Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmassy Thoughts

Spent the night at my MIL's place. Had a lovely, peaceful Christmas. BIL and SIL came over for a few hours. We had the Finnish traditional Christmas food then played cards, but then BIL went with SIL to celebrate Christmas with SIL's family. We continued playing cards just the three of us while watching Funniest Home Videos on TV.

At one point the announcer said, "This woman will soon get the best Christmas gift ever!" while the screen showed an older woman opening a Christmas gift. Not long after that, she screamed to a younger woman (probably her daughter), "You're PREGNANT?!?!?!?!?! REALLY?!?!?!?!"

She jumped to her feet, hugged the younger woman, shrieked in joy some more, and the others also followed suit to congratulate her and her husband.

That moment I felt robbed of that kind of joy because I can't give that kind of joy to my mother or my MIL. No guilt involved, though. Just felt robbed of that opportunity. It makes me a tad tender inside. Good thing our Christmas rituals don't involve any kids (MIL's two grandsons are already big boys and they live too far away to spend Christmas together).

Other than that, I had a blast tricking hubby again by disguising his gift. ;-D I packed lots of salmiac and candies into a big box plus a new Dean Koontz novel that I knew he hadn't bought yet (he's a big fan of Koontz). He had no idea that I had put a novel in between the candies. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

Can't wait to spend New Year with MIL and hubby again. More card playing and laughing, that's for sure! Oh, and I got a gift card from hubby, so I just ordered Silent Sorority and two other novels. Can't wait to read it!!! :-D

P.S. Got a lovely surprise from a customer at work. He bought me a pot of pointsettia! Really thoughtful! SO THANKFUL for people like him on earth...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Not About Me

I've been blessed beyond belief by Sara's post in her blog. Sara passed away a little while ago, but her words speak are really inspirational and I'm glad I can still reread them in her blog.

Without further ado, hope you also enjoy Sara's post entitled "It's Not About Me". Even though it's non IF related, but I think it rings true for everybody who feels that life is unfair and I hope you're also blessed by the post.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What A Luxury!

* cross-posted with my non-IF blog *

Spent the night at MIL's house 'coz R2 had to go to Rovaniemi for 2 days, so after work on Saturday I went straight there. We played cards, had sauna, and we had some serious talk as well about different topics.

All of a sudden she started talking about the past and FIL then started crying. And she made my eyes wet as well. After spending so much time taking care of the kids, farm, cows, her own mother and then her own in-laws, she had wanted to enjoy the rest of her life with her hubby.

Now that my FIL has been taken to an old people's house (his Alzheimer has gotten even worse), she can't even enjoy that luxury anymore. Not that she doesn't want to. She said that she was still thinking if she could still take him back home, but she can't do it on her own and she can't afford having someone to live with them to help her take care of him. You see, the other week she visited FIL and then FIL said that he felt like he was nothing, a nobody. I almost wished that he would lose more consciousness so that he wouldn't think about anything like this anymore, you know? But then I wonder if that's such a great wish...sigh...

Anyway, MIL sprained her arm and then last week she sprained her leg and she realized that she had to accept reality. Due to the arm and leg sprains, she hadn't been out for a few days and when we visited FIL yesterday (together with R2), the nurse said that he had eaten very little that day. Both the nurse and MIL were wondering if he didn't want to eat properly 'coz of longing. MIL brought some bread and homemade salted salmon filet, bananas, and also yoghurt and so we waited for FIL to eat them all (he could still hold bread and bananas himself, but MIL fed him the yoghurt). And he did eat them all with gusto, I must say.

Then MIL told FIL that she had to go for almost a week to Rovaniemi 'coz they have this program for the elderly that offers exercise program and it's good for her to be able to join this kind of activity. And after FIL heard that, his eyes went wet and I almost wanted to cry...I left the room to give MIL and FIL some time for themselves and R2 also left the room, as well. It was just heartbreaking...Wish I could do more for MIL and FIL, but there's only so much one person can do...

Sniff, sniff...anyway, last night when we went back home, it hit me with a different force than before how luxurious it is for me and R2 to be able to live together under the same roof, to be able to give and take, to be able to enjoy life together. How much we take for granted the life that we have together, every single day...each breath we take, each step we in, day I should cherish these moments while they last...

This is the promise I hold dear...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thought of the Day: Self-Defense Mechanism

I just realized that I may be hitting the brake so hard as a form of self-defense mechanism in terms of this infertility journey. One person who's experienced RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss) has told me that she felt numb after her second loss. It's interesting to know that sometimes we don't even realize that we're using a form of self-defense mechanism.

Sometimes the realization comes only after you talk to someone or after you read something that makes you gaze into the self-mirror and wonder why you feel something or why you don't feel anything.

I know I've always been an "extreme" person in some ways. Just wondering if I'm being so extreme again in this IF's like I'm putting a distance between myself and this IF world so that I can use more of my logic instead of my feelings. Oh well...only time will tell, I suppose. :-)

Anyhow, speaking of non-IF topics, I REALLY REALLY love Josh Krajcik's audition clip. I can watch it again and again and again and again he he he...LOVE this dude's voice and soul when he sings!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Vivid Dream

The other morning I jolted awake after having such a vivid dream. In my dream, an ex school friend told me how she pitied me for not having kids and in my defense, I explained to her that my existence is meaningful even when I have no kids. Right now I don't remember anymore the details of what I told her, but when I woke up, I still remembered clearly all the things I spouted off to her he he he he...

At least at the end of the dream I got her to see my POV, so I woke up "satisfied" so to speak. Maybe this has everything to do with the fact that yesterday I posted "Infertile and Proud" link in my Facebook and I added a little note: "We're a complete family just the two of us. :-D"

Some people liked it and some commented on it. The first person who commented wrote: "Well, if you're happy just the two of you, then no need to add another person in the equation."

I replied to her: "Doesn't mean to say that we never did want to have kids, but not every situation lead to having babies at the end of the journey. That's that. Rather than focusing on what we don't have, better just focus on what we have and continue to nurture it so that it blooms more beautifully than ever."

When I was first thrown into IF world, I found fellow IFers and I found "a place to belong". However, now that we've both stopped active TTC and we're not actually thinking of a future with kids anymore, I feel (again) slightly out of place (gotta admit that there are many more IFers who are still actively TTC or trying to adopt or who've got kids already compared to those who live childless).

Some people would consider us "too young" and that there's still a chance for us to get an "oops" (funny that now IF it happens, it'll be an oops, eh?), but right now we've set the course too far away from Babyland that I don't even think that I want kids anymore. Maybe it's strange 'coz we've "only" been in this IF land for...3 years and counting? But that's what I feel.

Speaking of feeling out of place, it makes me think of the world in general. Even though we are all unique, we also don't want to be a square peg in a round hole. It seems that the world is asking me: "What exactly are you? Which category do you belong to?" Or maybe it's just I myself who's asking the question.

External voices and pressures are really disconcerting and loud. VERY LOUD. Other people's expectations...society's expectations...they can drown out my own inner voice, but inner voice can be as loud as well.

I'm taking time now to listen to my own inner voice. What is it telling me? I do belong in the eyes of those people who care about me, who accept me just the way I am. In God's eyes, I am perfect just the way I am. Funny, though, 'coz just as I'm writing these words, I find it hard to believe. This world has other ideas and expectations about me...even I myself have ideas and expectations about this chaotic battle between the world, myself, and my inner wonder I'm getting so confused.

I should strip off my labels and expectations and look at myself at this present moment and just say "I'm fine. I'm beautiful just the way I am. I'm precious in God's eyes. I shouldn't be anything just because others tell me so."

This may be just my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) phase, but right now I truly long for heaven - a place where we're stripped bare of our pain, no pressure, no expectation, no heated arguments, no name calling, no wars, no bullying...just pure love and peace.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reflection of the Day

After reading Jean Vanier's books...well, actually, after my FIL started getting worse (he's got Alzheimer's), I've been thinking lately about a situation where your health condition gets so bad that you have to depend on other people to do many or most things. If I ever reach that kind of stage, will I be able to accept it gently? I guess I'll never know until I experience it myself. Anyway, his condition also makes me reflect more about our value as human beings.

After IF, I became so confused about so many things, because IF rocked my world to the core and it made me question so many things about life in general. IF makes me question our worth: what society screams we're worth and what our true worth is in God's eyes. The pressure is sometimes overwhelming and I've seen so many people getting lost in the maze after they lose their jobs, after IF, after being sick.

IF makes me realize how blind I've been all the years before IF started: how I've judged so many people wrongly and how I've said so many wrong things to other people simply because of ignorance. How difficult it is to really understand someone else's situation because more often than not, you only see one part or a few small parts of the equation. How hard it is to actually really answer hypothetical questions because you won't really know for sure about your reaction until you experience it yourself.

How easy it is to say the wrong things to someone when you don't really understand the whole situation, yet you feel so helpless that you just have to say something to the sufferer. How words can cut someone so painfully even when you don't mean it that way. How easy to get defensive, angry, and hurt when you're really hurting inside. Basically speaking, IF opens my eyes even more to how broken we all are and how little we know about anything.

That said, IF has made me want to learn more about human beings, about their personal sufferings, about the many facets of other people's situations. Granted I can't possibly learn them all in a lifetime, but I can start by stopping to think before saying anything to someone who's hurting and researching about it whenever possible.

Let me end this post with Jean Vanier's quote:
As we approach people in pain, they reveal to us our pain and brokenness. We are not an elite. We need help. We need the help of Jesus and of sister and brothers in community; we need to talk to wise, listening, and compassionate hearts who can help us to assume all that is broken within us and to find wholeness. We become free when we accept ourselves as we are, cry out for help, and use wisely all that we are to build peace. (A Rebel for Peace, page 134-5)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Rare Opportunity

The other day a mom friend asked me for some advice. The first time it had ever happened to me. I felt grateful for the rare opportunity 'coz it made me feel that my voice mattered. :-)

Anyhow, basically speaking she had to make a decision to stop her child to go to a certain course because she believed that the tutor wasn't too helpful for the child. The child didn't argue with her decision, but she saw the sad look on the child's face, so she was wondering if she had made the right decision. So she wanted a second opinion: mine.

When I told her what I thought about it: that she had made the right decision, I couldn't help thinking of God and humans. My friend felt sad to see the child's sad face and she would have loved to give anything to wipe the sadness away, but she also didn't want to do any harm to the child by choosing a not-too-good tutor. She wanted to give the best for the child, even though it meant breaking the child's heart a little bit.

Oftentimes when God closes a door in front of me, I feel that He is being unfair. I feel that my cries aren't heard. Maybe He also feels the same way as my friend did. Maybe it hurts Him to close the door, but He knows it's for the best.

It's true what they say: God's ways are mysterious. Some doors are closed only for a certain amount of time, some are closed forever.

Time and time again The Serenity Prayer has spoken to me so powerfully...

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Unexpected Stabs

The other day I heard someone say these words about someone else I knew, "If your sister spends some nights in your house later on, brace yourself and just don't take her words too seriously about your household and how you raise your kids and grandchildren. She has no kids, so she doesn't understand. As you know well, she'd give you advice and criticism about your parenting style and about how to deal with your kids and grandchildren."

For some weird reason, when I heard the words "she has no kids", I felt unexpected stabs deep inside me and it took my breath away. (side note: PMS perhaps added its weight to the melancholy I felt)

Why did I feel those stabs? Maybe because it speaks the truth that I don't want to hear - that I'm one of those who have no kids (who once longed to have kids), that I'm one of those who "they think don't understand motherhood and parenting". Maybe because the words make me feel like I'm seeing a HUGE neon sign of "You're not qualified to be in the mommy group" and that hurt 'coz deep down, I do wish I could understand mommyhood better than I do now.

Sometimes I feel helpless when a mommy friend tells me about her dilemmas with her child/children and I just don't know what to say. I can't even make her feel "better" by saying that "It's just a phase. I've been there, done that. It's gonna get better, trust me." I'd LOVE to be able to help her more, but I can't because I'm not a mommy.

Maybe now I need to grieve the loss of mommyhood. I've gotten over the idea of our future with kids, but I think in a twisted way (as though kids and mommyhood were two separate entities) I still long to understand mommyhood and I need to let it go...may heaven help me...let the healing process begin once more...

Additional thought: Hmmm...maybe it wasn't so much having to grieve over the loss of mommyhood as to the fact that those words felt like a loud remembrance of the loss. Maybe that was more like the reason why it hurt.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Talk

*cross-posted with my other blog*

One of the things I dreaded when I went to Indo the other month was who was going to come up with the "baby talk". I dreaded that 'coz I would never know how to deal with them: do I tell them the truth or do I just smile and say nothing? The truth would be too complicated to tell, but I did tell "the truth" to one person who finally mentioned "baby talk".

One neighbour, upon seeing us walk outside the house, said, "Going out? Hurry and make some babies!"

I stopped, smiled and said, "It's OK even if we'll never have babies."

You should've seen her face!!! She didn't see that coming! With a shocked look on her face, she quickly said, "DON'T SAY THAT!!!!! I'm gonna pray for you so that you'll have kids."

Deep inside I was sighing and rolling my eyes, but to her I just smiled and said, "Why, THANK YOU for your prayers."

Why is it so hard for people to understand that we're OK even though we have no babies? It seems that THEY are the ones who want US to have babies more than we do. Don't get me wrong, though, I DO appreciate them and I DO understand their wish for us, but why can't they understand that it may not be what we want anymore? It almost makes us feel that we're not "complete human beings" without kids in our life.

FYI, two relatives hugged me upon saying goodbye, rubbed my belly, and whispered, "I'm praying for you to have babies."

OK, that's all good...but my cynical mind thinks, "If God says no, no matter how many times you pray, you won't see the result that you're wishing for." That's why I asked my closest friends for God's peace beyond understanding instead of asking them to pray for us to have kids.

One close friend told me, "You shouldn't have said that to the neighbour. You should've just smiled and said nothing."

Maybe she's right. I begin to feel that there's no use trying to make them understand our situation anyway. Oh well...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thought of the Day

A while ago I spent time with two friends. One of them has just had an empty nest 'coz her sons have recently moved out of the house to study in the city. She said that she had then learnt to enjoy life again just with the hubby - though of course every now and then the kids come back for a visit, but still she said it was interesting to find the house "so quiet".

The other friend commented that her parents didn't seem to want to live in a house with just the two of them after their children moved out of the house. They had had plenty of foster children along the years and now that they have finally reached the age when they should retire, they opt to have a lodger.

I've just been thinking that hubby and I can be - in a twisted way - considered ourselves to be in an empty nest without actually experiencing all the things that parents do before they reach that stage. The big difference is that we don't have to go through any adjustment periods between the time when the kids are born until the time when they leave the house. We're HERE already!

That was actually an interesting thought - at least for me it is. It's like suddenly realizing, "Hey! We've been doing GREAT despite the circumstances! We don't need to wonder anymore after years of child-bearing if we can still connect with each other and if we can enjoy each other's company 'coz that's what we've been doing anyway."

Anyway, just for the sake of recording my IF journey, the other week we had a "false alarm". My menstrual cycle is normally around 32-43 days (mostly around 36-38 days), but the other week I was wondering why my period hadn't come yet and I then looked it up my menstrual calendar and realized that it was already day 44.

My period finally came on day 47, though in between day 44 and 47, I was torn amongst so many different thoughts. At first the idea of being pregnant made me excited, esp. 'coz I could then share the news with my mother and my MIL, but then after that came a barrage of FEAR...worries about how we could work out our finance if I had to stop working, worries about how on earth we can bring up sane children in this crazy world. At the end of the day, the worries and the fear triumphed more than the joy of the thought of having kids. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that I had been thinking of our future without kids, so I'm so used to that kind of family picture already.

Funnily enough, both hubby and I felt a HUGE relief when my period finally came. Strange how I could have been so "baby-obsessed" at one time and then now I'm reaching this stage where we don't think we want babies anymore. But the most important thing of all is that both hubby and I are on the same page. Feels BRILLIANT to be on the same page with him! :-D

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This Stage

I'm now at the stage where I'm not really sure anymore that I want kids - or if we are meant to be parents. Not sure if it's partly due to self-defense mechanism or not, but it's what it is. A close friend's sister is currently pregnant, but I didn't feel anything bad or painful when I heard about it. These days I can also look at pregnant bellies or small children without feeling stabs of longing.

Not sure how long this stage will last, but I'm enjoying it as much as I can. It feels BLISSFUL to be able to be in this stage.

Soon it'll be three years since we first started to try to have kids (can't really say that we've been trying for the past year, though). Right now I can say that IF is like using a free kind of birth control without any side effects or operation and I can say this without any cynicism or sad feelings.

I just wanna be THANKFUL for God's peace of mind at this be honest, the other week I reread some of my old posts and I was surprised to read how dark they were (no wonder non-IFers can be really shocked while reading IFers thoughts or posts). At that time I never thought I could reach this stage, but I am here now, so I'm going to make the best out of it. :-D Glory to God!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

It is not so true that "prayer changes things" as that prayer changes me and I change things. God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way in which a man looks at things. Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man's disposition.

~ Oswald Chambers

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thought of the Day

I ain't got no children of my own to tuck in, but I LOVE tucking in hubby on the sofa for his naps. And I know he ENJOYS it thoroughly, as well. I LOVE watching his face - whether he's asleep or awake. Such a lovely piece of God's artwork...

I agree with what "they" say - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I think I love him more and more after IF. We've grown closer and closer and we've depended on each other even more and more as time goes by - as well as having more fun together. Together, just the two of us, stitching memories day by day...I'm SO blessed to have him as a hubby!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rambling Thoughts on Loving

Upon remembering that we should "love our neighbours as ourselves", it made me think that it's sometimes hard to love ourselves when we feel that we're "ugly", "dirty", "yucky" and any other label that we can attach to ourselves.

During IF journey, we often find ourselves feeling all the negative emotions that come barging in unexpectedly like tsunami waves, leaving us shocked and making us feel guilty. We hate the fact that we can possibly feel all those emotions, yet we can't deny their existence either.

However, I start thinking that if we can just learn to love ourselves despite all that, maybe it'll help us love others. If we can't love ourselves despite all that, how can we "love our neighbours as ourselves"?

After living on earth for 30 something years, I've found that the best comforters are the ones who've experienced all the worst emotional turmoil ever, so why should we hate or loathe the very experience that will enrich ourselves? If we ever feel bitterness, why should we curse it? With God's help, we'll get through it and hopefully in the end we'll be able to become better comforters for our "neighbours" when they're feeling that similar wave of bitterness and maybe it'll help them to know that other people CAN and DO get through it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

God's Timing: Rant Rant

Been sending emails with a friend (not yet married, but has a boyfriend and is planning to get married with him someday). With all the best intention in the world (which I appreciate), she asked me if we had got checked up 'coz she knew we wanted kids and that she knew some people who tried some Chinese herbs in Indo and the herbs worked for them. She then said that she'd pray to God that we'd get a child soon.

I told her this: "Well, we've decided not to get checked up due to A, B, C (I explained to her that it was like opening Pandora's box and I explained to her a bit that even though celebrities seemed to be successful in trying different types of medication to have kids, reality states differently). Besides, by the grace of God now we're fine even with the thought that we'll never have any kids at all even though we'd welcome a child if he/she comes our way (deep inside, I wanted to explain to her the crazy rollercoaster IF, but I knew she wouldn't understand so it was just not worth it). Life is beautiful with or without kids. If you're going to pray for us, don't pray that we'll have a child ASAP, but pray that we'll accept whatever plans God has for us."

She then replied: "Yeah, you're right about accepting whatever God is planning for us. Just believe in God's timing. God knows the best for us and His timing is always perfect and He will give us what we hope for when we least expect it, in His perfect timing."

A part of me wanted to debate her: "Uh, hello? What makes you feel so sure that He's going to give us what we hope for? Are you trying to make me feel better or are you trying to convince yourself that if we hope for something so badly, God will give us in His perfect timing? Why do people think that if they want something so badly and they keep praying for it, God will give it to them?"

Instead, I replied: "Well, when it comes to kids, let's not assume that God's going to give us any. We're OK even if God doesn't give us any kids and that's that. We've also thought about adoption but it doesn't look like it's a good idea for us bla bla bla bla..."

The other month I also posted a comment in my friend's FB page 'coz her son's pictures are just SO cute. So I told her that under the latest pic of her son's and she said, "Come on then and make one!"

I said, "HA HA HA HA HA...we've been 'making one' so diligently, but no success yet."

She replied, "Well, just relax (calm down). Maybe God wants the two of you to have lots of honeymoons first."

A part of me bristled when I read it. What makes her think I'm not relaxed (calm)??? ---> yeah, I know I took it too personally 'coz logically thinking, maybe she just didn't know what to say and she wasn't insinuating that I wasn't calm - but then again it's hard to think logically when you're an IF.

Instead, I replied, "Don't worry, we're OK even if God doesn't give us any kids. Life's beautiful anyway."

THANKFULLY she didn't say anything anymore after I told her that. BUT I think I should just stop complimenting other people's babies' cuteness. Why can't they just say, "THANKS for the compliment" and leave it at that?

I understand fully the need to want to share the motherhood joy so that I can "join the club", but still it's tiring to have to answer those questions (it's hard to disregard the questions or the "invitation" to "make one" 'coz I want to correct their assumption that babies can be made that easily). So maybe I should just stop before the vicious cycle starts: thus I should stop giving baby compliments (unless towards my closest friends who know about us so well).