Published Work

For All The Yet To Be Mamas, Hold Onto Your Hope

I know you feel so alone and wonder why this is happening to you. I know your loneliness and can hear your cries in the middle of the night. I understand the pang of jealousy as your friend tells you that she’s pregnant. I feel your annoyance as yet another person tells you that “it will happen when it’s meant to.”
I know all of these things because I once stood in your shoes. I was a woman that longed for a baby.
I heard all of the advice and ideas from others…
Have you tried this position?
Are you tracking your cycle?
You can’t think about it too much or it won’t happen.
You name it and I had heard it. For people that have never struggled with infertility, they sure have a lot of advice don’t they? Probably the worst was when I had to explain the ins and outs of my reproductive health and sex life to people I barely knew. The know-it-alls that act like their insight will be the game changing piece of fertility advice that will finally get you pregnant. Please!
I know what it feels like to be obsessed with conceiving. To visualize what your life would look like with a baby. To pick out baby names for your nonexistent child. To track and chart and map out almost to the hour when your most fertile windows were. It is exhausting!
I also understand the toll infertility takes on your relationship. Your husband becomes more of a tool to help you accomplish your goal than your life partner. The most sacred act of intimacy that two people can share with one another becomes such a chore that you both start to hate it. Hate! You shouldn’t hate having sex with your husband! But, when it becomes a chore and you are obsessed with getting pregnant, you start to resent each other when it doesn’t happen.
You see mama, I’ve been there.
I was there for two and a half years. Two and a half years of longing, heartbreak, jealousy, and feelings of worthlessness. Two and a half years of doctor’s appointments, trying this method, and that method and still not getting a positive. I was there until June 7th, 2012.
It was the day after my 27th birthday and the 11th anniversary of the death of my grandmother. I drove two towns over to put some flowers on her headstone as I try to do every year on that day. But, this time I had something different in mind. As I pulled up the long dirt road that winds behind the church to the cemetery where my grandparents were laid to rest, I knew I had to ask them for something.
I stepped out of my car and walked past the headstones of other family members until I reached theirs. I bent down and set the flowers on the heart-shaped granite and took a step back. I looked around the cemetery and did not see anyone else around. Then as tears filled my eyes, I asked my grandparents to please put in a word for me and my husband. I asked them to let God know that I had had enough already. I was ready to be a mom and my husband, a dad. I spoke of our troubles and how we were thinking of giving up on our dream to be parents. I finished my prayer, kissed the tips of my fingers and then touched both of their names before stepping back one more time.
As I turned to leave, the church bells started to toll.
I felt the hair on my arms stand up and I looked back to the headstone. I can’t really explain it as it’s only happened to me that one time. A feeling of comfort washed over me. I could almost feel the two of them embracing me and telling me that it was all going to be alright. I didn’t hear voices, but it was just a feeling.
The entire thing shook me a little so I went and got into my car. As I drove back home I was wondering what had just happened. Once I got home I went about the rest of my day and didn’t think much more of it for a couple of days.
On June 9th, 2012, I was four days late. That morning I took a pregnancy test and it was positive—the first one I had ever had in two and a half years of trying.
On February 8th, 2013 our sweet little boy entered the world in the middle of a snow storm. Looking back, I just knew that my gram (and gramp) knew something that I didn’t.
I’m sure you might think that it was all in my head. Or that I am trying to justify my long track of infertility. I’m not. I just want you to know that sometimes good things do come to those that wait. To those that struggle, fall down, and want something with all of their heart. So, hold on to the hope that one day you will be a mother. Don’t lose it. Don’t get discouraged or think that it will never happen for you. You may have to fight for it or take alternative routes. You may also have to wait a bit more. It may not happen the way you think it will, but for most of you, it will happen.
If all else has failed and you are running out of hope, throw up a prayer to your favorite angel in Heaven. You just never know if you might be answered.

Originally published on Her View From Home

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Published Work

Parents Everywhere Are Not Surprised To Learn That They Only Get 48 Minutes Of Free Time Each Day

 

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At the end of each day my husband and I like to sit and watch one of shows together – everything from “American Horror Story” to just about every Alaska themed reality show there is on air. It’s “our time” to just be together without our kids. We get about an hour and a half of this time after our boys go to sleep before we both pass out from exhaustion.
During my day as a stay at home mom, I get roughly an hour or two to myself if my kids decide to nap at the same time in the afternoon. I typically use this time to catch up on writing, housework or occasionally I’ll sit and watch some TV. So, on an average day, I get around two and a half hours of “personal time” each day – some days I get more and some days I get less.
That’s not much. So, it’s no surprise when I was watching the TODAY show this morning I was not shocked to hear the anchors talking about a study that says the average parent gets 48 minutes of time to themselves each day.
48 minutes!
That’s less than an hour! There isn’t much you can accomplish in that amount of time. Perhaps you could: watch one show (without commercials), get a workout in (meh), make a cake, read a couple of chapters in a book (not The Illiad), take a shower (and shave your legs!), take a power nap, call or text a friend (if her kids are napping too), catch up on email, or any number of chores around the house.
I’d opt for the first one; to completely zone out in front of some kind of mindless TV for an entire 48 minutes. After all, housework can wait! Free time is like gold to us parents. The two words put together make my heart skip a beat just a little bit! Since having my first child nearly five years ago, I’ve haven’t actually experienced the phenomenon as much as I would have liked. I probably do get more time to myself than some, with the help of our moms and my husband and I are really good about giving each other breaks away from the house when we can. But still, anyone that is a parent gets this.
There are constantly plates spinning –doctor’s appointments, play dates, preschool pickup/drop off, sporting events, club meetings, grocery trips, you name it. There are only so many hours in a day!
The study was performed in Britian but the findings can be applied to most parents around the world. There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of every parent’s day is spent focused on their children and work or both at the same time. I know for myself that the second my eyes open each morning, my thoughts are immediately on where my kids are, need to be, or what they are doing that day. Any household or personal stuff of my own always comes second. It may not be the right way to do it, but it is how I’ve always been and my kids and my husband will always come first no matter what.
The study also composed a list of the top 20 things that parents are more likely to do in the evenings, everything from walking the family dog to trying to get their children to finish their supper. Parents are so busy that the traditional downtime we used to get in the evenings is very limited. That time is used to catchup on household chores or to get ahead on work or prepare for the next day. Those lunches aren’t going to make themselves after all!
Our personal wellbeing and mental health often comes last. We put off alone time or time with our spouses to make sure that our children are happy and fulfilled. This is so important! Yet, so is our own satisfaction in life and we need to take better care of ourselves so that we can take better care of our children.
48 minutes is just not enough time.
Wherever possible parents around the world should make more time to sit in the serenity of a quiet house, take a quick walk by themselves, or even spend some time with their spouse alone. I know this isn’t always possible, but whenever it is we all need to learn to say yes and take the opportunity.

Originally published on Her View From Home

Published Work

To My Hard-Working Husband: I Still See You

 

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To my hard-working husband,
I watch you sometimes. Probably more than you know. I watch you when you are making your lunch for work in the morning. I can see the look of reluctance on your face. Though, I know you love your job and find satisfaction in what you do, you still wish there were times that you didn’t have to go. As you go out the door, sometimes without a goodbye kiss, I watch you as you pull out of the driveway and head off for the day.
As the business day ends and I see 5:00 turn over on the clock, I know you’ll soon be home. You’ll provide me with a break and baby backup until bedtime. One boy watches out the window when I say “Daddy will be home soon.” I wonder if you know how excited he is when he sees your truck pull in? As you come through the door, the aura of the house is shifted. Your presence brings new life into our house. After chasing them both around all day, your calmness washes me. You are the steady force in our family. The three of us look to you in times of trouble and after long, hard days. I’ve told you this before, but I’m not sure you believe me.
Even if your day was bad, you don’t let our boys see it on your face. I know you though, and sometimes I can see that your day was hard and all you want to do is relax. That’s hard when we have two little ones leaning on us for dinner, play time and baths each night. When they are finally in bed, you listen to me gripe. Rarely do you vent to me, though I do ask about your day. You are such a good listener. I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you that?
I watch you on the weekends when everyone else is out having fun. You are often doing projects around the house—the firewood won’t cut itself after all, and some things are just better left for the “Honey Do” list rather than me attempting something I know you are just better at. The list is never very long because you are quick to get the items done. You and I are both people that like to get stuff done and it shows in our household. We’ve given this old cabin life again in the two years we’ve lived here. It was beaten and forgotten, but with us as its new inhabitants it’s starting to look like the house it was meant to be. I have to give you most of the credit for this. I know you don’t think I notice, but I watch you as you work outside. When you are done raking, you take a step back to admire the progress you made on the lawn. Or when you put that flag pole up in the center of our driveway. I probably haven’t told you yet just how great it looks!
When you aren’t here you are helping others with whatever they need help with. Whether you are helping other veterans train their service dogs or helping a friend lay hardwoods at their house, I want you to know that your diligence is not overlooked. Not just by me, but by those you extend the kind hand to. You are a true friend and it pains me to see that some of yours never return the favor in your times of need. You deserve better than that!
I want you to know all of your hard work does not go unnoticed. I know sometimes I say you’ve got the easier job of the two of us, and you often agree with me. But, the grass is always greener on the other side. To be honest, I don’t know if I could do what you do. Your personal time is limited and your needs often come last. But, you love us more than anything and I know you do it all for us.
I see you. I see everything you do for our family. Just know that all you do is not unrecognized. Quite the opposite, because everything you do for us just makes me love you all the more.
Love,
Your Ever-Watchful Wife

Originally published on Her View From Home