When parenting pressure possibly prevents pregnancy.

Hey there! Long time, no speak. I don’t have a reason for it, other than I guess time flew before I felt the need to rant/unload/share anything. The basic truth is I was feeling rather good, and rather positive despite this being cycle 24. That was until 6 days ago, when I had an almighty emotional crash for some random reason that I couldn’t even figure out for a day or two. Hence, my logging in to my blog to rant/unload/share.

So, back up … Last time I blogged, I wrote about figuring out how anxiety is impacting my life and that I had decided to speak to someone. Fast forward to now, and I have had 3 lovely appointments with an extremely kind and warm lady. I instantly felt the difference after walking out of my first appointment. It was liberating. I have never had any sort of counselling before, but I happily blabbed away to my heart’s content. I came away feeling so much lighter and so much more positive.

Last week though, I felt my positivity came crashing down and I was left with tears, anger and frustration and I couldn’t see which way was up. It was so confusing. I even felt angry and about feeling angry. I was frustrated I had tripped up, emotionally speaking. But our paths are rocky, eh? No path is smooth in life. And this path I am on, finding my way back to emotional paradise, where downs are only dips, recovery from a minor stressful moment is instant and every day holds mostly happy thoughts, self-worth, fulfilment and laughter; it is a little rocky. I am lucky though. Most of my days contain happy thoughts a plenty, laughter and dips rather than downs if there are any. Many people have much darker times than me, I know that. Sometimes, I feel like I go for a little visit to see those people though. I feel the turmoil, the self-doubt, the negative self-talk. I see how dark it can be. I hear the screams of panic, cries for help and pleas for the pain to go away. I am lucky. Those times are fleeting for me. I probably get dragged there by my hormones if I’m honest. I visited this weekend just gone, but only for a short while. I’m back in my world now, and it is a sunny day.

Being back here gives me a chance to assess what I saw, felt and heard. It gives me a brief chance to talk to my subconscious about what is going on. This weekend I discovered that I’m angry about how our society parents in the western world (I’m talking a general thing here). I also discovered that I question my strength to bring another child into a world where parenting is in such crisis, putting them in potential situations that I’m not comfortable with. What am I going on about I hear you ask? Let me elaborate …

Personally, I feel that as a parenting society too many of us over protect our children and are judgemental of others. As a parenting society we are so afraid of hurting our children’s feelings, we can’t see through it to make good decisions for our offspring. As a parenting society, we act for our children before teaching them the tools to act for themselves. As a parenting society, in being so desperate to do the perfect job we are actually sending our children the wrong messages.

I put myself in the group of parent in crisis. I am desperate to do the best job, and ensure my child is not hurt in any manner. I put an immense amount of pressure on myself. But do you see how I am setting myself up for failure? I cannot do the best parenting job ever, because I am human. I make mistakes. There will be times I make the wrong decision. There will be times I lose my patience. But I also love my child more than life itself. I provide her with healthy food, clean clothes and motivating toys and activities. I try to teach her how to be a good friend, how to use manners and right from wrong. I try to teach her about the world, differences, similarities, how to be healthy and letters and numbers. I do the best I can do with all that I have. Surely, I am a good parent because of these things?

A friend of mine had something happen to her daughter at school with another child. She was unhappy, to say the least. Apparently, the other child was totally in the wrong, and the situation was dealt with at school. No child was hurt physically, and it was a ‘normal’ schoolyard one off clash as far as I could tell. However, my friend was in total anguish about the whole thing! She felt angry towards the other child. She felt angry towards the school for letting it happen. She felt guilty about sending her child to this school (they had recently moved there). She worried it would stop her daughter settling in and being happy. She entertained pulling her out! Stop. Stop. Stop. Surely this story should have stopped at, ‘the situation was dealt with at school.’ Perhaps rather than my lovely friend feeling so terrible about the whole thing, she should have stepped back, realised that in the path to being a fully developed social being children make mistakes! They do silly things that hurt feelings and occasionally body parts. Some children do things because they are hurting so bad inside. Perhaps rather than letting her child see the guilt and anger she had, she could have taught her how to be compassionate and loving. She could teach her how to be resilient and get back in that classroom with her head held high. She could have used the school community as a resource to help her child develop. She could have turned into something so wonderful, but instead chose to give her child a different message. In my eyes, the wrong one.

OH PARENTS OF THE WORLD HEAR ME! Putting your child first does not always mean instant gratification and even instant happiness for them. We must stop pressuring ourselves to be the ones who make our child happy 100% of the time. Our job is to teach them HOW to be a good, happy person in the world, who knows how to overcome obstacles when they arise. And they will. Just look at me and you!

So, how does this all come back to me and my blog about Secondary Unexplained Infertility? Well, I’m thinking I’ve (and by I’ve I mean my subconscious) been doubting my parenting approach at times, as it sometimes goes against the grain and in some small and bizarre way I feel a little guilty that I have brought Little One into a world that expects her to be bloody darn perfect despite her being so small. However, it is funny this is a thing for me, as Little One has many wonderful traits and we actually get lots of positive comments about her. She isn’t always perfect though. Yesterday she shouted at me because I had distracted her (it wasn’t on purpose!) and spoiled her playdough creation. I could make an excuse and defend her actions, like so many Mums do, but I’m not going to. Because she is not always perfect and that is OK. And that finally leads me to trying for Baby number 2 … Can I bring another imperfectly perfect little being into the world, to face criticism, judgement and labelling? Do I have the strength to just love my children for who they are, and ignore any whispers about their flaws? Do I have enough belief in the fact that my husband and I love them enough that nobody else needs to?

I think I can answer yes to these questions, because I am pretty sure it is fear who is asking them.

So, I count down to the end of cycle 24 … Bloated. Check; perhaps more so than normal, but hey perhaps I’m just kidding myself. Emotional and irritable . Check; and extremely so around 6dpo and 7 dpo. Swollen breasts. Check, well a little. I hope this is the one.

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Accepting

This Clomid cycle has been much improved. Maybe my body is coping with it better, or maybe the B6 is helping, but either way it has been welcome relief after Clomid cycle 1. Skin is pretty much clear again now, and it’s nice to be rid of the teenage look and not have to cake heaps of concealer on each morning. With a week to go until D day, there are no major PMT signs. This time last month I was already starting to cramp, and tears were almost on the hour. Emotionally, I feel so normal. Feeling normal shouldn’t even be something I have to make note of, and feel grateful for. It should be just that, the norm. Anyway, the point is, I’ve been feeling pretty good. Not irritable, or any anger towards the universe. I feel light, and the most accepting I have felt of our situation for a while.

The infertility battle can define you if you let it. I can become all consumed, overwhelmed and it can infiltrate my life at almost every level. I’ve talked about it to my husband at every chance, only for him to become despairing; holding his hands up, asking what I want him to say or do. I’ve unloaded onto my closest friends whenever I could. I’ve thought about it constantly, and I mean constantly, for days at a time. And I’ve let the humiliation, questions, hurt and sadness eat away at me, leaving me feeling bitter or teary.

Right now (and I say right now, because I know these attitudes can fluctuate), I’m tired of battling. I’m tired of feeling like I’m clinging on by my fingernails. I’m tired of feeling desperate. I’m tired of feeling like I’m running, looking over my shoulder because the dark shadow of infertility is haunting me; out to catch me; claws at my back attempting to have me entirely in its clutches.

I’m tired of trying to find reasons for why this is happening to us. I’m tired of feeling like I have to justify myself to others: we aren’t really and truly infertile; everything works, really; I’m just like you, it’s just taking a long time.

I’m tired of this journey defining us. I’m not just the girl who couldn’t have a second child. I’m not just the girl who couldn’t move on. I’m not just the girl who let infertility destroy her. I’m a Mum. And a frickin’ good one. I’m a wife. And a frickin’ awesome one. I’m a friend. And a frickin’ fabulous one.

I’m in no way saying that I’ve lost hope. Not at all. I actually find it pretty difficult to give up hope (I tried once to see if it would help, it didn’t because I had nowhere else to go but down). I’m just saying I don’t want anger, bitterness and sadness to be the first thing people see. I’m saying I don’t want my daughter witnessing the horror of an incomplete Mumma. I’m saying I want to have fun and laughter every day. I’m saying I want a relationship with my husband focused on love, enjoyment of each other’s company and not on shared grief (though we will have this sometimes). I’m saying I want to live in the now, and look forward to the future.

I don’t know what the next week has in store for us. I’m staying positive it’s something good. But if it’s not… Well, let’s just accept that it’s not. I think I’m getting to the point where I turn around and face my infertility shadow head on. I’m close to sticking two fingers up to it, and shouting, “Come on then if you think you’re stronger!” I want the power back. I am stronger. I want to choose to accept what is happening, but not give in. I also choose to calmly and serenely do whatever I can and whatever it is I have to do to make this reach a conclusion.

Stage 1: Accept.