acupuncture, dating, depression, fertility, IVF, meditation, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

hope

First, thank you to all who have reached out to me in so many thoughtful ways. I love you.

It’s been hard to decide what to write as I navigate the aftermath of FET#1. The depth of grief goes well beyond what I’ve previously experienced in this process. I will admit that my last post was written hastily after learning the news myself–I was in shock. I wanted to appear strong to those who might worry that the disappointment would send me into total collapse. I thought I might be able to skip over dealing with it; with margaritas, keeping previously-made plans, and working hard. Keep moving forward.

Here’s a shocker: that didn’t work. By Thursday it caught up with me. I felt the familiar old tentacles of depression wrapping around me and pulling me down. The awful chanting of negative thoughts in my brain. The worst one: I spent my 30s trying to build a family, and I have failed. No one will attach to me permanently, not a man, not an embryo. (Not even a dog!) I sobbed to my therapist. Poor, poor me.

While grieving and disappointment and sadness (and even anger at slacker embie #1) are normal and healthy after how much time, money, and effort I’ve invested in this process, I also recognize the ‘poor me’ refrain. It’s a sign that I’m hooking into distorted thinking and descending into a place of hopelessness. I’ve felt it before. There’s a healthy grieving process and then there are the terrorists. The terrorists aim to use this as proof that hope is futile. Thank God I know the difference by now. I knew it was time to use my tools before I sunk any further. My acupuncturist reminded me that depression is a state of static and clenching, and, even if it sounds like the last thing you want to do, it’s important to force yourself to get out and be active, go for a run, be outside. It moves things around, helps you move through.

So, yesterday I hiked from 8-4, with MM, along the stunning, sunny coastline of the Marin Headlands–a big loop from Tennessee Valley up to Muir Beach and back through Green Gulch Farm. I cried to MM that there’s a big scoreboard and my score is zero, to which she responded, “And the game isn’t over yet.”

Toward the end of the hike, I stood at a single high point from which I could see Bodega Bay, Muir Beach, Ocean Beach, Sutro Tower, the GG Bridge, the SF skyline, the Bay, Mt. Diablo, I felt my body in the warm sunshine. My anti-depressant.

This morning, I listened to Tara Brach’s latest podcast, called “Part 1: Hope and the Spiritual Path.” I beg you to listen to this podcast. I command you. It’s one hour. You can listen to a lot or a little. Not only does it perfectly articulate where I am right now in terms of maintaining hope, it has priceless nuggets of wisdom for each one of you. I will listen to it many times. The potential of the oak tree is contained within the acorn. What we hope for is already within us.

There is egoic hope based in fear, and there is a holy hope based in a basic faith that God isn’t just rolling the dice on us. Our lives have meaning. It will be some time before I become a cheerleader for FET#2, but for now I feel, deeply, that I am still on my spiritual path, and this is all part of it, and it is all making me stronger and better prepared for whatever comes next. (That still sounds a little stronger than I feel, but I know it’s the right direction.)

At times, I have wondered how this blog could be inspiring to people–I have tried and failed ten times. Sounds like a bummer. Then, this past week, I have been reading other women’s posts online, and every time I see someone weather a failure and then somehow continue to put one foot in front of the other, my heart soars. I get it.

So, here I go, out for a run at Lands End. xo

[Tara’s podcast will be available within a week or so on her website www.tarabrach.com. Meanwhile, you can access this podcast by downloading the Podcasts app through the iTunes store, search for “Tara Brach. Enjoy, and please report back if you listen!]

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dating, depression, IVF, Mother's Day, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

mind/body

Just a quick hi, how are you, and Happy Mother’s Day! I didn’t mean to not write for a week–and now the ‘how are you’ texts are flowing in.

I am great. Last week was an exceptionally busy work week and I came out drained at the end of each day and not inclined to keep looking at my laptop. I also was drained enough that I started moving away from things that have proven to keep me energized–when you’re buried, it can seem like more working more now will equal less stressing later, and then when I get home all I can do is watch multiple West Wing episodes to stay awake until bedtime.

I didn’t even realize how buried I was until I went up to Point Reyes on Saturday with MM for a 9.6 mile hike among the tall trees. My body said WHOA!!! and I totally woke up. Today I felt like a new lady.

A theme in my reading and radio-listening this week was the mind-body connection. There are many mysteries about the human body but it is well demonstrated that our beliefs shape our biology (e.g. the placebo effect), and our biology shapes our beliefs (e.g. mental clarity after a run). So why isn’t the whole medical industry focused on helping us feel great about ourselves?

I’ve been reading about childbirth, in part because it’s fascinating and in part because I’m getting my head in the game (with the hope that the rest of me will follow, i.e. belief shaping biology). In childbirth, so much is determined by how the mother is feeling emotionally and how that manifests in her body. Ina May talks about “sphincter logic”–just like the urethra and the anus who can get performance anxiety without privacy, the cervix can be shy. Scare the mom and labor will slow down. Tell her she is “marvelous” and stroke her hair and you might buy yourself a couple more centimeters.

Ina May says (and I’ll take her word for it) that a bunch of men peeing at urinals in a mens’ room will all spontaneously stop when someone bursts in loudly. Shy sphincters!

She also talks about a woman who had been adopted and grew up with the fear that her mother had died in childbirth. When she was in labor, her body was holding on to the fear that the same thing would happen to her–until she was asked if anything was worrying her and she articulated it, let the fear go, and her body let the baby be born.

I’m gradually making my way toward finalizing a four-week curriculum for gearing up for transfer, in which I am fully believing I’ll get pregnant this time. I need to remember how much exercise and the outdoors are my natural Paxil. Alcohol has the opposite effect (the anti-anti-depressant). Working extra hours is sometimes necessary but has diminishing returns. Thanks go to Dr. Hawaii for helping me realize I am happy to be entirely and peacefully off the market. Same ducks, new row.

In the coming weeks, I’ll do a two-hour psychic healing session to clean out my chakras. I will make an appointment with B’s “Mayan abdominal massage” lady whom I think of as “the vagina steamer” based on her description. I will write more (promise). I will spend time with people who energize me and avoid the emotional vampires. I will be driven at work and disconnect and recharge outside of work. And I will let my body rejuvenate my mind through maybe a new set of exercise types like yoga, swimming, and extended hikes in the endlessly mind-blowing wilderness.

Some Sunday nights feel like New Year’s Eve, and so be it!

Good night, mamas!

anxiety, depression, family, fertility, IVF, outdoors, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

the ride

This past week went fine–a busy work week, relaxing evenings, injections at 10pm. My friend C asked me on the phone last night if I was feeling anything yet and I said I didn’t think so–a little more tired, maybe, but that was it.

Today I started to feel it. I woke up around 7am and cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom, including every cupboard and inside the refrigerator (super abnormal behavior). I made myself breakfast and soon after started feeling sick to my stomach. I sat down on the couch and felt overwhelmingly tired. I wondered if I’d feel well enough to hike with my sister. Then it started to rain. And the tears started to fall.

I know that it was the hormones because I wasn’t crying about anything. There was no trigger, nothing in particular on my mind. I just looked out at the rainy streets and cried, and then, as long as I was crying, I cried about having to put my body through this, and about not knowing what’s next, and what if it only gets worse, and it will because I’m only 6 days into Lupron and the big guns come out in about a week.

My sister texted that she was on her way over, and I pulled it together and showered and got ready. As soon as she got here, I felt better. We planned an urban hike. Even though rain was forecast through the entire weekend, it really only rained for about 10 minutes this morning and then transformed into a glorious, warm, sunny day with only the mildest of breezes. We walked to the new Bi-Rite on Divis to get sandwiches, oranges, popcorn, and kombucha, and went over to the Panhandle and then to the tippy top of Buena Vista Park.

I noticed the beauty all around–the plum and cherry blossoms, the daffodils, a blue jay. The erratic streaks of clouds across the blue sky as our storm apparently sideswiped us. I felt relaxed because I had nothing to do later, nothing to check, nothing to get done. We came back to my apartment and watched The Hunger Games, which I read last summer and she just finished..another good distraction (and better than I expected). She went to have dinner with a friend while I stayed in and ate homemade black bean chili and cornbread.

And, here I sit, warm from today’s time in the sun, with the window open next to me and the sounds of cars passing by on the wet streets. As the sun was setting, I went up on the roof and took this:

rainy sunset

I did a little googling of Lupron side effects and found that pretty much anything goes; the lists are long. The drug originated as a treatment for prostate cancer. We’re playing with the pituitary gland which seems like the epicenter of hormones, so it kinda makes sense that things could get a little nutty.

But not totally–I feel fine right now and had an awesome day. I just think I expected to have no side effects–I even wrote that in my last post–much like me and Ms. R. thought we’d (obviously) get prego on the first try. I’d call it naïveté, or maybe even willful ignorance, or false confidence–it doesn’t always work out the way you expected.

I texted my friend Dr. B.: “Uh oh, tears just hit,” and she said, “Hang in there. It’s a ride.”

So true. And calling it a ride kind of makes it sound more fun, like an adventure. What will happen next? Stay tuned!

I just signed up for 3 upcoming events and wanted to let any friends in on it who may want to join me.

First: two back to back events at Spirit Rock:

As I told my sister today, at the beginning of June I’ll be in “some kind of state of mind…” so a couple of daylongs will be well-timed.

And, finally, I would like to announce my first Blog Giveaway in honor of the upcoming first anniversary of The Solo Mama Project. I have two tickets to see Annie Lamott and her son Sam do a reading at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Marin City on Wed, 4/17 at 8pm. Email me if you want to go with me–first friend to contact me gets to come with. One of my favorite authors, in the very church about which she frequently writes, and one of the original voices of a single mom by choice. It’s a benefit for St. Andrew’s. I only heard about it because Annie herself posted it on facebook and I follow her. Excited!

Don’t cry for me, Argentina! My sister says I’m rockin’ this.

depression, family, fertility, IUI, IVF, meditation, outdoors, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

groove

I just walked back to J’s from the office, stopping for two slices of pizza: one pepperoni and mushroom, one veggie. The pizza is always good here and rarely, if ever, gluten-free. Something was falling out of the sky that was right on the edge of rain/snow, probably hovering just above thirty-two degrees. Thousands of Knicks fans were streaming toward Madison Square Garden and I had to navigate carefully like a fish swimming upstream.

I’ve been in my most typical NYC groove–staying in J’s comfy and overheated one-bedroom, walking the 7 minutes to the office, traveling up to 175th Street to see E and E and their little genius L, eating at the Venezuelan restaurant in Chelsea, running the High Line. These are the rituals.

Now, I’m going to totally blast out of this routine and do everything completely differently: a touristy weekend with my family! It’s so exciting. NYC has no script for this, our family has no script for this. A true adventure. Can’t wait to blast out of this tiny corner of Manhattan and live some meaningful new family memories.

It’s been a good week although emotionally up and down. I started off so together, and then upon landing I got a call from a nurse through my insurance company to say she understands I’m pregnant and I was like…no, I’m not, and she got flustered and asked if I miscarried and then apologized and said “I hate this” and hurried to get off the phone. That was seven months ago, could they update their records?

Then a text that another friend got pregnant on the first try, and a careful heads up that I’d be getting an invitation to a baby shower. I believe I can be truly, unreservedly, wholeheartedly thrilled for friends’ good news and simultaneously punched in the gut–and it’s not a contradiction. The two emotions co-exist in me, and both are true. The punch is visceral…and then guilt over having a bad reaction to good news.

I called my sister for consoling words and she provided them. No, the universe is not ganging up on you. It went back to being a peaceful, sunny day, and I arrived in New York feeling great. Staying centered, getting sleep. Enjoying lovely, warm greetings from friends in the NY office throughout the day.

Then work stress knocked me down. I dragged myself through about 24 hours of a crisis in confidence (so many secondary and tertiary emotions–I’m mad that I’m sad that I’m frustrated etc), cried to J who gets nervous he’ll say the wrong thing, and sometimes does, but I love that he hangs in there and keeps trying. Eventually I am laughing.

I ran the High Line, where I looked for and found this art installation on the side of a building, something my friend S had told me about–breathtaking. I took my morning prenatal and twice-daily progesterone. I drank water, breathed, stayed present.

I felt pregnant-ish until yesterday when I really just didn’t, which added to my emotional distress. Signs of imminent menstruation.

But, since yesterday, I rounded the corner on most of it–dove back into work because the only way to go is forward. Decided that IUIs didn’t work and it’s time for IVF. Decided that I create my own destiny, and it’s a big world once you force yourself out of your groove. Decided I won’t take a month off because the last time I did, I landed in the ER. I have waited 18 weeks’ worth of two week waits. I’m done waiting where there’s a choice involved.

When I caught up with a friend recently, she sighed and said she didn’t think her life would turn out this way. Me neither. But why measure ourselves against an invisible and fictitious standard? Or other people? Or what other people think?

This is real life, how my life turned out, sitting on J’s couch in the quiet of his apartment (he’s at dinner), with rain/snow/sleet falling gently outside on a city about to be re-discovered; pizza in my belly; gratitude, frustration, love, and longing in my heart.

anxiety, biological clock, dating, depression, fertility, IUI, meditation, outdoors, pregnancy, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

blue

I landed in SF last night and got into a cab driven by a surly Russian driver. The sun was setting over the city, casting a rosy glow. I experienced my first undistracted moments in over a week, and the tears came. Looking out across the bay, remembering how hopeful I was on departure. Feeling overwhelmed by the upcoming anniversary of my trying. Feeling overwhelmingly stuck in my current life circumstances. Just plain sad–the sad caught up with me (which, as I’m sure you know, it does each and every time you postpone it).

I believe that my grounded sense of peace of the last few weeks is still there, and that I am fundamentally OK, but my circumstances are getting seriously challenging. I’m still in some denial about the overall number of tries as I just keep plowing through them, ticking off days on the calendar and fiercely looking forward. The truth is, I have to be ready for this not to work out. I’ve started contemplating that possibility for the first time ever. One cannot do unlimited Clomid cycles and one also cannot afford unlimited IVF.

After a good night of sleep, I woke up feeling about the same. I knew I had to pull out every tool in my therapy toolbox. I checked everything off today: reading in bed, meditation, spa with my sister, sunny lunch, bought a new book by Pema Chodron, napped on the couch in the sun, went running at Lands End, bought groceries at Trader Joe’s, made myself a healthy dinner. Now I’m writing. I do feel a little better.

As with all the other disappointments, it really triggers the dating one. I feel so lost on this subject and realized this morning that I’m having a hard time even visualizing a great guy coming into my life. He’s done a really consistent job recently of not doing so, which is therefore much easier to imagine. Eckhard Tolle would say this is a problem. So, I’ll work on it. I am filtering for the negative right now, panning for sand and letting the gold through. I know I’m doing it. It’s chemical, it’s automatic. Eventually, I recognize the mental traps for what they are (negative thoughts), and move on, but it’s going to take a little time.

I’m letting you in on the dark side here, folks. I know I sometimes shield it from the blog because on some level I know that feeling sorry for myself is ludicrous, and boring, and will make me sink faster than quicksand. But it would be wrong to say I have a sunshiny outlook at this exact moment. I am trying like hell to get back to gratitude. Grateful just to be alive, to have the opportunity to experience exactly this.

If I had a zen master teacher, he or she would say at this point, “Now, things can get interesting.” I know it’s an opportunity. I know the journey is the point. I know the book will be more interesting if there’s an epic struggle.

So, what’s the big picture? Well, of course, I’m on Clomid, which makes some people crazy, so that is likely contributing to my shade of blue. One more night of that and it’s back to growing the follicles as big as possible, for which I simply try to rest and de-stress. My ultrasound is Friday. I can’t believe this is my last IUI.

In the meantime, I am taking to heart your outpouring of love and assurances and faith. Don’t stop believing.

dating, depression, donor sperm, fertility, IUI, outdoors, ovulation, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

patience child

Good morning, friends! We’ve made it out of a prolonged cold snap and now I’m sitting on my couch with the window open, sweet morning air and warm sunshine flowing in. I love this time of year when the sun rises further south and stays lower all day long, beaming its warm light into my apartment throughout the day.

Sunshine improves my mood measurably. I’m a Leo, ruled by the sun, and have always sensed my connection to my master planet since I was a child in Michigan fantasizing about flying above the seemingly ever-present clouds. On cloudy and especially rainy days, I wanted all the lights on in the house. In the Bay Area, I finally bought a car so I could blast out of the fog into summertime sun just 20 minutes away. I track the angles of the sun from hopeful morning beginnings to nostalgic late afternoons, revering the golden light of California glowing in the redwoods and the eucalyptus trees, noting how it represents both the passage of time and the timelessness of nature. I think about this a lot, every day.

As the world turns, so does my cycle #8 forge onward. I had my Day 10 ultrasound on Friday and found myself feeling disconnected at the appointment, barely listening or asking questions. I gather that there is one dominant follicle this time, measuring 14mm, with two slightly smaller ones that could catch up, measuring 10mm and 11mm. Or 11 and 12, I didn’t write it down. She said I’m about a day behind where I was last cycle at this time, which makes sense because I started the Clomid one day later, on Day 3. My lining is fine. So, trigger Monday and IUI Wednesday.

I also transported my third batch of guys over to UCSF last week, extremely awkwardly trying to juggle phone meetings with driving, picking up, parking, interfacing with office people, driving, parking, picking up, etc. I basically pulled it off but did at one point find myself illegally parked, having to pee, and waiting for the nurse to come take the box while managing a work phone call (again). Here they are:

kkc

Why “Dry Wall Shipper,” I have no idea. I also still have no clue why the box is so huge for three tiny sperm vials, but I will also likely never see inside the box to understand its inner workings.

While at PRS, I learned that McPiercy only has 5 vials remaining, forever. I’ve been sitting on this for a few days… I now own 3, but should I have more as backup, in the event that either this takes much longer than expected or I want vials in storage for a possible sibling? I’m not sure yet, but am hoping that on some subconscious level, the procrastinator in me will realize that we’re getting down to the true last minute and kick into gear: my 40th birthday is approaching and it’s time for this to work!

I have a cycle buddy in England whom I’ve gotten to know via her blog–it looks like we’ll both go in on the same day next week. Here is her blog: Single Motherhood by Choice. You must scroll through and check out her posts from Ovarian HQ–a photoshop of her ultrasounds with follicles as the main characters. I especially love the cheerleading squad, it makes me LOL.

Lately I’m having a hard time expressing how I’m doing when friends check in. It’s such a messy stew of emotions, it’s hard to say, I’m doing fine! or I’m depressed! or I want to give up! or I’m optimistic! even though I may feel all of these things at one time or another. I’m not sure if I’ve really processed chemical pregnancy #3 or if I need to. My frustration spills over into frustration with dating because these two life categories come together into one frustration snowball when they’re not working. If my heart isn’t totally in it this time, I think that’s fair. Pink has a new song called “Try” and it’s very repetitive and kind of brainwashed me yesterday while driving across the Bay Bridge. You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try. Over and over. It’s the only way it’s going to work.

Report on New Year’s Resolutions thus far: I am doing awesome. I’m undercommitting like a pro (I realized I already was). I’m getting outside and exploring new hiking spots. I’m writing almost every day. And I’m really close to being on time: I’ve narrowed my typical lateness window from 10 minutes to 2. Next: be early.

Last week, after my 2.5 hr run with R, I texted him to see why he hadn’t yet posted the photos he took of me along the run. He texted back “patience child.”

A good reminder for me. Patience…

Try, try, try.

 

biological clock, breakup, dating, depression, pregnancy loss, single mom by choice, SMC

into the waves

So many people have let me know that they are inspired by my positive attitude, but let’s be honest: there is a huge negative attitude right behind it, two sides of the same coin. Most days it’s a choice: will you be grateful for what you have or resentful about what you don’t? Today the negative is overwhelming me. I spent the last two days with it packaged up in a little box so I could get through work meetings. You wouldn’t have believed it if you saw me: I was smiling, joking around, leading interactive presentations, drinking margaritas. I was surfing a big wave of emotion but always staying on the surface. I wasn’t even aware I could do that. It reminds me how many people are doing this all the time.

The very minute I was alone at the end of the night, I fell off the surfboard and into the waves. Today is the D&C. Today I just feel sorry for myself. It’s a big pity party over here. On top of the sadness of having a miscarriage, I am feeling the lack of a partner who clears his schedule to help me through the next few days. Thank god my sweet friend M is going to be with me for the procedure, and there are so many people there with me in spirit that it will be a very spiritually crowded room, and despite my negative outlook today I am hugely grateful for that.

I am so sad to let go of my ‘belly buddies’ as they continue down the pregnancy timeline and I fall off of it.

My dad has a strategy in tennis where he pretends he already lost and got another chance to win: pressure’s off. After weeks of anxiety and worrying and hoping, I finally lost. The thing I most feared actually happened. After talking to Dr. Tran on Monday, the conclusion is that nothing is wrong, we’re just waiting for a good match of sperm and egg. I had this stunning realization that this scenario is mirroring my dating life: bad match after bad match.

If I carry the tennis analogy through, I now have another chance to win. Which is true, and I will try again. I’m not giving up. I mean, I got pregnant 2 out of 4 tries and only started this in April–let’s keep it in perspective. All you have to do is watch the Olympics to know that you just keep trying.

In other news, the latest guy to ask me out is my friend’s ex-husband who wrote to me all about how crazy she is and by the way would I want to go out with him. Who are these people? Where is my good match????

At dinner last night, I overheard a co-worker (really beautiful, talented, sweet, single), say “Well, I’m 40 so I probably won’t have kids…” and I did feel even more resolved to keep trying as I nonchalantly sipped my first margarita in months. But this morning the disappointments feel cumulative–starting with the heartbreaks of my 30s, the BFNs, the poppy seed, and now the lentil. I just got a late birthday card from my ex-boyfriend’s parents…we broke up almost 10 years ago when he couldn’t commit, and now he’s married with a kid. Is there a way not to directly blame him for what I’m going through?

The Buddha would tell me to sit with it, all of it, and I’m sure that’s what I’ll do.

dating, depression, meditation, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

upward spiral

I got a text the other night from an SMC friend who is also in the two-week-wait and had just run into her most recent ex-boyfriend, the one with whom she thought she’d be having a baby. He was out with another woman.

Reading her text took the wind out of me… I felt a visceral compassion because I’ve been there and there’s nothing like that particular encounter. The next morning, I checked in with her to see how she was feeling, and she was sad, heavyhearted, spiraling down.

We all know the downward spiral, right? One thing happens, and then another thing happens, or maybe one really big and terrible thing (like this) happens, and you’re set on a trajectory of feeling worse and worse (see my “meltdown” post of a few days ago). Sometimes it’s a relatively tiny thing that tips the balance (someone’s facebook post or an offhanded comment) and, next thing you know, you don’t know which way is up.

When you get into this mode, it’s like the terrorists have already won. They have convinced you, by launching a constant campaign of neg bombs in your brain, that your life sucks, that you made bad choices, that it’s too late, that you’re not good enough, that you don’t want what you have and don’t have what you want. They are relentless sometimes. But as soon as you start to believe them, it’s curtains. It snowballs. And then it spirals.

Here’s the beauty part: the terrorists do not speak the truth!!!! Hilariously, they are technically working “for” you and their objective (ironically) is to protect you–but their strategies are archaic! They are the army of our vestigial three-part brain with all of its conflicting survival strategies playing out at once! First, we have our snake-like and simple reptilian brain, known for its fight or flight response. Around that, the puppy-dog limbic brain, seeking love and nurturing and recording all episodes of emotional pain to avoid its recurrence at all costs. And, finally, the professor: the nonstop talker, the neocortex. Our intellectualization of everything, the “telling of the story,” the planner, the worrier, the omniscient narrator who is a bit of a wackjob.

On one hand, it’s a wonder that we can function with all of this going on, surviving in a modern society with caveman impulses running in the background. On the other hand, it’s a miracle that we’re here at all, and we wouldn’t be without these crazy, complicated, wonderful brains. We just have to learn how to keep them in check. It is my belief that this is a lifelong practice that we all bought into the minute we left our mother’s bodies (and notably we do so earlier than many mammals, in order to keep growing our big-ass brains outside the womb).

One of my favorite books, A General Theory of Love, offers three main strategies for getting on a more positive track and overcoming major obstacles to a happier life: medication, meditation, and cognitive therapy. All three have been greatly effective for me at various stages: medication to correct the chemistry that at times gets stuck on the unhappiness channel, meditation to find the inner peace and tranquility that is blissfully separate from all the commotion upstairs, and cognitive therapy to actually correct some of the automatic thinking that can send you off on negative spirals.

So, in gchatting with my friend yesterday morning, I said: what would send you on an upward spiral? Seriously: even just posing the question cheered us both up. In posing the question, you take charge in that moment: wait up! I’m actually running this show! I can choose to push myself in a happier direction! What are those things that consistently make me happy? Make a list: walking, sunshine, tea, coffee, slippers, running, watching the waves, napping, writing, volunteering, baking, friends, solitude. Do those things. And practice gratitude. Gratitude is like water on the wicked witch. Let me know if the terrorists don’t at least order a temporary cease-fire.

You can even be grateful for the wicked witches and the terrorists. Give them a big smile and a thumbs up.

Then, once you’re movin’ on up, just keep going!

acupuncture, depression, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

yosemite

On Thursday, I described to my acupuncturist my emotional swings from earlier in the week and how I woke up sweaty and with an aching back that morning. He felt my pulse and said, “Yep. That feels like a nightsweaty pulse.” I said, “What is a ‘nightsweaty pulse’?” and he said, “Oh, I can just tell that your body is under stress.”

I kind of blinked thinking, “Huh. I thought I had finished working through this one,” and then “God what’s the big deal all I did was try twice,” in that moment gave myself permission to be done or not done working through it but to stop judging and just be. And then I felt nothing, for longer than usual after he put in the needles and left the room. And then I got hit like a ton of bricks with the release of stuck emotions which eventually took me to that relaxation place right before sleep. Walking home, I felt so heavy, my limbs like sandbags even though I’d gone for an invigorating run just hours before along the Embarcadero with my dear friend, A.

Today, I worked from home which was productive and uneventful, but running errands tonight I thought: I still haven’t broken through. I am simmering on why, why, why. How is it again that I’m not just another ordinary lady who is married with kids at 38? It is such an old and unhelpful tune that I can’t get out of my head (news flash: life doesn’t always turn out the way we expected), and I thought I had moved past it for good but… getting your sad buttons pushed runs through all previous sadnesses and I suppose that’s just how we humans work.

Just when you’re thinking “jeez, this is a bummer post,” I have some good news. I have magically and coincidentally arranged to go camping for the weekend with my friend MM and we’re leaving first thing tomorrow morning. We’ve been loosely planning this for roughly 3 years but only just nailed it down last weekend. For me, there is no greater therapy than fresh air, trails, getting dirty, and sleeping on the ground. And: have you seen Yosemite? It is such an unlikely landscape with those distinctive rocky peaks which are by now like old, familiar friends. You look up from the valley into a natural cathedral built by forces of nature beyond our full understanding…and your mind is forced to ease up on whatever it’s clenched on because there’s no room for anything besides utterly breathtaking beauty.

I need it. Deep in my bones, I’m craving the wilderness. I will come back renewed, ready to pee on a stick.

anxiety, breakup, dating, depression, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

progress

I’m at Four Barrel, unexpectedly. I got my acupuncture appointment time wrong which left me with an extra hour before dinner and meditation… so I jetted over here to get an extra hour of work done only to find: no wireless! This big fancy café full of people in 2012 does not offer wireless. Imagine that.

So, it looks like I’ll be forced not to work. And while I can’t blog real-time, I can blog with a time-delay, which means I’ll probably go to bed earlier tonight than I would otherwise, and it’ll all be the same to you.

I haven’t been in this café since I met up with my friend I here in September. We hadn’t caught up in a while, and she knew I was going through a rough time. She leaned in and said, “OK, Honey. What’s going on?” I remember looking around the café at all the hipsters and couples and one very memorably beautiful baby. The afternoon sun was streaming in, just like it is now. I started at the beginning and unraveled the whole story. I was in crisis. My relationship had become unworkable. She listened and listened with a look on her face that told me there wasn’t much more to figure out. “Honey, it sounds like it just needs to end.” I believe we made some plans for me to become a mom on my own. But it was Friday night and I was on my way to his place for the weekend and my heart was breaking at the thought of all that was ahead of me.

It’s kind of cool to be back here, way over on the other side of all that.

I had a hard day yesterday. Just when I thought I had regained my balance after the end of Cycle 2, I was knocked off my center again. Blame the hormones, but there’s something about the sadness of not getting pregnant that sends me directly over to the sadness of not being in a relationship—it’s kind of a one-two punch. So it was coincidental that I ran into my post-breakup rebound at happy hour yesterday afternoon (my therapist and I refer to him as a “relapse”—he is an adorable mess and a disaster for me). And then it wasn’t so coincidental later on when I decided to check my most recent ex’s facebook page, landing on photos of his new girlfriend’s birthday celebration and his (their?) upcoming trip to Spain.

I can tell you with 110% certainty that I don’t want to be with either one of them. And I can tell you with 120% certainty that checking ex-boyfriends’ facebook pages should be against the law. (Why, for example, does facebook ask me, “Do you want to be friends with David?” Facebook: Why act all innocent when you obviously “know” we were “In a relationship,” the official way, for a year (check my timeline). It should say something like, “Are you ready to be post-breakup friends or are you just checking to make sure you’re better/prettier/smarter/thinner than his new girlfriend? I thought so.”)

Still. I did, once upon a time, want to be with him forever. He has a great sense of humor and he can be extremely generous and thoughtful and we had some seriously great times together. But I could not get a SPARK out of him—I never witnessed fiery passion or anger or despair or uncontrollable laughter. I am a LEO. I need romance and adoration and promises. I need unsolicited and unabashed expressions of love. I need to be with someone who smiles for photos. He wouldn’t smile for photos!

We hatched this plan to travel the world together for six months, the romance of which, for me, was that we’d throw our lives together, have this huge life-changing adventure, then come back and get married and pregnant. But then I stopped sleeping and developed massive anxiety around the planning. When I checked in with him on the after-the-trip plan, he was “not even thinking about those things.” Here I was on the verge of giving up my job, apartment, community, and lots/all of my savings. I’m thanking my higher power that I changed direction before SERIOUSLY f-ing up my ENTIRE life.

But sometimes it’s just easier to focus on the negative and really go with it, especially when you’re drunk on one beer after weeks of sobriety. So, I spent the evening on email and on the phone recounting the events of my day in excruciating detail to no fewer than five friends (THANK YOU) until I went to sleep and woke up feeling pretty much normal again. I do bounce back.

And here I am, randomly back at Four Barrel, my reminder from the universe that I did the hard work and emerged stronger, feeling so much freer and happier and more me than on my last visit to this wireless-free center of excellent coffee. So, hooray for that. I’d say that’s progress.