Saturday, February 28, 2015

I Can't vs I Can

It has been a really, really stressful week. Back to school after the break, which I largely spent collecting documentation for our adoption agency and working on IEPs (with some rest and reading, which was lovely)...but now it really feels as if this past week was like two rolled into one. It moved too fast to get the things done I needed to, yet the week dragged and dragged. And there was something crazy after school every single day--we both had car trouble and so spent two evenings dealing with rental cars and picking up cars from the shop, we had a meeting with our kitchen contractor to hammer out details and sign the contract (and pay the deposit), I had a rally in support of public education after school one day that was attended by many districts in western NY and was a beautiful show of support for the work we public teachers do each day, for kids. It was exhausting. I had no time to write. I had no time whatsoever, really, to breathe, and rest, and relax.

And today went just as quickly...with not as much work done on my new unit plan as I would have liked, and absolutely no work done on my own IEPs that need to be done about a week from Monday. I am freaking out.

SO, I am so grateful to have a saved blog post that I wrote in the days following our decision to end fertility treatments where they lay and begin the adoption process, full steam ahead. I think now's as good a time as any to post it!

I have been coming to peace with our end to infertility treatments for a while, but to have it end in such an unfinished, craptastic way seems just so vastly unfair. On the day it was all over, I had a running list of I Can'ts in my head:

- I can't ever be pregnant
- I can't ever give birth
- I can't ever go on my maternity clothes shopping spree I've been waiting for
- I can't ever join in on conversations about my own birth story, labor story
- I can't have those beautiful photos of me and Bryce with his hands wrapped around my giant belly
- I can't prepare a nursery while I'm waiting for my baby
- I can't have a shower with my baby tucked inside me, pictures of me holding onesies up to my swollen mama belly
- I can't breastfeed

But then, I started to think about the I Cans, and they just started pouring in:

- I can have a baby
- I can have my body back and go shopping for clothes that DON'T have elastic waistbands
- I can eat whatever I please without worrying about listeria or salmonella hurting my fictional baby (soft cheeses, deli meat, dippy eggs...all I can eat!)
- I can drink as much coffee as I'd like without worrying that I'm atrophying my lining
- I can drink cocktails and wine and not worry that I'm hurting my chances of conceiving
- I can get rid of the gazillion sharps containers that are sprinkled throughout my house
- I can take hot baths anytime I damn well please
- I can use tampons again (seriously, I haven't used them in about 4 years because I read that they change the pH of your vagina and can alter your environment,  and it is a modern convenience I miss very much)
- I can (and did) take all those onesies out of hiding, because they are no longer for some fictional maybe-baby but for a real, live baby who WILL be coming our way
- I can, when we're ready, prepare a nursery for a baby that we are so excited to welcome home
- I can stop being held hostage to injection times
- I can register for a baby shower (not now, later, but it's not gone)
- I can have a baby shower, even if it will look different than it would have before, it can happen when we feel that's appropriate and even better I can have a COCKTAIL at it!
- I can make "We're Adopting" announcements and even do a parents-in-waiting photo shoot, thankyouverymuch Pinterest for introducing me to this phenomenon
- I can breastfeed, or at least attempt to (more on this in a separate post as it's an interesting and emotionally fraught topic I'd like to discuss with you)
- I can put my focus into a process that works, as opposed to one that works for some and utterly fails others for no apparent reason
- I can have a family
- We can have a family
- We can have a family

Some of these seem very shallow, but they are experiences of expectant parents and I so look forward to every day I get closer to being an expectant parent. We've been expecting for a long time, without any physical sign other than my increased chubbiness and smack-fiend-looking needle bruises on my arms (no one can see the ones all over my stomach, except for my best friend who I've tortured with disturbing pictures of my bruised-up tummy, heh heh heh). But now we can be on our way to REALLY expecting, to making this real, to having the odds most definitely in our favor. It may take longer than we hope. It may have painful false starts. It may not (will not) be any easier than IVF was in many ways, but the difference of having a positive outcome at the end means all the world to us. It also doesn't hurt that it doesn't impact us physically. My body is mine again. I will always be sad I couldn't experience pregnancy, but it will be SO VERY outweighed by the amazingness that is a lifetime of parenting our beautiful FutureBaby.

We can be parents. And we will.


  1. This post brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for the awful way that your treatments ended, and for the pain that that list of can'ts has brought you. I love your list of cans, though. There is so much promise in your future and I love how you are looking forward to it with so much positive anticipation.

    Good luck with all the tasks you have in this next week! Those crazy days sure can take it out of you. I hope you do get a few moments in there to catch your breath. Also - are you redoing your kitchen? If so, I am jealous! :)

    1. Thank you--I am living much more in the promise of the I Can list than I am in the disappointments of the I Can't list. And, it makes me so happy that some of my I Can'ts turned out to be I Cans! And YES, we are redoing our kitchen, at the same time as about a zillion other things. I am excited for this redo as I HATE our current kitchen, and they are redoing the layout and bringing it to the studs. Woo hoo! We just won't have a real kitchen for a month or two... yikes. But it will be worth it! Good things, good things. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. I love that the CAN list far exceeds the can't list. <3

    1. ME TOO! And did you notice that some of the I Can'ts were actually I Cans once I did some research? Very hopeful times. Thanks for cheering me on!

  3. Good for you to let it all out and to share those very personal feelings. It is important to grieve your losses and not to skip past them. Also glad that the can list is the longer of the two, and I have a feeling it will continue to grow. :)

    1. Thanks, Jamie--me too. I think there are a lot more I Cans out there. Those I Can'ts were hard, and in all honesty a reason why I wasn't ready to make the move to the adoption pathway, but I'm so glad to be moving past them. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. What a great heartfelt and honest post. I too love the can list and look forward to reading more about all of them and how they are prepared for and come to be.

    1. Thank you so much! I am so excited to make all those positive things to come a reality. I'm glad you appreciate the honesty! Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. Your pain is very, very real, and very justified. But I just wanted to pipe up and say that now, at 1 year out from giving birth to my son, it is the PARENTING that I cherish. Although I was pregnant via donor egg, I was able to do very few of the things on your "can" list. I didn't ever have a nice large belly to photograph (I gained the recommended amount of weight but it sat funny on me and I never looked that pregnant), I don't have a nice labor and delivery story since I had a medically necessary and unwanted c-section, I wasn't able to successfully breastfeed, I missed my own shower since my baby came early. BUT I can cuddle with my son every night, and now I'm working as hard as I can to be a good parent. You will do those things too, and it will be just as special as any other parent-child relationship. I am excited for you!

    1. Thank you so much--I don't love that so much about being pregnant and breastfeeding didn't go the way you'd hoped, but I do love the joy in parenting and the moments you cherish that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with gestating and birthing. Thank you so much for sharing this, because that's painful on your end, too. I am super excited too! Bring on the I Cans, dammit! :)