We’d just come back from vacation and I was standing in the kitchen, literally spinning in circles. Unpack this bag. No, change my clothes. No, start lunch. No, do the dishes. No, unpack this bag. I could feel the stress starting to crush me as the weight of work and household duties settled in saying “You’re back! Welcome home!” And that’s when my brain snapped back to the phrase I’ve been repeating to myself lately. “Create the environment.”
I don’t remember all the moments in my infertility journey but there are a few that stick out to me. One of them was the morning of Thanksgiving a couple years ago. My husband’s family traditionally participates in a Thanksgiving morning run for charity so he wasn’t home. It was the first year that I hadn’t had any out of town family staying at my house. I was quietly sitting on the couch with my coffee, scrolling through social media, when my grief hit me like a train.
I don’t think any of us go through this life without going through some sort of loss. Maybe that’s a loss of a grandparent, parent, spouse, child or a friend. Maybe it was even a loss of a dream. Losing someone is hard, period. You have waves of grief that will come and go. Most waves come heavy around certain dates and even more so when you are coming into the holidays. I remember when we suffered the loss of our Baby Trotter at 4 months gestational and the first holiday after his due date was Thanksgiving. That was hard. I felt there was an empty seat at the table. He should have been there, selfishly he should still be here. We never had any traditions with him, we never got to experience that as first time parents with him that year. I’ve never lost a parent but this year I came awful close, way too close. I’ve known friends who this year lost a parent and friends who have lost their child or a child in the family. Grief is hard and it looks different for everyone and I don’t believe it ever goes away. I believe we put things in place for us to lean on and turn to. I believe you don’t have to stay or feel stuck in a certain season of grief. You learn ways to cope, you learn ways to remember and honor your loved one(s).
Gratitude can be hard. Amiright? Like, when life is aallllll good and easy breezy, finding things to be grateful for is easy. “I’m grateful my kids were all perfect little angels today. I’m grateful for my awesome job promotion. I’m grateful for the outstanding health of my family. I’m grateful my whole entire house is perfectly, spotlessly clean. etc. etc. etc.” But what about in the storms? What about when the sun isn’t all bright and shiny. What about when those strong winds blow, and I mean hard, against your house? What then? How can we be grateful when our wombs that we so desperately want filled are still empty? How can we be grateful when that baby we so longed for left us too soon? How can we be grateful when we are so sick we can barely stand? What then? How can we be grateful?