Tag Archives: blogging

About the Missing Years (plus bonus PSA)

I have been missing writing lately, but the couple of times I have opened up my blog to add a post after a 3.5 year absence it hasn’t felt quite right, so perhaps I should clear the air. With April Fools approaching it seems a good time.

Dont-Mind-the-Gaps

I have always strived to inject a humorous undertone in my writing, even when I’m actually quite worked up about an issue. Even the serious posts have been sprinkled with sarcasm for some comic relief. Over the last few years life has just seemed a bit too heavy to find the bright side, and try as I might I could not find my voice. Circumstances plus postpartum depression (and lets face it, the circumstances probably fuelled the PPD) did not make for a happy time. Some of this I will keep private (2014, you’re dead to me), but I feel it is important to share the struggles that J & I have faced these last two years because maybe somebody will read my posts and feel less alone. God knows how often I searched the Internet late into the night, looking for others who were sharing their similar stories.

Today, this image showed up on my Facebook newsfeed:

IMG_7726

I cried because it reminded me that last April 1st was not a good social media day for me. In February 2016 J & I, after a year of trying to conceive without success, received a general diagnosis of Secondary Male Factor Infertility and the prognosis only got worse from there after each embarrassing and painful test. Although we did eventually beat the odds late last year (much to the shock of our medical team), pregnancy after infertility or pregnancy loss is not experienced the same as a pregnancy achieved by a couple who have never experienced either. I know because I have now experienced both. I’m grateful for people that are spreading the message that fake pregnancy announcements are not funny. Not. Remotely. Funny.

Did you know that in Canada 1 in 6 couples experience some form of infertility? In the United States that number is 1 in 8. Worldwide, the figure jumps to 1 in 4. I can tell you right now that before February 2016 I was unaware of these stats, and at that point I had been on this earth for 32 years. Male factor infertility? Literally didn’t know it existed. Secondary infertility? Nope. Wasn’t aware that was a thing either. Pregnancy loss is more visible, but no less painful. In fact, couples experiencing pregnancy loss are often expected to return to life as usual within an incredibly short period of time even by those who were privy to the loss. Their pain is minimized by society at large, which must only bring on a whole other level of pain, guilt and shame.

Infertility carries a lot of guilt and shame too. Infertility takes over. It destroys marriages. It destroys happiness. I’m not saying that it always does, or that everyone copes (or fails to cope) in the same manner, but what I am saying is I just didn’t know it could, and if you haven’t experienced it you probably didn’t know either. People say a lot of dumb stuff to infertile couples, and they just don’t know how painful it can be to have to hear them. I do hope to share more about different aspects of our infertility journey with you in the coming weeks and in typing this I hope it serves to hold me accountable to my intentions. For now I will leave you with this PSA from us Womb Warriors:

Don’t be a social media fool this April 1st. Fake pregnancy announcements haven’t ever been and won’t ever be funny. I assure you that someone you love has suffered in silence with infertility or pregnancy loss. Guilt, shame and/or embarrassment keep many people from speaking their struggles aloud. These posts are heartbreaking to a woman who may never feel life quicken in her womb, a woman who has lost a life that once grew there, or a man who may never know the joy of holding his precious newborn.

Infertility Awareness.png

Besides, just turn on the news. You can find plenty of April Fools fodder to share there, like this one that the Washington Post published hilariously prematurely:
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Oh…

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I’m Dying… or something less serious

Dear people that are kind enough to read my blog,

Please forgive my absence. Several things have happened in the last week to prevent me from updating.

  1. I am one week away from defending my masters thesis… so I’m pretty much paralyzed with fear.
  2. My dog developed an infection and that has required me to follow her around the house with sanitizing products (I’ll leave the rest of that to your imagination)
  3. I caught the plague. Seriously. I’m disgusting. I just walked into my mom’s living room in my underwear, pregnant belly leading the way, tissues literally shoved up my nose and sang “I’m Sexy and I Know It” for her. She was entertained. Unfortunately, I’m not brave enough to do that video post for you, but I thought I’d describe it in case you’ve been missing me. Now you can picture it if you like.

I just wanted to inform you that if I survive the plague, and having to defend two and a half years of my life and funding dollars to a bunch of academics, I’ll be back. Until then, happy reading elsewhere… or check out my old blog if you like (CLICK HERE). On it you will find pictures like this:

If you don’t see what’s wrong with this, I can’t help you.

The scariest thing about this picture is that almost all hits to that blog are from people doing Google Image searches for “Grade 11 Labeled Picture of the Heart”… I’m ruining young minds.

You will also find photos of me that are très sexy, like this one:

I am Cindy Crawford’s body double

I apologize in advance if you thought even for one second that I was normal.

And now, I’m going to pass out. The children’s Tylenol is beginning to wear off (it tastes like bubble gum though, so I always look forward to more… ew?).

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Well, after that miserable post I wrote last night, you can imagine my surprise when I awoke to a notification that Girl Diaries has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. After a week where I have felt less than inspired, it’s nice to know that someone out there (and hopefully more than one someone!) finds me inspiring.

To be honest (see, I’m not actually a liar) I hadn’t discovered Girl Diaries yet, but I have taken a look through some of her posts now. She’s a student and aspiring writer and photographer with a love and passion for poetry. Her blog is very personal. It takes guts to put your thoughts out there like a diary, so kudos to Girl Diaries. I hope your dreams come true :) Her blog can be found here: http://girldiaries101.wordpress.com/.

So here are the rules of this award:

  1. Display the Nomination logo on your blog
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you
  3. State 7 things about yourself
  4. Nominate 15 others and link to them
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nominations & award requirement

1 and 2 are taken care of, so here are seven things about me:

  1. I’m a little bit crazy, but to meet me you’d never know it… however if you’ve discovered my old blog, you know it.
  2. I love to travel. So far I’ve made it to various countries in Europe, Asia and South America. I hope to make it to Australia and New Zealand soon.
  3. My travel aspirations may have to be put on hold, since I’m expecting a baby. Baby + backpacking around the world = not really compatible. Resort vacations for the foreseeable future perhaps?
  4. I have a dog and a parrot and both of them are completely neurotic. I blame myself. I’m pretty neurotic too!
  5. A car once drove through my motel room wall and hit my bed… I slept through it. This is a true story. Ask my brother.
  6. As a child I aspired to be an Olympic swimmer (amongst other dreams), but I was far too shy to take any kind of extra-curricular classes.
  7. I have a PhD in procrastination. I’m so good at it.

I can’t nominate 15 blogs yet, to be fair. I migrated to WordPress from Blogger and I’ve only recently begun to discover the wonderful and supportive community that WordPress is. Blogger really isn’t so interactive and I can’t stress enough what a wonderful tool WordPress is for writers. There are five blogs that I read consistently and that I can truly say are inspiring. I’m sure this list will grow. Since being Freshly Pressed my readership has quadrupled and through your discovery of me, I am slowly (being in the final throes of thesis completion I don’t have a ton of time for reading yet… just wait til September though!) discovering more and more wonderful authors, and perhaps can add to this list over time. Without further ado, here are my nominations:

alateralplunge.wordpress.com: Peaches over at alateralplunge is nothing if not versatile. Her early posts are a chronicling of her and her husbands lives as they begin to try to conceive their first child. Being preggers, I love to read other pregnancy and TTC blogs; however, alaterplunge is much more than that. In addition to embarking on the motherhood journey, Peaches likes to write about things that make her happy, things that piss her off, and everything in between. She was Freshly Pressed a couple of weeks ago for a post about making those “like” button clicks count. The response to that post was amazing! A very good read.

katywins.wordpress.com: Like mine, Katy’s body has also recently been inhabited by a small perfect parasite. She’s chronicling her pregnancy journey, and I get very excited every time she updates. As wonderful as creating a life is, pregnancy is hard! It’s hard on your mind, it’s hard on your body, and although Katy is not exempt to this rule she takes pregnancy symptoms in stride and manages to make them funny. Now that’s inspiring!

theunexpectedpregnancy.com: This single mama hasn’t updated in a bit, but I hope she will keep writing. As you may have gathered, this blog began as the story of her unexpected pregnancy. Naturally, being in the throes of my own unexpected pregnancy, I got sucked in and read this blog start to finish over a period of three days. Through the highs and lows of pregnancy and a confusing relationship with the father of her baby, this anonymous blogger has managed to keep her head above water, using blogging as an outlet. Through it all you can feel her strength and her desire to do what’s best for her son is clear. Baby A sure did luck out in the mama department!

itsdilovely.com: Dilovely is a human being I know in real life. Not well, but sometimes I feel like I do. Her blog is a window into a lovely soul (you know, since you can’t see her eyes through the internet). She’s the mama of an earth baby, an angel baby and a baby on the way, as well as a teacher and musician. She writes both as a Mama and as a Normal Girl and her writing will draw you in. She’ll make you laugh and she’ll make you cry. Sometimes heartbreaking, always inspirational. This strong mama is well worth the read.

ljohnsen.wordpress.com: Don’t come here for a read, come here for the view :) This is a the photoblog of a dear friend of mine. I am inspired by her drive to engage with the things she loves, especially her recent venture into photography. After completing a BA and ending up, like so many of us, in a job that has absolutely nothing to do with her field of study, Miss. Johnsen decided to pursue her passion and go back to college for photography. She took some early maternity photos of me, and will be photographing J and I in October for some nice big belly shots. Hopefully I can convince her to try newborn photography once Baby H makes his debut.

As I said, I am still discovering new blogs but haven’t read much start to finish yet. I am consistently impressed and humbled by the talent I stumble upon in the blogosphere.

So, thanks to Girl Diaries once more. I’m happy to pay it forward and perhaps brighten someone else’s day as you have brightened mine.

In conclusion, here is a cute picture of my puppy:

Yup. Pretty much sums it all up.

Some Serious Shenanigans

And I sing, “Press me freshly, read me slowly, take it easy don’t you know, that I have never been Freshly Pressed beforrrrrre!”

How exciting is being Freshly Pressed? At time of writing I have yet to see my post appear on that hallowed page, but I’ve received an e-mail saying it’s on its way there today or tomorrow. I got really excited and called my daddy right away. Yeah, I’m that cool.

So, WordPress seemed to enjoy my childhood anecdotes, and I hope you did too. I had a lot of fun writing that post and in the hours since I’ve had all these hilarious childhood behaviours and memories pop back into my head. I often joke that I have PTSD (oh the joys of being a child of divorce) and can’t remember my childhood, so when I do catch glimpses of it I try to build context so that I remember more.

I qualified as a shenanigans savant at an early age, back when I looked like this:

Circa 1987

A warning for new parents: Do not teach your children to read and write at an early age. They will hone the skill and use it against you.

Credit: Erika Aoyama, 2003

Case in point: I was reading and writing at the age of three. My parents have always boasted about this and even I have come to wear it as a badge of pride; however, I think they have forgotten the day back in 1989 when a bunch of parents and their children arrived at our doorstep for my supposed birthday party bearing gifts on a Wednesday afternoon in November, much to my mother’s surprise. She was nearly 9 months pregnant with my youngest brother of that particular parental pairing, and at home with her was my 5 year old self and my 3 year old brother. Of course, I really couldn’t understand as she sent me to my room and then proceeded to turn my guests away, one by one. In my five year old opinion my mother was being totally cruel. I mean, I’d had a birthday party every other year of my young life, so why not this year? And to not even keep the gifts? Oh! The agony! What those beautifully wrapped colourful boxes might have contained… I imagined I’d never know. I wept.

I pretended I was Ariel from my new favourite movie, the Little Mermaid, that my dad had just taken me to see in theaters the previous weekend. My mom was Ursula the sea witch (sorry mom) and no matter what she did to me, Prince Eric would rescue me. I sat by the window flopping my pretend mermaid fins around, singing that song Ariel sings, “Ahhhahhhahhh, ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh“. Know the one? No? Well, I was convinced Prince Eric would recognize it and come to my aid.

Anyways parents, if you insist on teaching your children to read at an early age (don’t say I didn’t warn you), here are some pointers. Should you receive an invitation made out of construction paper that comes home crumpled in the bottom of your kindergarten aged child’s backpack and looks something like this,

there are some telltale signs to look for in determining whether or not it is parent approved.

1. Make sure your child’s name is spelled properly. If the invitation has been proofread by a parent, there are not likely to be major typos.

2. Make sure the date is not for the middle of the week. That just makes no sense.

3. Note the obsession with presents. It’s not cute, it’s greedy, and my mom would never have let me show the world that I was a greedy little present fiend.

4. Make sure there is an RSVP! No parents want a surprise number of five year olds showing up at their house! Would you?

Honestly. Even though I didn’t get my party (until the new year after that pesky little brother was born… man, I have nice parents), I’m quite proud of myself for pulling this off. How is it that not one parent questioned this handmade invitation for a Wednesday afternoon birthday party during the school year and called to verify with my parents? I totally blindsided them. Those are some seriously successful shenanigans my friends!

Dear J

Lately my most annoying pregnancy symptom (aside from sleepless nights and heartburn) is my overwhelming sensitivity and sentimentality, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and put a bright side spin on it. As you will know if you read my posts ‘Relationship Misadventures‘ and ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony‘ J and I haven’t had the easiest time adjusting to the pregnancy. This pregnancy happened very early in our young relationship and while it’s been stressful, it’s also been amazing. After all, I can’t say it was an accident since our combined 36 years of education should have taught us where babies come from. Our favourite cute couple (read: vomit inducing) game to play is “No, you wanted to get pregnant.” I officially win by default when, after sharing our why you wanted to get pregnant stories, J ends his with “and I’ve told this lie so often now that I’ve started to believe it”. Way to disqualify yourself darling!

I think I got a bit off track. My purpose here was to put a bright side on my ridiculous sensitivity and sentimentality as of late. Most of the sentimentality centres around being truly madly and deeply in love with the father of my baby. If he were a more sentimental man I’d write him love letters, but since I can’t really even verbalize how I feel about him to him in person due to the fact that his reply would make me feel weird (meaning there would be a lack of reply. Not because he doesn’t love or care about me; I catch glimpses of sweetness, some of which you will read about further on. No, it’s because he’s ‘built Ford tough’ dontcha know and tough guys don’t spew sonnets). Anyways, it’s been building up in my chest this week and I’ve just got to get it out, so now you all can read about it instead. He’ll probably read this eventually too (I know he spies on my blog from time to time) and that’s okay. He doesn’t have to tell me!

Without further adieu, here are 10 things that might appear in a love letter to J, should I ever write one:

1.

2. This city girl secretly loves that you’re a country boy (even though she won’t admit it half the time).

3. The phrase “I love you” gets thrown around a bit too easily in relationships, but you took your time, and I like that. When you first told me you might be falling in love with me it freaked me out. I don’t know why, I think I just didn’t expect it (I was also being a horrible hypocrite and read the text while driving… going into shock and commanding a moving machine do not mix, FYI). Then you kind of got all weird and disappeared for a bit, which scared me even more, because when I really thought about it I was happy you were falling in love with me. Thankfully when you came back it was with full force and that first “I love you”, even though it was a text made out of weird symbols and you were mad at yourself for saying it via text, just swept me off my feet. Seriously. I think the fact that it was a text helped in that department as well. You might be a tough guy, but you’re kind of shy and it’s totally endearing.


4. I actually cried last week when I sent you the pic I drew for baby H’s nursery and you told me the next day that you’d been looking at it on and off to keep you smiling.

5. Sometimes when I indulge in the darker places of my brain that I’d prefer to forget exist, I get super sad that you’re a smoker. I always told myself never to fall in love with a smoker because I knew I’d struggle with it. And it’s not because I think it’s gross, or that I’m frustrated that you said you’d quit and haven’t. It’s not for those reasons. It’s because I love you to pieces and can’t handle the thought of losing out on precious moments with you. I know we could all die tomorrow, but the fact that you’re hurting yourself (someone I love so much) willingly and knowingly breaks my heart. I want to take care of you and I wish you’d do the same (take better care of you!). Sometimes I even feel relieved when you sleep in the middle of the day (even though I get bored and wish you’d wake up!) because I know at least it’s 1 (or 10) less cigarette(s). Crazy thought process, I know, but that’s what love does to you. It makes you crazy one way or the other.

And what if you defy the odds but end up looking like this guy? Hmmm…

6. Thank you for telling and showing me (Note to my readers: that’s right. I went there. We’re having a baby so you shouldn’t be surprised), especially when I’m feeling like such a whale, that you find me sexier now than ever. I admit, I feel the same way about you.

7. My heart still jumps every time your name lights up my phone.

8. I just about died of happiness last night when you were talking to baby H and he was wiggling all around at the sound of your voice (oh dammit. I just teared up again). So many women complain that their partners don’t take any interest in the pregnancy part of the having a baby thing. I think it’s so beautiful that you talk to your son and clearly think about what our lives will be like with him in the world. I know it won’t be easy at times, but I can’t wait.

9. I think it’s obvious. I love your guts. And it doesn’t hurt that the encasement of those guts is mighty fine. You’re sexy and you know it!

10. Even though you might be mad that I gave the Internet a glimpse beneath your tough guy exterior, I know you’ll forgive me. Why? You totally love me too. Yup.

Ok, so this post totally isn’t in keeping with the tone of my blog, but I don’t care. I can’t just write about the things that annoy me, although it’s super fun because it’s just so easy to make them funny. Sometimes a little sentimentality is good for the soul.

Happy Monday friends! (And who ever says that about Mondays!?)