Thursday, June 27, 2013


You know, whenever I read posts that debate the kind of views that state that non-parents aren't as busy as parents, I cringe inside. Because of my personality and my choice of a "simple life" (at least that's how I call it), I have limited variables that can complicate my life. 

I have a part-time job and even though I was asked if I wanted to have more working hours, I chose not to. It'd be a whole different case if we needed money desperately or if it was a different kind of job, but one of the reasons I chose not to have more working hours was that I did that one time and it backfired on me. I'm an introvert at heart and working in a job where I have to serve people (meet lots of people) means that I need plenty of recharging time = alone time. Whenever I feel "tired" of being with people, I tend to just hide in our house and avoid meeting people as best as I can. Having a part-time job means that I have plenty of spare time to do whatever I want to do at home.

Speaking of variables in life, job is the kind of job that doesn't really leave too much "homework", so basically I don't have to be carrying around any mental burdens whenever my shift is over. Other than that, I get along well with my MIL as well as my BILs and SILs. I only have one younger brother and he doesn't give me a headache, either (never had). My dad and FIL have passed away and my mom still lives with my brother and wife, so I don't have to worry about her being on her own. My nephews live far away from us and two of them are already almost grown-ups and we have no pets.

I don't have too many IRL friends, but I do enjoy meeting them every now and then and they're not the type of friends that say bad things about me, so again I don't have to worry about meeting them (esp. since they're done with procreating). So if I look at my life and if anyone comments that he or she envies my "less busier life", then I won't be able to debate it and I'll say that it may be true. But then again this is how I choose my life to be.

I get along pretty well with my coworkers, though I can't say that they're my friends, but I know that they've accepted me as one of the team members despite the fact that I'm a foreigner (I'm SO grateful for this). However, my coworkers are mostly younger than me and we don't really poke into one another's business, so we don't talk about babies and stuff like that. 

Next door neighbours? Well, we do say hi to one another whenever we meet, but the interaction never goes beyond that, so we never have any problems with them. 

I think whenever people perceive that someone else's life is "less busier" than theirs, it's because they don't know all the other variables in that other person's life. What they see is but a glimpse of an illusion - which may or may not be true. The more variables in life that you have (having to care for a sick, aging parent on top of a bankruptcy and your own health issues for example or even a fight with a friend and problems with neighbour/coworker/brother/sister), the "busier" your life can be if those variables aren't in "good shape". But then again I believe that attitude and personality come into play as well. Something that may be difficult to handle for A may be easy/easier for B. Something that may be difficult may be less "bitter" if you see it from another perspective.*

* I'm NOT trying to belittle life's problems or grief or whatever it is that life may bring and I'm all into embracing whatever you're feeling and then working through them and I'm not trying to say that one should be positive all the time, but just saying that I believe attitude does matter

I remember when I was translating novels for a publisher, a friend of mine who graduated from the same faculty told me that for her, working like that would  be like a torture and that no matter how much someone was willing to pay her to do translating jobs, she would never accept it. I laughed when I read her words, because in my mind, she wasn't mocking my job, but she was stressing on my strength. That I was patient enough to be doing something that she thought would be one of the most boring things on earth.

Anyway, I'm rambling here...I was seriously debating on writing this post or not, but I just couldn't get the itch away LOL!!! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Funeral in Mind

Last Friday was FIL's funeral. My very first experience in Finland. It was a lovely funeral as well as memorial service attended by close relatives. I found that the memorial service was very emotional. I didn't really have time to be too emotional before that 'coz I was the designated photographer.

FIL's recent passing brings my own mortality to the front and centre part of my brain. When I accompanied MIL (along with BIL) to choose the plot of land at the cemetery, I was a bit surprised to see that MIL was rather particular in choosing where she wanted to "lay down" with FIL (apparently you can also book the plot ahead of time for yourself and your partner and decide which side you want to choose for your own plot), but I suppose when you think about it, it makes sense 'coz she knows there are people from the next generations who will be visiting the grave (or their graves) later on. So they will be able to pay respect to FIL (and to MIL later on) by planting flowers there etc. 

While trying to find out about the funeral custom here in Finland before my FIL's funeral, I found a woman's blog in Finnish. In one blog post, she wrote a list about her wishes when it came to her funeral arrangement. She was very specific about many things, including the song choices for the funeral, whether or not they should put her obituary in the newspaper, etc. That again made me think...she could afford to be specific because she was confident that there were others who would respect her wishes and make sure that her wishes come true.

It makes me wonder who'll be here "for me" when my time comes. If I should die as a very old woman and if that means that all the other close family members here (including hubby) have gone before me, the only people left would be our two nephews, but then again I'm not really close to them and they live far from here, but I suppose the government will contact them 'coz they're the only relatives left here in Finland and they're the ones who'll have to sort things out (including sorting out my valuables etc.). 

However, when it comes to my own death, I don't really have any specific requests. If whoever is going to take care of my body wants to bury me or cremate me, that's fine with me. Although it'd be nice to have an intimate memorial service for me, but I'm not sure if it can happen considering the fact that I have many more online friends (including my close friends) and my own family members from Indo live far away from here.

But bottom line is that I would like a most practical arrangements for myself after my death. And if I could have one request, it's that everybody who knows me in life should wear colourful clothes instead of wearing black. I want my death to remind them of the preciousness of life. But anyway, for the time being, let's just cherish each day we're still given...

P.S. I'd love to talk about this with hubby but I think I'm gonna wait a while 'coz it must still be too raw for him...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Absurd Thoughts

After we had decided to surrender to life without kids, at first I was worried that I wouldn't be taken seriously by others who were much older than me in the IF blogosphere (esp. the CNBCers). I started having this absurd thought of wishing to be older more quickly - not that I'd really want to experience menopause ASAP, but I just wanted to be "old enough" to "belong" in the CNBC community. The wish appeared and disappeared depending on my mood, but after I felt that I was accepted, it sort of retreated to the back of my mind.

A few months ago I experienced my first BPPV episode. The symptoms included the room spinning around, dizziness, nausea, and throwing up a few times. The second time it happened a few weeks after the first episode, that same weekend we went to visit my MIL. I had told her about the first episode along with the doc's diagnosis, but this time around she asked, "Are you absolutely sure you're not preggy?"

That question took my by surprise. A second or two later (still reeling with the surprise), I answered, "I'm absolutely sure that I'm not preggy." Then I started wondering if she was still wishing for a miracle to happen with us and that made me a tad sad for her...

I know that logically speaking, anything can still happen to us in other people's mind. In my mind, though, it's just impossible, because we don't even make love anymore during my fertile window, and as we all know, the fertile window is a very short time each month. In fact, it seems that I tend to avoid the fertile window altogether so as to make sure that I won't ever be preggy.

Seems like an extreme measure for someone who did try to have kids once in the past, but seriously speaking, now that we're used to the thought of life without kids, we DO enjoy being together just the two of us and now the thought of life with kids seems (again) like an intrusion to our lifestyle. Almost like the time prior TTC - the only difference is that now we have IF scars and sometimes our scars get bumped and they cause some pain. 

Anyway, because it's kinda crazy if I tell people that it's impossible for us to have kids 'coz we don't even make love during my fertile window (it's our business, not theirs!), the absurd thought resurfaced after I heard my MIL's question. How I wished I'd have reached an old enough age for people to stop thinking that it's even possible for us to be preggy anymore!

Mind you, for all its worth, MIL has been a wonderful person altogether. I once sent her an email, telling her not to expect any grandchildren from us because of our infertility (the same time I told my Mom about it). I had also told her in the email that at one point I felt guilty that I couldn't give her any grandchildren. She replied the email, saying that she knew that we had suffered though we hadn't really told her anything before that...and that I shouldn't feel guilty about her at all and that I shouldn't worry about her wishes, so I should just get rid of the worry. And she's verbally told me time and time again how much she appreciates having me in her world (I suppose this is also 'coz she has no daughter and I'm rather close to her). So I'm not blaming MIL for asking the question. 

Sometime last year I also told my mom about a preggy friend (only 'coz she knew the girl, so I always tell her updates on my friends that she knows and has met often) and she replied my SMS by saying, "I see. Well, keep on praying so that you'll also get preggy." This came after I had told her not to expect any grandchildren from us. I got a bit upset at that time and I replied her SMS by telling her the exact same thing that I had told her before - that we had been surrendering to life without kids and that we're fine with that.

Again I'm well aware that logically they still think that a "miracle" may just happen. It's just that knowing what I know about our bedtime activities, it makes me feel that it'd be such a waste if they still harbored some wish about a miracle for us...but then again I can't control other people's wishes, can I? It's a whole different thing if these are the wishes of strangers, but the wishes of the people you care about who care about you can rouse some conflicting emotions within you...but anyway, in the end I just have to let go again...of the things I can't control...

Image taken from here

Friday, June 7, 2013

What IF Has Also Taught Me: Self-Control

During my IF journey, especially during the toughest and darkest moments, IF has taught me a lot about self-control. It isn't always easy to watch my words and my tone whenever someone asks me about whether or not we have kids and then they go on to either joke about it or say the "wrong" words. It wasn't always easy to watch my words and my tone to my spouse when I felt "wronged" by other people.

It wasn't easy either not to lash out to my spouse or my friends or strangers just because I was warring so much inside and I was hating myself because of all the churning emotions I felt inside. It wasn't easy not to rely on my spouse because he was also grieving - but at the same time I wanted him to know my feelings to a certain degree, but I didn't want to overwhelm him by making him feel helpless when he was also struggling with his own grief. Most of all, I didn't want infertility to separate us. I wanted to let us grieve in our own ways, but I wanted us to also let each other know where we stood in our IF journey and I wanted us to be able walk hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart in making decisions during our IF journey. 

A few times in the beginning of my IF journey, I had to take time to fume and let it all out (in my head) before responding to some online messages that stung me to the core. It took a long time to "cool down" and it took lots and lots of repetition of "They don't really mean to hurt you, they just don't know what to say" before I could finally regain most of my self-control. The more time passes since our decision to let go of having children, the more it helps, but there are tender moments every now and then. That's for sure, but at least it's getting less and less "problematic" for my inner self, because I've learnt to love myself again during the process...

IF has taught me a lot of precious lessons of life, so for that, I'm bowing in respect. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Unexpected Effect of Infertility

When we began TTC, I was the only one amongst my close friends who was trying. Some of them had already had a child or two, some weren't trying yet. Because I was the only one who had experienced IF, my strong emotions shocked the whole group (including me at that time). I shared many things with them because I was so desperate for support and validation. I reacted strongly to some of their words and in the end one of them asked me what kind of support I needed. I told them that when it came to my IF grief, no words would be "safe enough" except for "I'm so sorry" and "I'll pray for you". 

Once we sort of decided to surrender to life without kids, I asked them to pray the Serenity Prayer for me and I'm really thankful for them. However, back then none of us knew how deep the impact of the infertility battles that I had shared with them would leave. Anyway, time passed by and another one of us started TTC. Unfortunately she experienced a miscarriage and because I had sort of "silenced" them through my experience to say nothing more than those words above, my friend got quite angry at the lack of support at that time. She told me afterwards that she felt robbed of the sympathy. 

And because of the many things I'd shared about my IF journey, she didn't want to share too much about her TTC journey 'coz she didn't want any comparison to happen. Another single friend didn't want to comment on my IF journey because she said that she didn't want to dwell on the fact that she may have been sort of "an infertile" in a way (because she has started thinking of life without a hubby and kids). I understand what they mean, but I sort of feel sad in a way because my experiences have such impacts on our friendship - the kind of impacts that none of us could have predicted. 

For my friend who's experienced a miscarriage, I feel sorry that my experience made her feel that way. Sad that she felt that if she shared her TTC journey, there could be some comparison with mine. But anyway, all of this only makes this thought more profound: that I'm so VERY lucky to have my IF blogger friends, because all of you (even those who probably don't visit this blog of mine) have really helped me go through the darkest moments of my life like a shining beacon, showing me the way gently, making me feel not alone, making me feel validated. And for that I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart...