Thursday, May 4, 2017

Best Birthday Present to Myself Ever (Also, I'm Sorry)

I feel I have to apologize a bit because in writing about my disappointing therapy session last week (which I have solutions for, thanks for all the suggestions!), I apparently dropped news that I hadn't mentioned before in a very offhanded way and I didn't mean to. Unintended consequences galore.

So, yeah. We are not renewing our homestudy. We are done. Our journey to parenthood has ended, or is in the process of ending, and it's a very surreal place to be.

See, going back to work was harder than I'd anticipated, because I only have so much energy and as a friend told me, I'm on a REST QUEST. So I have struggled to have the energy to get everything done that I've piled on my plate, and I've done a lot of "off the clock" processing that normally would happen here, and I just. didn't. know. where. to. start.

Do I start with how sad I feel?

How I feel like a quitter? (How Bryce told me if I'm a quitter then so are people who quit, you know, addictive drugs or smoking, which made me laugh and made a perfect kind of sense...)

How I also feel a sort of relief to be slowly shifting myself out from under the weight of uncertainty?

How I feel a crisis in identity, since who am I if I'm not keeping up the fight to become a mom? That the name of my blog is now a lie?

How it doesn't escape me that I posted my video of me reading my audition piece for LTYM the Sunday before everything went so horribly wrong, and everything in it was true and is true: I do have a strong desire to be a mother, but now it seems like it rings hollow? Like I'm going to be looked at like a liar, as a fake, as someone not quite committed enough to "sticking with it," even though when they start testing you for heart attack enzymes in the ER and you have a very public meltdown at school, perhaps you have actually stuck with it enough?

There's more, so much more. It's been weeks of hashing this out and trying to decide what to do and what the right choice is, for us, given our unique circumstances, and I AM EXHAUSTED.

But also, I feel that it is the right decision, despite the ways self-doubt creeps in via imaginary voices and arguments with people who might question our decision. Despite the fact that anyone who we have actually told has responded with nothing but compassion and empathy. As they should, quite frankly. This is a huge loss.

But it's also been a journey that has literally been a series of unfortunate events. At one point in our discussions, Bryce said that the last time he felt truly happy and hopeful that our future would pan out with a child was when we took our butterfly walk when I was pregnant, that incredibly brief moment where everything was the fulfilled promise of all we'd hoped so hard to achieve. That was almost FIVE YEARS AGO. Nothing quite went the way we'd hoped it would, and while I know "waiting is the hardest part" and "if you stick with it, adoption WILL work" are favorite catchphrases, the cumulative effect of close calls and long spells without calls at all and feeling like your LIFE is being passed over and you're not quite sure how long you can live in this limbo makes waiting and sticking with it seem Sisyphean. And you just want to live life out from under the weight, and it's been made clear that your body has its limits with stress and limbo, too.

So there it is. We are done, and I am sad, and empty, and we are slowly making our way around to telling people in our own way, in our own time. But I am only empty in a compartment, because I also see how very, very full the rest of my life is. That I couldn't be luckier to have this life with a wonderful man who loves me possibly more than I deserve, to have all the happinesses that we enjoy and have yet to enjoy. That I can start my 41st birthday knowing that the rest of my forties are going to be different than I thought, but that it's a new beginning.

And so, to get back to the title of this post, which should really be I'm Sorry, (and also, Best Birthday Present Ever)...

I bought myself a fabulous new throw pillow for our new couch, for which I splurged on expedited shipping to get it in time for my birthday tomorrow and it makes me laugh maniacally and do a happy dance when I see it:

Is that not the best thing you've ever seen?

I saw it in my head the other day, and then googled it AND THERE IT WAS. In real life. Purchase-able even! So much happiness in a little square. It's like I finally manifested something, ha HA ha ha.

I can get behind pillows with words on them if they swear and are strangely appropriate for life at the time.

(Lest you think this couch looks strangely like the other one, it's not and here is the temporary arrangement to prove it...the loveseat will go for real when the chairs come. IN LATE JUNE.)

And so we grieve and feel sadness and anger and frustration at the same time there is a bit of lightness, a feeling of CLOSE THE DOOR ON THAT CHAPTER (or volume, more like), and we look forward to all that is to come in this new life together.


  1. Best. Pillow. Ever!!!
    Happy Birthday Jess. Sending so much love to you. I hope your day is amazing and fabulous, despite everything else going on.
    So much love and support here for you as you move forward.

  2. I love the pillow!
    Happy Birthday!
    I think, in spite of the suckiness of having to make such decisions, you're doing a good thing by giving yourself time and remembering the other compartments in life.

  3. Many hugs for you. You are a heartfelt person who deserves her happy. May this birthday open its doors to that and more. Happy Birthday, Jess!

  4. So many beat me to the pillow. It is awesome. And the fact it makes you so insanely happy makes it even more awesome.

    Many years ago, I naively believed that anyone could be a parent if they wanted it enough. It was based on many, many assumptions that proved false or riddle with complexities no one was willing to openly acknowledge. I share this because that naive belief is a core belief for so many people and their way of processing this end to this chapter in your life is to challenge you as it threatens something that is part of their foundation. Pretty fucked up. Hence I fully support you when you stop these well-meaning questioners mid-sentence and tell them they need to stop. Hell, I want to gift you with one of those power squirt guns solely for this purpose.

    Anyway, I'm sorry. My heart hurts for you with this news. I know this isn't the ending to this road you wanted. And I'm just so sad with you.

    But (I know, the but) your life IS full. More full and amazing than so many people. And it's not because of the outsiders, but because you made it this way. You and Bryce together. Shredding magnets and swearing pillows complimenting all of it.

    Wishing you a peaceful birthday and many moments of happiness.

  5. I wish you could have had a different sort of ending/beginning to your "path to mommy hood," but at the same I also want to laugh maniacally at your pillow. I think it's going to feel incredibly good (at some point(s), at least) to be the author of your life with Bryce in a way you can control (a little more). Maybe even mother yourself a bit. Much love.

  6. I feel sad and disappointed for you that you journey hasn't resolved in a child. I was taken aback at first reading your last post that you would be done in two months and initially I was thinking, but maybe just three or six more months.. but then I read that you had decided that the last homestudy renewal would be your last and I got it. As you quoted from the life without baby book this journey could ultimately be indefinite. I completely understand all your reasons. I hope that in time you and Bryce will be able to look forward to a new future together, not as you had imagined previous but still lovely nonetheless. Maybe it's time to think about going on one of those holidays you were thinking of doing but had to put off due to the uncertainty of when you might get that call. Sending love! Please do continue to keep us updated

  7. I think that the most telling thing about this post is that you mention that the last time that Bryce felt excited and hopefully was five years ago. That's a long time to wait and wish for something that you are not very hopeful about.

    I am so sad for you and with you that your journey is ending, but it certainly sounds like it is time. The pillow is amazing and I'm glad that you love it so much.

    I do think that it is time to plan an amazing vacation for just the two of you later this year to celebrate a new chapter in your lives.


  8. I think you are so very very brave. It must be a HUGE decision to know when it's best/"right" to stop. Not everyone would be able to identify that point. I admire your self awareness.

  9. I'm sorry this did not work out as you had hoped. While I cannot directly relate, I bet that it will be nice to start making plans that you can control much more than adoption. Wish you the best in this new stage of your life.

  10. First of all, happy birthday! I'm joining everyone else in saying the pillow is fabulous.

    I'm so sorry that the journey has not ended the way you wanted. I am in awe of your strength and maturity in knowing and respecting your own limits and mind. Sending lots and lots of hugs and hopes as you move forward and process. I hope that you and Bryce find a place of peace and joy and wish you the very best in this new beginning.

  11. Happy birthday, Jess :-)

    I don't think your LTYM audition rings hollow at all. Instead I think it shows resilience, the ability to respond to What Is. In other words, resilience.

    I'm so glad you found and got that pillow for yourself!

  12. Oh Jess, I did notice your reference to the homestudy in the last post & realized you must have made some decisions. I am sorry if it had some unintended consequences, and I hope it didn't create any huge difficulties for you. And I am so sorry this journey didn't end the way you'd hoped. I think everything you're feeling right now is completely normal and perfectly valid. It's going to take some time to process everything you've been through... but I'm so glad you realize that you still have a good life and a future you can embrace and look forward to. And you know we (me, Mali, Pamela, BnB and all the rest of us who have walked this road less travelled ahead of you) are here for you, if you need us!

    As for your blog, you can rename it to better reflect this new phase of your life -- or start an entirely new blog -- I've seen people do both. It's your blog, your call. :)

    Happy birthday, Jess! (LOVE your birthday present to yourself!!) I'm sure the year ahead is going to be difficult in some ways, but I hope by this time next year, you will be feeling a whole lot better about everything. Sending huge (((hugs))) to both you & Bryce!

  13. Oh friend. So many emotions going into this post and for me to read this post. My heart hurts for you but at the same time I celebrate with you your determination and braveness to move forward to the next chapter of life. It is such a difficult decision and you and Bryce arrived at it with so much thoughts that you guys are just so admirable. I love your sense of humor and the pillow is just so perfect for your situation right now. Happy birthday friend. May this be a beautiful new beginning for you and Bryce, and that you both will be truly happy again, soon.

  14. Happiest of birthdays during this bittersweet time. I am thinking ahead to a year from now, to your 42nd birthday, which (if you read Douglas Adams) is the most special birthday. And how the feelings won't be as raw even if the sadness is there with the sweet. You have an amazing husband and a wonderful job and the best throw pillow in the world. You have a good head on your shoulders, a huge heart, and a great smile to go with your excellent sense of humour. A lot to celebrate even as you mourn. Happy birthday -- sending a big hug.

  15. First and foremost, happy birthday. I hope you got to celebrate in a way that made you squeal with glee, as it should be.

    I'm sorry your journey to motherhood is coming to an end but bolstered by the fact that you and Bryce have approached every aspect with humor, intelligence, and bravery.

    Whatever the next phases are for you and he, may they bring you both joy and happiness. As it should be.

    Peace to you both.

  16. And oh yes, that pillow rocks! Yay you! Best birthday-gift-to-oneself. ever. :-)

  17. Dear Jess, as always, you express your pain and loss so eloquently. I can't possibly know the depth of your sorrow, I can only know my own...but I can sit with you in your pain. And walk with you both as you pick up and move on to the rest of your lives together. You are so strong. I love you, and I cherish the fact that you and Bryce love each other so deeply. You will carry on.

  18. I've been following along with your journey for a year now and I'm so sorry for all the heartache and loss. I wish you and Bryce so much peace and fulfillment in the journey ahead. I think I need that pillow in my life (and my 41st is in 2 weeks so I may need to expedite that shipping too).