Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of the Year

Nearing the end of the year, my mood has gone up and down. My Christmas mood wasn't spoiled, but I did roll my eyes a few times during the end of the year as lots of movie plots (or TV series) tend to be so predictable when it came to fertility. I was a bit hopeful of the infertility theme in NCIS and was sad as the couple's attempt to adopt was dashed. However, the typical thing happened next. Ugh. And then we started watching "Extant". Another eye roll

I think for a long time I've been consciously searching for a representation of my kind of story, the kind that doesn't have the miracle that society expects. Alas, I suppose our kind of story doesn't sell. Oh's probably daft of me to search for something like this. I should know better! :-)

This month we decided to go on a mini break (something we had never done before nearing Christmas) and it was an awesome thing to do in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Christmas. In the studio apartment that we rented, we watched "A Christmas Carol" together and outside it was Winter Wonderland. So peaceful. :-)

And then I was lucky enough to enjoy these lovely views on Christmas Day. Lucky enough because I was ready to go out for a walk when this happened because it only lasted for about half an hour. The temperature that day was -25'C. Enjoy the photos and the videos! The sky was totally ablaze all around me and it was one of the moments when you just forget about everything else...mmm...

Here's one of the restaurants we went to on our mini break. I made an e-card out of it. 

Last but not least, here are the links to the two videos I made:

Xmas #1 2014
Xmas #2 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Two Diverged Roads

The other day I joined an international family Christmas event in which I was surrounded by mostly mothers with their kids. Some of the much older women naturally didn't bring any children, but the younger ones did. There were only three men amongst us. Among the younger women, only my friend and I didn't bring any kids (my friend has kids).

It was a nice event, though during that time I was reminded again about the two diverged roads that we've taken: those of the parents and those that the childless-not-by-choice. There were several occasions during the evening where I was reminded of how much society seemed to expect us to be enthusiastic over children/grandchildren and over child-related events/performances. And it made me wonder if one would be punished by society if one claimed not to be interested at all in all child-related stuff.

Another thing that came up during the evening was the fact that a friend had been meeting another friend for a playdate and naturally I wasn't invited. Mind you, I have no hard feelings at all, but that just brought the gap between us to the surface again. And it reminded me of the kiddos' birthday party photos in FB along the years (including the more recent ones from last week) with my friends in it where I didn't get invited. Again, I want to stress that I have no hard feelings about it anymore (in the past when I still wanted to join the mommy club, I did feel sad about this), but the image of the gap continued resurfacing and it makes me feel a bit disconnected. Last year there was no such an event like this, so I didn't really feel anything much about the disconnection

After spending quite some time in my healing journey feeling like we were connected beings regardless of the fact that we had kids or not, the Christmas event and my subsequent reflection on it made me aware of our two different worlds. This is not something I can change, but something I just need to accept. 

I feel that I have done enough to spread my wings and get more friends (international, local, online women with or without children) and I'm really thankful that I have some friends who also like spending time with me who are genuinely interested in my life, but this whole thing makes me realize even more just how much I need my own tribe, as well. So to those of you who are childless-not-by-choice in particular who have been there for me, I'm sincerely grateful for your existence. THANK YOU for being here, being there, being you!!!!!

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Healing and Community

I've been lately occupied with so many things in my life that I have been neglecting my blogs in a way, but here I am again! :-) 

I've been thinking a lot lately about my healing journey in particular. You see, when infertility first knocked on my door, I felt like a bird with broken wings (and naturally it led me to have a broken heart/spirit). After all, all the other birds out there seem to be able to spread their wings and fly, but I couldn't anymore. I was desperate to join them in their community, but I just couldn't seem to do it no matter how much I tried. Then slowly but surely my healing journey started and as my wings started to heal bit by bit, I started thinking more about what I wanted from life. Then I met other birds like myself in online communities and they were like the wind beneath my wings. I literally started floating and flying again. And boy, the view from up here is great! No wonder people with problems may need support groups. In a working support group, the broken bird with the broken wings and spirit can fly again!

I've been thinking about how infertility has also helped me feel more connection with the world in general and today as I was browsing through some writings and quotes from Jean Vanier, I almost yelled "Eureka" because it felt uncanny to read something that had been brewing in your mind for a while.

“The longer we journey on the road to inner healing and wholeness, the more the sense of belonging grows and deepens. The sense is not just one of belonging to others and to a community. It is a sense of belonging to the universe, to the earth, to the air, to the water, to everything that lives, to all humanity.”

Source: here.

Anyway, I'd also like to report that after more or less 10 months, I've finally got the hang of the new dynamics in my friendship with my friends (the closest friends that I had to downgrade - our mutual solution as I was the only one who had problems with my own expectations). The more I gave them, the more they felt bad about receiving as they knew they couldn't give more. It feels great to finally be able to adjust to this new setting, though it did take quite some time. :-D

Here's another quote from Jean Vanier:

Those who enter marriage believing that it will slake their thirst for communion and heal their wound will not find happiness. In the same way, those who enter community hoping that it will totally fulfill and heal them, will be disappointed. We will only find the true meaning of marriage or community when we have understood and accepted our wound. It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of marriage or community. It is only when we stop seeing others as a refuge that we will become, despite our wound, a source of life and comfort. It is only then that we will discover peace.” 
- Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

Source: here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Answering Grief Questions + Embracing Inner Child

Lisa Manterfield asked very good questions on grief/loss in her blog that made me think hard. Here are my answers:

1. My grief has subdued over time. Lots of writing and grief work, getting support from people who get it, lots of letting go. My wounds have stopped bleeding for a while, though the scars are there, but I no longer operate on a daily basis with one eye on the bumpy scars. I’ve found more peace as time goes by and more purposes of the pain I’ve felt. I now firmly believe that my pain is not for nothing. 

2. My loss has helped me become kinder to myself. It has also helped me feel more connected to other people in general, because at the end of the day each of us has different struggles. My loss has also made me more aware of the possibility of other people’s silent struggles and losses (esp. those that people in general misunderstand).

3. My grief creeps up when I haven’t come to terms with a particular loss or when I haven’t grieved that particular loss at all or enough. It also creeps up when there’s something I know I’m missing in this childless life that I haven’t found ways to get around yet and then BAM I see the missing thing being shown so clearly in the lives of those people who have children. Example: some photos of a baby being mesmerized by his/her own foot/finger (the first time the baby realizes the existence of said foot/finger). That kind of thing may get to me because it’s difficult to replicate in my own life. It’s easier for me to embrace my inner child (without having my own child) and try to find joys in the smallest things by doing other stuff like making a snowman, for example.

Ever since we chose to walk along the childless-not-by-choice road, I've begun to feel even more acutely of the things that we miss by not having children and by not spending time with children, particularly the part where small children sees things with fresh eyes. How little things amaze them and in turn amuse the parents and remind them of the smallest joys in life.

I've tried my best in embracing my inner child over the past few years and also find joy in the smallest things. I've tried looking at my surroundings with fresh eyes (yes, even though I know it won't be the same) by taking photos from different angles and by really taking time to enjoy nature (stop and smell the roses kind of thing). 

Here is my latest attempt at creating a snowman. The weather was perfect and I had so much fun making it. :-D Mind you, all the snow has melted away by now (which is preferable compared to having icy surface everywhere), but I do hope I'll get more chances to make different kinds of snow creations later on. This one is my upside down, big-headed snowman.

The best of all that day was the fact that this cutiepie was watching me as I was making the body. No kidding! It was really curious and I couldn't help chuckling. I LOVE this place! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Waiver, The Childless Community, and Death

1. The Waiver.

A few months ago I wrote about signing a waiver in Indo, but after talking to some lawyers, I decided to postpone it. Considering the fact that the laws can change and everything can be so chaotic in Indo, I didn't like the idea of the possibility of having to pay twice to sign a waiver in case the law changes in the future and I have to sign a new waiver. So that has to be on hold, but I heard that in my aunt's case, it was possible for her to sign a waiver in her new country of residence, got it translated to Indonesian, and then have it sent to Indonesia. So that's also another option, but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

2. Voicing The Childless Community.

Prior to our trip, I had a chance to meet up the locals here along with some other expats to voice our needs so that they knew what more they could do to help new expats integrate better into society.

At one stage of the discussion, I chose a group that talked about spare time activities (another group was about daycare/schooling, something I couldn't participate in) and I had my opportunity to voice the childless community in general. I told them that as a childless person, it was hard for me to find friends and events that I could join that would enable me to find new friends. I didn't add the part that I was an introvert, but it seemed that they got the gist.

I was a bit worried of how the other people in the group would take my POV, but I was glad that they were positive about it. In fact, as I was discussing my problems of integrating into society and making new friends as a childless person, the event leader came by and she actually said, "Oh yes, a mother once told me that it was easier for mothers to meet up other mothers and arrange play dates and stuff like that because of their children. Plus there are many other social activities/events directed for those who have kids. This is a good discussion, keep talking about it!"

I was nicely surprised to hear that a mother actually said that to her. It was nice to feel heard, even though I was seriously anxious to share my stance as a minority. I think my voice trembled in the beginning, but it got steadier afterwards.

Growing up as a minority in my home country didn't really help me learn to open up about my needs or demand anything from the government. Instead, fearing for the security of my family and my fellow minority group made me learn how to lay low and not rock the boat as best as I could, even if I was right. God knows what has happened to a minority like us in the past who was targeted by some crooked individuals.

Infertility has taught me to be more open and to express my needs in a preferably effective way. First to my close friends, then to other people in general via FB, then to my family to let them know clearly what kind of support I needed. Practise makes perfect, eh? What really helped me to open up during that local event was also the knowledge that there was a group of women out there who got me and would be my soft landing in case the real world failed me. They're the wind beneath my wings. A working support group really helps one flourish in ways that one can't do on one's own.

3. Death.

Went to visit FIL's grave the other day because the headstone had just been delivered a few days ago. Death can be a pretty expensive affair. I told hubby that if I died first, I didn't want anything fancy and that I wanted it to be as practical and cheap as could be (I didn't want him to feel burdened to do anything fancy after my death). He shushed me, but at least I had gotten my point across juuuuusst in case.

Then I said, "Yeah, I know you don't like listening to this kind of talk, so let's just die together, OK?"

He agreed to that. :-D

One funny realization when I started thinking of the topic of death: if I'm old and alone and I die alone somewhere and other people find my body only much later, I've made peace with that possibility. I don't find it sad anymore even if I have no grave and nobody remembers me after I'm gone. It's kinda nice and freeing to feel this way. :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Surreal Experience: The Merging of the Two Universes

The other day when I was feeling better and I could focus more on reading, I started catching up on the blog posts that I had neglected during my holiday due to my internet break. In one post somebody wrote about how in a parallel universe, she'd have green fingers and she'd grow so many things in her garden and they'd all flourish.

You see, I had been thinking about parallel universes in my infertility journey and I had had some visualisations of myself in a parallel universe where we had children. You can say it's my wishful thinking, the ideal version of our life, my kind of escape from real life.

Anyway, as my eyes scanned the words "parallel universe", my mind started on its own journey. I have this clear, vivid image of my brain conjuring up a panel of my parallel universe from the back of my head and then all of a sudden from the other side came up this panel of real life and both of them just merged together smoothly and I gasped within, because at that exact second, there was no difference between my reality and my parallel universe. There was no need for the parallel universe anymore. It was breathtakingly beautiful and surreal at the same time. 

Image taken from here

No wonder I've felt the way I do after my Indo trip. More closure. The two universes have merged! I can't tell you how amazed I was, but then a question came knocking at the door, " long do you think this will last?"

I answered, "I have NO idea because it's the first time I've ever experienced this, but I'm going to cherish this moment and this memory and record it anyway."  

P.S. I've only started realizing lately how visual I can be LOL!!!!  

Monday, September 29, 2014

More Closure

Pardon my absence. Been away on a holiday and has been battling flu ever since I arrived back home. Still not feeling 100%, but I want to write nonetheless while it's still fresh in my mind.

The trip to Indonesia this time has made me surer of the childless-not-by-choice path that we've been walking along. It's also made me realize that there's now quite some distance between me and my buried dream compared to three years ago when I last visited Indo.

This time around, just like last time, I knew some people would ask the question (because it's just the way the culture is in Indo) and prior to our holiday I was sort of curious and anxious about my reaction, though by the time I arrived, I had already forgotten about my curiosity and anxiety because my head was on a holiday. (chuckle)

Anyway, two neighbours said, "Hurry up and make babies." I managed to explain to the other one that we're fine just the way we are and that there's no use forcing a wish if it's not God's will (I find that this line works like a charm for religious people - not only for Christians, because my neighbours aren't Christians) and she took it quite well. I didn't explain anything else to the other one, though, because the last time around when I said we were fine just the two of us, in a very shocked state she immediately replied, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I'll keep praying for you."

So this time I just smiled and chuckled. A similar thing happened when I visited the church where we got married. Two women who were at our wedding asked me, "Do you have kids? Why not? Are you using protection?" Cue confused faces when I said "no, no kids" and "no protection" without any additional info. They both just replied, "Ah, maybe not yet." To which I just smiled.

The difference between three years ago versus now was this: three years ago those words still had the power to make me feel that what we have was "less than". Three years ago I just wanted to say "Whatevaaahhhhh" to them (in a cynical, pretending-not-to-care tone), but this time around the second I heard their responses, what automatically popped out in my head was their idealized versions of how life was supposed to be. Either that or their own fear (that this kind of life that we're leading is one of their worst nightmares).

During our holiday I also spent some time with my nephews and I talked to many mothers about their daily struggles (most of them have two kids already) and watching/hearing the daily struggles made me feel these things:

1. I'm getting less and less sure concerning how good of a mother I could have been if my child wasn't the angel child that I was (during TTC) probably wishing for. Not that I was always sure I could be a good mother, mind you, but back then the primal drive to become a mother trumped all the other worries/fears/thoughts.

Other than the fact that kids in general can really push your buttons, some kids are tougher to handle than others and some kids have more problems that you can't really handle without the help of experts. Add to that is the lethal combination of the outer world that doesn't understand your silent struggles, the outer world who judges you and excludes you/your kid. Because to a certain extent, you can't really choose the kind of child that you're going to have. I remember someone once told me that she hoped that her child would have a similar personality to the father instead of herself because she felt that she was a more difficult child.

2. It's a crazy jungle of child-rearing out there and I feel less and less interest in jumping into that kind of jungle anymore. The cons of having children have outweighed the pros by a few miles now. 

I believe this is mostly due to the fact that the distance between me and our buried dream is quite far now, but it's interesting to note the shifts. I definitely feel much freer now. It feels like this trip has made me found more closure in regards to my buried dream.

That said, though, watching/hearing the daily grind of parenthood makes me understand more the existence of all those slogans and quotes concerning the importance and value of parenthood and I do admire those who are up to the task.

I'll end this here. Will catch up on blog reading later on.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Late Night Inspiration

Last night I went to bed early because I had an early shift this morning. Alas, I woke up 5 hours later to pee and then couldn't go back to sleep. Thoughts and songs kept on running through my head, but among those thoughts there was this strong idea that kept on begging me to write it down.

So that was what I did after work and after that I took a 3-hour nap ha ha...The perks of not having children! :-D I've shared this in FB as well just in case someone else needs it. As usual, click to view a bigger size.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Get Over vs Get Through

Been thinking about healing in general lately. The other day I found this brilliant quote that I think sums up what I believe in terms of my healing journey (don't know who wrote the words):

"You won't get over this, but you will get through it."

The phrase "getting over" makes me feel like one needs to put an end to something. Close the book and forget about it already, why bring it up over and over again? I can't believe you're still writing the book and talking about the details after all this time.

I've never had anyone tell me per se to get over infertility, but I have felt some subliminal messages that I shouldn't keep talking about infertility-related issues. Maybe because it makes them feel awkward and helpless, not necessarily because they don't want to listen to me. 

Just like what Jean Vanier wrote: "As we approach people in pain, they reveal to us our pain and brokenness." - A Rebel for Peace, page 134-135

I still think it may be possible to get over infertility (specifically childless-not-by-choice) for some rare individuals. I've read several people who wrote that their infertility didn't have any impact on them (or not anymore at the very least). OK, granted I have no idea if they were telling the truth or not because they were just comments I read online below some infertility articles/blog posts, but I'd rather be open to that possibility considering the fact that I've read a similar message more than twice. 

I remember my close friends' reaction years back when I first called myself an infertile (it was right after a year of TTC with no result). Their reaction was so strong that I felt as though I was jinxing myself by using that term to describe myself, even though at that time it was merely a clinical term I attributed to myself (I was still in denial at that time and the feelings of becoming an infertility victim only came a few months later if I remember correctly). 

I checked out the meanings of "getting through" in an online dictionary and here are two descriptions that I think are suitable for my own journey:

1. Become clear or enter one's consciousness or emotions/to make someone (i.e. myself) understand something.

I have gained much more clarity about myself and I've learnt more about others as well during my infertility journey because I've had to face those jumbled feelings and thoughts and figure out which is which. I've had to stand naked in front of myself and God as well and learn that we're all connected and that we're only humans. I've had to cling to a very thin thread of faith even when my whole being is in a confused and angry state and I've been granted peace beyond understanding as a result of many people's prayers for me.

2. Succeed in reaching a real or abstract destination after overcoming problems. 

The abstract destination is to find meaning(s) to my infertility journey, to feel some serenity in chaos - even if it means we'll never have children.

It's been a while since I've stopped thinking about when I'll get over infertility, because I have consciously chosen not to get over it. Why should I get over it? Infertility has shaped me in many unexpected ways and it has taught me many important lessons and I don't want to forget that I'm an infertile. Besides, I think my infertility journey is beneficial for others, too. And this way I can focus more on the lessons I can/need to learn as I continue my healing journey without the additional burden of having to reach a specific end.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

That Tiny Shift

Tracey Cleantis has moved to her new site and she asked an important question. Go here to read her first post in the new site and her question for her readers. 

Anyway, here is my answer:

"My current chapter is digging into my creative and childlike sides, forgiving others and myself, letting go over and over again (as much as I need to), and flourishing as a human being in my own unique ways."

It was a revelation for me to write those words, because in the past I would definitely have written "as a non-mom" without even thinking twice, but this time my automatic answer came out "as a human being."

HURRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! I'm celebrating this little shift!  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Busy Busy Days

Been so busy with work and life. I'm actually PMSing at the moment and have been having trouble with my temper. I suppose with many more shifts and lots of hot days at work, I've been feeling sort of fed up with work and really looking forward to our holiday. 

A coworker has been signed off for a few weeks and then yesterday she resigned from work. I had a feeling already that she wouldn't stay long with us. I have no idea what she's having because here in Finland it's unethical to tell other people about stuff like this, whereas in Indonesia stuff like this is considered normal to share. I was wondering if I should ask her through FB or not, but not sure anymore now that she's decided to quit. Her decision to quit means that the rest of us gets more shifts, which is rather difficult for me to handle because I know my own limits and it's getting rather straining to me these days (and PMS doesn't help). I am thankful that I still have a job, but I know that if I work too much, I won't be able to do my best at work (i.e. serve with a genuine smile and be intentional when serving people - instead, I'd just be counting down the hours until I can come back home).

Anyway, while struggling with my temper through work yesterday, I saw this gorgeous little boy. I almost couldn't take my eyes off him. He was seriously one of the more gorgeous children that I had ever seen. I felt like he'd fit a baby commercial. He was that gorgeous. He was staring at me intently and I tried saying hi to entice a smile, but no smile came, though it still didn't spoil my enjoyment he he...

Last Saturday I went to a coworker's graduation party and had one bingo question. Because I had to come earlier to the party (much earlier than the official time), I was the first and only guest there and her mom was in a talkative mood. We talked about many things, but of course in the beginning it was introductory time.

Mom: "So, do you have kids?"
Me: "No."
Mom: "Ah, but you're still young..."
Me: (smile) "Nah, I'm not that young anymore."

Realizing I had rendered her speechless (a few awkward seconds ensued), I quickly added, "But that's fine."

To which she replied, "Oh, yes, that's definitely okay."

That's refreshing! :-D And then we continued talking about other stuff. A few days later I met that coworker at work and she thanked me for coming and apologized if her mother was too nosy. I told her that it was completely fine and that Indonesians were even much nosier than that.

Yesterday when I rode my bike from work, I met a regular customer who always tried to chit-chat with me at work (a grandma). We rode our bikes side-by-side for the first time ever (the first time we had time to talk like that outside of my workplace) and talked about different stuff (holiday, summer, etc.). And of course she started asking about myself. She actually thought my husband was an Indonesian as well he he he he...but she didn't ask me about kids, though. She just asked me about my parents and siblings and husband. And after those questions she said, "I hope I'm not too nosy. Feel free to stop me if you feel that I'm intruding your privacy."

It's a whole new world compared to what I'm used to in Indonesia. I've had many other customers who sheepishly asked for permission first before they started asking me private questions like those. Funny how cultures can be SO different. 

P.S. Oh yeah, the grandma also asked me how I met my husband and when I said the internet, she said, "Oh, maybe I should try to find a husband in the internet, as well. You know, give the grandkids a new grandpa." She laughed while saying that and it made me laugh, too he he he he...:-) Nice to have a good and light-hearted conversation.  

P.P.S. Oh yeah, almost forgot...I found this article written by a Christian couple. In case someone wants to read it, I'm going to put it on my sidebar as well:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


When I'm back in Indo later this year, I'll be signing a waiver. My brother has contacted a lawyer concerning this. When my mother dies, I'm not sure if I can go to Indo ASAP and to make things easier for my brother, it'll be more practical if I do this now when my mom's still alive. Besides, my brother who has two kids needs mom's inheritance more than me. My mom isn't rich, but the house and land that she owns (that they're living in at the moment) is worth quite some money because of its location.

Besides, it's not that I'm entitled to the inheritance anyway. After letting go of my Indonesian citizenship, I'm not entitled to any inheritance or to buying/having properties in Indonesia. However, because the bureaucracy in Indonesia can be quite messy, it's much better to have this kind of paperwork so that my brother won't have any trouble later on when my mom passes away.

When I got married, my mom gave me some of my childhood gifts from our relatives, such as a pair of gold earrings and a baby bracelet. She also gave me a necklace, a pair of earrings, and another antique bracelet. In the past I was holding on to them because I thought I could give them away to my own children as their inheritance, a piece of my mom's and my own history. When my brother got married, mom also gave his bride some jewelleries that she had kept for years.

Now that we don't have kids, I don't know anymore whom I should give those to. Or maybe I should just keep them in case I need some money in my old age - perhaps to cover the costs of my own funeral/cremation or something he he...

In Indonesia when a baby is born, some close relatives and close friends tend to give jewellery as a present. It doesn't matter even if the baby is a boy, because there are lots of gold baby jewelleries to choose from. I think the bottom line is that they want to give a long-lasting gift, which can also be sold later on if the parents need money. In Indonesia within the Chinese community there is no baby shower tradition (well, unless the mother is very modern and wants to copy this foreign tradition, that is). 

People usually come flocking to visit the baby soon after he/she is born, bringing gifts. And at least within the Chinese community, the parents need to give back to those gift-giving people after the baby turns 30 or 40 days old. In the past the parents would send a cake or some food (chicken) ordered from a bakery/restaurants. Imagine having to send a few hundred cakes. Time consuming and expensive, no? But then again imagine receiving hundreds of baby gifts. The more people you know (at work, church, etc.) and the more relatives you have, the more people will come to visit you and your baby in the hospital. (This trend also applies to weddings - it's really hard to have small weddings there because the relatives that you don't invite may feel left out if they aren't invited)

These days, though, there are people who opt to be more practical. They'd pre-order some thank you gifts (a mug, some towels, etc.) and when the baby's born, the orders are made right away and given to the guests that come and bring gifts at the hospital. The only problem with this kind of practicality is: what if the baby doesn't make it? I have NO idea. My brother did this with his second son and when I read my mom's SMS about it, I shuddered. I didn't say anything because I felt like it was morbid to even say the words, but after the baby was born safely, I told her what I thought about this new trend and my mom shuddered at the thought, as well.

Anyway, enough rambling. This is what I made the other day that I've posted in my main blog (click to view a bigger size). 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Baby Face Generator

Back in the days when we were still in the throes of TTC, I found a baby face generator online and had fun with it. The baby produced was kinda weird, but still when one is still in dreamland, it just feels like a fun thing to do. 

Note: I googled up "baby face generator" and found out that there were many more baby face generators these days and when I clicked on MorphThing, I couldn't help laughing because some people had combined crazy photos: for example Gollum with Marilyn Manson or Chewbacca with Christina Aguilera LOL LOL LOL!!!

OK, back to my point. Was talking to some ladies in an online forum and the thread made me realize something even more clearly. I just love these clarifying moments! :-D

You see, without actively searching for answers, I had always wondered why I didn't really feel any roller-coaster emotions when I saw my brother's baby photos or heard their stories or even when I came for a visit. On the contrary, when a close friend had her baby (the first biracial baby in my group of close friends), it was hard for me especially in the beginning. I knew that my friend's baby was/is more of a reminder of what we don't have, but my brain didn't really link this fact with my brother's kids. When I see my brother's kids, I don't see genetic reminders of what we've lost (which is probably good considering the fact that I don't have to battle any roller-coaster emotions whenever we meet). 

To me, it's so hard to imagine our possible children's faces. Only God knows what they could have looked like: more Asian? More Finnish? 50-50? Or if we could have had more than one child, maybe one could be more Asian and the other more Finnish (I've seen many different combinations of Asian kids with foreign spouses)? Both may look more Asian or both may look more Finnish? Or maybe both may look 50-50 with different genetic contributions from each of us? 

I remember one friend who had a hysterectomy (since the dating period she and the husband-to-be were already thinking of adopting children - yes, they want many children) tried that baby face generator and shared the result (I forgot whether it was in FB or her blog). There's just something primal about the wish to see one's own flesh-and-blood and your genetic resemblance with them, I suppose.

Case in point: another friend was upset when people kept saying that her firstborn looked exactly like daddy, making her feel that nobody could see her contribution. She was happy whenever some rare individuals said that they could see the resemblance between the baby and her.

Another case in point: a cousin has a foreign wife and they've just had their second baby boy. The wife put up her husband's baby photo side-by-side with the second baby's photo in FB and wrote, "Maybe our next baby will look like me." 

But don't worry, talking about this doesn't hurt (maybe it helps that I'm not having PMS). :-)

Anyway, I'm counting down until our holiday in Indo. My husband has already been using an app on his mobile phone that can do a countdown to our holiday he he he he he...Work has been rather busy because many coworkers are still on their holiday and one has just started her maternity leave. 

P.S. Have you ever tried this generator during TTC?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fight Flight or Freeze Mode

Another one I found on Brené Brown answering someone's question. The freeze mode is something I can totally relate to. Well, not just the freeze mode, but the other stuff she's saying as well he he...but I won't say too much. Just watch it:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Me?

The question "Why me?" tortured my mind during my infertility journey. I think many of you (if not all) are able to relate to that.

One of the things I found early on was a quote that went like this, "Don't ask 'why me'. Instead ask 'why not me?'"

I knew that it was supposed to be an empowering quote, but in my anger at that time, I couldn't accept that kind of challenge. I didn't like it because thinking about "why not me" didn't appease the anger. So the struggle continued and I was subconsciously trying to find any answer that could appease me. I think I even pretended to shake it off at some point by telling myself that the question didn't bother me and I couldn't care less about it, but it still came out to taunt me every now and then.

Over time one of the things that crossed my mind was that anyone on earth could have asked the "why" question about many aspects of my life. I mean, if you really try to think about it globally...some people who are born with poor, abusive parents in a shitty neighbourhood may just ask me the question, "Why wasn't I not born in your family instead? I'd love to have a proper education, too." I don't know. Why was I the one who was born in my family?

And my mind went even further: Why was that particular person in the wrong place at the wrong time? Why wasn't I the one being kidnapped and abused and killed in such a brutal way? Why wasn't I born in China in a poor family who had to sell me as a rich, old man's concubine in order to pay off their debts? Why wasn't I the one being run over by that drunk driver? Why wasn't I the one left crippled/dead because of that drunk driver?

Mind you, I don't want to experience all the things (who would?), but my mind just went into overdrive. And the more I tried to think of other possible "why" questions coming from different people about any kind of topics available on earth, the only conclusion I got was: "I don't know why. It's just life. It's not fair. It's nothing personal." Funnily enough, that answer and this brain exercise were enough to appease me.  

Another thing that helped me was something that I found by accident. It was a quote that went like this: "If you want to ask why for all the bad things that happen to you, you have to ask the same question for all the good things that happen to you." Slap! Ouch!

Why me? Why not someone else who probably has given the same amount of effort and not less talented than I am? I don't know. That's just life. It's nothing personal. Again and again that was the only answer I could give. But at least this quote that has slapped me on the face has also helped me count my blessings instead of focusing on my troubles. 

Have you been asking the "why" question as well? And what kind of answers have you found along the way? 

P.S. Along the way I also found this Christian blogger who wrote about her faith and the "why me" question: It's Not About Me

Maybe I've even linked this post once, but I still think it's important enough to be linked again. Rest in peace, Sara! Your blog continues to be a blessing for me even long after you're gone...

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Glimpse of The Other Side

A few weeks ago our two adult nephews came over for a short holiday and during that time I saw the connection between them and my husband. They're all into online gaming and just last night they were talking about scheduling time to have an online gaming session together.

I think among the three brothers, my husband is the only one that spends the most time gaming (I think his dream profession would be to be in a team of creative people who create games). He babysat the two boys every now and then when they were young (before they moved away) and now they have this connection together and last night I was just thinking of the other side. That if we had a boy, they may be able to connect this way (though there's always the possibility that the boy wouldn't like games, but let me just daydream a bit). It brought a smile to my face. :-) I'm glad that he can have this bond with the boys, because they're the only heirs that we'll ever going to have.


The other week I realized that I was finally released from the expectations I had towards a group of close friends. I knew already since the beginning of the year that I had to let go, but the process took long (I was kicking and screaming all the way). The bottom line was that I had to downgrade them in order to keep my sanity and our friendship intact. 

FB gave me pretty good slaps on the face because even without trying to find any proof, it was clear as daylight how people tended to react more to baby/kiddo photos than any of my statuses/photos. In the real world when I share something directly with someone else, that person is bound to respond right away, but in a virtual world like FB, those things that aren't your priorities get swept away among all the overwhelming number of links and photos and statuses. Thus it creates an illusion that a life without kids is "less than" because the minute a baby photo is up (along with many other cute kiddo moments like the M-Day or F-Day's creations made by the kids), many would rush over to comment and/or share their own stories/moments. I get it. It's nothing personal. It's the bond that connects them, but during the time when I had too much expectation from a certain group of people, it still hurt. It stung.

I confronted my friends at one point because I felt that they weren't responding to any parts of my email (and they also didn't respond too much in my FB compared to the baby/kiddies' photos). Mind you, at that time they were busy talking about a pregnancy/birth story/parenting in their emails and I felt left out (almost no response to my emails during that period of time - my acute brain couldn't help detecting these details). Again I knew it was nothing personal, but it still hurt. From the confrontation, they said that they had given me everything they could, though they did admit that the pregnancy/birth story did get too much airing time at some point because of the freshness of it all, but the only possible option was for me to downgrade them. 

I felt some resentment and anger for months. I thought it was sick that I had to be the one downgrading them, even though I still wanted to give them more time and energy, but if in the end it only made me feel resentful and it may make them feel guilty for not being able to give me more time, then what's the use? 

Mind you, some of them did tell me that they sometimes felt guilty for not being able to give me more time because of life's busyness and their priorities and that really shocked my system, because I never intended to make anyone feel that way. I just wanted to give as much time and effort as I wanted because they were that important to me (and because I'm the only one who has the most free time - at some point I also cursed myself for having the most free time because then I got tempted to want to give more time and attention to them, which in retrospect only resulted in making my expectation go high). To put it simply, I had put my eggs in the wrong basket.

So I took a break from FB and focused more on my group of women who are childless-not-by-choice like myself and on my writing/photo challenges. I haven't written them an email in a long time, though we still communicate in bits and pieces via FB. All these things helped. Months passed by...the resentment gradually grew less and less and finally one day when I logged into FB again and saw some activities among them, I didn't feel any resentment anymore. That was the moment I realized I had succeeded in downgrading them.

I had never thought that I would have to do something like this, because they had always been my go-to group, core group of friends. We'd known each other for at least half of our age (I've known half of them even slightly longer than that), but there's no stopping it now. I've done it. This is for our own good. All of us. No more hard feelings. I feel relieved. Much lighter. :-) 

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Haven't really been having any ideas concerning infertility. Been battling with a bout of summer cold and summer rush at work. It's been cold, after all (temperature dropping to 0'C at some points with a dash of sleet). A friend has just lost her father and I'm reminded again of the gift of life and the fragility of life itself. 

The crying sky during Midsummer Eve and Midsummer has dotted the plants with lots of beautiful raindrops and here are some photos that I took during Midsummer party (with a runny nose and a cough). I also posted these photos in my main blog. 

I had SO MUCH FUN taking these photos in the rain, though it was kinda hard to take focused photos of these beauties without using a tripod. Had to really hold my breath sometime and then at some points I managed to get some drops on my lens because I got too close ha ha ha ha...but life's so beautiful. My friend's dad's passing makes me more aware of how precious it is the days I get to spend with my loved ones. 

Enjoy the photos...would you let me know which ones are your fave (if you can't pick just one)? I would like to know he he...

P.S. Funny thing is that those blue flowers are supposed to be light purple, but for some reason my camera changed them into more blue instead (and I tinkered with the contrast a little). Click the photos to see bigger views.

P.P.S. That red dotted thing is a garden decoration, not a giant ladybird. The stone was painted in such a way to resemble a ladybird. :-D 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Search for Purpose/Meaning

One thing I felt deeply about during my infertility journey was the search for purpose/meaning in my pain experience. What is the purpose of this pain experience? Can I find some meanings from all this chaos? 

When someone is wallowing in grief, when someone's just experienced a tragedy, we will normally let the person grieve and wallow. Only after some time of wallowing and grieving, when the person can feel the wind on her cheeks and the sun on her body again, then it's good time to try to find some purpose/meaning in the tragedy (pain experience).

One of the things that has helped me is finding the purposes/meanings of my pain experience. The buried and broken dream can become fertilizer for something else that way. Otherwise the buried and broken dream will stench and I'd end up focusing on the rottenness of the stench and that wouldn't propel me forward in my healing journey. Once I get a clearer sense of some of the purposes/meanings of my pain experience, I am more able to focus on the tiny buds growing from the ground that is being fertilized by that buried/broken part. It's true that every now and then I can still smell the stench, but over time the more meanings/purposes I find, the more seeds are growing from the ground and the easier it gets to focus more on the growing buds/trees/flowers.

No wonder many times over I've read how people overcome a tragedy by creating an organization to honor their loved ones' memories as well as help other people who may be experiencing a similar thing. 

During my worst moment in my IF journey, I found a purpose to my pain despite the fact that I was really angry at that time (or maybe because I was angry, my pride wouldn't let me feel like all that pain and anger were for nothing). At that time I felt the need to cut myself (though I didn't do it), but it was only then and there did I get a real glimpse of why some people do it. That was an important moment for me, because that experience adds a layer of understanding from my part towards others in a more straightforward and personal way (as opposed to learning about it from someone else's experience).
I also remember finding someone who walks through an infertility path as well (though she walked a different path), but during her tough times she thanked me for being there for her and for not saying the wrong words. That was one of my first inklings of the purpose of my pain experience. If my shared experience makes just one person feel less alone, then it's one purpose. One seed. 

During the dark moments, I also found comfort when I read these verses from 2 Cor 1:3-4:

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

These verses spoke through me and reminded me of what I had written in my previous post: what another blogger had once told me about my being a good encourager. Another purpose added to the layer of purpose above, thank you very much.

I find it crucial to believe with all my heart and soul that my pain experience isn't for nothing when it comes to continuing my healing journey. Your pain is not for nothing, either. We are interconnected. Imagine the wealth of wisdom we get to learn from one another's pain experiences. So much fertilizer material everywhere...what has your pain experience taught you? I find it helpful to write about them, as well, because when I'm in my dark spot, I can always go back and reread them and feel encouraged by them again.