Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On Forgiveness

During my IF journey, I'm reminded over and over again of this lesson. Forgiveness. 

Forgiving myself over and over again whenever I felt all those nasty things that made me become my own worst enemy. Forgiving myself after I snapped on some friends who meant well, who were at a loss on what to say. Forgiving them who said all the wrong things despite their intentions. Forgiving myself for being jealous and for not being able to be happy when I saw pregnant bellies. Forgiving myself for not being able to say "congratulations" sincerely when I heard pregnancy news. Forgiving strangers or semi-strangers who flippantly said "just relax" or even joked about our infertility or said "you can just adopt". Forgiving myself on bad days when I felt like being cynical towards the whole world.

Forgiveness isn't an easy lesson, especially when one is hurting and bleeding inside. 

Here are some quotes I love about forgiveness:

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. 
- Suzanne Somers

Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. 
- Marianne Williamson 

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."

- Mother Teresa

Quotes taken from here and here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Everything Happens for a Reason"

In the past I never really thought about that overused quote. I guess mostly I thought it was an OK quote. After IF I started seeing the world through different glasses and I was laughing so much when I found this online. Whoever created this card clearly knew what he/she was talking about LOLLLLL!!!!

I suppose what people really mean by saying "everything happens for a reason" is that everything happens for a "good" reason. I think when it comes to facing troubles or tragedies, it's a good trait of mankind to be able to find anything good coming out of any tragedies/troubles because we do need to carry on our lives after a tragedy and we do need to hold on to "something good" amongst the darkness that is threatening to suck the life out of us.

However, I don't agree that everything happens for a "good" reason. Things MAY happen for a reason, but the reason may be related to people's stupidity (for example drunk driving), people's bad choices (doing something rashly), and many other "not-so-flattering" reasons. 

Then I started thinking about September 11th. I have heard stories about how some employees who worked in the Twin Towers had had a flat tyre or something else that prevented them from going to work that day and those incidents saved their lives. In that way people'd say "Oh, the flat tyre happened for a (good) reason." And yes, I do agree with that. But if you think about it, why did it happen to that particular person? Why not another one? Why does someone in particular get kidnapped and tortured to death? Why does someone in particular happen to be at the wrong time, at the wrong place? I don't believe that it all happens for "a good reason". Some things happen because of the evil in mankind. 

It's a whole different thing if the person who suffers/grieves believes that everything happens for a good reason, though. I will never debate a sufferer who believes in that, 'coz it may just be his/her lifeline that carries them through whatever tragedy/tragedies in their lives.

Friday, January 18, 2013

On Blessings

The word "blessing" has been running in circles in my brain. IMHO, whenever I say "I'm blessed" or whenever I thank God for a "blessing", it doesn't mean that I've earned it or I deserve it "for everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard" (Rome 3:23 New Living Standard Translation). 

I do believe in causes and consequences, but I also believe that this world is as random as can be. I believe that people have choices to make and that some choices may yield bad results and that is one reason why there's chaos everywhere. I do believe that some choices we make may yield good results, but there's never a guarantee that if we make good choices then we'll get good results in the end.

Sometimes the choices people make are more limited than others and sometimes the only choice they can make is just to choose a better attitude/POV. I believe that God doesn't promise anyone an easy life, but for those who believe in God and lean on Him, He will definitely help them throughout life's many ups and downs because He cares enough to have sent His son to save us.

When it comes to infertility, unless God himself has told someone directly that the infertility is the cause of that person's sins or whatever wrongdoing of his/hers, I don't believe that it's a punishment from God or a specific test from God (who's closed down the womb for unknown reasons). During our TTC days, I did wonder if He didn't deem us fit/ready as parents. I struggled with it A LOT. But it doesn't make any sense if I try to think of it logically because it is clear that some people don't look ready to be parents.

After the struggle, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter whether or not I understand what God has in mind. It doesn't matter even if I haven't received the "blessings" that I have asked and prayed for. It doesn't matter even if I will never ever get the "blessings" that I long for/longed for. He cares about me and He has comforted me in ways that I could have not done on my own. He has sustained me through the storm and that's enough. After all, sometimes He calms the storm and sometimes He calms the child. 

And thus, when it comes to blessings, this is what I believe in:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Then and Now

During the time I was bombarded with pregnancy news and pics as well as a newborn baby's pics, I had time to think. In the past the sense of loss was MUCH more acute in my heart even when I wasn't having PMS. These days I feel that the challenge is more about shouting out the world's "shouts" that celebrate motherhood/parenthood/children.

In the past watching pregnant bellies at work could trigger my loss so much so that I just wanted to hide in the bathroom ASAP and BAWL. And along with the tears came the rage, jealousy, envy, frustration, self-pity, self-hate, and all that jazz.*

* Note to self: I think a close friend's pregnancy may still affect me differently. This is just talking about other people's pregnancies in general.

Nowadays I feel "frustrated" and "upset" whenever these things happen because all I see is "red" (AKA the world's ideal type of family: those that include a child/children):

a. Those "typical" movie endings (mostly drama/romance/comedy movies) that portray a pregnancy or some kids in the future (fast forward a few years ahead). "Bah humbug!" I'd say...

b. Among so many cute animal pics (I'm a cat person), suddenly something like this pops out: "There's nothing more beautiful than seeing a mother and its offspring(s)." Urghhhh! *gag reflex*

c. ...I'll add more when I find new things that make me react strongly.

While being bombarded by the pregnancy news and pics, at one point I got SO frustrated because all I heard was "the world's ideal type of family" that became louder and louder and louder that I finally got fed up and shouted, "God, please tell me that there's something good/important to learn while I'm being torn by these emotions inside. Is there anything good/important at all in all this chaos? IS THERE?!?!?!?!?!"

The reply came as quickly as I had uttered the words. The reply was: "So that you'll look to Me for your worth instead of what the world deems as your worth."

That reply was enough to abate the storm brewing inside of me. My heart was finally appeased. :-) THANK YOU for the answer, Father!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Power of Vulnerability

My mantra of the year is: Be my own best friend (even better than the previous years)

I wasn't really planning to have a mantra this year, but it kept popping up during a conversation I had with someone. I realize that I've learnt some things about being my own best friend, but there's always room for growth, no? :-D

And then I also found again this lovely video clip on the power of vulnerability, so I'm gonna share it here as well:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kicking Its Ass

Yesterday I heard another pregnancy news (this time it was an unplanned pregnancy). I was fine when it happened, but then after a while I started feeling my old enemy knocking on my front door again. 

My enemy is called self-pity. I don't mind inviting grief and sorrow inside because then we can have a good cry, comfort and hold one another and the end result is always positive (a glad heart) even though my problem may not be solved. It is always cathartic to have a proper cry when you're grieving. However, self-pity isn't a good guest to invite in, because it always threatens to wreck my entire household. And in the end it'll also ruin the entire neighbourhood and universe. My universe.

So I was doing exercises again today (Body Combat in youtube) and while I was kicking the air, I imagined myself kicking my enemy's ass while shouting out, "Take that!!! Get THE HELL away from me!!! FAR FAR away from me!!! You're NOT invited!" 

I felt more powered up during these exercises. And of course I felt better after getting a dose of endorphins again. :-) 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Baby Boom: Bring On The Endorphins!

Yesterday when I heard about SIL's pregnancy, I knew I was starting to go down the melancholy road again, especially because two days ago was the induction day of a friend and another one has started dilating yesterday. Talk about baby boom: another friend of mine is going to give birth in a few weeks'. So to balance out the melancholy mood that was threatening to engulf me in darkness bit by bit, I decided to exercise.

Right after exercise we went to sauna and sure enough, my mood had lightened up so much after that, though while hubby was making funny jokes in sauna, this slipped through my mind, "Oh, what a shame it is not to have an opportunity to see a young hubby with that quirky sense of humour!" However, it was a fleeting thought and I refused to dwell on it too long.

Before going to bed, I noticed that in FB another friend has just posted her latest pic with a preggy belly. I was a bit surprised - not because I didn't expect that, but because I did the math. You see, we met last year in spring and at that time I knew she hadn't tried having a baby yet, though she was going to do that 'coz she had been talking about babies with her spouse. In the picture she must be at least 4 months already 'coz I can already see the belly clearly. What I mostly feel was/is amazement that some people can just "get pregnant" easily (or seemingly easily - I know that's not the case in the other three people's pregnancies that I mentioned above besides SIL's). 

I know it sounds silly to be amazed at something like this, but I just can't get over it because over the past years nothing has happened to us. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. But this amazement is more like the feeling you get when you see someone do an amazing magic trick and then you ask, "How on earth can someone do such a thing?" Something like that. So no more anger towards God.

Anyway, right now I'm feeling just fine, though I'm not particularly over-the-top happy over their pregnancies, but not too melancholic at least. I'm sure in time I'll be happier for them esp. when the babies come, but right now I'm not in that place yet. Well, at least I'm not envying them for their pregnancies so that's a step forward. :-) One thing I feel right now, though, is a feeling that this year's gonna be filled with more baby/pregnancy announcement 'coz another friend is TTC, so it's only a matter of time that she'll be preggy, too. 

Note to self: I think at this phase, it's easier for me to accept at the most two pregnancy/baby announcement at a time (esp. if it's a close friend's) in terms of being over-the-top happy for someone else's pregnancy. Being bombarded by many different pregnancy/baby announcements in a short period of time is still a bit too much, though unlike in the past, it doesn't threaten to drown me in complete doomsday prophecy, but it does make me melancholic.

P.S. Hey, at least the workout strategy does work to elevate my mood! Next time I feel melancholy at bay again, I should try it again! :-D Bring on the endorphins!!!! :-D

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Year Started With Another Bang!

Last year started with a sad bang, which was my Dad's passing. This year started with pregnancy news from my bro's wife. I hope everything goes out fine until labour. I feel fine about the pregnancy news, though I'm not over the moon happy, but I'm happy mostly for my Mom 'coz she's been wanting to have another grandchild for a while. 

Anyways, one thing I felt strongly was more relief (than when my bro had his first child). Relief 'coz it means that my parents will get more than one future generation to carry on our family name. After all, my parents only have me and my bro. And relief 'coz the next time my neighbours ask me about our offspring, I can tell them that my bro has two already and that should be more than enough LOL!!!

A few weeks ago I met a friend of mine and we talked about many topics, but we did cover the same ol' question.

Her: "So what about you? You haven't planned about babies or don't want any or are you trying?"
Me: "Errr...we did try but it didn't work out, so now we just carry on our lives without thinking about babies anymore."
Her: "But that's sad. I have a friend who tried for 12 years. They went to the doctors and they said they couldn't get pregnant naturally without going to the lab, so they decided to just give up. After they gave up, she got pregnant! Have you gone to the doctors? Do you know what's wrong with you?"
Me: "Well, first of all we didn't check ourselves up because if it was found out that there was something wrong with either one of us, then the person may feel bad about it. Plus sometimes the doctors can't even find out what's wrong and we feel that it'd be bad, as well. So we decided to just not do anything and resign to life without babies."
Her: "Oh...that's sad."
Me: "Well, I don't want to keep on staring at this empty hole created by the non-baby situation. I don't want to keep on thinking about the fact that we have no kids. I want to focus on the good things that we have and dwell upon them instead."
Her: "Ah, I understand. That's a good way of thinking."

We left it at that and then moved on to other topics. :-D

I forgot to write down about what my Mom wrote in her SMS about a few months ago. You see, I had sent her an SMS about some friends' pregnancies and MAYBE she thought that I had changed my mind - that their pregnancies had somehow make me yearn to be pregnant, because she wrote something like this: "Well, you should think positively and just keep praying so that God will grant you a pregnancy."

I was really shocked to read her words, because in the past I had clearly told her over and over again that we had surrendered to life without kids and we were not interested in trying any other means to be pregnant. So I told her again that we didn't want kids anymore and added that I had just asked hubby a few days prior about his stance on this matter and he said flat out that he didn't want kids anymore. I just wanted to make sure that he was still of the same opinion. So I hope next time I share my friends' baby/pregnancy news with my Mom, she won't write things like that anymore. Once is fine, but if she keeps writing that, I'm gonna be irritated (though knowing her, she most probably won't write such a thing again to me LOL!).

Anyhow, on a good note about us, we've booked a trip to Rome this spring. WOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!! Can't wait! It'll be our first trip there, so we're excited to see what it looks like. :-D