Normally at the beginning of a new year, I come up with a word – a focus for the year ahead. But when January 1 rolled around this year, I was drawing a blank.
I was in a bad place at the beginning of this year. Well, really since earlier than that. But everything sort of culminated in January. I had poured my heart and soul into trying to get pregnant in 2022. I felt like God or the universe (or someone) had given me signs that it was going to happen. And then it didn’t.
When 2023 started, I was so angry. I felt like I was angrier than I’ve ever been in my life. Angry at everyone, I hated everything.
I told my therapist that I was tired of hurting, I wanted to feel better now, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. And she told me that maybe I was doing exactly what my body and mind needed me to do: simply being in a horrible, bad place and just feeling my feelings.
It reminded me of the practice of mindfulness. I needed to be aware, without judgment, of my feelings and just sit with them for a while. If I repressed them or tried to pretend that they weren’t there, I wouldn’t be able to move past them or heal.
Feeling my feelings was not the answer I wanted to hear. I wanted a pill, a drug, a quick fix to my problems. I had felt so many feelings already and it was exhausting! How could I make them go away?
We left that therapy session and I (jokingly) told Dean, “what are we paying her so much for?” She hadn’t solved my problems, she hadn’t fixed my pain. But I found out about 3 weeks later that she was 100% right.
For 3 weeks, I burned with anger at God and the world. I resented hearing about any new pregnancy announcements. I was lethargic and unmotivated about most everything – with the exception that I decided to start training for a half marathon. That was my one goal, my one distraction that kept me grounded. And I had so much anger that running was a good way to get it out, or at least to fuel my runs.
For 3 weeks my body worked through a lot of the hurt. I grieved. I processed. I survived a faith crisis (that’s a whole other story). And then suddenly it started to not hurt as much. I hadn’t “done” anything in particular. I had started exercising (good), I had done a lot of journaling of my feelings (also good), and I had shared and cried with some of my closest friends about my sadness and grief – and because they are wonderful friends, they listened without judgment and offered me grace and compassion.
I’m not going to pretend like it doesn’t still hurt, it does. But the constant feeling like someone has kicked me in the chest has gone away. The clouds have lifted and I’m feeling more like myself, the Erica before joining the infertility club.
Honestly, I had kind of forgotten who I was before becoming so obsessed with trying to get pregnant. It had taken over me. It seemed like all the fun, spontaneous, and happy parts of me had gotten lost, and the only parts left of me were the ugly, angry, and bitter ones.
In that same therapy session where I told my therapist I was tired of hurting, I also told her that I wanted to get another tattoo. “Another tattoo?” she said. She hadn’t even noticed the one I had on my wrist. I then told her that I kind of wanted a sleeve, but that I wasn’t totally sure what I would get – maybe I’d let my tattoo artist help me decide.Read More »