“Talk to myself the way I would talk to someone I really love and whom I’m trying to comfort in the midst of a meltdown” (Daring Greatly, pg. 80).
I’m trying to follow Brené’s advice (yes, we’re on a first name basis), but it’s hard today. I’m beating myself up. I’m telling myself that I’m weak and I really need to get past this and it’s not a big deal. The thing is, I’m actually really strong and I’ll never get truly past it and it is a big deal. For some reason, I’m having a hard time letting all of that sink in fully.
There’s a baby shower at work tomorrow. No, there won’t be streamers or silly games. But, there will be a family and a pregnant belly. There will be a group of co-workers gathered together to celebrate this little miracle. And, I’m not sure I can be there.
I thought I could do it. I thought I was in a different place mentally and emotionally, but as the day has gotten closer I feel my emotions bubbling up and I really don’t want them bubbling out all over a baby shower. A baby shower that’s not my own.
I told my husband that I don’t really want to go, that I’m not feeling it. Then I corrected that last comment: actually, I’m feeling it. A lot.
It’s not just my feelings either. It’s my whole body. My head has this ache — not a headache per se, but this ache of anxiety or worry. My stomach is in knots — I feel my indecisiveness settled down in my gut. And my chest — there’s something heavy rested there. Maybe shame or fear or worry — I don’t know what it is exactly, but I know it’s heavy and I know it’s weighing me down.
I’m weighed down so much that it’s hard to be motivated. I have quilts to work on and laundry to do. I did take the dogs on a short walk, so that’s something. My motivation is low — another indication that something isn’t quite right (I’m rarely ever lacking motivation!).
Living with infertility means there is this constant barrage, this non-stop reminder of fertility. The farther I get away from the phone calls and meetings with doctors, the easier it gets. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Choosing to live a good, full life with infertility is actually quite hard. It requires a lot of energy and positive self-talk and letting go and trust. It requires staying present and asking for help and trying not to isolate myself. It requires being grateful for a quiet home and a table set for two (or tonight, one).
I’m grateful to work with people who honor my experience and give me the space I need. I realize that isn’t the case for everyone. I’m sure there are people don’t have the option to work from home on a day that might be emotionally triggering. The thing is, I don’t want to need that option. I don’t want to need to avoid the office. I don’t want to need space. I want to go back to where I was before. Obviously, I can’t do that… and maybe I really don’t want to either.
I can go to work tomorrow. I can go to the shower. I can physically do these things. I can do them emotionally as well. I can (and have!) bottle it up and put on a happy face and pretend like all is well. I can do that. And then, I’d face the consequences. I’d walk out of the building and hold it all together long enough to get in my car and start sobbing. I’d do my best to drive home through a mess of tears and snot running down my face. I’d get home and cry some more and feel utterly exhausted and spent. So, yes, if I had to I could.
But, thankfully, I don’t have to, so I won’t.
Instead, I’ll get up early and run before work. I’ll put on comfy clothes, open the computer and begin my work day. I’ll get my work done just as if I were sitting at my desk in the office. Except I’ll feel emotionally safe in the comfort of my home with my dogs nearby.
And tonight, I’ll rest. I’ll rest in whatever feels right for the moment. That might mean finding energy to do some of those things like work on a quilt or throw in a load of laundry. Or rest might be working on my book ideas. Or, maybe rest will look like Netflix on the couch. Whatever rest ends up being, I know that I’m caring for myself the way I’d care for someone I really love whom I’m trying to comfort in the midst of a difficult moment. And that, I think, is enough.