But then, I snap out of it. I slowly regain my hope (key to this is having another cycle in the works, even breaks don't help because then I resort to spiraling down more often). And then... I engage in my Moments Of Hope And Dreaming activities.
|The somewhat dusty vision board that we abandoned.|
Good idea in theory, but in practice not so much.
I learned a lesson from that--have things that make you feel hopeful, but have them in places where you don't have to look at them every day. When the Hope Cycle turns sour, it is helpful not to have your Moments of Hope and Dreaming activities sour along with the cycle. So I keep them hidden.
I still have my Baby Binder, evidence of crazy preplanning that has existed now for about four years and is getting to the point where I need to create two binders -- a Baby Binder and a Parenting Binder...
Oh, just my drawer of parenting magazines,
chilling in the coffee table.
...because I still have a subscription to Parents magazine, which initially I got for $1 and ordered while newly
pregnant and hopeful and since then haven't had the heart to discontinue. They have good ideas. They have good recipes. I like their philosophy on things for the most part. So what, I've been receiving a parenting magazine for two years without actually being a parent? Don't people buy bridal magazines well before they become a bride? House and Garden magazines to dream of a home you WILL have one day, not the one you currently reside within? Sometimes the magazine makes me feel like I am sad and crazy, but it's just hopeful dreaming. And they hide in a drawer until I'm ready to read them. As does the Baby Binder.
I recently joined Pinterest, which I originally had no desire to be a part of because I thought it would be a huge time suck, but it's actually a lot of fun. And I can somewhat control what I see, and I can make my boards fit my needs (unlike Facebook, where the onslaught of happy families and pregnant people and congratulations messages for new babies can be somewhat taxing). And so I extended my Hope and Dreaming activities to Pinterest, and created a board called, Someday Our Dream Will Come ...until then I plan obsessively. It's a collection of activities to do with future children, nursery ideas, organization/storage ideas, etc. I have stayed away from pregnancy stuff, because I have plenty of time to add that in and quite frankly I don't want to go there. It's fun to add to and I do it when I feel like it and I can ignore it when I don't. I toyed with making it a Secret Board, but then I didn't. Why not semi-publicly plan for the happy ending we so hope for? As of yet it doesn't make me feel foolish.
Lastly, there's the Thought Activities. Things done in private with no visual proof or representation. Basically, times when I allow myself to think ahead to moments in a future we're not 100% sure are coming. Things like mulling over whether or not we will find out the sex of our baby (that's so happening if the baby is cooperative) and pros and cons of both sides; how to prepare for birth and how much expectation I will have for that culminating moment of all this strife (Birth plan? Not so sure...I think at this point the plan is whatever will keep me and the baby safe through the process, I don't yet have strong opinions on things like drugs or no drugs, epidural or not, but I can tell you that this very special baby, should he/she decide to arrive by way of my uterus, will be coming in a hospital). Bryce and I had a conversation about doulas the other day (in part due to an article in Parents, that I was reading just for kicks, and also because of a conversation I had with a friend who has beautiful children from IVF). I didn't even know what a doula was until a few years ago, and it's not really crucial that we have these conversations now, but it is fun to talk about and discuss and pretend like maybe this is in our future. The thinking about the birth end of things is new -- Bryce mentioned to me that he thought it was interesting that I never talked about that aspect of all this. I guess it's just so far away in our minds that all I can think about is the possibility of being pregnant, and of nesting, but not of the beautiful-yet-really-kind-of-violent entrance to the world that this baby will have. Maybe it's not what he intended, but as a result of that conversation I was like, "Yeah, sure--let's talk birth and labor and doulas and hospitals and stuff like that. Why not?"
Why not to all of it -- if I'm in the right frame of mind it doesn't make me sad. It's the strategic placement of these things, in places where they can easily hide away should I not be able to handle them anymore or at that moment in time, that is so key. It's also that all the activities I now have are not centered on my having some kind of control over the outcome here. That was initially a nice idea with the Vision Board, but ultimately less than healthy because really, NO CONTROL. If only it were as simple as physically visualizing the success and joy of reaching our goal. So no, instead these activities are more just hoping and dreaming and allowing space in our minds to believe that maybe, maybe this might happen.