Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Sum of My Parts

Mali has written a brilliant blog post again entitled "The Rest of My Life" and I've been wanting to write my own answer to that question posed in Lisa's blog, but I've been busy, so I only have time to type this down now. Before I start, let me also share loribeth's post on the same topic.

A few years back, after deciding on surrendering to life without children, I felt the need to find something "grand/noble" to fill my life as a result of not having children. I think this stemmed from the fact that many people would automatically say, "You can always adopt" whenever we said we couldn't have children and I have read many people who accused infertiles of being selfish for trying out treatments "when there are so many abandoned children out there". As if one needs to be like Mother Teresa if one wants to have children but can't. So I definitely felt the societal pressure to find something big to do with my life when the baby thing didn't work out, but I never really started searching.

In the first place, I was lost, grieving, sorrowful, and I had to deal with so many emotional storms that I couldn't think straight. We did make one rash decision during this journey because I was so angry with our empty arms and after learning that lesson, I decided not to make any decision when I'm angry. I had to take time to enter that place of pain and process my grief along with all the emotional storms inside. After all, the only way to handle grief is to grieve. 

The first things I did in order to move on were probably these:

1. Finding small things that bring me joy and doing things that bring me joy.

2. Tapping into my inner child (in my case I try to build different kinds of snow creations in winter, the photos of which you can check out in my main blog).

3. Writing down the things I've been learning during my infertility journey and rebranding infertility as a guru instead of an enemy and truly believing in it.

Only after doing the above and after getting farther away from the rows and rows of buried dreams (after doing grief work for a longer time) did I start getting clues on what I wanted to do. It's not about finding big, grand dreams, but for me it's more about being more focused on what kind of woman I want to become now that I know I won't be a mother. 

I owe Michelle Frost a HUGE thank you for her eloquent words in the comment section of one of my posts in this blog (for some reason I have a hard time trying to find that particular post to link here). In that post I was talking about leaving a legacy on earth and she said, "Amel, YOU are your own legacy." The words knocked me off my chair. I was wondering why on earth did I ever try to separate myself into different parts/roles because I was talking about leaving a legacy as a blogger. But in truth is that I am the sum of my parts and my legacy to the world should be the entirety of myself, the whole of me, everything that makes me who I am. Her words were like soothing balm to my soul at that time. THANK YOU for knocking me off my chair, M! :-D One's pain can truly blind one so much to one's full potentials.

Anyway, one thing I want to focus on these days is being an encourager. A few years back a blogger friend of mine told me that she said I excelled in encouraging her and her words stuck in my head. Sure anyone can encourage anyone they meet, but I want to do it with more awareness these days. I want to be more intentional in becoming an encourager. Just finding this one task has made me more purposeful in life. Life is more exciting this way! :-D What other things do I want to focus on? I haven't figured them out yet, but I have time. :-) It's exciting to try to figure out what else I want to/can incorporate in my life. It's like a mini adventure. :-D

Other than that, our life continues just like before. I think I once wrote about how it feels like we're a couple of empty nesters because of the shift from wanting to have children/preparing to have children mentality to life with no children. The only difference is that we have no children. These days I no longer worry about making future plans that may clash with the possible pregnancy, so we're trying to live life to the fullest and enjoy life as a complete family of two. 

Oh, and every now and then I try to educate people about infertility and its effects, but it doesn't come from a place of pain anymore. Meaning I share infertility links not because I need people to validate my pain (like what I did in the past when I was still hurting so much), but because I simply want to share awareness of the different shades of infertility. This is probably the biggest change compared to life pre-infertility. Infertility is now a part of my life and life has never been the same after that. These days I have an infertility survivor badge etched in my soul.

These days we're trying to save money for our old age, because we probably won't be able to rely on any relatives to take care of us if we ever live that long (considering the possibility of not being able to live on our own anymore), so ideally we should have some fund for our old age so that if we need to pay people to help us with something, we can still afford it. However, I also try not to think too much or plan too much because life is so full of surprises (but I still love saving money for rainy days LOL!). We would love to be able to pay off our house loan and also do some renovations in the future, but in the meantime I can say that life is good. It's beautiful. I'm content. And summer's coming. :-D 

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