14 Ways I'll be a Better Infertile in 2014

We are counting down the moments until we usher in a new year. As always, holidays lead me to so many memories. It also makes me stop and think about all of those in my life for whom I am grateful and whom I hope have a safe and happy time celebrating.

For me, New Year's Eve is a time for reflection and also for looking forward. We make resolutions that sometimes we even keep. Many of us drink too much and count down the dwindling seconds in the closing year. Jeremy and I tend to like a quiet New Year's Eve, generally with some movies and junk food, perhaps even a bottle of bubbly. I remember so many New Year's Eves filled with hope, brimming with expectation. On the eve of 2014's arrival, I think there is more melancholy than joy in my heart.

Tonight, as I watch that ball drop, I will be closing out a tough year for the two of us. We've spent an entire year medicated on Clomid or Femara, which means I have been hormonal for an entire year. My body has been in a uproar for more than a year. I've been on one big emotional roller coaster during this entire year.

Going into 2014, I know what we are facing. So, as I start on this clean slate, I will do my best to keep a few promises to myself.

14. Love myself every day. 
In the midst of infertility, I know I have many people who love me. The love and support my friends have shown me on this blog is incredible. My husband never ceases to let me know I am loved. But, somewhere along the line, I quit loving myself. Heck, I don't even think I like myself much. I sure know I am not the woman I was and it scares me. So, this year, I'm going to find something to love about myself every day.

13. Forgive myself for not doing something sooner. 
I am a people pleaser, plain and simple. So, I spend time thinking of how I can help others. I also try to avoid disappointing others. My failure to seek medical intervention for pregnancy until my thirties creeps into my mind frequently. But, the past is the past and I can't change it. I'm doing everything I can in this moment. As this year ends, I will do my best to forgive myself for the past and know what I am doing is enough.

12. Quit feeling guilty for advocating for myself. 
There have been lots of twists and turns in my treatment plan in 2013. I was certain I would be pregnant sometime 2013 when last New Year's Day arrived. I never thought I would see a reproductive endocrinologist, never mind have one in my frequent contacts. However, I did not always see eye to eye with good ole' Dr. M. He didn't explain things the way Dr. S did and didn't really create a dialogue that encouraged questions. So, from time to time, I have had to "push" to get what I needed--be it information or a change in treatment. Every time, I have felt guilty. However, in 2014, I am going to stick to the creedo that these doctors work for me, so they should want me to advocate for myself.

11. Allow myself to be angry, sad or hurt when I need to.
Sometimes, when yet another cycle fails, it is hard to be optimistic. On some days, it just really hurts. Sometimes, reading a pregnancy announcement or complaints from a pregnant woman just push me over the edge. In 2014, I'm going to give myself the space to privately feel how I feel. I expect pregnancy announcements to continue--- they SHOULD. However, I don't have to be happy all the time. Sometimes, it's ok to avoid the text message or log out of Facebook. I can be a better friend-later- if I give myself the space to feel as I feel. I promise I will offer you my congratulations--eventually. But, just know that today, the best I might be able to do is to try to get through the day without red rings and puddles of mascara under my eyes.

10. Quit apologizing for things that are out of my control.
One of my habits that bothers my husband  most is apologizing for things that are out of my control. I don't know why I do this, but I know I am guilty. Today, I caught myself apologizing for apologizing too much. I sometimes apologize to Jeremy for not getting pregnant at the end of the cycle. It's not like I tried not to get pregnant-- I did everything humanly possible to get pregnant. It's not like I want an uncooperative uterus or obstinate ovaries. But, they are my lot in life. No one tries to make me feel guilty about them, so I am going to quit apologizing for them.

9.  Find something new that makes me happy.
Some of my most joyous moments of 2013 came from doing something new-- blogging, venturing out to the Conservator's Center, going to concerts at new venues, eating Japanese food, discovering that I enjoy hockey, etc. In 2014, I am going to open myself up to new possibilities for finding joy. Maybe I'll join the local writers group. Maybe I'll take an adult dance class. Maybe I will simply dance in the summer rain and laugh. But, I will find something new that brings me joy.

8.  Get to a healthier place--for myself.
Dr. M really wants me to lose weight. In 2013, I did. I lost a pretty hefty chunk of weight, but gained much of it back when life's stresses allowed me to make excuses. In 2014, I want to be healthier for me, because I will feel better and because I will have more energy. I want to keep it off this time. I want to change my lifestyle permanently because I know it is the best thing for me. I've joined a gym close to my house and am throwing out of all the stuff I know shouldn't be here. I have to do this for me, not for anyone else. No excuses this time.

7.  Take a vacation just because.
I am an educator who works a 12 month job. That means I don't get the normal  teacher "summer vacation." But, that shouldn't mean I forgo all vacation entirely. I have been afraid to take a vacation for a year. I spent an entire year away from my family. I have saved vacation and sick days like no one's business. This year, I'm going to spend some of them. I'm going to take time for my heart and my mind, because work does not always nurture the soul. I'm going to quit saving for a maternity leave that may never come.

6.  Write more for the health of my soul.
Opening up on this blog was one of the scariest things I did this year. I knew people would have varied opinions and I was afraid of the potential backlash. However, that was the last thing I found. Instead, I found others who were sharing my journey and who knew what I was feeling. I was able to pour my heart out and be heard. And maybe I've educated a person or two about infertility. I vow to write more, not for others, but for me. If I write something that touches someone else, that's a bonus.

5.   Forgive others for their ignorance.
When you say the word infertility, people have many responses. They range from empathetic to offensive. Sometimes I have spent so much energy being angry at people for their ignorance. In the end, it is only me that is hurt. So, this year, I will not back down from educating people about their misconceptions, but I will forgive them for their ignorance, even when it feels malicious. I don't have enough room in my head and heart for all that bitterness.

4.  Find peace.
Infertility leaves so many questions up in the air all of the time. I feel like I am always searching for what comes next. In the coming year, I want to find peace with what is happening. I want to feel as though my life will be complete no matter what path it takes. We might have some big decisions to make in 2014. No matter what we decide, I want to find peace with what we choose to do.

3.  Love my job. 
I spend so many of my waking hours at my job, so it is essential that I like what I am doing. As a teacher, you see the impact you have on students. For an infertile, who might never have an impact on a child of my own, that is so valuable. So, this year, I resolve to find a way to love my job.

2.  Find the joy I once knew as a family of two.
This year will mark my tenth wedding anniversary. We've been a happy couple for most of our married life. Infertility is just one more obstacle life has thrown our way. It doesn't mean we can't be happy. In fact, it demands that we find happiness to help us move forward in the difficult times. They say dealing with fertility issues can bring a couple closer together or tear them apart. I choose together. It's better that way. So, in 2014 I will laugh with my husband, even if things don't go our way. I know some people aren't lucky enough to spend their lives with a man so full of integrity and love. I count myself lucky in that respect. We're never promised tomorrow, so I'm going to enjoy every today with him, even if it is always just a family of two.

1.  Stop putting my life on hold.
There are a million dreams, both big and small, I have for my life. We've realized some of them. But, my failure to get pregnant is no reason to continue to put those dreams on hold. Life doesn't wait for everything to be perfect, so no time will ever be the absolute "right" time. All I have is right now and all I can do is reach for the things I want. I don't necessarily believe the "everything happens for a reason" saying, but I do believe sitting still will get me no where. I have to move forward to change anything. So, in 2014, I will move forward in new directions to find things that make my heart happy.


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