If you know me in any capacity, then you know. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
I talk openly about personal struggles. I don’t shy away from it. I lean into it.
It’s how I cope, how I find strength, how I process and how I navigate through this life of mine. It’s what I do.
And although it can be uncomfortable and - sometimes - awkward and maybe even at times inappropriate, it’s 100% the most authentic way for me to be.
Fully * Whole –y * Unapologetically * Me
And sometimes… it resonates with other people. They tell me it gives them the space and permission and courage to lean into their own truths, their own pain, their own struggles.
And for me… that’s all I could ever hope for.
To be me and to be a beacon that beckons for you to join me… in the place of being you. Fully * Whole –y * Unapologetically * You
You are Enough
Getting Personal: The way it ended.
Matt (my husband) and I were feeling like everything was falling into place. We started daydreaming about what the baby would be like, what we would need to change about our current life to accommodate the little one. We started discussing our parenting “rules” and what we would do if…
We had so much behind us and we had so much hope that THIS was our time, FINALLY.
We had decided (finally) to pursue a gestational surrogate; we connected with someone who was ideal. Things were falling into place. It was exciting and almost too easy. For the first time in a few years, I felt ONLY joy and hope. I had so much energy. Was this how it was always supposed to feel? I knew that other people who ventured down this path didn’t always have the same successes we were having out of the gate. “This must mean it will work!!!! How could it not work? There is no reason to think it won’t work! This is the best chance we’ve got, best we’ve ever had.” We tackled the research, the to-do list. We talked and had meetings and secured doctors and had evaluations and set dates. It was flying by… easy peasy.
I told our lawyer (yes lawyers have to be involved in these things) that it was so strange to feel only excitement and energy and “good”. That I wasn’t used to things working so smoothly. She encouraged me to savor that feeling, because it would get difficult. “It always does” she said.
This is where the water gets murky. The contract is very important and crucial step in this process. The contract is for our (Intended Parents) protection, the baby’s protection, the gestational surrogate’s protection and her family’s protection. Everyone involved is considered and protected. It is a huge undertaking.
We had all of our research and knowledge but until you are in the contract phase… it’s really hard to imagine all the possible scenarios you need to think through, plan for and wrap your head around. Dealing with lawyers is intimidating… the language and the legality is daunting. The whole process got heavy… fast. And expensive… it’s what we knew… what we had anticipated… but it just felt so…. Big and heavy.
I won’t go into details, because those are for us.
But I will share this. I started to mildly panic. And it only took a short amount of mild panic days for my anxiety to become fully charged and ready to explode.
One night, Matt took Ellie on a walk. During their walk, an email popped up on my phone… from our lawyer. It wasn’t a bad email. It didn’t say anything that was unexpected or outrageous… but it triggered something in me. And I had a panic attack. Irrational Emotional Frantic PANIC…. gripped me. The pressure of everything seemed to crash into me.
It felt like this was the bad news. This was the ball dropping. This was the story our infertility journey always took… “and now for the bad/sad/disappointing/heartbreaking/devastating portion”
To me … it felt like it was.
And I typed a response… a nonsensical response to our lawyer. I hit send.
Then I panicked some more… and typed a second response to our lawyer. I hit send again.
The door opened, and a freezing Matt & Ellie (our dog) walked in… He was talking to me.
I couldn’t hear him. I was panicking. I told him over and over “I am panicking”
He didn’t understand. why was I in a panic? Don’t worry… it’s okay.
He read the email that triggered me. He saw nothing wrong with the email. (Bless his level headed soul, I love this man)
He reassured me that it was fine, we could email her a response in the morning. I could now stop panicking.
So I told him (still panicking but a little less intensely) “No I emailed already, twice… omg I was panicked. It doesn’t make sense. Our lawyer will think I am losing my mind. What have I done? Can you email her? Tell her I panicked? Fix it please?”
He was (rightfully) upset with me for having responded twice… without first consulting him. And to be honest I think he was kind of upset with me for panicking. When you live with someone who has anxiety or depression… or both… it affects you too, and sometimes, you get upset, sometimes you just wish they didn’t have these things. I get it. It is valid. It makes sense. But when you are the person with all the feelings going haywire… it hurts. I could sense his frustration and anger… which of course… made me panic even more.
I didn’t sleep much that night.
The next day I cried a lot. I cried at the lawyer’s kindness in her response to my two emails. I cried because I felt like I was unraveling. I cried and I thought. And then I went to my studio. And I started to paint.
I needed to get that panic out. I needed to release it.
That felt right.
Our long road through infertility taught me to recognize the moments I need to stop and take care of myself. The moments when only painting or singing or writing or breathing will do. The moments when my body needs to have a way to get everything I am feeling…out.
I am so grateful for the gift of self-expression, for my art, my voice, my creativity. It is so healing.
Over the course of the next few weeks this became my pattern. I never quite panicked the same way I did that first night. But I felt it. I knew I needed to start examining the “what if” possibilities.
What if we don’t move forward?
I told myself over and over… hold on loosely. Life is not full of guarantees.
What if we do move forward?
What will it take? What will be shed? What things will die so that this new chapter can spring to life?
And as the panic ebbed and flowed, as the emails bounced back and forth, as deadlines came and went, as negotiations unfolded, as I created & moved studios & signed up for big scary new challenges,
as life continued …
I started to recognize three things.
That felt powerful.
And then, in every fiber of my being… I knew we would be done. I wrote in my journal that night. This is the beginning of the end. I see us choosing to be done suffering. To be done clawing at this door of unrealized dreams. I see us. I see the life we have and the life we’ve created and it is enough.
It took a few days to work through our decision. We cautiously gave each other the space to process and feel everything. And then one night it felt like the right moment to call it.
“If we keep going… it could break us”
“Yeah, I like our life now, it’s a good life”
“I’m so ready for this to NOT be the focus of our energy”
“This has been a part of our whole married life, I just want to be us… to enjoy being us”
“It would’ve been nice if it worked a long time ago”
“It was a really hard road wasn’t it”
“It’s okay if we stop"
So that's what we did.
We choose to stop.
A surrender to what is and has been out of our control.
We are Enough.
It's been a week and a half since we made our decision. A few days ago we went public with it, and I wanted to come here... and share a little more. How it all unfolded there at the end. How I took my grief / panic / anxiety and poured it into this work seen above.
I'm not sure what the future holds. But I am ready.
and thank you
Thank you for your words of encouragement, your prayers, your hugs and tears and hope. It has been a very long journey.
my facebook/instagram post:
We’ve always been us. You, Me
I want to write a million words about the journey we have walked together. But words can only capture a small piece. Some things can only be said through art, or tears, or music, or hugs.
I choose to keep fighting for us. To enjoy the moments we have, together.
Last week, Matt and I made the decision to stop our pursuit of having a child/children.
Our road through infertility was long. It was painful on every single level. My heart broke a thousand times.
We fought hard, but it was time to lay down our armor and surrender. I never imagined that after 8.5 years we would choose to be childfree, I never thought that this would be our resolution. But the path led us to moments that brought everything into focus. Moments where I knew ... if we kept clawing at this door, if we continued our efforts of prying open the door to a future we thought we would always have... if we kept at it, it would break us.
And in every fiber of my being I knew, we had arrived at our resolution.
It would have been nice to get pregnant on our own. It would have been nice to have one of the five rounds of IVF result in a baby. It would have been nice if that little heartbeat we heard had stayed around longer than 8 weeks.
It would have been nice.
That’s not the story that unfolded for us.
You don’t know how far this journey will take you... or where the road will lead. You don’t know when you first embark, if it will work or if you will survive.
I know now, that I am enough, our small family is enough, our love is enough.
I’m so ready for life beyond infertility. For the adventures we have ahead.
I’m so thankful for this painful, treacherous road... it taught me this:
Be who you are, love her, love love love, make things, it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to take care of yourself, breathe, you matter, you are enough & this wont last forever.
I love using words to connect with my fellow humans.