Posted in Family, Mental Health

Image IS everything!

When it comes to raising our  kids, the image of self-love that we portray is absolutely everything.

Before I had children I was oblivious to the fact that there are little people marching around this world imitating the things I do. I had no idea, that when I slump my shoulders, or wear a frown, that the children in my presence are hyper-sensitive to those little motions, and will undoubtedly question the meaning behind it.

Now here I am, my eldest isn’t even four yet, and already I am well-versed in the “whys” of the world. If you’ve been out grocery shopping and stopped for a moment, to assess your reflection in the window, you can bet my children noticed and innocently berated me with all the “whys” about your strange behavior.

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If you can imagine our children as magazine editors, you can bet your ass they would release a publication of unedited images into the world. Raw, real, and… flawed – only to them it wouldn’t be – See, they have no concept of what defines beauty. For them the world is one glorious masterpiece, all things living in the beauty of its own right. Though, slowly over time, when mamas and pops, start unblurring those lines and create defined spaces for what should and shouldn’t be in the beauty department… they too start seeing it as so. Of course, none of it is intentional, we don’t go about blatantly addressing our thoughts on beauty, no, it’s a subtle progression starting with a lack of self-acceptance.

{Self-Acceptance is literally the acceptance of self. It is an understanding of the unique qualities that together create the whole self, and accepting the imperfections in relationship to completing the whole and thus creating an inner happiness and satisfaction. Self-love.}

It’s a learned behavior; to start believing that those perfectly placed freckles, or misaligned eyebrows are a flaw in the human design. These young kids have no idea our hips are a little too wide, or our bellies a little too round until they walk in on us poking and prodding, and cursing those nuisances. Self-appreciation is actually the natural part of their being, and we alter and redefine that as they grow, unless of course, we can let our own securities sit by the way-side while we raise our children.

I am not going to sit here and pretend I am perfect, I certainly know “I am thick in the middle, and I got much back” but who cares?? I know well enough, that isn’t all of me, and I wear confidence in the fact that I still have a shit ton to offer as a human. Instead I am teaching my sons to love women who love themselves first, and to be confident self-loving men too.

I long for my teenaged boys to enter their high school corridors with an ora of confidence that no amount of school boy taunting can destroy. I want my sons to embrace their ‘flaws’ so they don’t have to tear down others just to build them selves up. I want my boys to experience love, unwaveringly, and that starts with a strong, and confident self-appreciation. Absolutely all of this is entirely dependent on the image of self-love I put into their universe.

What I am trying to say <in a very long winded essay of sorts> is this;

  1. It’s totally okay to love yourself as you are. You are rocking a body that has walked a tough journey of your own unique set of trials and tribulations. It has endured the pain, only yours can tolerate, and calling them imperfections, is just reaching “mean girl” status.
  2. Stop allowing your children to think anything less of you. You are and will always be their ‘perfect mold’ by which everyone else will be measured. They know better than anyone the true strength of your hustle, and have seen you at your worst… with raw assessment but without judgment.
  3. Do not allow them the opportunities to learn vulnerability and insecurity. The world they are about to face can be enough to handle as it is, fill them with traits of satisfaction and appreciation. Allow their self-love to be limitless.
  4. Love every bits of them. Tell them they are perfect, that you wouldn’t change a thing. Praise their imperfections, and document them in photos. Begin their lives with self-love and breed body appreciative children. Because there isn’t a freckle worth the long-term emotional damage that questioning themselves will cause.
  5. Just be! Be present and loving in everything you do, don’t waste a single moment making your children feel less than – And that starts by letting them know you don’t believe you are less than.
  6. Share your vulnerabilities with confidence! Laugh it off, be the Ace Ventura in an otherwise body shaming-easily embarrassed society.

Now get out there and LOVE YOURSELF!!!

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

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Posted in Family, Infertility, Mental Health

Wish you were here. 🐣

Curse me for being a typical A type personality because 9 months ago, when I saw the little pink plus sign on a pregnancy stick I foolishly believed it meant something. Which temporarily catapulted me into sketching out the architecture of the next two years of my life. How my children would adapt, What working though my pregnancy would look like, when I would begin my maternity leave, call me spoiled for having those choices, but I’ve worked damn hard to be able to make them.

Now, This Easter, April 2017 when I thought I’d be home with my family, I’m cruising into work for another endless workday. All the while day dreaming of the “could have beens”… Based on my gestational history, I should be home waiting for baby’s arrival, a very long week overdue. My family should be sitting on the edge of their seats because it could happen at any moment! or maybe it already had, and a sweet little chick is the Easter gift somebunny left for us.

But that isn’t what is. It never was. Instead I just finished my 8th cycle of fertility drugs that are kicking my ass with migraines, nausea, and muscle aches. And pray a new babe comes to us eventually.

I haven’t forgotten the journeys I thought I’d be taking, nor the missed opportunities. I haven’t stopped wondering what life would be like, particularly this April. That is the painful side effect of loss, once you know something was or could have been it forever makes its mark on your life, no matter how small.

Tight sqeeze!

Ella

Posted in Family, Infertility, Mental Health

Embracing the Journey

I swear every time I come here to write I have months of unwritten stories I had intended to share but never got around to penning it. Life has a way of swooping in, even in the mundane, and whisking away time like it never existed in the first place. But we know it did, we have memories and snapshots of those lost times, nostalgic sights, tastes and sounds that bring back #allthefeels. We have all been there, particularly so if your children are young enough to still ask you to wipe their bottoms.

Here is where we have been at.

 


I will be coining this stage of our journey #infertilenotfertile (a play on the popular phrase Sorry-not-sorry) so basically you get the point. No buns in the oven, no cat in the cradle, no bat in the cave, no pea in the pod… It just isn’t our damn time. Of course with April rolling around it is one massive billboard for our current “knocked down” status, and then with the abundance of friends that miraculously have stork mail coming their way in the months surrounding April, well it burns a little deeper.

Surprisingly, it hasn’t been too difficult to venture through- this second time around. I suppose it could be because my marriage needed this realism to bring us out of our pride and entitlement we’d been battling recently, or that maybe my (still young) children needed me more than I thought – also the reason time is slipping away at a record pace, and lastly, it could be because although #3 (and maybe #4)  are in our family plans after everything we’ve been through, I’ve climbed back on the fence over the whole thing. This month marked my eighth round of fertility treatment. We are nearly at the stage where  taking the next step is imminent, you know… where baby making takes a whole lot more than two to tango.

Aside from that, the boys are changing – everyday something new. Elliott has been attending a local pre-school learning and growing, and gaining intelligence beyond his years. He is still rooting for a new baby for the family, of course (mamas influence) and takes excellent care of his younger sib. He is rocking his balance bike, and refuses to move on from it actually. His current interests include robots, superheros, dinosaurs, racecars. and monsters, in fact, he imagines colorful scenarios where he, ‘Elliott-robot-batman’, saves mama from a house monster. He discovered Petes Dragon recently and is completely enamored with his name sake dragon. Elliott has been preparing new ‘big-boy school’ that begins in September, in fact, just this morning we discussed his potential new backpack options. Much to mamas dismay apparently Spider-Man is all the rage with the young boys.

Oliver, well, he is a tornado of personality wrapped up in a cloak of charm. He is one serious cuddler, and still drags his little lovey (yes we rotate about a dozen of them) everywhere he goes. We’ve nick named him Dennis (as in the menace) because he is innovative and daring and always manages to get himself knee deep in some sort of catastrophe (again another contributor to our rapid time warp). He says pretty much everything, and he loves to read, sing, and dance with hilarious candor I might add. He shares all the same interested as big bro because, well, peer pressure. He has just started riding his own balance bike, and despite resisting the movement, he is mastering it like a pro. Now that I think of it, he protests pretty much any new idea or suggestion unless it’s his own. 

 

 

No matter their differences, they are a solid brotherhood. Their love and excitement for each other is endless, and I couldn’t be more proud!

Tight squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Infertility, Mental Health

Moving Forward, Well Sort Of!

INFERTILITY//

It feels like a lifetime ago already, but it pains us just the same, the only thing we’ve learned since losing the pregnancy is that life keeps moving forward with the same force of speed, no amount of our resistance slows it any more.

There is still so much to be decided, do we really want more children, and at what cost? We have two amazing boys, is that enough for us now? We are faced with so many questions that still a few months later are no easier to decide. No amount of weighing it out seems sufficient enough to clearly see what it is we want.

If you are wondering what it is like to live in that mindset I will try my best to fill you in. Despite my best efforts, I live in an underlying unhappiness every day. I search for the small joys, like the sweet interactions between my boys, family dinners, and the short moments I get alone with my husband (albeit exhausted). I’ve suddenly found myself questioning all aspects of my life is my job good enough? Can we even afford to raise another child? Should we move to a more affordable City? Are we communicating enough in our marriage? It’s as though nothing brings me joy, although I know that most certainly is not true.  I honestly didn’t even realize the effect this has still been having on me until the moment I sat to write it all out, I suppose that is the therapy in writing – Sorting our thoughts.

To put it simply it’s like everything I do and say is laced with the negativity that this particular unhappiness is bringing to my life. Without knowing, I bring it into my conversations, into my behaviors, into my workplace, and home with my family, it’s all around me, and although I am abundantly satisfied with the other 95% of my life, this is the little black cloud that darkens it all. Not that I feel the need to justify my feelings, but I wanted to clarify, that it comes across that I am so unhappy in my life overall, and that just isn’t so!!!

I’ve been struggling to balance the weight of this loss, I don’t even realize it most of the time, I just go about mommying and stuff, but then, every so often… when I feel like crying but don’t know why… well,its safe to say that this is the culprit. Especially as little monumental days pass by, that should have meant something… like finding out the gender, and viability, but alas, it won’t be happening for us… at least not this time around.

Tight Squeeze

Ella

Posted in Infertility, Mental Health

Fertility and loss, as real as it gets! 


If you haven’t figured it out already, we are lost out in the sea of infertility once again. We always knew when we learned of Elliott’s pregnancy that there were no guarantees he would ever have a sibling, but life did play games on us and brought our sweet treasure, Oliver.

Since then, we’ve known we’d definitely try for #3 and maybe #4, but again, we were never foolish enough to believe it would be easy, nor did we take our chances to land another Oliver at 6mths postpartum.

This time around we decided to be careful, be precise, and plan. Of course, life has a way of reminding you that we aren’t in control when we decide to get serious about our plans. We started not REALLY trying, but not preventing last summer (2015), just a few months before I returned to work, it just seemed like the perfect time. Most people would think I am crazy, but I had my heart set on having just 1 more year off with my eldest son home, in my life plan this just seemed right.

As it would follow, because life is shit when it comes to fertility -for us at least- I had a chemical pregnancy in Aug. then another mid-1st trimester loss in November after testing positive and planning all the things you plan when you learn #3 is coming.

We didn’t always try each-and-every-month because we’ve learned not to take it so seriously after 3 heartbreaking losses. I’ve personally lost a lot of faith in this journey, because when life puts you on the brink of choosing between living and dying, I think that’s when you should be given your break,  am I right? But NO, it doesn’t! We can’t exactly have trust in the system of fertility.

This lengthy journey (in which I’ve been unwillingly kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a car) stretches us so thin we find ourselves taking absences from work and life, because leaving the house means pregnancy and fertility are rubbed in our faces everyday.

I’m tired of it! If you must know, I’m not strong, I’m not brave, I am no ones hero. I didn’t choose this journey to prove to you all how courageous I am! Someone threw me into the lions den and said “If she can do it, then we all can”. But that’s not true, if I succeed there still isn’t any gurantee to anyone else out there, that’s what makes this shitty situation so damn lonely. Just when you think you’ve found a friend that suffers with you, bam! One of you is suddenly pregnant and so consumed with guilt because you’ve left that person you care about on the journey alone. Did you hear me?? You can’t even be happy for yourself anymore. It is your own personal dark cloud that follows you, even when your rainbow is shining brightly across the sky.

So, After a few consults with a new OB/GYN I found myself back on the fertility drug band wagon back in May, after 3 cycles I’d find out we are expecting #3, this time I was (almost) certain this one was for real, except that that persistent dark cloud waters seeds of doubt. I wanted sooooo badly to hang onto #allthegoodvibes but it wouldn’t matter anyway, because this one would become the most painful loss I’ve experienced thus far. Yes folks! It does get worse, even when your certain you can’t take anymore!

If miscarrying a baby isn’t hard enough, not miscarrying a lost baby is by far the worst. When your body decides to be the biggest douchebag of all time and continue a facade of pregnancy – because it’s funny as hell to taunt weak spirits – and you learn far too late that there is no baby at all. That is a particular kind of living hell.

Needless to say, I ended up on an operating table, in the most vulnerable positions, unconscious while a doctor literally scraped away all evidence of pregnancy from my body.

If you’ve been wondering what that’s like, your crazy AF, because seriously who would want to know that kind of emotional wreckage?

I’m writing this now, because as of October 1st (just 2 days after my surgery) and everyday since, reminders of infant and pregnancy loss have been plastered all over my Facebook and social media. I don’t know if friends are being kind and sharing for my benefit, but it doesn’t help. I know I’ve failed, I figured out the statistics, and I’m not just 1:4,  I’m 4:6, I’m 100% broken, I’m damaged goods, I’m a failure, I’m functioning at less that 50%. My heart and my body aren’t just on different pages, they are in whole different books.

The most lonesome part of this whole thing, is literally being alone. My husband and I, we are most definitely suffering a heartbreaking loss and we have each other, that is most certainly true, but to the rest of the world it’s like this is a contagious disease. Yeah, we get the odd reach out from social media, but that’s the easy part. I’m not sure I want you around while I ugly cry, but seriously who is here with me when my heartbreak keeps me awake crying all night? I watch my kids all day long, with a broken spirit and much less effort than they deserve, because I am human and I can’t take it all on at once, but I haven’t exactly had “friends” knocking down my door to help. Of course, I’m not even sure I want any of you here anyway.

I am the only one who has experienced my particular brand of infertility and loss, that is the tricky thing about this story, it’s a completely customized torture to suit each person differently, that way it ensures that we actually do suffer completely alone.

I know what you are all thinking “You should consider yourself blessed to have two beautiful boys” obviously I know that I do, but that is the most enragingly inconsiderate thing to say to a person like me, and by that I mean empty. This is going to be a completely new concept to a lot of you, but a blessing does not sit on the other side of the weight scale to balance life out, it’s just a small light.

If I sit in a dark room alone and hurting, does it hurt less when I turn the light on? NO! The hurt is the same, no amount of light (or blessings) change that! Period. Not now, most definitely not for this type of hurt.

That darkness burns and scars its memories much deeper into our brains and hearts, it changes our composition for the rest of our lives. A blessing, on the other hand, is more like gasoline or oil they keep us running and functioning, but it doesn’t fix what’s already broken and damaged. And that’s what my beautiful boys do!

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, there is no easy way to live through this. I’m not better, I never will be. In fact, as we speak, my body is sending me constant reminders of what I’m trying to forget. Since I was in fact pregnant for 13 weeks I still get the dreaded postpartum reminders; uterine contractions, lower back and pelvic pain, and the hormonal drop. There is no blessing is that!

Long story short; stop raising awareness of infant and pregnancy loss, unless your actually going to BE AWARE! Be aware of how deeply it scars, how dark these feelings of loss are, how real an unborn child is, how real these feelings are, how lonesome the journey, and lastly, there is absolutely nothing you can do or say to take it away.

Let us heal!

Until then!

Xo Leslie (aka Ella)