I was nervous as all get-out, but I think I actually spoke in coherent sentences (without any accidental swearing, yay!).

One thing did happen that I feel badly about, but I didn’t realize it until well after the show had already aired…

Prior to the taping, I was talking with my interviewer and a few other people in the room about infertility, and about people they knew that had struggled to get pregnant.  One of the women mentioned her sister, who had had years of trouble conceiving, and we talked about her sister’s stories of a coworker who was an unhealthy drunken chain-smoker that had magical Duggar-like fertility.  We’ve all heard stories like this, and it’s enough to make a compassionate infertile roll her eyes at the injustice of it all.

During the interview, I said something like “why can the girl at work who drinks and smokes get pregnant, and not me?”, generalizing, and referring to that bit of conversation we’d had off camera.  Apparently, some people I work with may have thought I was actually talking about someone specific in our office who is pregnant (and not a drunken chain-smoker at all, by the way)… which came to a bit of a shock to me, because OMG I WOULD NEVER!

I feel like such an a-hole, even though it was a completely innocent comment that had nothing to do with anyone I actually know.

Ugh.

So, you know… Tracy – 0, Tracy’s Foot-in-Mouth – 68,759.

Oh right.  Here’s the link to the video… I’m after the Fitbit segment at about 2:40.

And you know the best part of that day?  I spent two days prior deciding on what to wear, ultimately coming up with a navy sweater over a coral shirt and some light khaki pants.

You know what happens when you wear khakis, right?

Yep.  Tracy – 0, Scumbag Uterus – 159

Okay, so I guess that was a good thing with some bad undertones… but ultimately it was a good thing, so it still fits within the parameters of this good-things-and-Liz-Lemon-themed blog post.

YESSIR.  Still counts.

The last good thing I want to talk about is my RESOLVE support group.

We met for the first time last night, and while I can’t discuss specifics, I can tell you that we had a pretty nice turnout for a first meeting!  Six women attended, and I feel like it was a great mix of people in different stages of their journey to parenthood.  We had some lively conversations, there were a lot of different topics thrown out for further discussion at upcoming meetings, and I feel like the women who attended really wanted to be there.

This group means a lot to me, both in the sense that doing the legwork to make it happen is very fulfilling, but also in the sense that I have really been missing being a part of a group that exists because of a shared passion.

Also, we’re kind of like the really sassy Island of Misfit Toys, and I kind of love that.

So it’s all good right now.

Like, ridiculously good.

Marriage?  Good.

Work?  Good.

DVR capacity?  Good.

Life?

Bring it on, life.  I’m pretty happy accepting only good things from you for a change.

Let’s keep up the good work, eh?

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Toledo Area Infertility Support Group

This is a project that’s been a long time coming, both for me, and for this area.  Please feel free to share this post, this image, and the Resolve Toledo email address, toledoresolve@gmail.com.

Thank you!

RESOLVE Flier - 2.18.14

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The Five Year Review

Soooo… Here we are.

Five years deep.

Five  l o n g   years of trying, failing, struggling, treading water, and just… waiting.  Waiting for our turn, waiting for our two lines.

Waiting for our family to happen.

Year One was the picture of a happy-go-lucky newlywed with all the time in the world.

Year Two saw me attempting to combine Clomid with crinolines, in a sweaty scene straight out of a TBS sitcom.

Year Three had me unhappily (and soberly) awaiting the results of what would be yet another failed IUI cycle.

Year Four ended full of retrospect, acceptance, wisdom, sadness for what could have been, and an amazing amount of hope that Five would most definitely be THE YEAR.

Yesterday was the end of Year Five…

And today?  You’d think today was the first day of Year Six…

…But today is actually the beginning of something completely different.

*****

Some things have changed recently.

Actually, I don’t know if it’s more that things have changed, or that I have, but my direction has clearly been altered of late.

At my most recent acupuncture appointment, I spent some time talking with Dr. McStabby extensively about stress in my life, and the emotional toll infertility can take.

“Infertility causes infertility”, as Dr. Randine Lewis says.  While I agree that infertility has been a major stressor in my life, especially in the past few years, things have improved for me recently in that department.  I’m no longer as stressed as I used to be, and I think acupuncture and TCM has helped greatly.

But… so has time, honestly.  We’ve been at this thing for a long time.  We’re kind of getting used to disappointment after five years, know what I mean?  It’s become so regular that it’s not like it’s a big shock any more.

We’ve been trying to get pregnant for our entire marriage, essentially, and the husband and I have put a lot on hold to pursue this life that we have been so desperate for.  He and I talked recently, and at great length, about where we want to go from here…  We finally had that talk that I’ve been afraid to have for a long time.

He is ready to get back to being a married couple instead of a TTC couple.

*cue deep sigh of relief that he doesn’t straight up want to divorce my crazy ass*

More than that, he says he won’t resent me if we can’t get pregnant, and he won’t resent me if I decide to hardcore pursue Western treatments again (although, I’ll be honest, the odds of that are slim).  Basically, I have the husband’s blessing to move in whatever direction I feel comfortable, even if that is just varying degrees of backing off the whole TTC thing completely.

We may move onto just being a healthy couple who lets whatever happens, happen.  We’ve both accepted that we may be that couple who doesn’t have kids.  Maybe we’ll be the ones who can travel at the drop of a hat, or we’ll adopt (even more) furry creatures, or we’ll be the best gosh-darn aunt and uncle EVER.  Maybe we’ll adopt a child someday, if the situation is right.  Maybe we won’t.

And you know what?  We’re okay with ALL of those situations.  Truly.

At this point, IVF is not in our immediate future.  We just don’ t feel right about some aspects of it at the moment.  Part of the decision is financial, and part is just that I don’t feel like there’s anything physically SO WRONG that we can’t conceive on our own (and neither do any of the SEVEN doctors I’ve seen over the years…).  I just cannot justify forcing my body to do something that it doesn’t seem ready to do.  Maybe that will change someday, and maybe I’ll regret not going all-in while I still have some remnants of youth on my side, but honestly?  It just doesn’t feel right to me today.

It’s a lot to process, I know.

One thing that’s stuck with me though, is a conversation I had with McStabby recently.  He asked me, “Do you feel like you deserve a child?”

I was taken aback a little.  I honestly had to think about it.

He asked because, in his line of work, he sees women who have certain emotional hang-ups that he suspects can prevent them from conceiving, whether it’s a past trauma, a lack of confidence in their marriage/family life/maternal skills, or something else.  Regardless of his motives for asking, it’s a jarring question to be asked, for sure.

After a minute, I came to a conclusion.  Yes.  I do.  I deserve a child. 

Does that feeling mean that I will necessarily have one?  No.  Because life’s not always fair, and sometimes the harder we squeeze a handful of sand, the more of it slips through our grasp.  Just because I believe that I deserve a child, doesn’t mean that I’m going to force my body to submit to my timing.

Soo… I don’t want to just come out and say that we’re taking the “Just stop trying…” non-approach, but in some ways, we kind of… are.

Wait, wait.  Before you freak out and tell me I need to rename my blog, let me ‘splain.

We’re not saying “just stop trying and a BABY will magically happen”.

What we are saying is, “just stop trying so HARD and LIFE will happen… and whatever blessings come along with life, we’ll take those too.  And if a baby happens to be one of those blessings?  Even better.  Icing.  Gravy.  Time for a parade.”

It’s a strange – and strangely freeing – place to be…

For the moment, we’re just kind of bobbing along.  Living life.  Being married people who don’t have to inject themselves with things or ejaculate into cups.

I’m still going to continue acupuncture treatments for now, and I’ll continue taking the herbs even if I stop the actual acu treatments, just for general health and balance; honestly, I like how I feel, even if I don’t like the taste of the herbal “teas”.  Between the husband and I, the door is open for me to go back to the RE if I so choose (I would be interested in seeing if there have been any changes in my blood work in a year’s time), or maybe for a possible medicated cycle one day, but likely nothing more than that.

I’ll also keep working to maintain the healthy habits I’ve gained through TCM, but I will likely stop temping someday soon.

I KNOW.  Don’t freak out, or I might freak out and lose my resolve on that little gigantic decision.

I may never be able to ignore the quality of my cervical mucus, but my body temperature, the chemical content of my urine, and what’s in my underwear will no longer have complete control over my entire life.

So that’s where I am right now…  I know I’ve been quiet here lately, and I wanted to provide a little update and insight into why that has been.

I do have some exciting things on the horizon, including my Resolve Peer Led Infertility Support group venture – which should start meeting this month (!), and being invited to attend Resolve’s Advocacy Day in Washington DC, where I will have the chance to speak with members of the House and Senate on the political issues surrounding infertility treatment and coverage in the US.  The husband and I are also traveling to San Francisco for a wedding in late May, and are looking forward to that little getaway opportunity as well.

All in all, life is not perfect, but it is most definitely still a good life.  I’m appreciative for all I have, including all of YOU, and I’m ready to focus on what I have, instead of beating myself up for what I don’t.

I don’t know exactly what this new outlook will mean for me, my life, and this blog, but I know I will continue to be here, rooting you all on, and hoping and praying for each of you, every day.

I’ll still likely be holding out some far-fetched hope that my own body will miraculously get its shit together, too.  I mean, some things will never, ever, EVER change.  :)

*****

So that’s it.

Year Six isn’t really a thing.  Like, at all.

This is just March, just a few years into a great marriage, just a drop in the bucket of a great life.

A life I’m going to be actively living again.

…Starting today.

My hope for you is that wherever you are in your journey, whether your life is completely saturated with the details of TTC, or whether you too are at a bit of a crossroads, that you are able to slow down from time to time and appreciate what you do have.

My hope for you is that you live that little life of yours in a way that makes a difference, impacts others, and allows you to look back fondly one day, free of regrets.

My hope for you is that you live.

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Why I’ve Been Quiet…

…And first of all, let me calm those of you who dread blogger pregnancy announcements by saying that NO, I am most definitely NOT PREGNANT.

The rest of the story is a little harder to explain, however.

I’ll be honest, I’ve felt very strange lately.  I mean, I’m still part of the infertility community, but I feel like I’ve lost my mojo.  I don’t feel like writing.  I don’t feel like trying.

It’s not that I feel like quitting is on the horizon, either for blogging or for trying to conceive, but I feel very passive about both right now.  Almost ambivalent.

Maybe I’ve just been on this journey too long… It will be five WHOLE years next month, after all.

Maybe I’m just tired.  Tired of one thing defining me, tired of letting it rule my life… just tired.

Maybe I’m ready to stop focusing on me, and start focusing on others.

Maybe it’s time to use my powers for good.

I’ve been approved to form a Resolve support group here in my area (Toledo, Ohio, for those of you who may not know).  I’m really excited to get started, and as soon as I find a location that will suit our needs, I’m going to get the group listed on the Resolve website.  I’m also going to get some flyers made so I can advertise the group in some doctor’s offices here in the area.

I think this is a good step forward for me.  I am ready to start listening more to others, helping them through their questions, frustrations, grief, and confusion.  I’m ready to put my journey on the back burner, and focus on guiding others with my knowledge, experience, and compassion.

I think this is going to be just as helpful for me as it will be for the others who (I hope) will be joining the group.  I honestly cannot wait to get started!

Now, if only the weather in the Midwest would start cooperating, I’d be able to get out there and find that dream location that has the perfect combination of privacy and public setting.  Preferably with warm drinks and carby yum-yums readily available, but not obnoxiously so.  ;)

And so, I guess that’s why I’ve been a little distant lately.  I don’t know where I am on this journey any more, which sometimes makes me wonder WHO I am anymore…

Am I still actively trying to get pregnant?  Yes… and then sometimes not really.

So am I still a TTCer?  Yeah, I guess… but then am I still infertile?  Yes, but if I’m not really focused on getting pregnant, does my fertility even matter?

Your guess is as good as mine.

All I really know is that I’ve been through the wringer in the past almost-five years.  I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge, both through experience, and through obsessive-compulsive research.  I’ve always been drawn to helping others, so pursuing this support group setting is a natural fit for me.

My hope is that by directing my focus to helping others, that I will be forced to take my mind off my own body for a change.  I think that’s what the acu-doc has wanted for me from day one, and I know that it’s something I really need now.

Not to fear, though… I’ll still be here, working on old blog drafts that I keep meaning to publish, stalking other bloggers’ pages and eagerly awaiting good news, and generally just being here for those of you who read and occasionally take the time to email or Facebook message me.  I appreciate what blogging has brought to me, and the cheap therapy it doubles as in my life.

More than anything, I appreciate all of you who take the time to read, and who think of me from time to time.  Thank you… You guys keep me going.

Oh, one last thing – if you, or someone you know, is in the Toledo, Ohio, area, and would like to become part of a general infertility support group, please email me at toledoresolve@gmail.com.  I’ll update as soon as I have a location secured!

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Fertile Vortex II: Return of the Baby Bumps

I don’t know about all of you, but it seems to me that things in life happen in big waves.

In my mid-twenties, my friends and I all started pairing off into more stable relationships… moving in together, joint checking accounts, co-pet-parenting, and all that jazz.

That was followed shortly thereafter with engagements.

Then bridal shower after bridal shower after bachelorette party.  Dress shopping, wedding planning, alterations, rehearsal dinners…

Weddings.  Upon WEDDINGS.  UPON WEDDINGS, OMG.  (Seriously, the year I got married, I was in three other weddings, attended five others, threw four bridal showers, two bachelorette parties, and that doesn’t even include the four bridal showers and bachelorette party of my OWN I attended.  GAH.)

I was on track with the curve of adulthood back then.  Everything in life was coming together, and my friends and close-in-age family members and I were all set to start moving onto the next step…

Babies.

Of course, you’re here, reading this blog, so you know that this particular step is where the husband and I got a little hung up.

…And five years later, we still are.

So our friends and family members went on to start having their first babies.  That was the Great Baby Influx of 2009-2010.  It was a time whose insanity could only be rivaled by the Matrimonial Stampede of 2008.  It was a time of chaos and joy for all.

Well, most everyone.  We were of course very happy, but a little… put out, I suppose you could say, that our own baby influx was taking some time to ramp up.  Somehow though, as does life, the madness waned, and we were no longer drowning in newborn baby high tide.  We breathed a little easier, and got to work.

We survived those next three years by aggressively pursuing treatments, in a desperate attempt to catch up to those who had left us behind on the parenthood track.  You know the story… We tried, had a small success, but ultimately failed.

That brings us to now.

I have been feeling for some time that the tide is rising again… I think the time of the second (and in some cases, third or fourth) babies is upon us.  All beware the approach of the Fertile Vortex: Part Deux!  (starring Jake Gyllenhaal!)

Dun dun DUNNNN.

No, seriously.  People in my life are having second and third babies all over the place right now.  Even some of my fellow Infertiles are fighting their way out of secondary infertility and giving their first miracles a sibling or two!

Don’t get me wrong, babies are a blessing (and no offense, but the babes of Infertiles are an even slightly bigger blessing!), and good news is GREAT.

There are some of us, however, that can’t physically take good news without a healthy portion of sadness, though…

I wish I weren’t one of those people, but alas, this is the life I’ve been dealt.

As if you hadn’t had enough of my vague metaphors, I feel just like I’m afloat at sea with no view of the shore.  Every baby announcement that comes my way pokes a tiny hole in my boat, and I’m staring to lose hope that I’ll ever make it to dry land.  I fear some days that I may drown in good news.

I will end this morose entry just by saying this:  You guys, this blog, this blessed outlet… you all are my salvation in a rough and unforgiving sea.  Hope may not be visible some days, but because of you, I don’t feel so alone in my struggle for survival.

I’ll make it.  We all will.

 

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In The Works…

I like ellipses.

They create drama, suspense… sexual tension, perhaps?

Anyway, I didn’t use the ellipsis in the title of this post for any of those reasons.  It was just my natural inclination to taper off a phrase like “in the works…”

I know.  I’m weird.  It’s kind of my thing.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

So, what’s in the works for me, you may be asking?

A few things, actually!

First on my list – community involvement.  I’m working through the details of possibly creating a local infertility support group.  Recently, I’d been thinking that I could really benefit from interacting with people outside of my usual bubble of IRL and online Infertility-Friends, but when I went to look for a local group in this area… Nada.

There are some in other larger cities nearby, but nothing that wouldn’t require at least a half hour plus drive to get there.  Boo.

And so, I started looking into the process of starting my own.  I mean, I know a lot of people here in the Toledo area who are going through infertility treatments, medical testing, and all sorts of other things, and I can’t help but wonder if maybe they wouldn’t benefit from the option of some face-to-face support, too.

I am excited about the prospect, and will definitely update here when/if this thing gets off the ground!

Let’s see… what else?

It’s been nearly three weeks since my last confession blog post… Forgive me!  There really hasn’t been anything major happening in that time, to be honest.  I don’t have much of an excuse for not updating the blog.  It’s been cold and snowy here in Northwest Ohio, and I’ve been hibernating as much as possible.  I’ve also been working a TON, which is a nice change from the slow pace of the office in December.

All of these things have led me to just sort of… chill out.  Which is good; it’s something I’ve been trying to do more of, honestly.  I need to learn to relax, and I’m starting to get the hang of it.  There is still some anxiety in my life, and I’m working through it, but overall, I think I’m starting to manage stress a little better than I have in the past.  Nerves no longer keep me bed- (and bathroom-) ridden, so that’s also a nice change.

(By the way, sometimes for me, chilling out involves reading a good book, which I do often.  Occasionally, it involves binge-watching a TV show.  From beginning to end.  In one week.  I just did that with Breaking Bad, and let me tell you this:  that show is not great for relaxation, in case anyone was wondering if meth production and family/legal drama/chaos would put them in a state of zen.  #TheMoreYouKnow)

Oh!  I’ve had some things change with Dr. McStabby and some new things in store for my TCM and acupuncture treatments, which I’ll update in another post.  I will just say here that I’m happy with the direction things are taking, even if I’m not totally happy with the way my body is responding 100% of the time.  I feel that I’m being heard, and that my concerns are met with interest, and that they are handled quickly and appropriately.  That makes all the difference in the world, and some of my past RE’s could take a page from that book.

Hmm… any other updates I can share?

Well, I’m not pregnant.  That I know of, of course.  Ha.  I’m being very consistent with my herbs, and slightly less consistent with my vitamins and supplements.  I’m trying, but sometimes I forget.

DAMMIT.  Like right now!  Hang on… have to take a few pills.

Seriously.  I need to set a phone alarm or something… Anyway, I’ve been working on being better about that.  There are certain supplements that should be taken certain times in a day, and I try to make sure I’m doing that.  I fail sometimes, and that’s okay.

I’ve managed to gain some weight, which is nice.  Not a whole lot, just a few pounds, but it’s making a difference that I can see and feel.  I know part of that is due to some help on McStabby’s part, but part of it is because I’ve been less strict with my diet in the past two months.

I’m no longer restricting any gluten, and I’ve added dairy back in, in a big way.  I would like to eventually get most dairy out of my diet altogether, but for now, the added fat from raw, organic whole milk, cheeses, and yogurt is really good for me.  I switched to Irish butter, organic and grass-fed, a while back, and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m using coconut oil whenever possible as well, so there are plenty of healthy fats being consumed.

As for gluten, while I was avoiding it, I didn’t notice much – if any – changes.  I am clearly not intolerant in any way, and I figure as long as I’m doing my best to pursue organic, non-GMO sources, it’s a good thing for me (and my weight).

I’ve been holding my own with sugar-consumption, too.  I do still have a bit of chocolate here and there, and I put honey in my chai in the morning.  I’ll even have a (organic cane sugar, no-HFCS) orange pop now and then.  It’s not so bad, really.

So, honestly, that’s about it.  I’ll update again soon on the changes I’m making in my TCM treatment, but other than that, I’m just here… maintaining.  I hope you are all doing the same, staying warm if it’s winter where you are (and staying cool if you’re Down Under!), and enjoying life for all the quirks and oddities it throws your way.

Take care, friends.  :)

***

Oh, one last thing:  When I was Googling earlier, I came across this animation completely by mistake, and I found it fascinating.  So here.  Enjoy, and maybe learn something today, especially since this blog post was more word-dump than informational or entertaining.  ;)

***

Status

Resolution

Personally, I think New Year’s resolutions are complete bullshit.  And apparently RDJ agrees with me.

I mean, seriously… are you really going to lose that fifteen pounds?  Okay, then, maybe you will.  Maybe you’ll use your Christmas cash to join a Crossfit gym or something, and maybe you’ll bust ass for two whole months…

But let’s be honest.  Are you going to keep it off once the Easter ham and Cadbury Creme Eggs hit the table??

It’s not that I’m hating on people trying to better themselves.  I’m not, I swear.  My issue is the freaking pressure.

Okay, so 2013 is ending and now it’s time to look back on a year – a whole YEAR!  365 DAYS!! – and analyze what you did and did not accomplish.  We will now allow you one day to lament your shortcomings, and tomorrow is the day you reverse it all.

January first.  BAM.  Time to put those resolutions to work!

UGH.

Let’s look for a moment at the word itself.

res·o·lu·tion

noun \ˌre-zə-ˈlü-shən\

: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something

So, if we’re breaking it down, a New Year’s resolution is literally the act of resolving a problem or issue once the New Year begins.

Yeah.  NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING, amirite?

Let’s look now at the usual resolutions:  lose weight, save money, relax more, get a better job, take a vacation… Get pregnant.

Okay, maybe that last one is just mine.  Either way, a lot of these “conflicts” might be impossible to actually resolve, setting us up for failure before we even begin.

Lose weight?  Okay, sure.  So the resolution is just to lose it, right?  Not to keep it off?  Oh… no?  So then you’re a total failure if you resolve to lose fifteen pounds, manage to lose twenty, and then gain ten back before 2015?

FAIL.

Save money?  …But don’t spend it, right?  What if you have an emergency?  Your water heater blows, your cat needs a liver transplant, you have to get your car towed 200 miles to a shop that knows what the heck they’re doing while you’re taking your New-Year’s-resolution-vacation… You have to fund fertility treatments out of pocket.  Where’s all that saved money now, huh?

FAIL.

That raise or new job you want?  Totally out of your control.  You can be the best employee ever and still not get to make a single job-related move in the next year…

FAIL.

Vacation?  HAHAHA.  See *Save Money, above.

FAIL.

How about the relaxation resolution?  That’s something you can totally do, right?  Spend more time at home, read more books, get a massage once in a while, sleep in on the weekends… Totally do-able.

Except for the fact that now you’re working out at 6am every morning, can’t afford luxuries like massages because you’re saving money for whatever disaster happens next, need to get into work early and stay late in the far-flung hopes that you might get laterally promoted to another menial middle-management position where you might, maybe, get a little paid vacation time, a vacation, might I add, where you can basically stay home in your sweatpants for a week because you can’t afford anything else, largely because you’re spending every last dollar saving money for a medical procedure that may or may not help you with your other resolution: getting pregnant.

FAIL FAIL FAIL.

And so, I say this again:  RESOLUTIONS ARE BULLSHIT.

Why put this pressure on ourselves at the beginning of a whole new year?  Why make ourselves miserable in the pursuit of… what?  Competing with the Joneses?

Maybe you need to de-friend the Joneses on Facebook, that way you won’t have to look at their beautiful, fertile family that runs a 5k together every damn weekend.

And maybe de-friend the Smiths too, while you’re at it… Their social media posts about how they scrimped and saved themselves out of debt and are now taking quarterly vacations to Fiji are not helping you in any way.

Besides… The Smiths and the Joneses don’t have to pay for IVF.  Or IUI.  Or acupuncture and herbs.  Or meds from overseas because they’re just a smidge cheaper than here in the US.

This is what I’m getting at…

We’re all different people.  We’re traveling different roads in life.  What others have is NOT a reflection of what we have, nor should it be a jumping off point for what we want.

Ever hear the saying “Comparison is the thief of joy”?

It’s simple enough, but so true.  Comparing our lives with the lives of others does nothing to better our own life.  It only serves to suppress the satisfaction we should be feeling for what we ourselves have managed to accomplish, despite what life’s put in our path.

We are badasses, dammit, and no one else’s badassery should be allowed take away from that!

And that’s why I don’t like New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t like the thought of competing against others for a life that’s not my own.  What I need is not what others may need, and what they want doesn’t need to influence how I view what I already have.

And so, in closing, I will repeat once more:  Resolutions are bullshit.

…With a few minor exceptions.

I resolve to live every day in the next year for myself and my loved ones.

I resolve to do what I need to do to make that life a happy one.

I resolve to be flexible and open to receiving what life throws my way.

I resolve to look within to determine my needs, rather than looking outwardly and comparing my life to others’.

I resolve to encourage myself instead of pushing.

I resolve to be kind to myself instead of punishing.

I resolve to allow myself to fail without apology.

I resolve to get back up and try again if when I fail.

I resolve to admire myself for how far I’ve come.

I resolve to be my own hero.

I resolve to live my life, and not attempt to live the lives of others.

I resolve to live my life.

*****

I want to wish you all a very happy New Year, from my home to yours. 

I wish you the wisdom to see how much you really have in a world where it has become increasingly difficult to see past the pretentious displays of others’ grandiosity.

I wish you hope today, tomorrow, and for every day to come, and may it not be taken away in the face of failure. 

I wish you the clarity and acceptance that comes from looking within yourself, and I wish you to see the inspiration that you are to others. 

I wish you peace and understanding in 2014.

And I wish you love. 

May you have it in spades, and may others be inspired to resolve to have a love like yours in 2015.

*****

Image

Five Whole Years…

Five years ago today,

I took a new name, a new life, and became part of something bigger than myself.

Half a decade of ups and downs,

big changes and small ones,

new homes, new jobs, new facial hair (ha),

and I’m still excited to start every single day with my best friend and co-conspirator.

Dearest husband,

I love you, and cannot wait to see what adventures await us in the next five years.

All my love,

Tracy

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brookemardell

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