Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Ghost of Christmas Future

These last few weeks have been a flurry of friends, family, Christmas parties, cookie exchanges, dinners and many other fun celebrations of the holiday season. I am off for the next two weeks and am looking forward to some relaxation and time with my immediate family (my mom, sister and brother-in-law) on Christmas.

We have decided this year that we aren't doing presents but instead are going to each buy $20-30 in scratch off lottery tickets and play however many rounds of Uno it takes to get rid of them (each hand you win, you get to pick one you want). I also got a TON of Starbucks gift cards from students this year and since I don't really drink coffee and still have $150 from previous years I am throwing about $60 into the Christmas pot with the lotto tickets too. Should be a ton of fun!

Tonight was our family Christmas dinner. When my grandparents were still alive, we had over 30 people at these dinners. We were a blended family; my grandparents married each other at age 50, well before I was born and each had 4 kids coming in. So when 8 kids all started having kids at the same time our holidays became very large, very quick! But both my grandparents are gone now and with all of us grandkids being older (only one out of fifteen is still in college), most are married and have started their own families, we have broken off and it's down to just 10-12 of us each year. In our particular branch, only my sister and one older cousin is married. He has kids but they are teenagers so essentially the rest of us are just in this strange transition phase. Mostly mid-20's, just settling into careers and relationships but haven't started families yet.

It just got me thinking about the waves families go through and how my time is coming up to keep my mom's side of the family going. My sister likely won't have kids, which basically leaves one younger cousin (he's the one still in college) and the older one who basically has already raised his. My youngest cousin died a few years ago from leukemia and I have a couple other cousins but due to a LOT of family drama, they don't come by anymore so it's pretty much down to just the three of us on this side.The rest of the 15 grandkids are on the "step" side and they have all had at least 2 kids each, except for the youngest twins who are just newly out of college. Their side is flourishing and it makes me a bit sad when I think of my dwindling family here.

I grew up with a huge family on both my mom and dad's sides and it is a source of some amazing childhood memories. Every holiday was a huge deal with tons of family, kids to play with, people you knew you were related to but not really sure how, etc. And when I decide it's time to pursue getting pregnant and hopefully am lucky enough to have a child, it's unlikely my child will have any cousins to grow up with (at least ones close that they'll see with any frequency). It makes me sad to think that in addition to so many things my child will already not have any choice in the matter with in regards to their father, but that I am bringing them into a world that won't have a ton of family either.

It stings my heart because I want to give my child the experiences I had and I know I won't be able to do that. I can't create family from thin air.

But what I have learned over the past few years when I was struggling with forgiving my family for some past events, is that family is whoever you want it to be. I have two amazing sets of friends (married couples) that have basically adopted me into their families and I spend the same if not more time with them than I do sometimes with my blood family. I have watched their children be born and grow into some amazing kids and teenagers. I have my friends at work that are all now starting to begin their families (two have kids under 18 months, two are currently pregnant, two have been married a few years and it wouldn't surprise me if they start families soon and one just got married not too long ago) and I know these ladies will be a huge source of family for me when the time comes.

But I couldn't help but smirk a little when I left my aunt's house tonight thinking that if I stick to the original plan, that next year could be the last time I am there as just me...

Pretty amazing glimpse into the future.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Moving Forward While Not Really Moving

I get so excited every night to fire up my tablet and open up my RSS feed to catch up on all the blogs that I am subscribed to. Not going to lie, I am always bummed when there are no updates! So in case there is someone out there who actually reads this thing and is hoping for an update... HERE YOU GO!

It's so crazy to me that while still in the early (secret) stages that there are so many people out there that I don't even know (and never will) that are such huge parts of preparing my heart for this journey. I can't tell you all how much it settles my worries and anxieties to see/read that you have the exact same experiences, complaints, celebrations, needs, wants and desires as moms who didn't go the SMC route. I know logically that there is no reason to expect things to be any different, but so much about this decision is based solely on the heart and emotions that logic always seems to be somewhere just out of sight for me. 

Right now my work is in battling some judgments I've placed on myself that are preventing me from fully embracing this decision.  I really am having to reprogram myself on beliefs I've carried around for so long that it feels like I'm breaking some sort of law by even wanting to do this. I can't be the one who is standing in my own way. 

I've found my mind drifting to a couple things that are huge steps in the "acceptance" direction: telling my 2 best friends that this is something I plan to pursue and joining in on an SMC group in my area. Both things I am not ready for quite yet, but the fact that I'm even contemplating it is approximately 103875347 light years ahead of where I was just a few months ago. So I'm moving forward without going anywhere really. Can't imagine why I never feel like I'm making progress on anything... :P

This whole thing is just wild. How can something seem so natural and so downright bat shit crazy all at the same time?! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Choices

For lack of a better word, I've been struggling with what choice is best for me lately. 

Another school year has started which has left me exhausted most days but this has been the easiest transition back so I am thankful for that. My team lead is pregnant after years of trying and fertility treatments so it has been fun to hear all her stories and just sit back and watch as she grows into a mom.

What I didn't expect is a sharp shift in my thinking. I have many friends who are pregnant and or/just had babies. I also, surprisingly, have many friends who have recently started fostering babies and children. I also read many blog of married people trying to TTC, SMC's TTC and SMC's in general. I read a LOT. And that could be my downfall. 

I tend to gravitate what I call "catastrophe brain" where in my brain every situation automatically is processed with the worst case scenario in mind. I focus on everything that is scary, awful and/or could go wrong. So when I read stories about childbirth, breastfeeding, colic, genetic disorders, miscarriage, trouble TTCing, post-partum depression, premature birth (the list goes on and on) it goes on this little list in my mind as "Hasn't yet but WILL happen to me". It makes motherhood terrifying. 

Another thing that I have recently had a really hard time with is the idea of "giving up" my body for the sake of pregnancy. For my entire life I have dreamed of what it would be like to be pregnant. I am just fascinated by it. I think it is amazing that my body is capable of it. But lately the idea of it is scary. In the past, losing control of how my body was being used is something that brought nothing but fear. I never really viewed pregnancy and childbirth that way but on some level, it is. I also am terrified of gaining weight. I dropped close to 100 lbs in college and have kept it off for almost 10 years. In the years since I have tied my emotions to my weight. I was fat and unhappy, so skinny must equal happy. And to some degree that is true. But I have tied my success of keeping the weight off to my worthiness so the idea of gaining at minimum 20 lbs but upwards of 50 or god forbid 75 lbs (again, reading stories is not good for me) makes me panic. Losing control of my ability to keep my weight in check is scary. 

So all that being said, I've been watching my friends who are fostering and wondering why this isn't my plan. I could bypass all the time, energy, money, emotions and fears I have of pregnancy (see above) and childbirth (we'd need a whole 'nother post just for that) and go straight to a baby. Straight to a situation where I could (for lack of a better word) dictate what I want (age, race, sex, etc) in a way that that having your own baby doesn't offer. I could use all this money I've saved to RAISE a child. Go on vacations, start a college fund, buy toys and clothes and fun things. I could save a child from the cycle of poverty and crime. It all makes logical sense... yet I just can't seem to accept this as my choice. 

And I can't accept TTCing yet either. 

Clearly I have my $h!t together.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Just A Glimpse

Lots on my mind lately but most is just too personal for me to lay out in specifics here, even to be read by strangers.

I try to keep my eyes open to what the world around me is trying to tell me and one of the bigger doubts/concerns I have that sides with the argument of why I am "unqualified" to be an SMC keeps popping up. Enough where I've noticed it connecting in conversations, random TV shows, books/articles, etc. Enough where it's placing weight on my heart and that almost always translates to anxiety.

This is in theory going to be something that will affect how I choose to parent my child but in practice is probably not going to be much different than how my mom and dad parented me and how many people out there do as well. And it's a relatively minor thing that won't even be something I have to worry about for a good chunk of childhood.

But because my life experiences have put me where I am and where I probably still will be if the time ever comes that I do have a child on my own, it's a reality. It's something I need to be prepared for, just like one prepares for the conversations about "Where's my dad?" or "Where do babies come from?".

I'm sure this is just one of many excruciating things about parenthood that I'm only getting a glimpse of.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Thought Vomit

I have been overwhelmed with thousands upon thousands of thoughts these last few weeks as I apparently have opened some metaphorical floodgate about my journey to become a mom. So in hopes of being able to fall asleep tonight in a time frame somewhere south of four hours, I just need to move the thoughts out.

  • So apparently sperm is going to cost $1000 per IUI. Ummm, the clinic I plan to use doesn't even charge that much for Clomid, HCG and the actual IUI procedure. One teaspoon of baby juice for $1000?! Oy.
  • This car accident may be the best thing that has ever happened to me. My friend who used to be an insurance adjuster said they should offer me no less than a $10,000 settlement but it could be upwards of $15 or $20k if I play my cards right. Even the lowest estimated settlement amount is going to basically get me to the $25k I've determined needs to be my "baby-raising" money during daycare years. I will likely be spending more than I'm bringing in during that time so that will provide me a nice cushion.
  • Daycare is freaking expensive. $1100 a month? My mortgage isn't even that much. 
  • I love my OBGYN. Had my annual with her yesterday and she remembered the conversation we had last year (I've only been going to her for 3 yrs and she probably has thousands of patients) but it made me feel so loved and grateful for her. She asked me about it and reminded me that she's there to support me whatever decision I make.
  • While waiting for my OBGYN (because I don't think there is one that exists that actually sees you within 30 minutes of your actual appointment time) thoughts started creeping in of procedures and ultrasounds and medical conversations and I got so overwhelmed with fear. This is such a scary thing to decide to do!
  • I had a minor freakout when I got my benefits packet from my employer this week. They are offering this new plan that has exceptional coverage and my OBGYN is the only one out of all of my docs that isn't on it. Shit.
  • I drove myself crazy last night with numbers. My spreadsheet would make a grown man cry but I have calculated that it is still better for me to stay on my high deductible plan with a (relatively) healthy kid up to 20 doctor visits a year (based on my best guess of how much it'd cost because I have no co-pays). After that then I start going in the red.
  • I have been hidden pinning nursery things on Pinterest and I am going CRAZY because both of my extra rooms in my house are empty and I feel this primal urge to start buying things that I can pass off as just normal decorations that are really nursery decorations. Then I can sit in that room and just let the hope flood my heart. 
  • I cannot stop staring at my bare stomach. I lost almost 100 lbs my senior year in college and it just wrecked my skin. I honestly embraced that flaw about my body because it reminds me what I did. I have never given it a negative thought. But now I have pulled, tucked and stretched it every which way because I am fascinated about the idea of being pregnant and terrified that I am going to have the ugliest belly because of the damage to my skin and how the remaining fat has collected there. 
  • I don't know if it'll do much 10 years after the fact but I've started going back to the gym and have been hitting the weights in an effort to lose the remaining belly fat I still have and hopefully tone my stomach in a way that will allow it to grow normally.
  • It's looking more and more like I will be ready to start trying in June 2017. It's the smartest decision as it gives me two more years to save plus I can get my new car paid off in 28 months which will be necessary for me to stay on my budget during daycare years. 
  • I can't tell you how many times I have counted on my fingers when I will be due if I get pregnant in June, July or August. I have decided that those will be the only months I try for the first time around. It's summer vacation so there will be no explaining absences at work. That sets delivery around April, May or June and will require me to use little to no vacation days for maternity leave; which is good because I had to use an entire years worth because of the car accident. Lame.
  • My co-worker at school just announced her first pregnancy on FB. Since then I have been fantasizing about my Facebook reveal. The timing would need to be right (getting pregnant in August as opposed to June) so it would be more of a "surprise" as I'd be less likely to look pregnant but my birthday is in the first week of November so it'd be a sonogram picture marked "Due April/May/June 2018" and something to the effect of "It may be my birthday but there's one present I can't open just yet."
  • Right now I am thinking I won't find out the sex. I read an article the other day about this and the last point spoke to me. "If you had your heart set on a girl or a boy and you find out it's not, it's human nature to be disappointed even if just for a split second. But if you don't know going in, and you find out at the same time you see him/her, it won't matter at all because you will be so in love." I do have a preference and I don't ever want to admit I was disappointed about anything in relation to whatever child I get. 
  • Oh and labor? Labor scares me. It just seems impossible to pass something that big out of something so small. 
  • And a two to six-week period with no tampon usage? That sounds awful. Almost as bad as labor.
  • What if it doesn't work? What if I use Clomid and have great eggs and trigger like a champ and time the IUI's perfectly but it still doesn't work? I know everyone goes into this hoping it'll happen for them the first time, but probably expecting maybe 3 or 4 times. But then there's people who do it 6 or 7 times and they have to move to IVF. I can honestly say I don't want to do IVF. 
  • I've daydreamed taking my first pregnancy test and it being positive. I'll buy like three different kinds and take them all at the same time, leave the bathroom, go sit and wait in my "hope room" aka the nursery that is masquerading as just a normal room, then walk back in and see it. And this feeling I don't even know what it feels like yet will wash over me. I'll text pictures to my mom, my best friend and my counselor; for they are the ones I have entrusted with this "secret" of mine and they will be the ones I will share the amazingness with. 

Oh hey there happy tear rolling down my cheek and beams of light bursting from my heart. Maybe that's a preview of what that feeling will be like. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mind Blown

I had a revelation tonight so I'm compelled to write to help myself make sense of it.

I recently started seeing my counselor again (long story short I was in a major car accident and suffered with a bout of PTSD because of it) and have kept going even now that almost all my accident-related issues have subsided.

Tonight we revisited this plan of mine to be a single mother by choice. I think about it pretty much every single day. I toggle between the fun stuff like decorating the nursery, picking names, sonogram appointments, play dates, vacations, etc and the terrifying stuff like the actual process it'll take to get pregnant (and the chance it won't happen), being alone/tired/financially strapped, being a bad parent, not knowing what to say to my kid about his/her father, etc.

If I get stuck in the terrifying stuff for too long, then things get really distorted. I am drowned in my own self-doubt and end up telling myself "You can't do this." And I believe it.

But thankfully I have things that "reset" me. Reading blogs is the biggest and most consistent thing for me. I can't tell you how much it normalizes everything. If someone picked up my Kindle and looked at my blogfeed, the single mother blogs and married mother blogs would look no different. I need that reminder that I'm not entering some alien universe by having a baby by myself.

So tonight we discussed this struggle. This back and forth of feeling like this decision is the most natural thing in the world to the feeling that I am the most ridiculous person in the world to even consider it.

So like most post-therapy nights go, things brew a little while I process everything. I'm standing in my bathroom brushing my teeth and out of nowhere that little voice in my head goes "If you were married right now, would you be bashing yourself about being ready to be a mom the way you do now? Would you pull out every insecurity you have about yourself and use it as a reason NOT to be a mom? How in the world does it make sense in your mind that you are not capable at this very moment because you don't have a husband but yet you would be capable at this very moment if you did have one?"

And just like that, I blew my own mind.

It doesn't make sense. TAKE THAT IRRATIONAL FEARS! There is absolutely no reason for me to be tearing myself apart the way I'm doing because I know that if I was married and actively trying to get pregnant, I would not be thinking about all the reasons I shouldn't do it. It would just be what it was... me trying to do the only thing I've ever wanted.

And that's exactly what it should be for this me; the me that's not married but is the exact same person she would be if there was a ring on a certain finger.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Figuring Out Life

Anyone figured it out yet? I'd love to know...

A year or so ago I was so 100% sure that I had figured out what I wanted for the next phase in my life and these last few months I feel like something in me has shifted.

Maybe it's just fatigue. Ever try teaching 150 thirteen year olds at the end of a school year? I love them but I cannot handle much more of them. One word: HORMONES.

Maybe it's just the distance since even in my earliest plans everything is still a couple years down the road.

Or maybe it is just a shift. I swear every time I turn around I'm witnessing, hearing about or reading something that is causing my inner voice to be like "See there! Another reason not to have kids!" I have lost all sight of things that bring out the maternal feelings that were so overwhelming just a few months ago.

But yet this seems like a necessary part of this journey. How else can I be comfortable with any decision I make if I haven't given myself the chance to see both sides?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Do What Makes You Happy

My grandmother passed away Monday.

It was unexpected but not surprising at the same time. She was 94 and had Alzheimer's but aside from that was the healthiest old person I've ever seen. Only time had ever been in the hospital was to have her 3 kids and an emergency appendectomy about 15 years ago.

This has been a different experience for me seeing as I've already been in the process of saying goodbye to her since her diagnosis 6 years ago. Only within the last year did it get really bad. She forgot who I was along with everyone else in my family except my dad.

I am sad that my family will finally have to say goodbye to the one who was our guiding light. My grandfather died almost 20 years ago so she was the one everyone turned to. She led us. I feel as though my family has lost our compass.

We don't really do funerals in my family so there isn't anything planned immediately but the kids are all flying out to help take care of everything else (god knows what and how intense that is) and decide what we as a family will do to honor her soon.

But like my mind tends to do, it works itself out in dreams and I had one that has stuck in my mind.

I arrived to my family, hugs, tears and stories all around. My family brings out a sense of pride in me I don't have with many things. I love them something fierce. My dad, aunt and uncle sat all us grandkids down and handed us each a box? envelope?  {specifics are escaping me here} I opened it and inside was a check and a note that said "Do What Makes You Happy".

It's like she was speaking to me about this. Motherhood. The thing I think about more than I'd ever admit. The thing that my heart is trying so hard to overtake my brain with.

Do what makes you happy.

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I read blogs every night but rarely comment, mainly because I have an RSS feed set up on my Kindle Fire and as great at it is for reading it SUCKS for typing. I love peeking in on the journey's of other SMC and mom's in general. So for all the ladies out there posting and wondering if anyone reads it the answer is yes! Someone is in the background watching and learning from your life but just not chiming in. I hope my blog is that for someone today, tomorrow or years down the road.