My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 80 Worst Advice Ever!

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 80
261. What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given?

The worst advice I’ve ever received?  That’s an easy one.  I’ve been advised by more than one person to be grateful that I was never able to have children.  It’s sometimes baffling to me to think that people would actually advice someone that was never able to have children that instead of being sad about it, they should embrace it and be grateful.

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Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

The interesting thing is that the people that have said this to me are all parents.  I know deep down it is probably said during a difficult parenting day because there are very few parents in this world that would actually say they wished they never had children.  I’m sure it’s said out of frustration or tiredness, but it is still crazy to me that anyone would think this is good advice to give an infertile person.

Being in a minority of childless people, it is tough sometimes when people say things that are clearly inappropriate.  How do you even respond to that?  Do you smile and say, “yes, that’s great advice.  I’m so thankful I don’t have one of those!”.  Or do you call them on it and question if they realize what they are actually saying?  Do they seriously think I should be grateful that I never was able to become a mother?  Do they wish that for themselves?  Highly doubtful.

There are so many dysfunctionalities when you live the life of a childless person.  So many stereotypes you have to conquer and so many stupid comments you have to learn to not take to heart.  I wish I could say it gets easier over time, but it really doesn’t.  You learn better ways of dealing with it, but it’s definitely not any easier.
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My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 37

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 37
70. Write a letter to someone you need to forgive

Dear Self,

I forgive you.  I forgive you for so many of the things that you have been feeling guilty  about for so many years.  I forgive you for all of those things that you have been holding in your heart that have been weighing  you down.  It’s time to let forgiveness start to heal you.  Only when you can forgive yourself will you be able to put all of these negative feelings behind you.

I forgive you for falling in love when it clearly wasn’t right.  If you were a stronger person, you would have not gotten caught up in the emotions and would have been able to see that you were going down a path that was not safe.  Not safe for your or any of the others involved.  Because you were not stronger, it caused (and still causes) so much pain.  I forgive you for being weak, but it’s time to learn from your experiences and move on.

I forgive you for staying in relationships that have caused more pain then happiness.  To many times in your life you have taken the easy road.  Even if it meant that you had to be unhappy while doing it.  You wasted a good deal of your life settling for mediocre because it was going to be to hard and to much work to try and make a change.  You deserve so much more then mediocre.  You are a good and kind person and settling for letting others treat you as if you are insignificant is not acceptable.  You tend to bend over backwards for others, and while you are doing that, they are walking all of you.   It’s time that others should value your importance and show it.  If they can’t, then you do not need them in your life.

I forgive you for not following through on the things that were important to you.  There were so many things you wanted in life, yet you didn’t have the strength or the courage to follow them through.  You gave up to easy and now you are finding that it’s to late to go back and fix any of that.  Luckily for you, life has turned out pretty well, so it is time to let go of the sadness for what you haven’t done and focus on the things that you can still do.  There are still so many things that you want to accomplish and now that you have learned your lesson about not giving up, I hope that you are able to see all of these things through.

I forgive you for being a difficult teenager and putting your parents through so much. They really are good people and there was a time when you caused them a lot of pain.  The pain in their eyes when you would tell them that you hated them and wished you could go live in a foster home is still burned in your heart.  It’s time to forgive yourself for those past mistakes.  You have done so much for them as you have all grown older.  You can never go back and take back things you have done or said.  The only thing you can do now is try and show that you never meant to cause the pain that you did.

I forgive you for never speaking up about being sexual abused.  Although at this point in life, it seems pointless to tell those that don’t already know what happened to you when you were a child, you still hold a lot of confusion and uncertainty in the fact that you never shared what was happening.  Could things have been different?  Would it have changed anything in anyway had you spoke up?  It’s time to let go of those feelings and accept that how you handled it was the best way you knew how at the time.

I forgive you for not learning to say NO when it was important to do so and for not saying YES when it was important to do so just because you were afraid.  How many  times in your life have you done something you didn’t want to do, just because you didn’t have the strength to tell someone no?  Or how many times have you missed out on something because you didn’t have the courage to say yes?  It’s impossible to know the impact on your life from making all of those choices.  How would life be different if you would have said yes on that one occasion?  Would saying no that other time have changed the course of your life’s direction?  You will never know.  And for that reason, it’s time to forgive yourself and not dwell on what could have been.

This letter is sent in hopes that you will soon learn to start forgiving yourself for the mistakes you have made in your life.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Everyone has regrets.  The important thing to remember is that you have a beautiful heart that deserves happiness.  Beating yourself up over things that you cannot change will never give you true peace.

With Love,
Yourself

My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 35

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 35
101. Write about an old resentment or unhealed hurt

For the most part, I don’t hold a lot of resentments.  I try hard to let things go and forgive (not always easy, but I try).  As for hurt, although my heart  and mind have been through the ringer on countless occasions, I’ve learned over the years how to heal it, or at least find ways to pretend that it is healed.  That being said, my one greatest unhealed hurt is the pain of never being a mother.

Infertility is a bitch.

Although the hurt lessens as I grow older, it doesn’t take away from the agony I have dealt with my entire adult life.  The hurt started not long after I began trying to have a child. This was back when I was still under the impression that it could happen. Yet, it wasn’t happening and I didn’t understand why.  At the same time that all of this was happening, many of my friends were getting pregnant and having babies.  It is an indescribable pain to have to try and be happy for those around you when inside it was actually tearing my heart to pieces.  The countless baby showers and 1st birthday parties would often times lead me into a funk that would take weeks or sometimes even months to pull myself out of.  Yet, few knew this.  I would always go with a smile and a happy attitude.  Very few knew of my hurt and even those that did know could never really understand.  Some tried and looking back now I appreciate the effort, but it is hard to hear someone tell you they “understand your sadness” as they head home to take care of their two children.  I had someone tell me once that they understood EXACTLY what I was feeling because they really wanted to have a fourth child but couldn’t afford it.  I still am baffled to this day as to what this person was thinking when they said this.  Did they honestly think that that not being able to have any children at all compares not being able to have four??  That one still makes me shack my head.
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After many years of trying, I was finally given some relief in finding out that I was just not able to get pregnant. I say “relief” because at least now I didn’t have to continually get my hopes up that “maybe this is the month”.   So, once you find out it just isn’t going to happen… then what?  Well, at first you grieve.  Yes, I mean real grief.  The same grief you feel when you lose someone important in your life.  It was at that moment that I lost a piece of myself.  I had wanted to be a mother since I was a young girl.  I had names picked out for my kids when I was a teenager.  When I was a senior in high school, each person was allowed to write something about themselves and their future in the year book.  I didn’t write about traveling the world or attending college.  I wrote that I was going to have kids and live happily ever after with my beloved husband.  When that is what you have expected that life will bring you (and why shouldn’t you.. EVERYONE has kids… it’s just a very matter-of-fact thing… until it isn’t), when it gets taken away from you, it is a blow to the gut and a stab in the heart.

To be perfectly honest, even after I was told I would not be able to have kids, I still would imagine myself getting pregnant.  I don’t know if it was a defense mechanism to protect myself from a full fledge breakdown, but whatever it was, I always would tell myself that “There is still time.  It could happen.”.  As the years passed by and I got older, I began to finally accept and realize that I would never be a mom.

I spent many years of my life trying to disguise the pain by pretending that I was better off not having children.  I would make up stories about how I wouldn’t have been a good mother anyway because I don’t have the patients, or say that it was better off because I could do anything I wanted to do and didn’t have to be responsible for another human being.  But let’s face it, that was all lies.  Lies to help protect me from being the outsider of almost every female conversation.  When you are in your twenties and thirties, it is impossible to have a conversation with a group of females without it being about kids.  NOT TO SAY that there is anything wrong with people talking about their kids, but it can be difficult to have relationships with people when you start to have fewer and fewer things in common with them.  And I did have relationships that ended up fading away due to our different life styles.  So on top of dealing with never being a mother, I was also losing friends.  Talk about a double kick in the butt.

I used to go shopping a lot when I was younger and would buy a ton of baby clothes.  I had so many friends and family having babies and I wanted to also put some of those baby clothes away for when I had a child of my own.  At one point I had bags and bags of brand new baby clothes.  Over the years, I gave them away at baby showers and donated some to shelters.  However, for the last 25 years, I have kept hidden in the bottom drawer of my dresser one outfit that I just have never been able to part with.  I always imagine my daughter wearing this and the thought of given it away meant that I officially accepted that it was never going to happen.  After all of these years,  there it sits, in the bottom drawer of my dresser next to my old high school cheerleading skirt.  I have a strange feeling I will never be able to let it go.

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I could go on and on about this topic and I am sure that future blogs will discuss this in more detail, but for now, we will just leave it as my greatest unhealed hurt.  Because it still hurts.  Even all of these years later.

Christmas: Eating, Shopping, Family, Friends and Reflections

close up of christmas decorations hanging on tree
Photo by Miesha Moriniere on Pexels.com

It is amazing to me how quickly time goes by.  I will never forget when I was in my early 20’s, I had a coworker tell me that as you get older, time goes by faster.  I didn’t really understand that they meant at the time, but for some reason it stuck with me.  Well, I COMPLETELY understand now.  I had all good intentions of writing about my holidays while they were actually happening, but look at me… over 2 weeks after Christmas, just now sitting down to reflect.

Like the majority of holidays, being that “infertile” one with no children is always a struggle.  It is sad to say, but it does not get easier as I age.  I’ve just figured out ways over the years to mask or squash the random stabs of pain that it brings.  It is not a constant pain, but there are definitely triggers.  The triggers are usually the same year-to-year, so at least I am fully prepared to anticipate them coming.  What are some of my triggers?  Social media is a tough one for me around the holidays.  Posts suggesting that the greatest joys in life come from celebrating Christmas through the eyes of your child, or suggesting that Christmas is so much better when you have children to celebrate with.  Even all of the family picture posts showing the parents and kids around the tree can trigger emotions of sadness.  Emotions that you never express of course, because that would make people think you are not happy for them or their families.  I was actually accused one time of making others feel they could not share or discuss anything about their children around me, because of my reactions of not having children of my own.  That was devastating and so I no longer tell anyone about any of the feelings I am experiencing, just in fear that I will once again be accused of being the Grinch that hates children.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

This year was a pretty typical holiday season or us.  We spent a good deal of the season in the car driving to one location or another to celebrate with a variety of family.  We joke every year that “next year” we are NOT doing this and we are going to run away and escape to a tropical island and just celebrate the holidays alone.  Of course, we have yet to do that… but I must admit, each year it gets more and more tempting.

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Photo by Julius Silver on Pexels.com

We started off the season with our 2nd annual Gingerbread House and Cookie decorating party.  If nothing else, I do enjoy coordinating parties, so that was fun and exciting for me.  We had a total of 5 little ones (and their parents and grandparents) over to destroy the house with icing and candy sprinkles.  But yes, we loved every minute of it.  We even got a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus!  Not to brag, but I have the honor of being the daughter of this famous couple.

As is a custom in our household, I did all the shopping and Don did all of the wrapping.  Which is totally fine by me, because I not only dislike wrapping, I’m also rather bad at it.  I think I got the easy end of the deal this year, since I did 98% of my shopping on line.  I LOVE AMAZON.  I used to be such a mall rat.  I could spend hours upon hours on a weekend at the mall.  Now I despise it.  I hate dealing with the parking, the crowds and frankly I do not like having to wander around to find what I’m looking for.  It is much easier to just google where I can buy it online and be done with it.  I was so excited this year because we were able to do our FIRST EVER DEBT FREE CHRISTMAS!  Due to a 52 week money savings challenge that I started the first week of January 2018 and some other savings we had, we were able to pay CASH for everything.  Including everything for the Gingerbread House/Cookie decorating party.  Not only was our Christmas debt free, but we also downsized our purchasing a significant amount.  I had a budget and we stuck to it.  We also spoke with my parents and explained how we just don’t need anything, so we all agreed that we would just pick a day and all go someplace together verse buying gifts.  I think we are all starting to realize that time together is way more valuable then monetary gifts.

One of the things that Don and I enjoy doing every Christmas season (I believe this was our 6th year) is going to the Dickens Fair.  I just love walking in every year to the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and yummy food being prepared by all of the vendors.  It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a trip to good ole’ London.  They have people dressed up in period costumes and Scrooge and all of the ghost are randomly strolling around the fair (A Christmas Carol is my all time favorite Christmas movie).  Don says every year that this will probably be our last time going, but we always end up going back.  Besides, this is the only place I ever get my hot buttered rum.  I can’t miss a year of that!  🙂

Our first official Christmas celebration was on Christmas Eve.  We made the 2 hour drive to spend the morning with my beautiful godmother, goddaughter and my two godsons.  This is always one of the highlights of my holiday season.  I love these people so much and it always makes my heart happy to be around them.  The boys are growing so fast and I feel like I’ve missed so much with them already, so I am trying to make every minute with them as special as possible.

Christmas Eve night we drove back home and stopped at my parents for Christmas Eve crab dinner.  AMAZING!  The crab on Christmas Eve is becoming a tradition with us.  Shout out to my parents for eliminating the pasta and bread so that we could stay semi-keto for at least this one meal.  We did get our fill of salad and crab though.  🙂
Although we decided on no gifts, we still got a stocking from my parents with some fun treats inside.  I got my season 11 DVD’s of the Big Bang Theory (my favorite show).  I’ve been getting a season of the Big Bang on DVD every year for the past 11 years.  It is going to be very sad when the show ends and I no longer get that one gift I can always count on.

Christmas day we woke up and drove the hour and a half to spend the morning/afternoon with Don’s daughter and family.  Don’s mom was there as well, so we had most of the family together.  Unfortunately, Don’s son was sick so the whole family was not able to participate in the celebration (we still have their gifts in our living room… cannot wait to pick a time to get together so we can get those delivered and have that section of our living room back).
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The weekend following Christmas we had our annual get together with my cousin, husband and kids.  Theo, my godson is not exactly a “kid” anymore.  I cannot believe these boys are 13 and 16 years old already.  Uggg…  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.. TIME GOES WAY TO FAST!!!  We love getting together with these guys.  We always have such a good time.  And BONUS, they drove to us!  We didn’t have to get back in the car for more traveling.

In between all of the get together we both had to continue working.  Neither of us had any vacation time, so except for the actual holidays, we worked.  So that was fun going back to work the day after Christmas.  And even funnier to work New Years Eve, get New Years Day off and then return to work the next day (of course, that was said with sarcasm).

As for our weigh loss journey during the holiday season?  Being fully accountable and transparent…. it was not as great as it could have been.  Prior to the holidays, we were both down almost 20 pounds each.  I gained back 6 of that 20.  Don gained back 11 of that 20.  Getting back on track as of the 1st, I have lost only 2 pounds of the 6 I gained back.  Don has lost 6!  Really???  What is it about men that make them lose weigh faster?  So very frustrating.

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Overall, I would have to say we had a successful holiday season.  Am I glad it is over?  Frankly, yes.  Will I be excited by November to do this all over again?  Yes… of course I will.