Wow, I’m sure glad this year is winding down. It just hasn’t felt like a great year. Sure it wasn’t alllllll negative, but this year in general feels like it leaves me with a ‘good riddance’ kind of feeling.
Our fertility efforts failed this year.
Yes, truth be told I wasn’t gung ho on getting pregnant. I had mixed feelings about plunging into parenthood…so much so that the actual fertility process wracked me with a lot of stress and anxiety. But still, despite that, the finality of not being able to bear my own children and being officially stripped of that option, while freeing in some sense is also super heavy and sad. Upon anticipating that possibility (probably a long time ago) I think I jumped into quick validation mode to spare me too much emotional fall out down the road. Well ‘I’m not sure anyway’…’It might not be meant for us’….and while this open burden loomed over our heads and hearts for the last forever years together, I almost involuntarily rallied for the side of kidless while in this self protective mode. For a long time I felt emotionally detached from connecting with people’s kids… I think in some defensive way I defaulted into some kind of ‘kid offensive’ mode. To make myself feel better, kids had to be a bad choice…I made myself see them as more of a barrier or challenge to any situation… but something about the fertility experiences we had in 2017, cracked my hardness towards children….maybe it was out of curiousity….maybe it was a way of researching how it could feel in my own life to have children. ..but they all got to me…something opened and I get it now. Friends and families children got to me. I see the value of child rearing and these family units…the joy and energy children bring to adult worlds, the blessings that they are…. I see it now. Somewhere my heart and walls softened and I started to actually love and appreciate the children around me. And with those walls down, I grieve my own loss and incapacity. I grieve the loss of not being able to grow, birth, nuture and be responsible for a tiny human in that way. I grieve not bringing that joy and vitality into my own parents lives and I grieve not being able to experience those firsts with my husband and possibly forever miss out on expressing maternal instincts of love.
But I recognize that this feeling of being more open, less protective and less hardened to children, while hurts in these ways, also allows me to really love and feel loved by the ones in my life. And there is something so special and irreplaceable in that.
In 2017 our family relationships healed, I was able to reconnect with extended family at the beginning of the year…we celebrated my Dads 75th birthday…certain friendships deepened, whole others strained…a close friend lost her Mom, another family friend recently lost her Dad…I turned 40 *gulp*….J and I left a small group/community we had been a part of a number of years…for the first time in a long time we are Church homeless and still feel like we are wandering….my Mom’s health took a turn…I feel the consequences more than ever before with my parents health issues, age and needs…my husband went through job transitioning…my little cousin got engaged, while another friend got married…another cousin had a baby…we got our finances in order and cleared our debt….we finished the rooms in our home…a couple of close friends moved away….a friend’s husband passed away….friends of ours had their second baby boy after what seemed like an impossibility of having more than one child… a lot of stuff…
Given all of this stuff, I didn’t realize my default response modes…the ones I tend to function in as if they are normal states of being when my stress levels are high or there is a lot going on…the reality is when i feel stressed, I respond to it in really dysfunctional ways. It wasn’t until my husband and I went to Jamaica recently that I took the time and space to finally pay attention.
*I default by living in constant fear and anxiety that something bad is going to happen. I live in this mistrust of people, situations and worst case scenarios. I plan my life and my days to always accommodate worst case scenarios and how to mitigate around them, just in case the “unexpected” should happen…but all of this negative energy is soul sucking and exhausting.
*I default by attaching to good enough and being afraid of change. In again, a fear based approach of worse happening, I attach to the comfort, security and safety of how I know things to be and because of that I take little risk….but I feel void of adventure and possibility by clinging to predictability.
*I wrestle with constant back and forth guilt or resentment when I feel stressed and spent because part of dealing with stress for me is to save the world, be a hero and make good out of bad…but I do that with little regard for my own boundaries, energy levels and without recognizing I’m actually needing and seeking to be saved too….and those mixed wires crossing, without me really seeing them, leaves me feeling spent, undernourished and bitter.
*When I’m stressed I watch a lot of tv!!!! It saves me from having to confront or sit in what is truly going on in me or around me.
*Another huge default for me is to blur boundaries and put up wrongful fence lines in the relationships around me because I don’t properly communicate where I’m at when I’m in stressed mode so eventually what started as small offences and slight hurt feelings snowball into big walls because things get too built up….but obviously this kind of disconnect is destructive to someone like me who so highly values love and connection.
(BIG RELIEVING SIGH)
Some time away was exactly what I needed to unwind, decompress, breathe, rest and see the things I needed to….the things I need to work on….the things I need to pray on and grow on….and while challenging, I’m glad because even just seeing the dysfunction and toxicity I had blindly been living in, is in and of itself freeing….and a beginning…
So goodbye 2017, it’s been a slice…listen it wasn’t you, it was me….I just don’t think we had the right fit…. I’m sure you have plenty of other people who love you and are sad to see you go….but me? Well…I’m more looking forward to the new year….