Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's up?

This time of year is a little crazy. I've been thinking how I need to blog about the crocheting I'm doing (lots of orders in the winter!), and Chickie's sixth birthday (three days ago!) and The Engineer's and my 12th anniversary (two days ago!) Lots of excitement. At some point I should sit down and gush about my kindergartener and how well she's doing with reading. I should do an interview with Zoodle, who has this awesomely cute voice and face--he definitely needs to be on video more often than he is.

All in time...or maybe not. Life just keeps swirling whether I blog or not!

And in that swirling life, there's the challenging stuff too. The stuff I haven't been blogging about. Well, okay, to be honest, I haven't been blogging about much at all. But I wonder if not blogging about the challenging stuff is stifling my blogging instinct altogether. So, here goes....

The Pregnancy

This journey as a gestational carrier...it's kinda crazy. It's emotional. And not in the ways I expected.

I expected that it might be confusing, bonding with someone else's baby. And so far, that just hasn't been very challenging. We'll see how things go over the next 5 1/2 months...and after the birth, when my hormones may toss me around for awhile!

But so far, I'm really trying to enjoy this pregnancy for what it is. I'm not bonding as a mother with this child, but I'm enjoying carrying him or her. I love my pregnant body. It's got curves it doesn't usually have, and I feel beautiful! I'm feeling little "taps" when the baby moves, and it's such a miraculous thing to know that a small human is growing daily inside me. My whole mindset is different than it was with my kids--as it should be. But I'm enjoying being this child's temporary guardian, and want to continue to enjoy that.

What I didn't anticipate--what I don't think any of us did--was that this journey would be so challenging for Ann. Onlookers (women, anyway) tend to think about how they'd handle being a carrier for someone else. Most people don't think about how it would feel to watch someone else carrying their child.

Ann really wants to carry her own children! When her daughter was carried by someone else, that situation had some really intense, unique stressors, and Ann was dealing with all that. This time, without those stressors, Ann is "free" to really feel. To really grieve the loss of her ability to carry babies. And it has been, at times, very, very painful.

It's also been at times very, very joyful! With the pain and the joy, it's been, as Ann has called it, a roller coaster! And since we are striving to join as partners and truly share this pregnancy, it has been a roller coaster for both of us.

I'll be honest--it's not just Ann! I've been hormonal, and emotional, and sometimes I've pulled away. Our friendship has been challenged with stuff that most friends never have to deal with. We haven't always handled it well along the way, but I think we're handling it well overall. We are communicating--a LOT--about what our needs are in this unique relationship. Ann is learning to share more with me. I'm learning to choose my attitudes instead of being controlled by hormones. We both dream of having a lifelong friendship, and we expect to come out of this particular 9 months with a much deeper bond because of what we're working through.

I see the fight that Ann is fighting, and I rejoice in her victories! She is learning so much about herself, and this time of difficult healing is leaving her stronger, as a woman and a mother and a child of God.

It's just been hard at times. Hard and awesome and emotionally difficult and emotionally thrilling and bitter and sweet. And so totally worth it. Ann and I both dream of that moment when this child comes out of my body and into her arms...that moment when this child's mother holds him or her for the first time. I dream of looking back at the journey and saying, "It was harder than we expected. But it was so much more beautiful than we expected, too."

Ann has given me permission to share links to two posts she recently wrote about her struggles and victories. The first, Resentments, is very "raw" but definitely conveys the depth of her struggles. The second post, In Good Times And In Bad Times, shows how she is finding joy through this process, and not letting the difficult parts overcome her.

The Engineer's Family

In my post about Christmas, I hinted at the difficulties that awaited us when we visited The Engineer's mom and stepdad. At this point, I still can't go into details. I'll just say...aging isn't always easy. Sometimes it's very painful, not just for the person getting older, but for the entire family. Decisions are being made, decisions that aren't easy or fun. And The Engineer is in charge of a whole lot of it.

He's awesome--I'm so proud of him. I see his desire to take the best care of his mother that he can take. I see his desire to make the best decisions that he can make. I see his pain, as he knows that sometimes there aren't any "good" choices, only a "best" choice. In less than a month, some changes will hopefully have been implemented. Honestly, none of us are looking forward to what's coming. We are praying for God's divine intervention in this situation, and as vague as this is, I'd appreciate your prayers too, if you're the praying type.

The pregnancy has to be way up on my priority list right now, and I'm so glad The Engineer is handling all the stuff with his family. He's busy with work and church, and his plate doesn't really have room for one more (big) thing, but he's handling it with a grace that makes me love him more. I just want to choose to trust that God's grace is even bigger than The Engineer's, and that He'll walk with us all through this.

So...that's what's up. And now that it's off my chest...I'm looking forward to writing some fun, "happy mommy" posts. Soon!


Amanda said...

Wow, thank you for being so honest, Beth, and for letting us know "what's up." I sent up a prayer for you all. I'm looking forward to the "happy mommy" posts.

Unknown said...

I'm also proud of your Engineer. And of you! You're pretty amazing in my book. But, I guess I'm sorta prejudiced as your dad. :)

Monica Manning said...

That must have been difficult to write, but I know it was also cathartic. Your faith--in friends, family, self and God--is inspiring.

Call Me Cate said...

Thank you for sharing this post. And thank you also to Ann for sharing hers. I'll admit I've wondered about possible resentment. How would I feel if my baby was being carried by someone else because I couldn't? Ann pointed out a lot of things I hadn't even thought of about bonding. I hope you'll continue to communicate and focus on the blessings of the situation.

And Engineer's family is on my mind. I can relate to that one a lot more, though all is quiet with my FIL at the moment (which either means no news is good news OR nobody has filled us in on something happening).

You know where to find me, any time.

Unknown said...

Thank you and Ann both for being so open and sharing your real experience with us. I find myself thinking about you both often. Infertility can be a very cruel path and it takes a great deal of strength to overcome all the negative emotions that go along with it. I'm sending my love and thoughts to you and Ann that you navigate this year to a stronger friendship.

If miracles were easy they wouldn't be so special.

Special K said...

I love honesty. I've done a lot of thinking on your gestational carrier experience and have had my own reflections on the experience. My sister had a 3 year road of infertility and did have twins. I am happy it did not come down to her asking me because honestly I could not do it. Partially because I wasnt done having children! Even now, feeling "done" with our family, I couldn't let go. And if she and I had issues, which I'm sure there would be jealousy because I know she was insanely jealous of so many moms, it would have been even harder. Hugs and hopefully things work out on all ends in the best most joyful way possible!

Sandra said...

I'm praying for you, Beth.

Anonymous said...

Admitting when we feel weak is a HUGE sign of our strength. I love reading your blog and it was equally powerful reading your friend's.

Eternal Lizdom said...

You've been a constant in my prayers- and by "you," I mean all involved in this extraordinary journey.