Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lost, Found, Butterflies Abound

My last post was unexpected. I received a Facebook message from a friend asking if I would talk to a friend of hers about the adoption process (something I have done for several friends of friends over the years). That night, I thought about this girl (whom I have never met and have yet to speak to) and her struggle to get pregnant and the difficulty of the decision to move on to adoption. Suddenly, I felt inspired to write a post about it as I recalled my own painful infertility journey; how lost and alone I had felt back then. I thought about how many people really have absolutely no idea what infertility feels like and the strong roller coaster of emotions that accompany it. And so that night I started writing an Open Letter to Women of Infertility Everywhere. By the next morning, I finished it, and published it on my blog and posted it on Facebook.

The outcome of that “Open Letter” has blown my mind away. I wrote it with the intention of helping this girl to not feel alone and with the hopes of shedding light on infertility with some of my Facebook friends who may be uneducated on the topic. But as of right now, it has been viewed nearly 3000 times and it has been shared on several other blogs; on message boards on Babycenter; on Twitter; and all over Facebook.  I even saw that someone did a search on Yahoo specifically for The Courage In Me! AND The Courage In Me is third on the search results! WHAT??? I’m still processing it all.

The “Open Letter” has been read not just in the USA, but literally all over the world… Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Greece, Germany, India, Malta, South Africa, Argentina (I’m assuming this is by someone I know), Denmark, Belgium, Mexico, Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Korea, Puerto Rico, and Italy.

Like Maggie (my BFF) said to me…infertility is a subject that transcends race, religion, socioeconomic status, class, etc. Unfortunately, it is a universal struggle. It is a topic that is relatable to millions everywhere on this earth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Open Letter to Women of Infertility Everywhere

Dear Infertility Sister:

I’m writing because I know that you’re hurting. I know it’s not easy being you. I know you feel wounded and alone.

I know that it doesn’t make sense that you are being excluded from experiencing what your own mother, sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends have all been able to do without any trouble.

I know that you feel immeasurable desperation to have control and a say in when to have a baby. You wonder why everyone else gets to plan and choose and you don’t.

I know you feel powerless at the hands of your body. I know you hate your body because it has betrayed and rejected you and made you its victim. When you were a little girl, your body deceived you into believing that one day you’d get to have a baby. Sometimes you remember when you played with your friends and put a ball under your shirt and pretended to be pregnant. You remember how much you loved your baby dolls and how you believed that one day the scenario would be real.

I know that you feel stupid when you recall the times you had pregnancy scares and all the years you used contraceptives. You now realize it was all in vain because your body isn’t able to do what it was created to do.

I know that you feel defeated and resentful for doing everything you were supposed to do to prepare your body for pregnancy. You ate right. You stopped drinking. You bought pre-natal vitamins. And I know that you still take prenatal vitamins, you still avoid alcohol and all the other pregnancy no-no’s …just in case maybe this month you really are pregnant.

I know that you’ve kept track religiously of your periods for what seems like an eternity and that you have tried every imaginable trick and tip you’ve heard about or read about in an attempt to conceive your miracle.

I know you are sick and tired of seeing doctors and being physically and emotionally vulnerable with each insemination or in-vitro you do. You’re exhausted of being poked and prodded; of having ultrasounds, blood tests, procedures, and surgeries. You’ve endured enough humiliation to last a lifetime, opening your legs for strangers month after month, each time praying that this will be the last time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Ending Guaranteed

For the past 15 or 20 years, many friends have said to me “You need to write a book.” At first, I used to giggle and laugh at the idea, but eventually, I started believing them. I found it exciting, flattering, and interesting that friends from all walks of life came to the same conclusion whenever they’d hear my story. I’ve had friends say I could make a movie with some of my stories. I’ve had friends tell me my stories could make a great sitcom or dramedy script. (And if you knew some of the characters I’ve had in my life, you’d understand.)

One friend I had in my late 30’s used to talk to me a lot about my future book. She enjoyed writing like I did and so it was a fun topic for us to discuss. But we were both on the same page (no pun intended) that I couldn’t write my book just yet because I still didn’t have my “happy ending”. You see, at the time, I was trying to get pregnant with baby #2, and to me, that seemed like the best possible and happiest way that the book of my life-story could end. 

Inside, I hated myself for thinking that way. I hated myself for it because it felt like I was saying that adoption had not been good enough the first time around and that the true measure of success as a mother would only be mine after I had experienced pregnancy, labor, and the birth of my spawn…a little mini-me with my DNA. (Word to the wise: if you know anyone who is waiting to adopt or who has adopted, don’t ever tell them “Watch. Now you’re going to get pregnant!” It’s a huge insult and every adoptive mom I know hates that comment. File that under "Things To Never Say To An Adoptive Parent")

Anyway, after three years of trying to conceive, I threw in the towel and we began the adoption process again. After two more years, we became parents to our beautiful baby girl and we lived happily ever after. The End. No, not really.

You see, baby #2 actually didn’t bring the happy ending I thought it was going to bring me. Of course I was overjoyed, over-the-moon happy, happy, happy. And anyone who saw me then or knows me now can attest to that. She was (is) our little miracle and the answer to our prayers. She completed our family and filled a big void in our lives. What I mean that it wasn’t the happy ending I thought it would be is that I still didn’t think it was book-worthy material or the way I would end my book. I didn’t feel inspired to sit down and start writing my story. Obviously, having a newborn deprives you of the freedom to sit at the computer and write, but even if that hadn’t been the case, my heart still didn’t feel like I had gotten the happy ending I was expecting to feel.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Chihuahua In Me

I'm afraid I'm going to start sounding like a broken record soon because how many more times can I write about what an angry, bitter, and resentful 20-something year-old I was? How my rage came out in unexpected places and my victims were innocent McDonald’s cashiers or Bank of America tellers? But that is who I was back then, so I suggest you get used to hearing some crazy stories. I also choose to see the humor in the insane antics of my youth and reflect on them as something to laugh about now rather than beat myself up for them. I would also like to add that I have 100% proof that there is a God, because if there wasn’t, my now-husband would have left my ass a long, long time ago.

I am not a tall girl. I am only 5’2” and in my early 20’s I weighed 105lbs. My attitude at the time though made me feel 6’5” and 275lbs. In my mind, I was the Incredible Hulk. In reality, I was a yappy, little Chihuahua.

Shortly after DJ and I became a couple, he had the privilege of witnessing my rage firsthand. As I mentioned in the last two posts (here and here), just before we started dating, he had been going out with a “troubled” girl. What I meant by “troubled” was that she lived in a group home for girls, literally just down the street from his house. He broke up with her to be with me.

Well, these girls would pass by DJ’s house in their group home van and yell obscenities at him on his ex-girlfriend’s behalf. One time, I happened to be outside with DJ when the van drove by. They started cursing at me and calling me names. Naturally, I yelled and cursed back. DJ was mortified at my behavior. (Especially because I did it in front of his parents who were outside with us too.) The van came to a halt and popped into reverse. I thought “Oh shit.” I had flashbacks of my grade school days and the bullies who tormented me and that one wannabe gang-banger in particular, La Sparkles, who had made 6th grade unbearable.

The van stopped in front of the house and I continued my yelling rampage while DJ and his mom and dad tried to shut me up and had to physically hold me back from approaching the van. If it hadn’t been for the three of them, the headline would have read: “Van-load of Angry Latina Girls Beat Up A Fellow Angry Latina Girl”. I have to ask DJ what he remembers of the incident, but I believe one of the girls (not the ex-girlfriend) got out of the van to threaten me while I shouted “&%$#  YOU!!!!” at the top of my lungs.